Aiming for the Targets
There is an unspoken truth that certain laws are put into place in order to target certain individuals. There is a petty crime plaguing train passengers and train cars called “manspreading”. This involves someone, usually a man, occupying more than one subway seat or part of a bench by spreading their legs. This makes it incredibly hard for already overcrowded subways and its passengers to have a smooth ride. While this is absolutely bad subway etiquette, officials are wondering if this so-called crime should be as punishable as it is. A report released from the Police Reform Organizing Project noted how African American and Latino people are mainly affected by these minor infractions. Police are more inclined to ask Caucasian men to simply close their legs or make room for other passengers. On the other hand, it has been proven that African American and Latino men are summoned immediately without recourse or discussion. Once these individuals are summoned, if they don’t show up to court, these minor infractions can turn into warrants. The next time that the offenders are involved with the police, they can be arrested for the minor infraction of manspreading. It’s estimated that 1.2 million New Yorkers are traveling the city with outstanding warrants. This type of ‘broken windows’ policing puts all of the minor infraction having citizens at risk for serving serious jail time because of a subway seat. Officers even admitted to arresting people for minor offenses just so that they could meet their quota. Arrest quotas have been made illegal in the state of New York for a few years. However, many officers still work under this mentality. If this mentality continues to run rampant in police departments not only in New York City, but all over the country, more disenfranchised people will be made subject to discriminating and demeaning laws. These acts will inevitably continue the distrust between communities and their police departments.
Thanks to my friends at the marketing company Gravity4 for showing me this