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Sonora, CA — Distrust among police officers is not fomented out of thin air. It is the result of countless interactions—many of which are caught on viral videos—in which police abuse, attack the rights of, and even kill innocent citizens. All too often, in spite laws to prevent them from doing so, police will target innocent people and harass or otherwise detain them based solely on their looks. It is called profiling and it happens in every city across the country.
When many people think of profiling, they think of the most common type which is racial profiling. In case after case, as TFTP has reported, police officers will target a black or brown person and accuse them of committing a crime because they are in a white neighborhood or they ‘fit the description.’
In fact, as TFTP has reported in the past, Dejuan Yourse was accused of breaking into his own house and he was subsequently beaten and arrested for absolutely no reason because police were profiling him.
The profiling story below, however, illustrates that police officers profiling people based solely on their personal choices or identity is also an issue.
According to the person who uploaded the video to YouTube, Nate Smith, a group of bikers was at an event in Sonora last Tuesday known as Bike Night. For no reason, a police officer approached the group of bikers and began taking photos of all their license plates.
“Sonora Police started taking pictures of all the bikes license plates, saying that we are all in a motorcycle gang. Police Officer admits it on Camera. People are mentioning the No Parking signs, those no parking signs were dating for that coming Saturday and this Bike Night was on a Tuesday. The coming Saturday was a rodeo parade. The No Parking signs were not valid when the video was taken,” the video’s description reads.
As the video shows, an officer, identified Sgt. Hankins begins photographing license plates and gathering evidence despite no crime having been committed. He was profiling these folks for the mere fact that they rode motorcycles.
Being profiled did not go over well with the bikers who then began to voice their opposition to the harassment, with one man even threatening the officer.
“Bring that f**king phone around me again without that badge on,” the man is heard saying just after he attempted to block the officer from photographing his VIN.
“Piss off!” the man says to which the officers respond by leaving.
However, just before leaving, one biker—who had a most profound point to make—asked the cops a question which forced them to admit they were profiling the men solely based on the fact that they rode motorcycles.
“Hey guys, can I ask you a question?” the man asks. “Are you photographing every car on the street too?”
If the cops were not profiling the men, the answer to that question would have been, “yes.” However, it was not.
“Just motorcycles,” replies the cop, admitting that they are profiling the innocent people based solely on their choice of vehicle.
Just like that, the officers admitted to profiling—in spite of it being against the law in the state of California.
“Racial or identity profiling is a practice that presents a great danger to the fundamental principles of our Constitution and a democratic society. It is abhorrent and cannot be tolerated,” reads California Code, Penal Code – PEN § 13519.4. “Racial or identity profiling alienates people from law enforcement, hinders community policing efforts, and causes law enforcement to lose credibility and trust among the people whom law enforcement is sworn to protect and serve.”
Indeed, profiling serves only create and stoke divide between the police and the policed, and the video below is a perfect example of how this happens.
As James Macecari points out, writing for HarleyLiberty.com:
This kind of profiling is nothing new to those in the club scene. I can remember when I rode with the Black and White. Every major party we would have the Feds and local cops running around taking pictures of us and taking down license plates. Im use to saying the damned Feds had more pictures of me than I ever did of myself. It actually sucked cause every-time I get pulled over I was either on the car spread eagle or on the ground. Club guys are used to the harassment. It’s independents and regular everyday motorcycle enthusiast experiencing it now. Sucks don’t it? Especially for those RUBS (Rich Urban Bikers) who go around singing the praises of the blue gang.
If you’d like to peacefully voice your concern about the incident in the video below, you can do so at the Sonora Police Department’s Facebook page, here.
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