There's a lot of tragedy in the New York City area recently. The horrific train derailment is getting most of the attention. I say most because strangely, it didn't seem to matter to outgoing Mayor Micheal Bloomberg. According to WPIX, Channel 11 in NYC:
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg was spotted playing golf at Bermuda’s Mid Ocean golf club. Even after hearing about the tragedy, Bloomberg allegedly kept playing.
So much for the caring Mayor Bloomy. He must have had some great round going to ignore a catastrophe that took four lives and injured 63 others.
Also on his watch, but really only making the news headlines this week is the story of Kalief Browder. If the name doesn't ring a bell, that's because he's just an average, poor, black teenager. In 2010, at the age of 16, he was walking home from a party in the Bronx when police officers stopped and arrested him. Browder was told by the officers he'd probably be freed later that night. Instead, Browder would go on to spend three birthdays on Rikers Island Correctional Institution.
Being a 16-year-old in prison with adult men, Browder feared for his life because of prison gangs, extortion and violent prison guards.
During his incarceration, Browder said, he missed his sister's wedding and never got a chance to attend his prom or graduate from high school.
Why did this happen? All because his family couldn't raise the $10,000 bail to set him free. Or maybe even more basically, because the stop and frisk rules Bloomberg put into effect. In what was supposed to decrease crime, actually was a commitment of a crime in and of itself against people of color. Racial profiling.
It's really impossible to know for sure why the police even stopped this boy because he never got a trial and was never convicted of a crime. So the best reason available with the evidence in front of us is that this is random racism. Three years and four suicide attempts later, Browder was finally given a chance to walk. All he has to do is plead guilty of a burglary crime he maintains he had no part in and the door to his freedom would become open.
He refused. He wouldn't cop to a guilty plea when he was totally innocent.
Then the unthinkable happened. They set him free anyway. No trial. No restitution. No apology. No nothing.
Here's his remarkable story.Sadly though, its the story of Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the gestapo state of affairs for people of color. The Republican party may proclaim that racism ended with Rosa Parks, but the truth is it didn't end then and Kalief Browder's case shows it hasn't ended yet.