07 January 2009

On reporting gang activity

Lacking income-earning work, of course I find lots of time on my hands. I like using Google reader to catch me up on my favorite blogs but discovered a disadvantage. Lacking a feed of "regular" headlines, I've been missing out on local news. The terrible irony of this: the same day I made my cops = gang members analogy, an Oakland man's family was mourning his loss at the hands of a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer. And subsequently, cell phone video taken by witnesses supported early reports that the young man was face-down on the ground, surrounded by three officers, when one of them stands up, pulls his gun, then shoots the man in the back. The investigations are just starting, so no word on whether there is evidence that deadly force was required. Initially, it looks like NOT.

As to the gang analogy: if one associates with & acts like a gang - one is guilty by that association. This may have been a deliberate act by a psycho rogue cop, showing a resisting detainee who's the boss. Or, still horrible but less sinister, perhaps it is a terrible mistake by a guy who panicked under stress. But either way, if he could do it, ANY cop could do it.

"Normal" (privileged) people wonder, "Why would an innocent person run from or be scared of the police?" Hey, stories like this are the inadvertent public service message from the man about the man: know what gang members look like, know their reputation for violent criminal activity, including murder, be scared of them, report them. At least there were lots of witnesses to this crime, and they all know who to call.