From The Atlantic:
Police abuses in Miami Gardens, Florida, are staggering, but few Americans seem to care.
CONOR FRIEDERSDORF MAY 30 2014, 7:05 AM ET
Last year, police in Miami Gardens, Florida briefly made headlines after surveillance video captured their harassment of a black clerk at a convenience store. They stopped and questioned the man, Earl Sampson, a ludicrous 258 times. On 62 occasions, they arrested him for trespassing at his place of employment, a pattern of abuse that confounded his employer, the store’s owner. After the Miami Herald exposed this story, it made national headlines at numerous journalistic outlets, then quickly faded into obscurity at the end of one news cycle. The scope of the abuse taking place in the police department remained unknown. The vast majority of outlets that covered the story cared too little to follow up.
Now evidence of staggering citywide abuse has come to light.
After a 6-month investigation, the TV network Fusion has documented a racist, illegal policing strategy that a local public defender calls “stop and frisk on steroids.” One Miami Gardens police officer reports that his supervisor ordered him to stop all black males between the ages of 15 and 30. Just 110,754 people live in Miami Gardens, yet going back to 2008, police have stopped and questioned 56,922 people who were not arrested. …
What if a fifth of the outrage dedicated to the Sterling campaign were aimed elsewhere?
For example, a whole police department out in Florida has been engaged in a sustained campaign of harassment that daily disrupts the lives of countless residents, with disproportionate abuse focused on blacks. It affects people ages 5 to 99. Whole neighborhoods of people were systemically denied basic civil rights. Countless innocent young black men were humiliated and treated as criminals. The harassment was carried out by local government, underwritten by federal grants, and constituted numerous Constitutional violations. …
This is the reality of anti-racism in American public discourse. Maximum outrage and urgent demands to do something are marshaled against offensive words. A Princeton student who critiqued the concept of white privilege in the school newspaper made national headlines and inspired numerous essays picking apart his logic. But public employees with guns harassing, intimidating, and humiliating innocent black children, because they’re black, every day in their neighborhood?
Well, as I blogged last fall about Miami Gardens, there is another reason why 2013’s spasm of national new coverage about racism against poor innocent black loiterers in Miami Gardens suddenly dropped off to an embarrassed silence:
Something I’ve noticed about the modern media is that almost nobody actually believes in the “changing face of America” and all that. Sure, everybody talks about it, but nobody believes it’s really happening. Instead, it is assumed, everywhere will always have a white majority.Thus, of course a place called “Miami Gardens” is going to be majority white. Why would anyone doubt it? And even if you sort of wonder whether “Miami Gardens” really looks like Bedford Falls, well, how can you check?I mean, what’s a journalist supposed to do before writing an article about Miami Gardens, FL? Put on his fedora and take the street car down to the Carnegie Library to look up in a dusty Census book what the demographics of Miami Gardens, FL are? Who has time for that?Oh, wait, sorry, you can now type “Miami Gardens demographics” into a search engine and it will take you right to the exact paragraph in the Wikipedia article on the 2010 Census.It turns out that Miami Gardens is 2.6% non-Hispanic white, 22% Hispanic, and it’s 76% black. The municipality, which was only incorporated in 2003, is the largest black majority city in Florida.Let me give some general advice: if you come across a story about local government that seems kind of screwy, go look up the demographics.Here are pictures of the Miami Gardens leadership:
Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert
Incoming City Manager Cameron Benson