Safe City and Jail Nightmares

Just this week NYC announced that crime is down to a record low in 17 years and how the city has evolved into a really safe city. Now that statement has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Yes murders and killings may be down but regular vandalism is not. Ask any car owning resident of Clinton Hill or Fort Greene ! Ok, so no more digression.

However this story on Gowanus Canal, shows us another seedier, murkier, darker underside of the justice system and the police in general. A woman was arrested because there was a warrant out for her for having a dog unleashed on the road. She sends in a detailed account

because she was horrified at the conditions at the Brooklyn Central Booking on Schermerhorn Street between Smith and Boerum Place.

The R word comes up in her account and frankly anyone who has lived in NYC has been either a victim or a witness to racial profiling over the years.

And more so in Brooklyn.

There seemed to be a giant amount of racial profiling going on — alot of woman in the cell were just picked up wrongly and booked for supposed violations. (Open bottle of alcohol.) It seemed that they wanted to put as many black folk in the system as possible. I grew up in brooklyn in the 70s . My dad grew up here. I am not a naive, knucklehead from a transferred suburban bubble. This “pick up anyone for anything and process them for it” as my lawyer informed me, was a Guiliani mandate. It is racist. It has divided this city and it is making this place a plasticized suburb that I don’t think I have the heart to remain in. It is disturbing to watch these rich kids prance around Smith Street, when 2 blocks away, there is a cell where you are held without communication, water, food and logic. The judge threw my case out in 2 seconds and was visibly irritated that i was locked up for a day for an offleash summons.

When I left the building 25 hours later, I realized that just one block away, there are $3 million townhouses. PS: the 16 year old that was in the cell for 2 and a half days…her case was also dismissed.

The contrast between the ugliness inside and privilege outside will be even stronger if the city goes ahead with plans to reopen the bigger jail complex and add luxe condos and retail.

Moral of the story is: If you ever have had to go to court for even the smallest incident, make sure that the follow up was thorough and there were no loose ends. It may otherwise land you in jail.



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