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When the professor became a suspect on Centre Street in JP

Steven Locke is a professor at Mass. College of Art and Design. He's won awards for his work. And he's black. Yesterday, on his way to the school, he parked in the lot behind Bukhara on Centre Street in JP, and started to walk out towards the Purple Cactus to get a burrito. And briefly became a suspect for a break-in, detained by a number of Boston cops, at least one who took care to unsnap his gun holster. Locke recounts the incident, including the hug a black woman who stopped to witness it all, gave him as he stood there afterwards.

"Thank you," I said to her. "Thank you for staying."

"Are you ok?" She said. Her small beautiful face was lined with concern.

"Not really. I'm really shook up. And I have to get to work."

"I knew something was wrong. I was watching the whole thing. The way they are treating us now, you have to watch them. "

"I'm so grateful you were there. I kept thinking to myself, 'Don't leave, sister.' May I give you a hug?"

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Comments

Wow, my heart started beating fast just reading his whole write up of the encounter there...I can't imagine it for real for him.

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The officers were polite and respectful. He matched a description. I suppose the professor thinks home invasions shouldn't be investigated? The responses to his blog post border on hysterical.

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Yes, police should investigate break ins. They should not, however, detain random people based on nothing but a vague description.

This is just taking a shot in the dark, so to speak.

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well about what it is like to not be believed and to have one's fate in the hands of others -- the victim and the police. Terrifying.

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I think it would be hard to be presumed suspect of committing a crime once or throughout the course of your life, no matter your station. And not because you're dressed to go to your job as a professor but simply because you're black skinned.

If it were me, I'd want to be able to live a life where I was presumed innocent.

And on top of being suspected of crimes, you're suspected of being violent. In your presence, an officer unsnaps his gun holster. What he is saying is, I'm getting ready to use this. Yeah, that would suck.

That doesn't happen to me.

So let's presume he didn't commit any crime, let's presume his innocence and that no evidence was found to the contrary. Do you think the officers should get a refresher course on implicit bias?

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Crime victims should get a course on implicit bias? It might have really been a white guy that robbed their house, but bias and racism made their eyes see a black man.

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.

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Are looking for a black man because they were told by the victim the perpetrator was a black man. Should they have the victim count to 100 or so before describing the perp, just to ensure it wasn't in fact a white guy?

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Did you read the blog post? He did NOT match the description, except for his skin color.

Then the officer makes a belittling and condescending dig at his weight. Completely uncalled for, rude and disrespectful.

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What you/and the writer consider a dig, I think was the second officer acknowledging the first officer was wrong and we know he is wrong. The dig at his weight was intended to tell him this will be over soon. The one over zealous officer has detained the wrong person and we can't override his decision, so we have to just wait for it to play out.

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If you see no problem, you are not an effective reader.

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I suppose the professor thinks home invasions shouldn't be investigated?

Nice strawman. I suppose you think the police should just preemptively throw everyone in jail.

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Checking on someone who matches the description of the suspect is not throwing someone in jail. And, contrary to what your bleeding heart dictates, a white guy matching the description would have been stopped as well.

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Even nicer strawman

And they say conservatives have no sense of humor!

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If the description was a white guy of average height and build and wearing a winter jacket and winter hat was the description... would the police stop nigh every white guy they saw, them all pretty much fitting that vague description this time of year?

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did the cops stop every black guy on the street or just this unlucky guy?

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This happens to white people all the time. It has happened to me 3 times in my life. Each time I was running. The first time I was outraged. But if you cooperate, they eliminate you quickly and continue the search for the criminal. It is upsetting, but this is part of the fallout from crime.

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Granted it was for less than a minute. I am white and over 50, but somehow I fit the description. At the time I was detained I was wearing flip-flops - not the tools of a reasonably bright crime perpetrator. Anyway the woman that had complained to the cops saw me and immediately dismissed me as not the person she had complained about. I had other things to do so I didn't stick around to find out what the issue was.

I suppose the brevity of my detention was at least partially due to my skin color though.

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In case you couldn't wrap you mind around it, the cop stopped him because he matched the description of a home invasion suspect. This by no means is a racial attack by police. Only a fool would believe that. Goodbye.

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And unsurprisingly you are a self-proclaimed republican

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Yes, because because all republicans are evil people. Democrats are just sweet, delicate little flowers who want to sit in their safe spaces and eat happiness cake all day.

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as either political party is a piece of human garbage in my book to be honest

dividing a complex situation and thought process into literal red and blue teams where the middle ground is frowned upon by both was one of the least intelligent political concepts in history as far as modern governance is concerned

the only team i bat for is america, your red and blue be damned

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The comment was perfect. He "fit the description."

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So, when's the last time you were stopped because you matched a suspect's description?

And in the late fall early winter, who doesn't match the description "puffy coat, knit hat." Oh... wait. Also black. Yeah, clearly not about race (it's never about race).

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How is it racial if the suspect they were looking for is black? Should they stop a few whites guys just to make the PC babies feel a little better?

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The point is that giving a description of "white guy in a puffy coat and knit hat" would be recognized as laughably vague and result in no stops of random people on the street.

And in the incredibly unlikely event that that did happen, it still wouldn't be the same because of the systemic problem of racial bias that exists in this country.

Do you really lack empathy to such a degree that you can't read this piece and appreciate what this man was going through?

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Are you suggesting that the police would ignore a description of a suspect because he was white? Are you fucking high?

Again, what were the police supposed to do? Break in happens, suspect fits the description near the scene - do they walk away because he's black (although black was a key indicator in the description)? Because feeeeeeeeeeelings.

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He was the wrong size, he didn't fit the description. They literally just stopped anyone and put them through this. It is the cops feelings that were wrong, acknowledged by the second cop telling him he did not fit the description.

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The bleeding hearts were falling all over themselves to prove how compassionate and sensitive they were to his tragic situation. Sweet Lord some people need to toughen up. This whole thing is comically overblown. I don't think you can reason with people who come into a situation with the same bias which they have wrongly attributed to the officers.

If we are going to have a fruitful discussion about community policing etc we have to ignore the lunatic fringe. They will never be satisfied, are irrational and will not be part of any solution.

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Quick question. Seeing as there are plenty of cops out there on a daily basis looking for suspects who are white, how often have you and your friends been stopped by the cops? Because I know the answer for me is exactly 0.

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Not sure what answer you are looking for here. I am white and have been questioned under arms on a few occasions. I was just in the wrong place at the right time. Answering the questions asked politely, I was left to go about my business as the officers went about theirs. Two of the times were in response to an armed robbery in process, and I was just proximate to the action. But I wouldn't want to have to make that split second descision , friend of foe, you get it.

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I'm a white guy who was stopped and put in the back of a squad car in Watertown under the auspice of a burglary investigation about 12 years ago- for choosing to walk down the driveway to the back entrance of my building- Even after showing ID that I lived there the cops insisted on making ride with them around the block to the front entrance of my building before cutting me loose- I got the strong feeling that at least 1 of them felt this was more entertainment for them then police work

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i lived in newton for a fairly long time and in spite of my spanish heritage am pretty pale. i was in a cab with a similarly pale friend of mine and we got pulled over for 'matching a description' (two white males).

at first i was mainly like "oh god WTF did this cabbie do that he is getting pulled over" and then very shortly i was like "WTF how do you actually get pulled over for being white in newton MA"

im not really trying to compare the situations because theyre not remotely similar, but it seemed relevant enough and im still incredulous about getting pulled over for being caucasian in newton of all places

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I've even written about the scarier experience here on UHub several times. I was waiting for the 39 with a group of about a half dozen other commuters near the Pru. Apparently some teens had been witnessed making fake 911 calls from public pay phones in the area. Two patrol cars screeched up, several uniformed officers jumped out and surrounded me, and proceeded to interrogate me on the street.

Turned out I was the wrong height, wrong weight, wrong hair length, wrong age. But the police kept me for about 20-30 minutes and went through all my stuff. At least twice I was told I was about to be arrested. One of my fellow commuters even lied and indicated yes when asked by one cop if I had been using the nearby phones.

The senior officer was polite and professional (and eventually released me), but a couple of the other officers present were far more threatening and gruff.

You bet your ass that I told them exactly what I was doing when I reached for my wallet and when I handed over my backpack and smartphone (rare in those days).

***

Here's a question for you Matt et al - is there any number of counter-examples that would convince you to abandon your implicit 'only black men have occasion to fear the police' meme?

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is there any number of counter-examples that would convince you to abandon your implicit 'only black men have occasion to fear the police' meme?

Sure, just as soon as your limited personal experience becomes statistically significant. Until then, I'm going to side with what is proven statistically significant evidence.

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You have stats on Identification FIOs after crimes? I'd love to see them.

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If you want to build some excuse around FIO IDs that shows somehow that African-Americans are not disproportionately caught up in the criminal justice system, I'd love to see THAT.

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Those stats really do not have anything to do with anything, but you were the one claiming to have stats, not me.

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have stats, not me.

Well, that's pretty obvious.

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Which is probably comical.

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Matt, first you tried to make an unqualified argument about the absense of unpleasant/fearful/possibly-unjust interactions between white citizens and police, based on your personal anectdotal experience, now you are invoking statistics apparently as a way of discounting other UHubbers accounts of same. That's a bit hypocritical.

Detailed statistics about policing in the US are hard to come by. It's currently impossible to tell how many incidents take place each year like the one reported by Prof. Locke (and me, and all the others here), much less figure out how many were legit from both a public safety+civil rights pov.

But if we look police-citizen interactions of the worst possible kind - the ones where someone ends up dead, then we can see that this year has been pretty typical in that only about 1 out of 4 persons killed by police was black, and nearly twice as many whites as blacks have been shot and killed by police so far in 2015. (And also - that about 1 in every 30 Americans killed with a gun was killed by a cop!)

Only about 1 out of 7 Americans are black, so clearly, blacks are engaged by the police in numbers way disproportionate to their representation in the general population (the numbers above translate into a black individual being ~3x more likely to be shot by police than a white individual). Undeniably, racial bias in policing is a problem we need to deal with. But it's a weird sort of myopia to conclude that racial bias drives all negative police/citizen interactions.

I think a lot of middle class whites (of all ideological stripes) like to tell themselves this is so. Then they can feel righteously indignant but still personally unthreatened. But statistics don't support the 'only black men have occasion to fear the police' meme. (They do support the 'there's too many people being killed by police' meme, and the 'black men have more occasion to fear the police' meme.)

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first you tried to make an unqualified argument about the absense of unpleasant/fearful/possibly-unjust interactions between white citizens and police,

LOL, Jeff. Five paragraphs to make a straw man argument is a lot of spilled e-ink.

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You apparently fail the reading comprehension test on your own posts.

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You apparently fail the reading comprehension

Said the guy who doesn't realize he made a straw man argument, and then doubled down with an ad hominem.

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How do we know how close by this alleged break in happened? Cop pointed non-specifically toward Hyde Square, according to Professor Locke.

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I have had my home invaded as I sleep and understand the importance of catching such criminals. Did you miss the part about they were looking for a burglar? I guess so...

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The key thing for me in his account was what it was like being detained like that. I kind of know the feeling - somebody once reported me as a child molester or kidnapper - but there's one key difference: I had absolutely no reason to think the cop (well, trooper) wouldn't believe me. As a white person, why should I? It's just not the same for a black person, not even in Boston in 2015 (he looks old enough to have been around during the whole Stuart fiasco), not even on Centre Street in JP. Although I don't know Locke, I'm glad the woman stayed to watch the whole thing and gave him a hug.

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Those confusingly polite racists cops will trick ya everytime, huh Adam?

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Was that the two times he reached into his pocket for ID or his car keys, he told the police first what he was about to do. I would have never thought to do that; cop asked to see my ID, I just would've reached for my wallet. But then, I'm not a member of a group that has, in other parts of the country (and in the past here in Boston) been assumed guilty and threatening just by standing there (one of the perks of being a Shlub-American).

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"I would have never thought to do that; "

That's on you. I'm white but there's no way I'm reaching in a pocket, or fidgeting with anything while being questioned by police.

Come on... weren't you ever told by your parents how to behave when pulled over and/or questioned by police?

I had the unfortunate incident of having a warrant served at my address at 1:30 in the morning about a month ago. Street lined with cops and staties, also surrounding my house. They got another household member outside in the backyard emptying pockets. Lucky for him, he also knows how to act when being questioned by police.

Fortunately for me the person's name on the warrant no longer lived at the address (I moved in about 4 months ago), but the whole time I was aware they were on "alert". No sudden movements, I invited them in and when the declined I stepped outside. Answered questions that were asked calmly, albeit half asleep.

Come on Adam. Now you're either being naive or trying to make a point.

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these things are just common sense

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Individual politeness can still exist within a systematically racist organization or society.

But we know from earlier threads that you aren't capable of thinking much about such things.

You might want to read this: http://billmoyers.com/2014/07/17/scientists-are-beginning-to-figure-out-...

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Nobody likes to be detained on the street, with people assuming you did something wrong. I don't think anybody is saying it should have been a pleasant experience for him. But it's part of the deal we strike in a democratic society. We have made a decision as a society that we want police officers, and have drafted laws that constrain their conduct. We can't cry racism when the police act within the law, performing a function that we have determined is a net good to society.

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Than being stopped and questioned, having your home ransacked by a scumbag.

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Did you miss the part where it was an attempted housebreak?

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scumbag is my cousin and he'll leave a mess if you arent careful

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Half of the men in the city of Boston wear a "wool cap & puffy black coat" from November through April.

If the housebreaker had been described a, "White male, knit hat, puffy coat" you can sure as hell bet that a well groomed, polite white guy with a work ID on a lanyard around his neck, a car nearby, the wrong build, and wearing khakis (!) would not have been held for 35 minutes on the street, especially after saying he was on his way to work. I bet they would have asked for his license, looked at his work ID, perhaps asked to see inside his car (though probably not), and let him go to work.

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A story that sticks out in my mind goes as follows: I went to a bank robbery in the spring about 5 minutes after it happened. The bank had just locked the doors when the robber left, and we were about to conduct interviews with witnesses that were in the bank when the robber passed a note. The robber (as seen on the film) was a light skinned hispanic male who was bald wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. A black female witness who was right behind the man stated that he was a black male with dreadlocks wearing a red sweatshirt. When we asked her if she got a good look at him, she said she looked him right in the eyes when he left and saw him drop the note, and the video later confirmed that. Most of the other bank tellers were close in describing the man, although one of them said he was a young white kid with short blonde/brown hair. Long story short, descriptions by witnesses are not always accurate, and a good police officer should know that and do their job seeing if anyone in the area even matches that description.

Bank robbers and home burglars will also often take off layers of clothing and throw them somewhere during their escape, especially if their crime is interrupted and someone saw them.

Why the long wait? Sometimes you want to bring the witness around for a live showup, and when you do that, you need to read them a statement before you do that showup. That often takes time as well.

Also very common for thieves who commit thefts (mostly daytime office/hospital thefts) to wear official looking lanyards and IDs that are sometimes stolen/expired

I think it would be interesting if a city decided to just have all black cops. I really think that would be a good idea actually, and studies would probably be very valuable for everyone involved. (In my opinion, black cops would have done the same thing)

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See my comment above. You were, I am pretty sure, a Uhub member the last time I described my experience being stopped by the police while waiting for the bus. They were looking for someone seen making fake 911 calls. I was the wrong height, wrong weight, wrong hair length, wrong age. The police still detained me for about a half hour and went through my stuff before letting me go.

It was scary as hell, and I totally sympathize with Prof. Locke. But taken by itself, his account is not an example of racial bias in Boston policing.

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And Pete, thanks for the thoughtful response.

I should qualify my post to indicate that I don't think that it never happens to white guys, but that the likelihood is higher that a black guy will be treated with the assumption that he is guilty, and is more likely to be not taken seriously while declaiming his innocence, than a white guy in a similar situation.

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The guy fit a description and the police were doing their job. Are you going to report on every traffic stop/questioning of a POC?

Jesus, to be a cop in this day and age must absolutely fucking suck. Cops in Boston are really tame compared to other cities around the country, but damned if they do, damned f they don't.

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I'm a Boston Cop and reading this, my jaw hit the floor. You're right, it SUCKS.

Adam, your opinion on this encounter? Because I'm starting to believe by even posting this ridiculous rant, you're not a fan of us either.

My co-workers were polite, explained the basis for the stop, had enough reasonable suspicion to justify it, and were JUST DOING THEIR JOBS!! What were they supposed to do? See the black guy with the unique winter hat who fit the description and just keep going?! Should they have thought, "Gee, that really could be him, but if I stop him I might hurt his feelings"?

Ridiculous. Absurd. The whole paragraph about him thinking "I'm going to die" was shocking to me.

America is doomed. White, Black, Latino, Gay, Straight, it doesn't matter - we are doomed. That's what I've learned on the streets.

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"it doesnt matter. we're doomed"

healthy attitude from a public servant i pay to protect me.

you sound burnt out. maybe get a new job? or did you, for some reason, take a job as a public servant expecting the ground you walk on to be worshipped?

you are not exempt from criticism.

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If I have a problem with the way I was treated by a Boston Police officer, I have a problem with the way that officer treated me, and I don't hold it against the BPD.

If I have a bad experience with many officers I encounter (which has not been the case) then you'd lose me as a fan boy.

This prof's post isn't about 'the Boston Police Department, it isn't even specifically about the officers who detained the man who stopped for a burrito. It is about the man's experience.

If you read about his experience to learn about his experience (instead of defensively,) you might begin to learn why people policemen suspect wrongly of a crime feel threatened, and ask yourself if the things policemen do that make citizens feel threatened a necessary part of safely detaining them?

I think the answer in this case is no.

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Sorry to hear my man. It's truly pathetic I agree. Thank you for putting your life on the line.

Sincerely,

Conservative Republican

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Sincerely,

Partisan Hack

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It seems to me the second cop acknowledged that he didn't fit the description it was just one over zealous cops opinion that he did and everyone had to waste how many officers time for 30-40 minutes to just let the whole thing play out.

It seems that when one officer makes a bad call, someone else should step up and say, look, this guy doesn't fit the description.

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he thought he was going to die?

i mean, its pretty terrifying to me that youre supposed to be protecting people and your mentality is:

"America is doomed. White, Black, Latino, Gay, Straight, it doesn't matter - we are doomed. That's what I've learned on the streets."

i mean fuck it, if thats how you feel maybe people should just start offing your coworkers as soon as they approach us and take the law into our own hands. instead of police stations we'll have public armories. i won't need a team of badges to protect me, just as many rounds as I can fit in my magazine. the one in the chamber can be the chief.

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Try counting to ten next time you want to talk about murdering people.

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but that was pretty obviously not meant to be taken literally, and was used to illustrate the absurdity of how i perceive the fact that there is a literal nihilist in charge of public safety.

you need to chill the F out with the way you interact with me kid. you try to make a mountain out of a molehill every time you initiate an interaction with me now.

alternate response:

murdering people? here we just call that police academy

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You might try thinking about that the next time you post something that sure reads like unhinged ravings. If you're trying to be sarcastic, remember that HTML has no <sarcasm> tags, so you have to work extra hard to make your meaning clear.

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made that pretty clear, but in the future i will know to expect less from you.

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It's your responsibility to communicate your message in a coherent manner, chief. Do better.

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i have a history of farcical or bullshitty type posts here of which adam is fully aware. this is far from the first time we've had this discussion. he just likes to stir up the pot because he would prefer that i not post here, even though he would never admit it. he makes it a bit of a hobby to feign ignorance and outrage towards me now.

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"America is doomed. White, Black, Latino, Gay, Straight, it doesn't matter - we are doomed. That's what I've learned on the streets."

I'd take this officer off active duty due to stress-- racial and sexual preference related stress. He doesn't see citizens, he sees race and sexual preference.

To be honest, I think he's a sock puppet. Not who he says he is. I.E. not a BPS officer.

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The problem is that "just doing their job" consists of different things when cops are dealing with black people. A black person is never taken for their word by the police like a white person might be. "Oh you live in Dedham and are on your way to work. Very well, Mr. White Guy, have a nice day." Instead, here, the black man identified himself, where he lived and where he was going, and continued to be detained for 35 minutes.

"Fitting the description" is interpreted a little more broadly for black people - see the example we're talking about, where a Ralph Lauren blazer is interpreted by the police as a "puffy jacket" which is comical on its face.

This is a systemic problem in our country, where white people are given the benefit of the doubt by police, and black people are not. This leads to a deep ingrained distrust of the police by black people which is, frankly, deserved. You, as a Boston police officer, are part of this system and part of this problem. I say that not to disparage you personally but to simply point out the relationship.

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I'm not sure about the original officer who posted, but I'm a minority cop in a major urban area.

As an officer, you're saying I'm part of the systemic problem, but as a minority, I'm also victimized by that system?

So I'm abusing my own rights?

No. I'm convinced a lot of you are being suffocated by so called "white guilt" and as a proud minority, I can tell you first hand, don't be. Growing up I always did the right thing, only had one police encounter, and that's because my friends, some of who were white, were smoking weed. That's it.

If this was Southie, they would've stopped the white guy who matched the description. If it was Chinatown, the Asian fellow would've been stopped who matched the description. If it was Eastie, the Latino or Italilan and so on and so forth.

Stop being so damn sensitive. You people are ruining your police departments. It's getting really, really bad for us out there. We need your support. It's getting to the point that good officers are giving up. Sadly, I'm on the verge myself.

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Your premise is false. I'm white, and have been stopped multiple times by police, some were professional, some not so professional. I believe the fact I usually don't dress is 'professional ' attire, because I don't have to, and am frequently in areas or near high crime urban areas, plays a big role. So I'd day d o called class, or perceived class, plays a role..

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I did, on numerous occasions. White guy driving down Geneva Ave late at night? Yep, he's definitely here to buy drugs, let's get him!

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As I mentioned above, I once found myself in a somewhat similar situation. I understand the police stopped neither me nor him just for the hell of it, that in both cases somebody called 911 and reported a suspicious person and that the officers were doing their job. And in both cases, they were polite and informed the person why they were being detained. And this is not Chicago, where people can just disappear or get shot repeatedly while they're already lying on the ground. Bostonians should be proud of their professional police department.

At the same time, if you are a police officer, look at this sort of like one of those stories by a doctor who gets sick and learns what it's like to be a hospital patient.

It's completely different on the other side: Even if you are innocent, even if you are aware the police are doing their job, you are surrounded by grim looking people with guns (in his case; in my case it was just one trooper) and you are, possibly, one stutter or verbal tic away from being handcuffed and shoved into the back of a cruiser and, basically, ripped out of what you thought was a safe space (whether a beach or the yuppie end of Centre Street in JP). Now layer on top of that being a black man in a country that still has major racial issues.

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Nice job summing up what probably should be obvious to anyone who took the time to read the professor's post.

I sure wouldn't want to be presented to a witness for ID, especially when you consider the reliability of eyewitnesses.

Some 75% of the wrongful convictions for rape and murder, including a number that led to people being scheduled for execution, were based on eyewitness testimony.

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and so should the officers who participated in this incident.

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Yes, the police were polite, yes, they no doubt felt they were just doing their job, and yet this law abiding citizen felt threatened because he knows how these interactions can play out for people who look like him. Until we as a society, and police in particular can understand life in this man's shoes, we aren't going to make much progress.

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And when did these unjustifiable shootings happen?

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Crickets

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But we don't live in a vacuum or on an island, and things that happen elsewhere do sometimes affect people here.

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Care to name a few where the alleged "victim" was shot for no reason whatsoever? You know, no gun, no knife, no assaulting the cop - just shot for living while black?

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Wow, you're a Boston cop and you dismiss a citizen being worried that he might die in police custody? Maybe it would be a good idea for a cop to think about it from his point of view, and consider his concern that being innocent has not guaranteed not being killed by police in America.

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What are the odds you are going to die? 1 in a million? 1 in 10 million if you don't do anything like run away, commit a crime, resist arrest, etc?

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Pete Nice isn't Steven Locke, and I've seen no evidence Pete Nice can empathize with Steven Locke's experience.

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Who feel that we need more guns to protect this country from all these Muslims that are killing everyone.

Do they have legitimate fears because I'm not them?

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Exactly, it depends on who you identify with.

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Should I be concerned for their feelings about Muslims?

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I am reserving comment on this one because I believe the Professor's prose is clear, and how we take it is simply a reflection of our own biases and political attitudes.

That said, the only reason I can see for Adam to post this story is to drive traffic to his site to increase his advertising income, which surprisingly shows him to have Capitalist tendencies. If there is any other reason it is circumspect.

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And it's working, isn't it? I'm becoming rich beyond your wildest imagination while playing you all for saps because you find yourself completely incapable of ignoring anything I post. Must. Click. That. Link. And. Comment! My red facade is just that; look behind the curtains and you'll see my basement full of coins that I dive into every morning before breakfast! And real coins, not those stupid bitcoins you libertarians are always blathering on about. Twice a week, I go down to the bank, the big bank with the giant columns downtown that is only open to people with giant accounts like mine and trade in all those Benjamins that flood my mail slot for more coins with which to fill my basement, the one I have to dig an extension for to fit them all in.

Clearly, I never post anything I find interesting or illuminating about a facet of life in Boston I myself have never experienced, who would do something lame like that when I can post things that will get Moar Clicks.

Note to self: Start looking at how boston.com does listicles. They're killer.

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Some people think we shouldn't talk about race in society because the conversations become too divisive.

I think we should and for the same reason. More than that, I think we must. And I try to prove the conclusion wrong.

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I should've followed my own advice about not trying to try sarcasm online ...

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Listicles rhymes with articles. :-)

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You totally mesmerized me with your Jedi mind games Adam. Are you saying you're not a left leaning facilitator of public comment hosting a conversation in which you set the articles of debate? And restrict the postings that are part of the debate?

Let's be clear. I wasn't actually accusing you of profiting off of this story. I was questioning your motivation in posting it.

I actually do hope you make a happy living off of this if you are able. It is worth that. We have not met, but I think we could have a reasonable conversation and part on friendly terms if we did. I am not the libertarian stereotype you would portray me as.

That said, I do question the Government. I remember many others having that as a bumper sticker before they covered it with Obama/Biden or Liz Warren. We should not question them.

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is all over the internet. I have FB friends from out-of-state sharing the story. It would be inconceivable to think that UHub wouldn't have a post on a local story that has already gone national.

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Compare this post about a guy who is detained, with the one from this summer where two guys from Boston laid in wait and beat-up a homeless Mexican guy.

Both raise as an element of what transpired, race as a factor. Only one had violence. The other had a situation where the man felt unsafe in the presence of a Boston police officer.

Why are you suspect of Adam's motivation in posting either?

These things happen right here where we live so let's talk about them.

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Ridiculous. Absurd. The whole paragraph about him thinking "I'm going to die" was shocking to me.

Pro tip: if you want minorities to stop thinking they are going to die every time they have an interaction with a police officer, you should stop shooting minorities unprovoked. Or at least call your fellow officers out for same, rather than this "thin blue line" crap.

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Name me one case where it was unprovoked. And no, unarmed crack dealers with known mile-long illegal weapons arrest records who reached into their pocket when told to put their hands up don't count, even if they were only reaching for their cell phone.

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When is the last time there was an unjustified police shooting in Boston? Only a fool or an intellectually dishonest person would attribute the actions of someone in South Carolina or Illinois to our city.

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You weren't startled/horrified by what happened in Paris or San Bernardino? Nothing that has ever happened outside of 128 has ever made you think or changed the way you think about something? Props to you and your steely provincialism, I guess, but most people aren't like that.

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As a Boston, cop, can you tell me if this is routine, having the victim brought to the scene to ID the suspect? Wouldn't this endanger the victim?

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And the suspect isn't going to know any more about the victim if he/she didn't go to the scene.

It can be traumatic sure, but it is a routine procedure for identification purposes.

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Why can't we read this powerful 1st person reportage and let ourselves, for the time it takes to read it, walk in Professor Locke's puffy black jacket, without commenting on what you think about cops, or black men and cops, or anything, and just feel it. I felt it, physically as I read. Others here have commented on the same phenomenon. Many are so quick to take sides when in fact this is Locke's blog, describing his own experience, in his own words. Truth telling is a political act. The interaction with the cops, all three cruisers and one unmarked detective's car is reported, almost transcript like. Time slowed down, he knew one wrong move or word might put him in the back seat of one of those four cars. Whether you think you know what happened, this is what Locke experienced and the woman in the red coat witnessed.

If it helps, read it as fiction and let yourselves feel it.

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That's exactly what it is.

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Is what you worship.

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Let's also not forget the UMass professor at Blanchards.

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Why do we only seem to collectively flip out when this happens to a college professor? I understand to a degree the outrage and frustration--a respectable, educated, well-dressed guy still getting hassled by cops or misidentified as a burglar or a cognac thief. But even though I understand the anxiety and the anger--am I going to end up in the back of a cop car or disappeared?--none of these things happened. The cops in this case, aside from an initial ID that seemed like a bit of a stretch, seemed to have acted just as they should have. The ones in the Blanchard's case were responding to employees who felt convinced enough that this was their guy that they photographed his plates. But still--I've read posts here and elsewhere that act as if the police had acted outrageously and I can only think it's because of this class issue--if either of these guys had been a project kid would anyone blink an eye? The darkly hilarious element of the Blanchard's story was the tacit assumption that because the guy was a professor, he was obviously innocent--because you know, rich, educated people of any color never steal stuff, only lowly hood rats.

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The issue with a lot of these comments here is a lack of perspective. I've always abided by Chris Rock's political stance of "JUST BE A PERSON. LISTEN. LET [a topic of discussion] SWIRL AROUND YOUR HEAD. THEN FORM YOUR OPINION, Anyone who makes up their mind before they hear the issue is a f-cking fool".

And I feel like most folks here had their opinion formed before reading Mr. Locke's story.

The cops didn't do anything wrong.

They were polite and were following clear protocol. But that DOES NOT MEAN STEVEN LOCKE IS EXEMPT FROM BEING SCARED FOR HIS LIFE. If you can't grasp or merely accept his perspective, then you abide by a foolish and selfish mentality: Thoughts and opinions processed as if everyone has the same life experience!!!

(said life experience has been basic, uneventful, and resoundingly unappreciative of thy white privilege)

Unfortunately, an inability to self-reflect is a mutually-associated characteristic of these people. (the phase "you know who you are" is essentially a waste of breath)

To the folks who side with Mr. Locke and are still all sorts of butthurt: It's not that these people mean to be racist or goading. It's that their naive core beliefs are hardwired, which naturally triggers defense mechanisms to default to selfishness. Its an absence of complexity. And I'm more contrite than anything. You should be too (it will help you sleep at night!).

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WELOME to what Millennials and Generation X deal with on a daily basis when you live in an urban community. that's just another day in the jungle for me.

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Interesting how many of those "fearing for their lives" at the hands of police are black academics. Skippy Gates of Harvard, the Emerson professor with no driver's license, this guy and others. I tend to agree with a different black man, Steven Hildreth Jr. whose October Facebook post follows:
-----
So, I'm driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I'm already preparing for the stop.

The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I'm doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.

"Yes, sir. I'm a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket."

The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I'm running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can't unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I'm running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I'm with the National Guard.

Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he's got me on at least two infractions. I'm thinking of how to pay them.

Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. "Because you were cool with us and didn't give us grief, I'm just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible."

I smile. "Thank you, sir."

I'm a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn't be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.

Maybe...just maybe...that notion is bunk.

Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.

Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they're not out to get you.

I'd like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.

We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn't be wearing a badge. I'd like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.

#BlueLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter

[EDIT: In my rush to post, I accidentally omitted that my wallet was in the back-right pocket, near my firearm. This was the primary motivation for temporary disarmament. The post has been modified to reflect that.

Again, I'd like to thank the TPD and their officers for their consistent professionalism, courtesy, and the good work that they do, both in this particular contact and every day.

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So not every cop, even in Arpaioland, is horrible. Why don't you now Google the article by the black corporate vice president about how her neighbor managed to sic most of her California town's police force on her.

Why professors? Maybe because they're just not as afraid to speak out anymore.

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Arpaio is Sheriff of Maricopa County.

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That's your white cop perspective.

Period.

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If you put even a tenth of the effort you take to "whitesplain" away incidents like this into thinking about what it must be like to live them day in and day out and put that effort toward making the world a more just place, you wouldn't need to put so much effort into elaborate denial that it happens or it matters.

Just. saying.

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Put away that footstool, rope and soap, there's no need to off yourself. It's OK to be white, no need to hate yourself every single second of your miserable existence. I know you wish you were a different color, but you don't get to choose your parents. Heck, you'll get to inherit their big expensive house and their seven figure bank account when they finally kick the bucket, what's not to like?

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It isn't "hating yourself" to notice that other people get treated like shit in our society.

Grow up and get over yourself. Being white doesn't make you special - even if you are a snowflake.

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Since when does having basic empathy have anything to do with footstools, ropes, soap, suicide, self-hate, wanting to be black, expensive houses, and million-dollar bank accounts?

Last I checked, this sort of thing was covered quite well in the new testament and is pretty much heavily recommended by all major religions.

You might want to consider some therapy yourself if you don't understand any of this.

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Applies to all, not just a certain skin color. You can't laugh and point fingers when some white trash moron somehow falls on a cop's nightstick 100 or so times in a row for no good reason and shit enough bricks to build another co-op city when same thing happens to someone of a darker skin tone.

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What does an exhortation to empathy have to do with self-hate, wanting to be black, suicide, trust funds, etc.?

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‘‘There is, in fact, no white community. Whiteness is not who you are. Which is why it is entirely possible to despise whiteness without disliking yourself." James Baldwin

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I don't have any desire to fan any of the various flame wars happening here, which all seem unnecessary: Locke wrote about being stopped by the police, fearing for his life (as is, frankly, all too easy to understand), and eventually being let go. That's the point. That's the gist. But anyway, I have a story:

Some time ago, I lived with two of my cousins. One night, at about 12:30 a.m. - just when I was starting to get ready for bed, a couple of hours after my cousins had gone to bed - the doorbell started ringing like crazy. I assumed it was just some tweaker, and I knew for sure I wasn't going to go downstairs to check, so I ignored it as best as I could. However, when I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, I heard pounding on the door. One of my cousins had woken up, and I could hear her asking who it was. All she heard was a command to open the door, and she said no. She told me to stay where I was - but I wasn't about to let my cousin go up against what I assumed was a rapist or burglar by herself. By then, she'd gone to the back door - to see if anyone was there - and I was at the front door. Someone behind it was commanding me to open up, claiming he was with the police. As a young woman who's heard of rapists pretending to be authority figures, I yelled, "Get a warrant, fucker!" They kept yelling to open up - but then they finally explained that they were police looking for my cousins' brother. Our address was the last one he had listed, and he'd been mixed up in an attempted armed robbery. (Long story. He didn't actually do anything, but it was a mess.)

Anyway, once the police identified themselves correctly, and explained what they were doing and who they were looking for and why, we let them in. (Our ferocious pit bull didn't so much as growl until the last of the seven police came in, and even then it was more of a "hey, there are too many humans in here! I don't like it!" After that, she promptly went up to all the cops - who were all having a good laugh at my would-be shield-maiden stunt - and waited for pats and cuddles.)

I can't help thinking, however, that I would have been in bad trouble if I hadn't sounded white. Would those police have tried to reason with me? Would they have explained themselves more fully? Or would they have stormed in (the door wasn't that thick, they could have easily), pinned me down (or worse), and taken me away in a patrol car (or worse)? I was pretty mouthy - because I assumed that our idiot downstairs neighbor had, for some reason, let in a gang of rapists - but that probably would have gotten me in deep, deep shit if I'd been something other than a white woman.

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I know Steve Locke. I've also encountered more than enough petty theives for my pleasure. A 1 minute conversation with Steve Locke would tell any cop who was using what sense God gave them that he is not someone who would do a B&E. Steal fancy maps perhaps. Committ white collar crime maybe. Hell Steve could pull off the thievery of Bernie Madoff. In other words Steve is not a gang banger
or strung out junkie looking for a easy grab and go.

This was probably a case of being stopped simply because these cops needed to report to their superiors that they stopped someone. Did the police stop every black man fitting the profile on Centre Street? Or did they just need to find one so that the could say they tried?

I suspect that once the first cops stopped Steve that they set up a sequence of events that turned Steve into an object for their procedural machinery. A machinery that requries various steps to be completed no mattter how obviously wrong they were or how much disruption they cause.

On a Friday afternoon I imagine there were plenty of men fitting the general description of the burglarer. The clothing could be changed and so only the physical descrpition would be definitive (though not all criminals have the sense to change their clothes after attempting a burglary). Were these cops stopping every black man in JP? If they didn't - and again there is nothing in Steve's demeanor that could even suggest a person who is wary that he would be questioned for a B&E - why just stop one but not everyone who could fit the description? And why hold a man who could easily demonstrate that he was niether a gang banger or junkie? These police were slaves to procedure, ignoring common sense and what is obvious; discarding reality in favor of proving that these police did their job for the day. Boring, banal reasons having less to do with whether a man was black or white and more to do with police just acting with small limited minds where they forget that they are dealing with human beings, not just things.

I was involved in a situation far graver than a B&&E. It was an explosion. The police had to determine whether it was due to crystal meth. The interview with the detective took only a couple of minutes for him to realize that the cause was not a lab explosion. I wasn't surrounded by police, no cop unsnapped his holster. The very young detective could make the determination quickly. Why couldn't the plain clothes cops use their sense to grasp that they were wasting time and money (paid by real esate taxes) so that they could do a better job of finding the criminal?

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In fact, most of the time it is some sort of domestic situation (abusive husband, drunk son or family member causing a problem, ex roomate who breaks back in to get their things, etc)

So no, there is no "profile" of what your home invader looks like, and the police never know what the exact circumstances are on the initial call.

Cops have seen professors beat up their spouses, they have seen doctors break into their ex girlfriends house in order see who they are now sleeping with, they have seen other cops not let them inside when their wife is beaten up inside the bathroom. When you know all these situations exist, it becomes hard to just not stop someone just because they have a lanyard and aren't wearing a "puffy coat"

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So listening to the actual description isn't important?

So stopping every person of a particular ethnicity is effective policing?

Pissing people off in an area where you need community cooperation, and wasting time hassling someone who does not fit a description is an effective means of controlling crime?

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But actual descriptions are wrong all the time., and they didn't stop every person of a particular ethnicity, where did you make that up?

You too, should go for some ridealongs and see how descriptions play out after crimes occur.

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If the victim could only provide a general description of the criminal why wasn't each individual in the area, who fit the general description, stopped and detained? Are there no other black men fitting the physical description in the Centre Street area during the afternoon?

Are there reports that support the claim that most home invasions are domestic in their nature? That is important information if the statement is true. If the statement is false then it diverts attention from the problems of this incident.

Why was the gun uhholstered? Knowing Mr. Locke I have no question in my mind that he would NOT present any indication of being physically threatening. Unholstering the gun was an attempt at intimidation, to frighten and to communicate that the cop was ready and willing to shoot and at least maim, if not kill.

If Mr. Locke was white would the cop also have automatically unholstered his gun? Do Boston cops as a matter procedure unholster their gun every time they stop someone?

Either these cops concluded on way too little evidence that Mr. Locke was a suspect (which questions the judgement of these cops) or simply wanted to stop someone so that they could satisfy a statistical demand.

In any case these police just did a good job of proving that they are not to be trusted.

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If you go back and read his account, you'll see he didn't claim the cop unholstered his gun. He unsnapped the top strap.

Not saying that is or isn't still a problem, but exaggerating and making stuff up contributes nothing to an intelligent conversation.

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but in this case its mainly irrelevant, since unstrapping or removing your gun from its holster both adequately tell a person you're willing to murder them

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Why are all the clowns here referring to justified shootings as murder?

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If the victim could only provide a general description of the criminal why wasn't each individual in the area, who fit the general description, stopped and detained? Are there no other black men fitting the physical description in the Centre Street area during the afternoon?

And no, there probably weren't other black men fitting the description at that time. I'd say about less than 25% of black males were wearing knit caps at any given time this time of the year, and of that 25% there may be other clothing descriptions that would eliminate even more of that. Age is also a factor, the very young and very old usually don't commit crimes like this.

Are there reports that support the claim that most home invasions are domestic in their nature? That is important information if the statement is true. If the statement is false then it diverts attention from the problems of this incident.

Actual home invasions are not domestic, but yes, when people are assaulted in their own home, it is rarely someone they don't know (someone who breaks in).

Why was the gun uhholstered? Knowing Mr. Locke I have no question in my mind that he would NOT present any indication of being physically threatening. Unholstering the gun was an attempt at intimidation, to frighten and to communicate that the cop was ready and willing to shoot and at least maim, if not kill.

You may know Mr. Locke, but the cops don't. When cops get a call for a break in, and they have a suspect they don't know, they don't know if that suspect is armed. I've been assaulted plenty of times by guys I don't know who didn't fit the desctiption from the original call.

If Mr. Locke was white would the cop also have automatically unholstered his gun? Do Boston cops as a matter procedure unholster their gun every time they stop someone?

If a white person was suspected of committing a felony like this you better believe a gun may have been unholstered, and depending on the crime, no, the police do not unholster their gun every time they stop someone.

Either these cops concluded on way too little evidence that Mr. Locke was a suspect (which questions the judgement of these cops) or simply wanted to stop someone so that they could satisfy a statistical demand.

It is clear from this statement that you have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you call up your local PD and go for some ridealongs. In fact, I wish most people would do that and I actually think it should be required for some sort of civil duty. No, there are not statistical demands that would even matter for a stop like this, the cops lose valuable time actually stopping someone that had nothing to do with the crime.

If you don't have trust in the police, you justify others not having trust in black people, which is sad.

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