Typical CL reporting!!
Typical: CL correspondents use ONE example to portray what they see as an injustice. Plus, in typical CL fashion, the article doesn't explain the merits of the law. After reading this ONE side of the story, most readers would agree with CL that the DC-6 ordinance is inappropriate. As for me, I will reserve my judgment. I am not saying I agree with the ordinance. I am simply keeping an open mind. I want to hear the other side. Maybe the kid WAS hanging around a drug intersection for a couple hours. Just because he says he wasn't doing anything doesn't mean he wasn't. Ask any teacher or cop...people who violate the rules NEVER own up to breaking them unless there are 10 witnesses and a video recording...and then they will blame someone else in that case. Yes, based on this article, the law does seem vague, but what does the city have to say?
THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR OVER A DECADE!!!!
As shocking as this may seem, this has been going on for a long time. And it doesn't just happen in Atlanta. The first time I heard of a DC-6 was in Marietta over 10 years ago! And when I say Marietta, I don't mean East Cobb, I mean "urban" Marietta. Vince probably doesn't live in a neighborhood where people get cited for DC-6s too often so this is something new to him. But this is nothing more than what the article implies. The boys in blue can't handle their job so they use these vague charges to clear the streets. The only problem is everyone on the streets is not a criminal. And to Vince, in AMERICA we are innocent until proven guilty. At least that's what we are told. The lack of evidence or even the lack of the citation shows that the young man was harassed and unjustly arrested.
The Downside of Free Speech...
Vince, forget race for a second. Think about this law rationally.
The point of this article is to show that there is a law on the books not known to most lawmakers, yet is somehow being cited more than any other non-traffic offense. The implication is that this law is being used as a short-cut to justice; compromising the rights of alleged offenders.
If, as you suggest, Vince, the subject was doing something else wrong he should be arrested for his wrong-doing, not for his physical location.
From what I gather there are no signs in the Atlanta-area that read "Known Drug Area, No Standing Here." Therefore ordinary citizens have no idea that they are subject to arrest, simply by where they stand. That kind of police power is what we see in Orwell's 1984, and should not exist in the United States. Now "open-minded" Vince, lets look at this law from a racial standpoint.
Have you ever been DC-6ed? From your comment, I am guessing that this article neither you, nor anyone you know has ever heard of this law before reading this article. Looks like you are lucky enough not to live in what police call a "known drug area." It seems however, that a lot of African Americans do.
I guess it's easy to keep an "open mind" on laws that you will never have to deal with. I don't know what you teach, but I hope it's not this garbage that you preach.
Ms. Abkowitz, please keep us posted on what happens with this law. Thank you for bringing truth to Atlanta.
Walking While Poor
Thank you for informing the public about this law that allows some police officers to abuse their power. However, you must have made a typo, because the title should be Walking While Poor. I am a white woman, and I have been questioned by officers for being in a "drug infested" neighborhood, and I've had white friends arrested for it (we were not using or buying drugs.) The ironic thing is that we LIVED in the neighborhood, and believe me it was not by choice. It's because we were poor. I have sympathy for the young man wrongfully arrested, but it happens to non-blacks as well. Can we PLEASE look at the big picture here and realize we have something in common? It's called being poor. The other ironic thing is that the police in that neighborhood in the Sweet Auburn district don't seem to help when you need it. But believe me, they will be there to harass you when you are walking around your own neighborhood!
-- Walking While Poor
DC-6 should be unconstitutional
I was arrested last year for DC-6 for being in a hotel room where drugs had previously been sold. I was not present when this allegedly happened, nor was I purchasing or using drugs. The citation was dropped for lack of merit, but it cost me an overnight in jail waiting to be released under my own recognizance, and half a day off work to appear in court the following week. By the way, I am white and so were the others involved. This law runs contrary to the right of assembly guaranteed by the constitution, but it seems that no one affected by it can afford to mount the legal challenge.
What We Need More (and Less) Of
Great reporting, Alyssa. I look forward to reading your stories each week. You are a reporter who is definitely on top of her game. Keep up the good work.
A word to CL's Editorial Team: Though it is not your policy, I think you should strongly consider blocking Vince's comments. He is a negative, racist person who does not have anything of substance to contribute. It is a waste of space and a real disappointment to see his many, many comments every week (man, get a life!). However, doing so would mean being hypocritical. Still, it is a real downer to see his hatred filled remarks taking up space.