From the LA Sentinel:
By Khalid Alexander
Published November 15, 2019
Thirteen years ago, I moved to a heavily-policed neighborhood in Southern California. I realized things were different when suddenly I was pulled over by the police three times in one week. I’d been pulled over before, but something other than the frequency of these stops stood out to me. It was the first time police asked me if I was a gang member.
What I have learned since then, as the founder of Pillars of the Community and a father of two young men of color, is that this questioning about “gang affiliation” is a part of a long history of law enforcement’s attempt to label, criminalize, and abuse people in Black and Brown communities. What those officers were really trying to figure out was whether they could get away with violating my rights as a human being and constitutional protections as a citizen.
Recent years have brought new attention to the real impact of California’s gang laws. We’re at a strange inflection point: There are
truly dangerous criminal gangs within law enforcement, who continue to act with impunity thanks to the inaction of prosecutors (L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, for example, is known
for failing to prosecute bad police“>https://lasentinel.net/l-a-prosecutors-can-hold-cops-more-accountable-with-one-simple-list.html“> refusing to even exclude known bad cops from building bad cases).
Those same police are maintaining a database of supposed gang members that’s so flawed, it includes the names of kids under one year old and a separate system of justice for communities of color, with criminal charges that don’t require actual wrongdoing, and lead to longer sentences, restricted fundamental freedoms, and a tilted playing field in the courtroom. The legal consequences are clear: more Black and Brown bodies pulled from their families and communities, locked up, and forgotten. But these legal consequences are just the beginning. The truth about California’s gang suppression scheme is that it’s not just putting people in prison, it’s stripping entire communities of their futures. And because of that, it’s making us all less safe.
Contact with the criminal legal system can permanently destroy a person’s economic mobility…..follow the links above to read more , connect the dots!©