Professor Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, is where she argues that a once abolished Jim Crow Law still exists by way of its being redesigned and implemented by the Justice System.
A situation at hand in Grand Rapids, Michigan, coincides with Professor Alexander’s argument. “I’ve been wronged by the Justice System as it is unjust,” says Angela Angel, an African American woman residing in Grand Rapids.
The Community Relations Commission (CRC) in Grand Rapids conducted hearings where the community expressed their views; African Americans raised numerous allegations of misconduct as well as complaints of disproportionate arrests for hindering and opposing laws (H/O) against the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD).
“The H/O ordinance is strange by its having a privilege and a punishment attached to it; on one hand, a person is issued an appearance ticket and walks free while on the other, a person is arrested, jailed, and charged on their record for H/O,” says Angel.
As quoted from the CRC report, “African American males were arrested on hindering and opposing charges at a rate that was 71% higher than Caucasian males (169 vs. 99) yet are only one third in population size (10% vs. 30%) to Caucasian males. This data shows that Caucasian males are more likely to be issued an appearance ticket than African American males while African American males are more likely to be arrested. Citizens also expressed fear of retaliation for filing complaints. Further, citizens expressed feelings of intimidation in having to come to GRPD Headquarters and file a complaint with a Unit that is supposed to investigate the conduct of their colleagues.”
“I have evidence where I formatted documents into video for viewing, and given that this is not an isolated problem by there being allegations, complaints, and scandals throughout the U.S. consequently establishes that there is a systemic problem which renders credence to Professor Alexander’s argument,” says Angel. “Just like the tea party coming together for change as they have been successful is what we have to do also.”
Her petition and case story can be viewed at www.change.org/petitions/the-scandal and www.blackplanet.com/indigo_children
Angela Angel’s determination is unwavering as it has now been 4½ years of fighting in her efforts to receive justice. She realizes that this is a huge task that she cannot do altogether on her own, and hopes that others come to stand side by side for change.
Angela E. Tyler