It's no secret that the "land of the free" also holds the title for "land of the incarcerated". America tends to lock up its citizens as if it's an Olympic sport, with the ever-so competitive China, holding the silver medal. With 2.3 million Yankees behind bars—that's one in every 100 Americans—false imprisonment is bound to exist. Now if your paper's right, an elite legal team will likely break you free. But relying on public defenders? Yikes!
The recent false arrest of world-renowned intellectual, Henry Louis Gates Jr., highlights the racial profiling and other disturbing trends in the judicial system. Unjust detainment happens daily and reaches back to the nation's birth. But here's some recent cases of false arrests that makes one wonder how many of those 2.3 million on lock down are actually guilty...Â
5.Â Rev. Henderson L. Brome, Milton, Mass. 2004
Before Harvard's Professor Gates was wrongfully detained in his home, Massachusetts po-po were shoving priests into squad cars out of sheer racial profiling. Brome, a black Reverend who had recently moved to Milton, was taking a morning stroll with a walking stick when authorities arrested him for resembling the description of a car-theft suspect. Brome later explained:Â "I tried to tell him I lived on the street. He wasn't interested... All he saw was a black man."Â The city eventually settled with the Reverend for $50,000.
4. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Toronto, Canada, 1996
Carter, a famous African-American boxer, was a victim of false imprisonment more than once. After serving 16 years in New Jersey for a triple homicide he never committed—chronicled in the film "The Hurricane"—he moved to Toronto where he started theÂ AssociationÂ inÂ DefenseÂ of the Wrongly Convicted. While in T Dot, Carter was wrongfully arrested again for accusations of selling crack to an undercover. After police acknowledged the "mistaken identity", Carter was released but declined legal action.Â
3.Â Christopher Long, NYC, 2008
When Chris Long came to NYC as an activist with the cycling group, Critical Mass, he got a taste of the NYPD blues. While biking through Times Square, he was pushed off his ten-speed and slammed to the ground by one of NYPD's rookies. Clearly serving and protecting, the arresting officer charged Long with several crimes, including assaulting an officer. But after this footage surfaced, Long's version of events gained credibility and he sued the city for $1.5 million.Â
2. Wise Intelligent, Trenton, NJ, 2009
Legendary rapper Wise Intelligent, from the group Poor Righteous Teachers, just recently dealt with New Jersey's corrupt practices. After Trenton pigs felt embarrassed for wrongfully accusing him of selling drugs, they cried "assault on a police officer". Yea, yea, yea, heard that before. The rapper was later released with a summons for obstructing justice. See the bullshit!
Â 1. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Boston, Mass, 2009
Dear Beantown Police: you know fucked up, right? When authorities brought Professor Gates downtown on charges of essentially breaking into his own building, they didn't realize they were messing with one of President Obama's "bout it, bout it" collegiate comrades. While most similar cases of racial profiling would likely go unreported, Gates' social status made the false arrest "newsworthy". It's about time.