Angela Boyd, who identifies as an Army wife and mother, tagged officials with the New York City Police Department in a tweet of the video asking: “Didn’t I recently see a video of about 20 of yours beating a black man for this?”
The answer to her question, which neither NYPD nor city transit provided, is yes, many times actually. In what cops alleged to be a report of fare evasion at a subway station in Harlem on July 6, a man identified as David Crowell was shocked with a Taser, NBC New York reported. Black Lives Matter activist Anthony Beckford shared video of the gang of officers swarming a train to apprehend Crowell. “They accused him of fare evasion and many witnesses on the train, tried to explain to the cops that he did pay his fare,” Beckford tweeted.
Police responded with tweeted body camera footage showing the man cursing.
In another incident, at least 10 New York City police officers raided a subway car and wrestled an unarmed Black man sitting with his hands up to the ground in Brooklyn in October of 2019. His name was Adrian Napier, and he was 19 years old at the time, Atlanta Black Star reported. “Call my mom,” he reportedly told someone on the train. Daniel Moritz-Rabson, a Newsweek reporter, tweeted a statement from NYPD claiming that officers were responding “to an alert for a male with a gun.” Officers failed to find the gun they were allegedly looking for, but they apprehended Napier on a fare evasion charge.
Officers questioned as part of a lawsuit even said a superior instructed them to consider white and Asian people “soft targets” while prioritizing Black and Latino people in minor offenses such as fare evasion, The New York Times reported in 2019, citing half a dozen sworn statements from officers. “You are stopping too many Russian and Chinese,” then officer Daniel Perez said of his commander.
Officer Aaron Diaz said he remembered the same commander telling him in 2012: “You should write more black and Hispanic people.” Former officer Christopher LaForce said in an affidavit The New York Times obtained that he retired in 2015 because of racist practices within the police department. “I got tired of hunting Black and Hispanic people because of arrest quotas,” LaForce said.
The alleged figurative hunting that LaForce described has become brazen and encouraged actual hunting of people of color. In one video of Rittenhause the day of a protest for justice in the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a cop is shown tossing Rittenhouse a bottle of water and other officers are heard thanking armed militia members.
“If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say, ‘Good thing you’re here,’ is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance,” Judge Bruce Schroeder said back in October.
The takeaway of the trial and the whole criminal justice system seems to be it’s OK to kill as long as you 1. get police approval and 2. make damn sure you’re not harming a white supremacist.