Prop 6 gives more money to law enforcement and tags on a little something something to increase punishment for so-called gang-related crimes. Let me tell you: if any state entity needs less money, it's the po-po! Second, if those pricks could identify a "gang" or something "gang-related" with any ounce of accuracy, I might be down. Actually, probably not.
When I was teaching high school in a large, suburban high school in the Bay, we were having an issue with fights. Some of the teachers freaked out and asked for the cops to come to a staff meeting to ease our minds. "What should we do!?" the panicked teachers begged to know. "The gangs are here from Oakland!" The officer told the crowd of two-hundred teachers, administrators and staff the following: "if his name is Juan and he is wearing red, send him to me." That's it? Really? Ummm, racist! Classist. Homophobic! Dumb. And I'm not paying any more for that.
It's always good to know how the police defines things. In this case "gang," happens to include any group of three or more folks of color. And for the people on the Califorina Gang Database, it's especially boo-boo since they don't even know they are on that list until they are in a courtroom for swiping a Snicker bar and the prosecutor is like, "hold up, you're on the gang database so this crime is gang-related." And dude gets six months. This is real. It has happened. A lot.
The problem gets even worse when we look at how people get on the database. It is a completely subjective, almost arbritrary system. So Officer Pig sees someone who s/he thinks is in a gang. Perhaps dude is talking to someone on the corner. Officer Pig is sitting in her/his patrol car, could be fifty yards away, and pulls out a camera and takes a picture. It's too far to hear them so Pig writes down a name, "Flaco," figuring that should cover it. And that's the beginning to Flaco's file. That weekend, Flaco goes to a family party. Who knows, they could all be gang members, thinks Pig and s/he takes pictures of everyone at the party. And that's how tens of thousands of Californians are on that list. Some of you all might want to stay away from my ass.
So if that didn't convince you, know that Lee Baca, LA County Sheriff, supports this thing. And he might be the wackest.
4 months ago