Black people face 911 calls for innocuous acts


#1

Sitting in his car outside a boarded-up house on a recent Saturday morning, Michael Hayes went through the mental checklist of things he does to make sure suspicious people know he is an enterprising young real estate investor, not a burglar or a drug addict.

He readied his business cards. He grabbed a sign with his business website and phone number to plant in the front yard of the brick house on Douglass Avenue. He cued up the contract that the homeowner signed allowing Hayes to go inside and take pictures for potential investors. He even had the owner on the phone as he worked one of the boards loose. And, as always, he exhibited a polite and respectful demeanor to anyone he met.

None of it was enough.

Before that afternoon was over, Hayes — a 31-year-old father, former teacher and an entrepreneur with a growing portfolio of rehabbed homes for sale — would have to justify his presence to a screaming neighbor and the police officers summoned to the scene.

He had committed no crime, and the police did not arrest him. But many of the millions of people who saw the video he recorded of the conflict say his transgression wasn’t what he did, but who he is: He was real estate investing while black.


#2

So should the police just completely stop responding to calls where the suspect is black?


#3

J., Qix makes a very good point here. What do you think the solution is?


#4

The police should certainly be held accountable for their actions, especially if they pull their gun and point it. That should be true of all cases regardless of race.

However this case seems kind of tame. He apparently wasn’t touched or threatened. I wonder if he writes polite letters to the chief of police and county executive or whoever reciting the incident (without assuming race played any role) and requesting that officers work for the people instead of against them.

I’ve written such letters when I’ve received “speeding” tickets, explaining that most citizens only talk to a police officer when they’re being wronged at a traffic stop for safely driving down the road minding their own business. This can’t help but cause good people to distrust the police. That’s bad for us all. Anecdotal evidence suggests my letters have had a positive effect.


#5

LOL, “Safely driving down the road minding their own business?”


#6

Pappadave, perhaps you think speed law enforcement is necessary to prevent everyone from driving faster and faster until we all kill ourselves. A necessary evil. That’s what I used to suspect was true. Until I visited Villa Gesell, Argentina.

Villa Gesell is a small resort town where there are lots and lots of cars, but no traffic enforcement, no traffic lights and almost no other traffic signs of any kind. Uncivilized! I thought at first. But I walked around at night looking for dented fenders and evidence of accidents, which I assumed must be plentiful. I couldn’t find any. Odd. No speed limits. No enforcement. No accidents.

It occurred to me that anyone who spends thousands of their own hard earned dollars for a car has very very good incentive to monitor their own speed and to use their own skill to avoid accidents. So what are stinking speed traps for?


#7

I think culture is important; if you ever go down to Memphsis, TN, you’ll see plenty driving too fast, no one using blinkers (even the semis), and there’s an accident scene every 5 miles.


#8

You forget that in America the state mandates insurance coverage as does the lien holder on the vehicle. Total your car and you get a new one, no problem. I don’t know about Argentina.


#9

Federally-madated traffic laws are mostly another way for the left to control us. For decades, the German Autobahn had no speed limits. When a couple of accidents occurred, the German lawmakers instituted one. Germans immediately obeyed the new law…until the next election, when they voted out every legislator who had a hand in instituting the new speed limits. In the U.S., we simply ignored the federally-mandated 55 mph speed limits, but KEPT the morons who made them, though we EVENTUALLY voted for people with better sense. 55 mph made a little sense in crowded, urban areas, but absolutely NONE in the wide-open spaces of Texas, Montana, Nevada, etc. There, all it did was IMPEDE traffic and cause us to spend more time going from point A to point B.


#10

But your insurance premium goes up, so it does cost you. Plus, you could be injured or killed–very inconvenient. But worst of all, you could kill someone else and live with that horror the rest of your life. So there’s still plenty of incentive apart from anything a government does.


#11

Never been to Memphis, but I love the song.

Have you ever driven from Ohio into Michigan? It’s been a while, but it was hilarious. Everyone drives just a little over the 55 limit in Ohio because there are frequent radar traps. Then exactly at the Michigan line, everyone floors it to get up to cruisin’ speed. Can’t remember seeing any wrecks there either.


#12

Problem is, anecdotal evidence is all this is; I suspect the norm- especially in this country- is nothing of the sort. The road is full of clowns who think they can handle the speed (without any clue of the reaction times if someone pulls out in front of them because they didn’t expect the speeder to be coming down the road at 100+) and go on to prove the hard way that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I regard speed limit enforcement as necessary, but not an evil. Don’t speed, you don’t get into trouble. It only takes discipline.


#13

Yes, there are such clowns. But if the people can’t be trusted on this issue, maybe we need the government to control more of our lives.

Let me add an example that I never even noticed until I came home from Argentina. It might be too big to be an anecdote: I-495, the beltway around the west side of Washington, DC. Have you ever driven it? I have, many times for many years. But I have never ever seen the police working speed enforcement there.

Yes, there are wrecks, but with that high of a concentration of fast moving vehicles it would be a true miracle if there weren’t. In fact I find it shocking that there aren’t more. But the reason there aren’t has nothing to do with speed law enforcement.


#14

Cities, some of them on the larger size, in Denmark and scattered across Europe are set up this way. When they ditch the rules, the number of accidents decrease, likely because drivers have to pay more attention. They can’t rely on the rules to “protect” them.


#15

A pretty good case can be made for SOME traffic laws. It’s a good idea, for example, for nationwide standardized traffic control devices such as signage or lights or barriers. It’s a pretty good idea to have speed limits inside residential areas where children are likely to be at play outdoors. It makes slightly LESS sense to limit speeds on open, limited-access highways…especially in light of the fact that they are engineered for speeds up to and even exceeding 100 mph. On the other hand, there are entirely too many traffic lights on main arteries in some cities and unnecessarily impede the free flow of traffic. They also breed disdain for some traffic signals that ARE necessary.