IBM developed NYPD surveillance tools that let cops pick targets based on skin color

The NYPD's secretive Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center uses software from IBM in its video analytics system, which allows cops to automatically scan surveillance footage for machine-generated labels that identify clothing and other identifying classifiers. Read the rest

Cop called on black man in his own pool

Shayne Holland was asked to leave the pool in his own apartment complex Friday. When he showed proof of residency, an off-duty cop snatched his keys. Video shows both the cop and the property manager ordering him out. He is black; they are white.

"She didn't introduce herself, she didn't say hello," said Holland. "She says, 'do you live here?' I'm like, 'yes, I live here, I wouldn't be here if I didn't live here.'"

Holland said the woman pressed him further, asking him to tell her exactly where he lived.

"I'm like, 'I live over there, but if you're asking me for my address, I mean, I don't feel comfortable giving you my entire address without knowing who you are."

Holland said he showed the woman his key fob, which he used to get into the pool and the woman grabbed it out of his hand.

After a while, Holland said his property manager came out, recognized him, and still asked him to leave.

It's understandable if an upscale Indianapolis housing development like River Crossing is full of racists (or managed by one), but the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer acting badge-out as their henchman is another thing entirely. Read the rest

California police detain Bob Marley's granddaughter for staying at an AirBnB while Black

Police in Rialto, California have released bodycam footage of an incident in which Bob Marley's granddaughter was detained when a white neighbor reported her for suspected burglary. Donisha Prendergast was merely staying at an Airbnb, on her vacation, with friends, while Black. Read the rest

Nordstrom Rack falsely accuses 3 young black men of stealing and calls the cops on them

Starbucks, LA Fitness, Chevron Gas and Food Mart... Nordstrom Rack is one of the latest in a rash of corporations to publicly get called out for racially profiling black customers.

Three young black men were shopping for prom clothes at Nordstrom Rack in Brentwood, Missouri, when an employee called the police, accusing the men of shoplifting. When the cops approached them, the men showed the cops receipts for what they had bought, and the cops let them go. Now the president of Nordstrom Rack, President Geevy Thomas, has asked to meet with the boys and the company has made a public apology. Deja vu.

According to KMOV.com:

Mekhi Lee, Dirone Taylor and Eric Rogers II were all shopping for prom clothes at Nordstrom Rack when they started noticing several of the employees watching them and following them around the store.

"I was nervous the whole time," said Lee, "Every time we move, they move. when we looked up, they looked up."

After all three left the store they were surrounded by Brentwood Police in the parking lot. Police told them the store had accused them of theft. After an investigation on the spot, police let the three go without charges.

"The police were actually good. They understood where we were coming from and they showed us that they were just doing their job," said Rogers.

In addition to the theft accusations, the teens said a customer in the store called them punks and asked them, 'Are your parents proud of you for what you do?' In defending themselves, the three say an altercation broke out between them and the customer, at which time store management stepped in.

Read the rest

Unapologetic Old Navy staff accuses black man of stealing his own jacket. Now they are unemployed.

James Conley III (29) went shopping at an Old Navy in West Des Moines, Iowa. When he went to the checkout counter to pay for some items, the clerk asked him if he also wanted to buy the jacket he was wearing.

From Conley's Facebook page:

The store manager Beau Carter was very unprofessional and stereotyped me because I was a Black male. He says "anytime someone wears Old Navy clothing they have to always scan that customers clothing to insure that it was previously purchased". (Where do they do that at?) Every time I go to this store I have on my same exact winter blue jacket and have never been asked to scan my clothing and the previous "non-black" customers had on identical apparel as me from old navy but was never asked to scan their clothing. Then after they scan my jacket they try to make me repay for it?? Finally the District Manager Shannon (who refused to give out her last name) came out and I made her check the surveillance tape to prove that her and her fellow employees were in the wrong for racially profiling me because of the color of my skin. Once she confirmed that I was telling the truth (after watching the tape) she never came back out to apologize to me nor did the store manager Beau Carter as you can see in my videos below.

As a result Old Navy fired three employees at the store.

Image by Steve Morgan/Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Read the rest

Inept cops hold family at gunpoint thinking they robbed their own house

A family in Gulfport, MS was pulled over by a swarm of police cars, handcuffed, held at gunpoint without explanation, and told to "Shut the fuck up." Turns out the cops thought the family had robbed their own house.

On Sunday night, Kelvin Fairley, along with his wife, sons ages 16 and 12, 9-year-old daughter, and 12-year-old nephew were pulled over after a neighbor reported seeing burglars at their house. Rather than simply ask Fairley for his ID, which would have cleared up the issue in seconds, the entire family was pulled out of the car with guns drawn on them.

According to the Sun Herald:

“I totally think they racially profiled me,” said the father, Kelvin Fairley, a registered nurse who happens to be black. “They never would even tell me why they stopped me. From the moment they pulled us over, there were six to seven police cars. They immediately had their guns drawn.”

Fairley said the officers told him to get out of the car with his hands up. He kept asking why they had pulled him over, but he said he got no explanation.

They later went to the police department to file a report on how they were treated, and again were treated with an unsympathetic, hostile officer (video here). Of course his children were traumatized and cried themselves to sleep.

“Last night, I would have been OK with an apology,” he told the Sun Herald, “but after what happened at the police department, that’s it. Read the rest

White Florida cops appear to racially profile driver, then learn she's state attorney Aramis Ayala

In a now viral video clip from a police bodycam, Aramis Ayala, Florida's first African-American elected state attorney, is pulled over by Orlando cops for what appears to be no good reason. Read the rest

Racist border policies mean Toronto school board will no longer allow trips to Trump's USA

Toronto high-school students have been visiting the USA since their inception; I remember my own high-school trips to Buffalo's Albright Knox gallery warmly. But they are a relic of the past, because the Toronto District School Board will not risk harassment and worse of its students at the US border, where people born to Arab or Muslim families, or in majority-Muslim families, report widespread discrimination. Read the rest

British Muslim detained for reading a book about Syria while on a plane

A British woman of Muslim descent was detained and questioned by police under terror laws after a flight crew member noticed she was reading a book about Syrian art while flying to Turkey.

The Thomson Airways attendant reported her for “suspicious behavior,” which amounted to reading a book. Read the rest

Southwest Air kicks Muslim woman off plane for switching seats

A Southwest Air flight attendant ordered the removal of a woman of Somali descent in a headscarf from a Chicago-Seattle flight after the passenger asked her neighbor if she could switch seats with him. The flight attendant said she "did not feel comfortable" with the passenger onboard. Read the rest

Baby sues US government for searching his diapers in racial profiling/War on Terror case

A four year old John Doe is the lead plaintiff in a class action suit against the US Government that alleges that his diapers were searched when he flew as a seven-month-old baby and the TSA designated him a terrorism risk. Read the rest