A potentially disturbing trend is taking place at local housing projects, as black men are alleging that the DC Housing Authority Police and Metropolitan Police are giving them "barring notices" and arresting them under false pretenses, WUSA9 reports.
This is especially troubling for Washington D.C. juveniles charged with crimes, not knowing their rights or how to react to such a situation. Sometimes, young people are charged as being suspects by police, but they actually become victims by authorities who are able to manipulate the law.
Our Washington D.C. criminal defense lawyers recognize that young people who are charged with crimes can end up with long-term consequences as a result of a problem as a teenager. We also realize that teenagers who may be in the wrong place at the wrong time often are cited by police without a whole lot of proof.
A strong police interrogation can turn an innocent teenager into a guilty one, especially when that young person doesn't realize that he or she has a right to remain silent and are under no obligation to speak with officers. Detectives may tell suspects that the only way they can help themselves is to give a statement, but teens don't know that may not be the best thing for them to do at that time.
Even arrests for misdemeanors, seemingly minor crimes, can lead to disqualification for scholarships and college admissions, a job or other necessities that lead to a solid future. Juvenile defendants require strong criminal representation.
In this case, several young African-American men believe that housing police officers and metro officers are forbidding them from visiting housing projects merely based on what they're wearing.
The news station WUSA9 reports that housing authority officials say people are barred from going to public housing projects if they engage in activity that "threatens the safety, health or peaceful enjoyment" of the area for other residents.
One 21-year-old told the news station that he has no prior criminal history, but he was thrown to the ground, searched by officers and had an officer's boot placed on his neck simply for the way he looked.
Another man, a Board of Education member who has a contract to serve on the property, was also arrested. After public pressure, charges were dismissed, but an arrest record still stands.
Local Washington, D.C., criminal defense lawyers have begun working to fight the problem, which they believe is racial discrimination. Another man told the news station that while he has an arrest record from his teenage years, he is now a college graduate who is attempting to be a role model to other young people in the projects.
This is certainly an issue worth looking at because there is no excuse or reason for racially profiling. In 2011, this is an issue that simply shouldn't be cropping up. Police must have a reasonable suspicion, called reasonable doubt, to investigate any person in this country. Simply looking a certain way or having a past criminal history isn't grounds.