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A few months ago, my younger brother was pickup by the police for questioning in relation to a crime he had nothing to do with.

Apparently there were two guys which my brother usually hangout with in the community. According to him, they were just his childhood friends. But to everyone else they were known for stealing, and dealing drugs from the parents homes.

These guys were eventually busted after a week long undercover police string operation. AT the time my brother thought that the whole situation was hilarious because it wasn’t to long ago one of his other friends was pickup by the police for possession of marijuana with intend to sell.

The laugh ended when he was arrested, and interrogated by the police for nearly eight hour straight. The policemen were convinced that my brother was a drug dealer too, partly because my brother’s lifestyle mirrored the lifestyle of the drug dealer; and the fact that he associated with these guys regularly made him a bon-a-fide drug dealer. Of course, my brother wasn’t no drug dealer, but that didn’t seem to matter to the officers. He was guilty by association.

Too many times we judge people, and presume that they’re guilty of something just by the people they associated themselves with. I’m not condone keeping bad company, but it’s time we give up this type low-level thinking in our Dominican society. Whatever happen to the saying that everyone is innocent until proven guilty?

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2 Comments »

Comment by Suki
2009-01-13 18:53:33

It is also said that birds of a feather flock together and I imagine that this is the premise under which the police are operating. Generally speaking police are asked to look for patterns and to identify suspects based on those patterns. While ideal, it is very difficult (and not desirable) to ask police to ignore patterns every time they apprehend a suspect. In addition, they often rely on “heresay” but can not reveal their sources. The police can never know your brother the way you do and do not have access to the same information you do regarding your brothers character. I can’t say that I would go as far as to call this process “lower level thinking”, it may simply be police work. I’m sure Chris, that you can admit that you are rather close to the situation and can not be expected to take any other position other than to defend your brother in the absence of of irrefutable evidence (like a confession to you personally). However, to use a public forum to suggest some measure of police incompetence is probably not going to be the best method for resolving this matter.

 
Comment by Joel Halfwassen Subscribed to comments via email
2009-01-14 00:09:47

Ugh! This is a tough situation to be in on your part. I do feel for you. As a kid I was in your brothers shoes. I hung out with the wrong crowd and I too was pulled into the police station for associating with those who DID do something criminal. I was angry at the time, but I look back 20 years now and I think that I deserved it. I was dumb. I was running with a bad group and I knew what kind of stuff they were into. But still I had the gall to feel like the victim when I was swept up with them once they finally got caught. What is sad is that it took the death of one of these guys sometime later to get my act together. He was in a situation gone terribly wrong and got shot. That is when it hit home that I needed to stop playing around with my life and make something of myself that had some social meaning. I had to stop hang out with these hooligans and build something for myself.

Joel

 
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