Saying “Hi” In Philadelphia While Being Black Is Now Illegal According To The Police (VIDEO)

Saying 'Hi' In Philadelphia While Being Black Is Now Illegal According To The Police (VIDEO)

Image Credit: Jezebel

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, I was indoctrinated into a long standing tradition that people from that area are familiar with. It’s not a holiday or anything of the sort, it’s just a simple courtesy. When people from Da Burgh pass each other, especially if the street isn’t crowded, they say hi. It might be a head nod, or a “what’s up” but whatever form it takes, I grew up in the habit of just saying hi, in some form to those whom I passed on the street. I continue that habit to this day.

It doesn’t matter where I am at. I could be in New York, Vegas, back in my home town or here in Northern Delaware, which some might say is just an outer suburb of Philadelphia. Or I could be in Philadelphia itself.  A town I frequently find myself in, both because of its geographical closeness and the fact that my wife’s entire family hails from there.

In all my 47 years on this earth, I have never been threatened with arrest for saying hi to someone on the street. Not even close.

But try telling that to these black men in Philadelphia who are guilty of nothing but one of them “saying hi” in passing to an alleged drug dealer. For their “misdeed” officers in the area immediately detained, threatened and harassed these citizens, one of which at least, was going to his job.

The police stopped these men under Philly’s “stop and frisk” protocol, a policy implemented by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and his police chief, both of whom are African American themselves. Which goes to show, given enough political pressure, politicians will turn on anyone, or turn a blind eye to their injustice.

Back on the street, our victims are held and harassed for an extended period of time. The cops constantly berate the men, including this exchange, which kind of sums up the entire 15 minutes of video / audio (some of the video is recorded after the man is forced by police to put away his phone by threat of arrest, leaving only audio):

Officer: “We don’t want you here [in Philadelphia], anyway. All you do is weaken the fucking country.”

Young man: “How do I weaken the country? By working?”

Officer: “No, freeloading,”

Young man: “Freeloading on what? I work.”

Officer: “Do you? Where?”

Young man: “[redacted] Country Club.”

Officer: “Doing what?”

Young man: “I’m a server”

Officer: “A server? Serving weed?”

Anyone who may see this as actual police work probably should have their head examined. The racism that is inherent in any “Stop and Frisk” program should be obvious by now. The policy inherently will target minorities, especially those in poorer neighborhoods. It is a license to harass. And since the police aren’t stupid enough to harass in the more affluent areas, because of the trouble it would cause them, they go after the people who can’t hire expensive lawyers and sue the pants off of the city. The policy will also inherently draw out all latent racism in officers, as can be seen here, and any video showing stop and frisk style harassment.

You can see the entire clip here:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4exZ-jXgWE&w=420&h=315]

Also in the video, the cops harass these gentlemen in other blatantly racist ways. One man’s middle initial is “X.” Police use that as an opportunity to show off their racial hatred acting like it must be one of those “made up” names, like that guy Malcolm something or other. When the gentleman defends himself, and his own name, he is threatened repeatedly with arrest for merely not caving to the officers desire to belittle him.

Police call the men back to them, to harass them more. They then comment how the men should have just “kept walking away” when the officers, after an extended period of harassment and abuse, order them back. Imagine the results had they “ignored the officer’s orders.” Damned if they do, damned if they don’t was an obvious mantra on this day.

On top of all that, one of the men is threatened to be arrested for “jaywalking” when they have absolutely nothing to arrest them for.  A “crime” that Philadelphia officers have arrested no one in a city of well over 2 million this year.

Is this an “isolated incident?” Well, look at New York and New Jersey and what has happened there under the same policy. Go on the interwebs and finding stories and videos on police harassment are a dime a dozen these days. Heck, you can even find more of some of the same police harassing here in other videos

Still, these incidents continue, daily. Some under stop and frisk policies,  but most just in the normal every day American experience. The “normal” experience of course, if you are not white. Why does it continue? The same reason many injustices continue in our nation. Part of it being “moneyed interests” support and lobby for these policies and attitudes in our law enforcement and the poor simply don’t have the same advocate. Citizens themselves could rise up and put a stop to it, but most people, especially those who don’t live in the harassed neighborhoods, are simply apathetic to the policy. Or worse yet, they live under some guise that harassing fellow Americans for no good reason is somehow protecting and serving them well. It’s truly sad and unfortunate.

All for doing something that I was taught was the right, and courteous thing to do. But apparently “saying hi” while being black is a crime now in the America we allow to exist.