Sunday, December 28, 2014
Rikers Island and NYPD
In these progressive times with the police department being focused on for unnecessary killing and Rikers Island being accused of human rights violations for solitary confinement of adolescence, I think that some clarity is in order. To begin with, the police department has to be mature enough to take responsibility for their actions. They argue that the arrest of the cigarette vendor who sold loose cigarettes was legal. It's argued that he resisted arrest. In the mind of law enforcement this means that his death was justified. I argued with some of my correction officer friends that being right or wrong doesn't matter. The point is that people don't like being bullied. If the NYPD wants to be heavy handed they can be. However it comes with a price. Nothing the Mayor says or didn't say would change the outcome of protests. The NYPD needs to grow up and stop acting like babies. The blood of the officers who got shot are on the hands of the NYPD. They don't care about what people think and the consequences are protests and the death of two officers. But hey, at lest they got a loose cigarette vendor off the street. I hope it was worth it. As for the Rikers Island situation, many jails keep people locked in Solitary confinement oftentimes without the person violating correction policy. For example, many jails lock people up in 23 hour lockdown for protective custody. Recently, my brother called me from Ventura County Jail while in solitary confinement. He had not violated any jail policy yet he was in 23 hour lockdown. Yet in Rikers Island the DOJ and Federal courts step in to end his box days? No! Maybe because the correction officers in Rikers Island are mostly Black/Brown, the New York Times and like media are quick to blame "Rikers Island" for 23 hour lockdown. However, the Policy of 23 hour lockdown was made decades ago by commissioners, Mayors, courts and other like higher ups. Where was the DOJ 70 years ago when there were White correction officers locking down 23 hours a day their inmates? It's not Rikers Islan correction officers doing a shift that are locking people down 23 hours a day. It's the DOJ and federal courts who set this policy in the first place. It's all the previous commissioners and mayors who are to blame. But like hypocrites, they admonish the lowliest they can find. As if some CO with a high school diploma is making policy. In closing responsibility needs to be taken.