The woman on the left is a mother from Miami who was so desperate to feed her hungry family that she was trying to steal a lot of food.
The woman on the right is Miami-Dade County Police Officer Vicki Thomas. Officer Thomas was about to arrest Jessica Robles but changed her mind at the last minute.
Instead of arresting her, she bought Robles $100 worth of groceries:
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry.”
And there’s no denying they were hungry. Robles’ 12 year old daughter started crying when she told local TV station WSVN about how dire their situation was:
“[It’s] not fun to see my brother in the dirt hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘There is nothing here.’”
Officer Thomas says she has no question that what she did was right:
“To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas. That $100 to me was worth it.”
But Officer Thomas did have one request:
“The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out. And she said she would.”
And guess what? The story gets even better.
After word got out about what happened people donated another $700 for Jessica Robles to spend at the grocery store.
And then best of all a local business owner invited her in for an interview and ended up hiring her on the spot as a customer service rep.
She started crying when he told her:
“There’s no words how grateful I am that you took your time and helped somebody out. Especially somebody like me.”
And to think it all started with one veteran police officer trusting her “instinct” instead of going “by the book”.
I N S T I N C T
It’s not really about instinct though. PLENTY of cops who shoot unarmed Black children are indeed acting on instinct—instinctual hatred.
No, this officer was acting on EMPATHY. This officer took the time and energy to think about the human being in front of her and react humanely. This officer was not acting on impulse—which is necessary when acting solely on instinct—but acting with rational assessment to the problem she was faced with. Empathy may be instinctual for her; but it has to be practiced that way, and what she really deserved praise for is the original step of extending thought and consideration to other people.
Empathy and logic too. Arresting this woman was only going to have the net effect of increasing misery in the world. The government would have spent thousands to process her, house her (if she can’t afford bail, which is likely) and her children. She gets a record and has an even harder time finding work with the possibility of losing her kids to a system that can’t take care of them. Both this family and society in general is worse off. This police officer made a wise as well as an empathetic decision.
This is about more than Michael Brown.
If you thought the protests in Ferguson were only a response to the shooting and death of Michael Brown, these numbers might change your mind.
That’s for a city of 21,135 people.
All those fines and fees were a big boost to the city’s finances. Of Ferguson’s $20 million in revenue in 2013, $2.6 million of that was a result of these arrests. That’s good for the city’s second-highest income stream, NPR notes.
A racial disparity makes this much worse: Of course, those arrest warrants aren’t handed out equally for everyone in the city. Many are issued for traffic violations, for which black residents are disproportionately stopped. Eighty-six percent of those stopped by police are black, even though they only make up two-thirds of Ferguson’s population. Compare that to whites, who are stopped less than 13% of the time, despite making up 29% of the population.
Another infuriating thing to consider: While blacks in Ferguson were twice as likely to be searched after being stopped — and twice as likely to be arrested — searching whites was actually more likely to produce contraband, according to a report from ArchCity Defenders, a St. Louis-based public defender group.
"Folks have the impression that this is a form of low-level harassment that isn’t about public safety," the group’s founder, Thomas Harvey, told NPR. “It’s about money.”
Major impact: It’s not just police procedures that take their toll. The ArchCity Defenders report notes that the municipal court in Ferguson will start hearings early, then lock the doors five minutes after the scheduled start time, meaning someone showing up just a little bit late for a hearing can receive an additional “failure to appear” fine.
The impact these procedures have on public opinion is clear. “They’re searching to find something wrong,” one defendant said in the report. “If you dig deep enough, you’ll always find dirt.”
Brown’s death was a tragedy well beyond the scale of a car search or court fine. But statistics like these give insight into the anger of many protesters.
Source: Matt Connolly for Mic
This is happening in many municipalities due to shrinking revenue from the recession and tax cuts. Poor people are being squeezed to make up the difference in budgets.
So local governments are not only profiling, harassing, and in some cases, assaulting and murdering the poor and POC, but extracting their operating costs from them too.
Distressing Video Captures EXACTLY How Cops Treat Black People
I had to reblog this again because it just reduced me to tears.
As most of you know, I am an attorney. And I am an attorney licensed in Minnesota. This is the state where I took an oath last year to uphold state and federal laws and to protect the rights of the citizens.
It PAINS me to see this. To see these unjust cops who I for all intents & purposes, have to stand along side. When they are abusing EVERY SINGLE OUNCE of POWER. Minneapolis/St. Paul have BEEN a war zone. I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed.
Not all officers are bad. Please don’t let that be the take away. But police brutality is VERY FUCKING REAL.
Watch this. If this doesn’t move you, if this doesn’t make you cry out in agony and want to change the world, I don’t know what will.
Apparently, no one has any idea. And when an enterprising reporter attempted to find out, it turned out it was nearly impossible:
“The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.”
Ponder this: our government is systematically collecting vast amounts of data and information on US citizens and foreigners around the world and analyzing it for threats. But it is not systematically collecting or analyzing information of US citizens killed by government authorities and actively blocks citizens who try.
Have you noticed that the Ferguson situation has deliberately moved away from Michael Brown, and the media is now making the protestors the story? How many times have you heard the name of the police officer, or anything resembling investigative journalism on who this officer is…?
Don’t fall for the banana in the tailpipe trick…
(H/T Kamakura Faure)
Since this happened so recently and social media played such an important part in publicizing the story, it’s pretty easy to see that the national media only became interested in Ferguson once the protests began, not after Micheal Brown’s murder. They became even more interested when the situation in Ferguson became photogenically violent.
Now the national coverage is mainly about the protestors (usually slanted in a negative way) or about police militarization, which is usually portrayed as a problem for civil liberties in general. With some exceptions, they are doing their best to minimize the central role of white supremacy in all of this.
— James Baldwin, “A Report from Occupied Territory” The Nation, July 11, 1966
Please note: “everyone who works retail, admin, or labor” is pretty much everyone. I can’t remember the last time I worked somewhere without “security” cameras that monitored employees.
I’m having a good laugh right now because our associates just got collectively reprimanded for leaning on the counters during 8 hour shifts on their feet, because it isn’t “professional” looking. So apparently they can put up with a camera over their shoulder to make sure they do their jobs correctly, but a cop with a gun cant?
Anyone who handles cash for a living has a camera pointed at them at all times, e.g. cashiers, bank tellers, people who work in casinos. This is to prevent them from committing a crime while doing a job that would otherwise make committing that crime very easy.
Cops should wear body cameras and have dash cams on their cars for the same reason.
Lobbyist and NTOA Executive Director Mark Lomax
Yeah, it’s much better for a community to be ruled by a gang of heavily-armed criminals in blue.
Just read through ALL of this…these people are INCREDIBLY organized and have collected almost every piece of information out - and they are asking some amazing questions.
Search for “Shield of Hope” to find the relevant threads. This seems to be a second Darren Wilson fund-raising website, not the original gofundme page.
And here’s another chapter in the perennial debate about conservatives: stupid or evil?
Paul Ryan offered his opinion on federal intervention in Ferguson:
"There is no problem with the federal government having a role," he said. "But in all of these things, local control, local government, local authorities who have the jurisdiction, who have the expertise, who are actually there are the people who should be in the lead."
He said that today. Has he literally been hiding under a rock?
At this point, the only reasonable conclusion is that the local authorities in Missouri and Ferguson are clueless and repulsive. Yet Paul Ryan thinks they should be given the lead to resolve a situation they themselves have created and escalated.
So….is Paul Ryan a dumbass?
I don’t think Paul Ryan is a dumbass, but he often sounds like one. In this instance, he’s chosen to ignore U.S. history and everything that has happened in Ferguson lately because it is evidence that not only conflicts with his ludicrous political philosophy, but destroys it.
But I don’t think it’s just a case of cognitive dissonance. No one who remains a libertarian past the age of 19 or so can be trusted because, in this country, quite a few self-described “libertarians” would be better described as neo-Confederates. Many of these same ‘libertarians’ are even bringing back antebellum classics like nullification.
No, Paul Ryan isn’t a dumbass. Paul Ryan knows what he’s doing.