The shooting of Saheed Vassell by the NYPD on April 4th in Crown Heights re-ignited a perennial community safety debate: What kind of discretion should we use in calling the police when we know that it can result in a death sentence for an unsuspecting Black person?
Today, we investigate what runs through people’s mind when neighbors call cops on neighbors. Third Rail’s Mark Winston Griffith and guest co-host Shantae J. Edwards sit down with Malika Aaron-Bishop, the Membership Chair for GetOrganized BK and co-facilitator for one of its working groups, Racial Justice BK; and Tom Weinreich, who helps organize the deep canvassing team within the NYC chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) . We also include excerpts from a telephone interview Mark conducted with Soraya Palmer, a member of Equality for Flatbush.
Together, these three organizers offer an alternative framework for how to assess the necessity of calling the police and, in doing so, point towards a new community safety protocol in the midst of rapid gentrification.
Segment One: We learn about the boots-on-the-ground organizing that our our guests, Soraya, Malika, and Tom do.
Segment Two: We explore the role of gentrification and how new comers and long-timers alike are socialized to call the police. We then walk through some possible community safety scenarios and test whether we should call the police in those instances.
Segment Three: We discuss models and alternatives to calling the police and how to confront overtly ignorant or racist behavior.
Segment Four: “Tell ‘Em Why You Mad”
Intro and Outro theme Music:
“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.
Episode Music: “Clear Sky” by Jimmy Square.
With additional editing by Siad “Gypsy” Reid.