Erin Cox, WTNH-TV (New Haven, Connecticut), January 30, 2009
Some in the New Haven community are outraged after cops posted pictures inside a substation of “disruptive” residents who all happen to be black males.
None are wanted for crimes, and the photos have since been removed, but the outrage over why they went up in the first place brings accusations of racial profiling to the New Haven police department.
It all began when pictures of African-American men were put up by police inside the Whalley Avenue substation.
The episode revealed this police tactic of maintaining a sort of “file” or “list” of certain individuals described as disruptive in order to keep streets safe. New Haven chief of police James Lewis denies it’s profiling, but one group sees it differently. They went right to the front door of the police substation to level accusations of police profiling.
The demonstration was a direct response to mug shots of 25 young African-American men posted on a wall of the Whalley Avenue substation at a public, neighborhood meeting.
Chief Lewis defends the tactic in a statement to News Channel 8: “The practice of maintaining photographs of members of a community who pose a threat to public safety is standard operation in police departments.”
But the display of the photographs at the public meeting has led to concerns about racial profiling.
“When there is a shooting in the neighborhod it affects the whole neighbhorhood,” said Greer [Eli Greer a neighborhood “activist”]. “When a group feels racially profiled it affects the whole neighborhood.”