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Reverend Charles E. Williams II Headshot

Detroit's Belle Isle Is a State Park and Barney Fife is Securing The Perimeter

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Well the deal is done and Michigan State Troopers and Department of Natural Resource Officers have landed onto Belle Isle park. A Detroit park that has been a jewel and place of fun, relaxation and exercise for so many, for so long. I live right across the street from Belle Isle park and on Friday - Sunday evenings during spring and summer its the place where people go to have family reunions, club events, hang out with boyfriends and girlfriends and do so many other things that many consider leisure. In an interview with Mlive News one Detroit Police Officer.

It's quiet, nicest place in the city," says 26-year Detroit police veteran Lt. Michael Nied


Its a place that we all cherish even I can remember trips to Belle Isle as a child as far back as five years old. My mother tells me stories of the year she was a senior in high school and all the Detroit Public School students would converge on Belle Isle for the official unofficial senior skip day.

However with the new state takeover in full effect blue state police cars and troopers and Conservation officers and green state DNR trucks are going to serve as new patrolmen for the park. I support the police, I serve as a chaplain for the Wayne County Sheriff department. I pray for them and I have no problem giving them the respect due to them. However, as we prepare to get rid of the snow drenched winter, people will make their presence known again with shiny garage kept cars that look, sound, and in some cases smell like drug dealer cars. Excitement and libations will be poured under the shed as family reunions convene, and kids have a great time at the water park and giant slide. Did I mention that these folks are largely African American. Ignorant of the news, many will travel to the park and learn that there is a new presence at the park and it might not be so welcoming.

Many African Americans have had bad relationships with law enforcement, and with good reason. There are too many stories of police that have taken justice into their own hands.
According to statistics that were compiled by the CATO Institute National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project on Police Brutality cases that happened between April 2009 - June 2010 showed there were:

5986 reports of police misconduct,
382 fatalities,
over 300,000,000 million dollars in settlements given out.

Lets not forget the good old racial profiling stories that haven't went unjustified. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued a report with quantitative analysis which list:

A February 2009 study of traffic stops and searches in West Virginia found a similar pattern of racial profiling. The data reveal that African-American motorists were 1.64 times more likely to be stopped than White drivers. Hispanics were 1.48 times more likely to be stopped. After the traffic stop, non-Whites were more likely to be arrested, yet police in West Virginia obtained a significantly higher contraband hit rate for White drivers than minorities.24

In Minnesota, a statewide study of racial profiling during 2002 found that African-American, Hispanic, and Native American drivers were all stopped and searched more often than Whites, yet contraband was found more frequently in searches of White drivers' cars. Had all drivers been stopped at the same rates in the 65 local jurisdictions reporting data, 22,500 more Whites would have been stopped, while 18,800 fewer African Americans and 5,800 fewer Hispanics would have been stopped.25

In Illinois, data collected after the 2003 passage of the Illinois Traffic Stops Statistics Act, sponsored by then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, shows similar patterns of racial profiling by law enforcement authorities. The number of consent searches after traffic stops of African-American and Hispanic motorists was more than double that of Whites. The consent searches found White motorists were twice as likely to have contraband.26

A 2005 study analyzing data gathered statewide in Texas reveals disproportionate traffic stops and searches of African Americans and Hispanics, even though law enforcement authorities were more likely to find contraband on Whites

Yes I want the park in better shape, but not at the expense of having to deal with more police harassment, myself included, I don't dress up in three piece suits all the time. So call me paranoid, but all I can see is Barney Fife shaking in his boots, addressing a group of brothers who look like me, and something happens that will certainly be unfortunate for everybody. So Barney Fife, the National Action Network will be watching, and the stories of those who are terrorized will be told. My Recommendation to the State of Michigan is that there needs to be diversity, cultural competency training, the troopers should train with some DPD officers, and they need to recruit and train more Minorities to become conservation officers and troopers. Hopefully they learn how to effectively communicate in a way that doesn't take a billy club or Glock.

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