Love (of moolah), actually
Saturday 23 November 2013, 3.35pm HKT
Our American cousins have now reached the point of having to find ways to protect themselves from the Old Bill. Probably all from a love of money, I think.
A store owner in Miami Gardens in Florida, USA, has been video-capturing everything in his store in an effort to protect employees and customers from supercharged policing tactics occurring almost daily at his business premises.
“Saleh [the store owner] was so troubled by what he saw that he decided to install video cameras in his store. Not to protect himself from criminals, because he says he has never been robbed. He installed the cameras — 15 of them — he said, to protect him and his customers from police.” — Miami Herald | 22 NOV 2013
Read the full, sordid story here.
Singularly creative offence
The reason why I’m writing about policemen screwing over some poor sod in a far-off (and far-out) country like the USA was that the statistics hit me in a oddly nostalgic way.
The surrealistic nightmare recounted in the Miami Herald story must seem to any sane person like one for the Guinness Book of Records — with one store employee being—
- stopped and questioned for 258 times in a space of four years (or nearly once every other day)
- searched more than 100 times
- arrested and jailed 56 times
On top of those recordbreaking statistics, that singular employee had the additional misfortune of being arrested 62 times for the singularly creative offence of trespassing at his own workplace WHILST being employed and expressly permitted to be on the premises by his store owner/employer. His rap sheet is 38 pages long, containing all sorts of charges never even pursued by prosecutors.
In other words, the Old Bill has been pummelling this individual 476 times over (for the sake of our calculation) four years — 119 times a year, or once every three days.
Pay attention to this once-every-three-days average. You’ll see why a bit later.
Arresting a person for trespassing his own workplace whilst being employed and permitted to be on the premises is criminal intimidation and harassment. In some common-law jurisdictions, it is known by the alternative term oppression. It’s in the law books everywhere, but no government on Earth or in Heaven will sue their own police officers for that. It’s against public policy.
If you have a rap sheet 38 pages long but the authorities have pursued none of the charges, why is there a rap sheet? That, my furry little friend, is what oppression looks like.
Seen it all before
If this piece of American metro news has made it to a place 10,000 miles away like Hong Kong, you bet this is mind-effingly serious.
Here’s my take:—
The head of the civil liberties organisation mentioned in the story has been a little too constructive, I think. This whole business of policemen stopping, searching, questioning, arresting and gaoling (jailing) that singular individual for hundreds of times ISN’T some kind of overzealousness on the part of the police officers. Neither is it some kind of negligence on the part of the senior police commanders.
Who the hell are we kidding here?
The police officers of the precinct are pressurising people to cough up protection money. Payoff. Payola.
We in Hong Kong have seen it all before. We used to have this kind of thing going on here in back in the 1960s — certainly before the establishment in the early 1970s of our anti-graft agency called the ICAC, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
If you’ve ever seen a person being worked on for payola (or even having experienced it yourself), then you’ll know the harassment comes on every three days. Any more frequent than that, it’s probably not for payola but a blood feud. Any less than three days, it’s probably just a more frequent version of an isolated incident. This is the criterion that detectives themselves go by when investigating harassment and payola crimes. Who are we non-policemen to argue with that?
On the excuse of
Anyone here over 40 years old will easily recall a gigantic news item from the 1970s, of that whistleblowing police officer being run over several times (by a car used for undercover police use) right on the doorsteps of the then ICAC headquarters in Hutchison House in Central district. Could we effing ever forget.
Or that other news item, equally gigantic from those days, of another police whistleblower who got chopped to shreds with watermelon knives also right on the same ICAC doorsteps. Could we flippin’ ever forget that one as well.
In our Miami Herald story, that kind of policing tactics is carried out on the excuse of rather than by reason of the town’s alleged gang violence, drug crime and shooting sprees. It isn’t very possible to demand payola if there place is relatively crime-free. So things just have to be let go to pot first — let it spiral out of control for a bit — and then kick in the blunderbuss policing. Then it’s plain sailing for the “pay up or else” line.
The hell who you’re kidding, sport.
Related articles (via WordPress.com)
- Video recording captures rampant stop-and-frisk abuse in Miami Gardens (thinkprogress.org)
- Miami Gardens defends cops accused of harassing, rousting store’s clientele (miamiherald.com)
- Homeowners urged to guard against bogus policemen (uia.co.uk)
- G20 summits: Do police need anonymity? (mynamebadges.com)
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13392)