The Washington Post is fast becoming a favorite newspaper of mine.
While my hometown rag is doing a profile on Nathaniel Greene, a series I’ve enjoyed, this series titled “Being a Black Man” that is currently running in the Post. The first story I’ve read titled “The Wrong Man” is about Elias Fishburne, a man who was chewed up and spit out by the justice system. Except he wasn’t the right man. My anger is seething.
This resonates with me for a few reasons. First is that I have experience in the law enforcement field, in the prosecutorial side to be specific. Second is that the love of my life is a black man and I would be using my knowledge of the criminal system with a vengeance were something similar to happen to him. Oh I’d use every connection, every trick. But here’s the thing, in RI there are what’s called Live Scan machines in the courts, police departments, etc. The first thing that happens when you’re arrested is your prints are run through that system.
The prints go through the Interstate Identification Index and if prior contact with law enforcement has been had by the subject, an email containing identity and other info is returned to the originating agency. I know this system well, I set it up.
But RI also has this little problem with black men being several times more likely to be stopped and searched, even though more contraband is found in the vehicles of white drives than those of black or Latino drivers. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Anyhow, getting back to the story. I find police malfeasance and negligence to be the height of what I consider disgusting. Are cops so dumb that if their NCIC terminal is down, they can’t call another PD and ask them to run it? I’m almost of the mind to setup a fund for him to file suit against all six law enforcement entities that Fishburne had contact with, because they all deserve to be ripped a new one over their assumptions.