One of the reasons I couldn’t get all that excited about Barack Obama was because of something that happened in the Washington neighborhood of Trinidad two days after Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the primary campaign.
DC police established a South African style neighborhood blockade, requiring anyone entering Trindad to provide not only ID but a reason for being there. It was an astoundingly unconstitutional move – allegedly justified by a spike in violence. Or maybe it wasn’t that astounding, given that DC chief Kathy Lanier had been trained by the Israeli police who treat Palestinians like that.
I was on the the NAACP task force on police and justice – which included such usual suspects as the ACLU, the National Black Police Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance – and we became a lonely voice opposing the blockade, along with the Partnership for Civil Justice, which filed suit. I remember standing on a corner in Trinidad during a news conference and thinking: where are all those white liberal Obama supporters when we need them?
The good news is that the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. has just denied the District’s petition to re-hear its case challenging the constitutionality of the police checkpoint program. The bad news is that you probably won’t read about this anywhere else because the fact that urban police were planning to put a whole black neighborhood under apartheid style control just isn’t news in America. Even the attorney general for the city’s black mayor says he will still “look at our options including a Supreme Court request.”