Do Monetary Incentives, Not Public Safety, Drive Police Activity?
A new article from Radley Balko in the Huffington Post raises some serious questions involving our countries war on drugs. It claims that federal anti-drug grants and state civil asset forfeiture laws drive police policies to arrest drug dealers (perferably after they’ve already sold and distributed their product onto the streets) in greater and greater numbers. Even more daming, Balko claims these incentives force police departments to focus their resources on non-violent drug crimes and away from victim-driven violent crimes.
This article also mentions that police make it a habit of stopping people “who look suspicious” and frisk them or ask them to empty their pockets. This stop and frisk is also called a Terry stop after the famous United States Supreme Court case which stated it was legal for an officer with reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to do a pat-down of the suspect’s outer clothing for the officer’s safety.
Also, Jessica Shaver, the woman mentioned in the article, was treated in an abhorent and degrading manner by the Chicago police. During the raid of her apartment, the police were less than kind to her. However, even when she was a victim of a crime, the police gave Ms. Shaver the run around, denying her access and information and forcing her to investigate her own case. This was a shameful outcome. That is why it is so important to seek the help of a good attorney, even when you are the victim of a crime, to help you fight for your rights. It is unfortunate, but the reality is that whether because of misguided priorities, economics or just a plan lack of interest, you may need an advocate to help you get the attention you deserve from the police.
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