Would Bruno Mars be fine in NYC without police harassment?
If you are a young black or latino man in New York City, like the star singer Bruno Mars, the 4th Amendment does not really apply to you. It does in theory, and arguably it still does somewhat in part, but not really on the streets of the city. That is not to say that a young black or latino man in other parts of the nation don't see their rights violated on the streets of the cities in which they live, but NYC seems a particular bad example.
This is a recording in NYC of the NYPD harassing and intimidating and violating the rights of one of a young man named Alvin. In this video the cop threatens to smack him. Tells him he will be taken to jail for "looking like a f-cking mutt." Threatens to break the man's arm. Frankly the behavior of these cops is disgusting. They should have been immediately fired but a s you can guess, they suffer no punishment. Alvin later states about a cop:
"He grabbed me by my bookbag and he started pushing me down. So I’m going backwards like down the hill and he just kept pushing me, pushing me, it looked like he we was going to hit me.I felt like they was trying to make me resist or fight back.”
I wouldn't be surprised, if he actively resisted that would have given probable cause for an arrest. Alvin would have had to go to court numerous times to fight the charges. If the charges are dropped, no apology would be given.
By the way, if Alvin had made this secret recording in Massachusetts, he would be facing criminal charges. See, in that state it is illegal for you to secretly record the police, though recordings like this show the benefit and point of being able to secretly record police when necessary. Because when police know they are being recorded, they usually are on better behavior, that is if they don't just take your camera and break it or erase the video. That unfortunately, happens quite a lot.
The fact is these illegal and unconstitutional violations are driven in large part by our natioin's continual obsession with drugs, including keeping marijuana illegal. So once again, I am very glad there is an American Civil Liberties Union to protect and fight for our rights in these situations. Members of the ACLU like me, or potentially you, can help ensure that the police respect and protect our rights, no matter what the color our skin happens to be.