In Response to Miami Gardens Police Harassing the 207 Quickstop

This article is in response to the Miami Herald investigation published here. The story is continually updating; this response was composed shortly after the story first broke.  

The Coconut Grove Metrorail Station.
It’s clear that racism still holds a presence in today’s society, albeit in a different form than it was fifty or so years ago. Last week, I was sitting down on a bench at a Metrorail station when I overheard an argument going on between a Hispanic-looking man and a black security officer who wasn’t letting him through to the trains because he did not have enough credit on his EASY Card. The Hispanic man did notice, however, how the same security officer let another older woman through (whose ethnicity I can’t recall) even though she didn’t have credit on her EASY Card. Visibly upset, the Hispanic man stormed off with his female accompaniment, who was urging him to let the thing go with a combination of body language and spoken words. The man and his woman drew increasingly closer to the bench I was sitting at, meaning I heard it loud and clear when he said, in Spanish, that that security guard was a motherfucking nigger and that had he been black, she likely would’ve let him enter the station.

The security guard won’t be told to sit in the back of the bus when she goes home, nor will she have to endure going to a separate bathroom nor use a separate water fountain when she’s out and about. But she’ll likely endure the often unspoken contempt that people of other ethnicities may have for her and other people like her.

Some, if not all of this energy, likely fuels the encroachment Miami Gardens police have made upon Alex Saleh’s 207 Quickstop convenience store. I’d be hard-pressed to find out that the police officers working the store and working Miami Gardens at large don’t ever find themselves sharing the thought that Miami Gardens is as crime-ridden because of its black population. Certainly, any white or Hispanic police officer (maybe even the black officers) must think this at some point. 

MGPD causing a ruckus at the Quickstop.
I’m not saying they do. This is my opinion.

Add to that the fact that Miami Gardens has indeed been crime ridden for so long (since its incorporation 10 years ago) and you’ve got a formula for police over-activity.

Granted, the unrelenting arrests of Quickstop clerk Earl Sampson fail to stand the test of any reason. There’s a difference between being quick to suspect the business of a man of any race walking around dark neighborhood streets at odd evening hours versus arresting the same man over and over again while he’s obviously just doing his job. 

If surface reasoning can’t explain something, something deeper must be gnawing at the hearts of the people involved, making them into monsters. If that irate man at the Metrorail station was quick to dismiss the security officer as a black bitch, imagine what a police officer enforcing a zero-tolerance policy is capable of given similar sentiments. The clear breach of common sense that is evident in the occurrences inside Alex Saleh’s Quickstop is, quite literally, the sum of all fears. A still prejudiced police force being tasked with turning a crime-ridden and “blacks-filled”city around is immaturely handling a sensitive situation. Since they are the police force, though, it’s as if there’s no alternative.

Save for Alex Saleh. This wise, wise man now has the power to give an entire police department a run for its money and its prejudice. Those videos of evident police harassment, coupled with formally documented anecdotes of the same, will be the end-all be-all of the MGPD or, so help me, I’ll call foul on the entire institution that is American democracy. I sympathize with the MGPD’s efforts in attempting to turn the Gardens around, but the Quickstop is an example of inefficient operations. Alex Saleh, licensed to carry a firearm, seems to have the crime situation at the Quickstop – if even existent – under control.

He should cover up the zero-tolerance sign that the MGPD forced him to install on the back of the store with a sign that reads “Days Since Police Harassment: 0”. The day he has to change the count is the day that change will come to Miami Gardens.

Quickstop employee Earl Sampson.

One of the sources cited in the article even said it: zero-tolerance policies work only if the area police force is trustworthy. Given their actions, the MGPD could hardly be considered trustworthy or righteous. 

I not only support Saleh’s push for a civil rights lawsuit, but also celebrate his pure intellect: installing those cameras was the best thing he could have ever done. You can’t get any less partial, less predicted and less biased than a surveillance camera. I also tip my hat to the Miami Herald for their impressive journalistic work. May be the logic of this world be tipped in Saleh’s favor.
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