Black anti-crime activism in the ’60s and ’70s helped pave the way for our current system of draconian drug laws and mass incarceration. nytimes.com|By Michael Javen Fortner

There were many good comments after this piece, including: John Graubard New York 5 hours ago

“The history of “law enforcement” in Black neighborhoods has gone through several iterations, none of them good.

Up until about 1960 the policy was basically for the police to (a) close their eyes to low-level criminal activity there, (b) act as an enforcement arm for white-controlled organized crime by preventing local competition, and (c) strictly enforce the laws when a Black man committed a crime outside the Ghetto. (For those of us who can remember, it was as if a wall existed on East 96th Street, white to the south, Black to the north.)

Then we had the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The first was for civil commitment, but when that did not work we had the punitive laws that basically put everyone involved away for a long, long time.

Then came the “broken windows policy” and stop-and-frisk, which did get some career criminals off the street, but also fed into the perception, whether or not true, of a New Jim Crow through the unequal enforcement of the laws.

What we need is something simple – fair, reasonable and equal enforcement of the law, along with decriminalization of simple drug possession. Of course, unfortunately, that has never been tried.”

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Black anti-crime activism in the ’60s and ’70s helped pave the way for our current system of draconian drug laws and mass incarceration.
nytimes.com|By Michael Javen Fortner

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