Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Juvenile Profiling?

Sherrilyn Iffill, in a compelling call for us to put the unwarranted arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates in some perspective she provides us with an chilling account of a recent Baltimore, Maryland incident...

"Ironically, in the same week that the media has devoted so much attention to the unwarranted arrest of Gates in his home, three boys -- two black and one white, ages 7, 9 and 11 -- were handcuffed and arrested at their homes in Baltimore for stealing a scooter and a wagon from their neighbor’s yard."

"The neighbor chased the 7-year-old to his home and called the police. The boy’s mother was present when the police arrived and clearly did not condone her son’s actions. “Let’s talk to my son,” she reportedly asked. “I don’t have time. I’m locking him up,” the police officer reportedly responded. The second-grader was questioned and tearfully identified the other youths who attempted to steal the wagon with him. The police handcuffed all three boys and took them to a juvenile detention center."

"Each boy, accused of attempting to steal a scooter and a wagon from a neighbor’s yard, will return to elementary school in the fall with an arrest record. These are the stories I hope will constitute the center of Gates televised examination of race and criminal justice system."

Teaching the young boys a lesson? Overreacting to boyish pranks? Juvenile profiling? Or just being 'tough on crime'?

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