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anti-racism | police / legal

Racism in the New Year

Arrests and police harrasement right after midnight
It's the New year and the same old thing for people of color. Walking across the Hawthorne Bridge after midnight, where people ran, set off fireworks and set out a bamboo boat filled with flowers for the river goddess, I saw a crowd and lots of cops on the NW side. There was a footrace on Naito Parkway. A few blocks north on Naito Pkwy, I saw a fight almost break out but dissipate. There were both white and black men involved. Suddenly police cars came in from all directions, sirens went on, I stopped to watch and heard a cop yell 'up against the wall!'. I watched them as they verbally harassed and detained only the black guys.
It was cold and I had to catch the last bus home. On 4th avenue, I saw more cop cars right outside of a hip hop club with a purple octopuss in the window. Come to think of it, there's always a cop car outside of this club. And then I saw them whiz by the Roseland, where there was a hip hop show. I guess 'hip hop' reads 'black people present' which means 'arrests'.
I am sick of seeing people of color targeted all over the couontry, and especially in our fair city.
As I boarded the last bus, crowded with New Year's partiers, all I could think of were local activist Celeste Carey's words: 'If you're black, you'd better stay home after dark".

Purple Octopus and Racism 10.Jan.2008 16:15


As I have an apartment right next to this place, I want to add a couple of things. The place with the purple octopus is the Downtown Deli and Greek Cuisina, owned by Ted Papas. Ted is an infamous supporter of the sit-lie ordinance, and other draconian measures to keep homeless people out of downtown. Coincidentally, his own restaurant violates the sit-lie ordinance, by having tables and chairs that sit out on the sidewalk, full of people lounging around eating and drinking. If you can afford to eat in a restaurant, or if you can afford to own a restaurant, conveniently, the sit-lie ordinance does not apply to you.

Mr. Papas also broke the arm of an activist engaged in a demonstration against the sit-lie ordinance. I also watched him beat up a retarded man once, in his restaurant. He is notorious for his anger management issues. He is a very angry man, who simply cannot control his rage. He can be heard inside his restaurant, when he deigns to be there, screaming and shouting, red-faced, at all of his employees. He makes eating there a nightmare, let along what it would be like to work for him.

Regarding the police action, the club that was probably the scene of the police activity is actually across the street from the cuisina. The City is a frequent site of police over-reaction. This club is frequented by African American patrons, and this seems to freak the cops out a great deal. When I come back to my apartment at night, I very often come home to find the street filled with people, surrounded by cops. I can't even count how many times the cops have emptied the entire bar out, and are shaking down patrons in the street. I'm not saying that there aren't occasional bar fights or whatnot: I don't know, but I'm guessing there are. But if the police reacted to every club in town like this, when there are bar fights, then every street in town would be filled with people and police cars late at night. But this does not happen. It is only the clubs frequented by people of color where the police act like this. This IS racism.