Massachusetts Court Says Blacks Can Run From Police
Running from a police officer is a good way to get killed, and be presumed guilty in a situation. But the Massachusetts Court ruled yesterday in a specific case, that black men have a reason to run from police based on the “disproportionate” number of police stops on black males in Boston. AND that their running is not a presumption of guilt, so they shouldn’t be regarded as “suspicious.”
Jimmy Warren was arrested by Roxbury Police in December of 2011 when police noticed that he matched a ‘vague’ description of a man in “dark clothing.” When police approached Warren and another man, the two ran.
Warren was not armed at the time of his arrest, but police did find an unlicensed gun in a nearby yard, so they charged him with unlawful possession of a firearm.
The court threw out Warren’s conviction, saying that police didn’t have probable cause to arrest him based on a vague description that could have been one of any number of black males.
The court’s ruling
“We do not eliminate flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion analysis whenever a black male is the subject of an investigatory stop. However, in such circumstances, flight is not necessarily probative of a suspect’s state of mind or consciousness of guilt. Rather, the finding that black males in Boston are disproportionately and repeatedly targeted for FIO [Field Interrogation and Observation] encounters suggests a reason for flight totally unrelated to consciousness of guilt….
Such an individual, when approached by the police, might just as easily be motivated by the desire to avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled as by the desire to hide criminal activity. Given this reality for black males in the city of Boston, a judge should, in appropriate cases, consider the report’s findings in weighing flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion calculus.” Massachusetts Supreme court ruling
Boston police take exception to the court’s decision, saying that it relied too heavily on an ACLU report that was tainted by politics.
“I think they relied heavily on an ACLU report that I think was clearly way out of context. I’m a little disappointed that they relied heavily on a report that didn’t take into context who was stopped and why. That report clearly shows that we were targeting the individuals that were driving violence in the city and the hot spots.” Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans
Vague descriptions and racial profiling
Was this “racial profiling?” Was the description too vague? How many other black males were in the vicinity of the crime in the first place? The court did not appear to take that part into account when they issued their decision.
If there are numerous black people in dark clothing around the scene of the crime, then there is a definite issue of having a vague description. But when two of them run, that actually IS a possible indicator of guilt.
If this man didn’t do it, who dumped the weapon in the yard near where Warren and cohort were?
Police in Boston will now have to be “motivation” monitors. They’re supposed to realize the motivation of blacks and not treat them as criminals.
This decision will get more blacks killed, and likely more police officers as well. Good thinking, Massachusetts.