Domestic Disturbance Within The Home

My family lives not in the best part of the city; since we were looking for the cheaper rent, we ended up renting the apartment in the relatively poor neighborhood. Regardless of race, I think in a low income families, there’s a lower chance to report a domestic disturbance within the home. In our family only husband works, and his job is the only source of income. If he gets arrested, it puts the family in very unfavorable condition. If the wife gets arrested, the kids can be taken away from a single parent since the husband can’t stay with them at home, and as the result of that, he is not able to provide proper childcare for 2 small children. As for now, the family has only about $100 left over after all the expenses, it wouldn’t be enough to pay for childcare or babysitting. I’m sure there is some kind of government assistance for single parents, but the arrest circumstances can add some hardships for the family, that’s why reporting domestic disturbance is very unlikely in our instance. In addition to that, if we are African American, there is higher unemployment rate for the people of our race, and we would be afraid to lose the job. Walker, Spohn, and DeLone in their book, The color of justice: Race, ethnicity, and crime in America state: “an arrest record can affect chances of employment or housing”; such consequences make people afraid to report the domestic disturbance since it can affect their future living. You are stopped by the police on your way home under a “pretextual” stop.

The research Walker mentions in his book suggests that the police can be discriminative in such situations. Yet, again, regardless of race, I would ask the police what was the reason for the stop. If I am Hispanic, Native American, White, or African American, and is there are any traffic violations from my side, even if it’s minor, I would have to agree that there was a reason to stop my vehicle, and it’s just a part of the police officer job- to ensure safety on the road, and there’s nothing suspicious “pretextual” about it. However, if the officer wouldn't be able to explain what I did wrong or name my violation, only then there is a ground to assume that it was just a “pretextual” stop. Also, my conclusions will depend on the officer’s attitude and behavior: if he/she gives a ticket for a minor violation instead of just a warning, if they act inappropriately, unrespectful, and give me an unreasonable fine. If that is so, only then I would assume that it is happening because I’m African American. Your partner is threatened by an officer to “keep quiet” after the officer makes unwarranted and unwanted advances.

According to the law, the officers are not allowed to do that, and I believe there are the remedies for such behavior. However, if I imagine being Hispanic with limited English language skills, it would be very hard to deal with such an issue. Also, according to Walker, many people who don’t speak English face numerous challenges because of their inability to be able to express their side of the story or even defend themselves verbally. We would definitely get help in writing a complaint against the officer and report his behavior.

If I would have to stop a person under a “pretextual” stop, I would have to have the legitimate reasons for my actions. I would try to explain that it’s not based on their race, but because of the traffic violation they did.

Michael Bloomberg, is mayor of New York, in his recent article in the Washington Post Stop and frisk’ keeps New York Safe “quotes the words of an African American detective who has about 20 years’ experience: “Stop-and-frisk is never about race. It’s about behavior. If an officer sees someone acting in a manner that suggests a crime is afoot, he or she has an obligation to stop and question that person”. I would use a similar defense, that the police have “obligations”, responsibilities, and duties before the society, and they thought that is was reasonable to “stop-and-frisk” to prevent the harm to the public.

13 January 2020
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