Police Checkpoints

November 18, 2009

I just found an article on WaPo.com about a court-case about police security check points here.

Basically, residents, and a nonprofit brought a case to court, calling these stops an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. This case court focused on the Trinidad area of the city, but rings true for my experiences in Columbia Heights. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to walk by checkpoints at the corner of 14th & Girard, for example. After losing the first case, the case was picked up by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and the residents won, along with their nonprofit partner, The Partnership for Civil Justice.

I know what my initial reaction to this is: victory! I grew up learning that the police were frequently not my ally. As I’ve grown up, I’ve quickly learned that they are taught- both formally and informally- to see my people, and other folks of color, as criminals before we even commit crimes. Clearly, checkpoint such as these are an infringement against our civil liberties, but this is much more the case, in my eyes, for the “native” rather than the “transient” residents of these two neighborhoods. I’ve seen cars with white folks glide by these check points while I and my aunt sit through insufferable questioning.

I’m happy about this progress, but it seems a lot of folks aren’t. Check out the poll on the site here.

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