Racial Profiling in the Heartland
A case study in Indianapolis.
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Eric Holder is going to hate this.
The same day the Attorney General was condemning the “underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes” that create racial strife, the City of Indianapolis was implementing the single largest case of racial profiling in the history of this country.
This Friday and Saturday night, the streets of downtown Indianapolis will be full from some of the 250,000 black people attending the annual Indiana Black Expo.
Much like George Zimmerman knew that black people were responsible for a crime wave in his town, city officials “know” the Black Expo has a ten-year history of intense and frequent violence and lawlessness.
So they are getting ready for more. That is racial profiling.
The summer of 2010 was probably the worst. After the Black Expo let out for the evening, thousands of black people hit the streets of downtown. Chaos and violence followed. At least ten people were shot. A lot more were rampaging through downtown, destroying property and creating mayhem.
A lot of it was captured on video. All just a few weeks after Al Sharpton himself appeared in Indianapolis to complain about racist police.
And it is not just the Black Expo: Downtown Indianapolis has been the site of dozens of cases of large-scale black mob violence over the last three years. This year, when police flooded the downtown with extra officers, extra dogs, extra helicopters, extra paddy wagons – oops, sorry, “tactical vans” – to prevent the violence, black people just went to one of the suburban malls and wreaked havoc there.
That is also on video.
Sometimes their racial profiling leads to exasperation: “Why did we find an AK-47 in the back of someone’s car,” asked Frank Straub, director of public safety, about the 2010 rampage.
No one knew, other than the fact the violence and gun play are traditions at the Black Expo – despite the hundreds of police officers on the street to stop it.
So much so, the local paper said the Black Expo was “inescapably tied to violence.”
This is exactly the kind of “stereotyping” the Attorney General was talking about.
Local officials have no idea what is causing the violence. Or what to do about it.
So they too turn to racial profiling: This weekend, the streets of downtown will be full of the latest and greatest in crowd control. Towers and bright lights are the newest thing: The same kind of portable towers that football coaches move on and off their fields to keep an eye on practice, will instead be full of police with infra red cameras and high powered weapons.
All in touch with an army of police officers on the ground. All for the Black Expo.
The preparations during the Memorial Day holiday for Black Beach Week in Miami Beach were just as intense.
More racial profiling.
And up the road in South Carolina, cops from throughout the region were on stand by as tens of thousands of black people descended on the Myrtle Beach area for Black Biker Week.
More racial profiling.
Still not convinced? Consider the police presence at the Indianapolis 500 just a few weeks ago. Cops wrote tickets to 181 people, most alcohol-related. There were one or two cases of violence. That’s it.
Just like last year. And the year before. And the year before that. Yet the Indy 500 attracts far more people – 300,00 to 400,00 – with far fewer police. Far less lawbreaking.
One crowd is black. The other white.
One event is a police state. The other a police vacation.
What further evidence of racial profiling, over-policing, stereotyping, underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs, institution racism and white supremacy could you need?
Someone call the Attorney General and tell him to forget about the Zimmerman investigation and go to Indianapolis.
He’s got bigger fish to fry.
Colin Flaherty is an award-winning reporter and author of “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence to America and how the media ignore it.” Follow him on Twitter.
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