Saturday, March 14, 2009


And now comes this from Brent Jones of the Baltimore Sun:

"The vice president of Baltimore's NAACP chapter said yesterday during a rally for taxicab drivers that his reputation has been damaged after police arrested him, claiming to have found drugs in his car. Ellis L. Staten Jr., 44, was not charged with a crime, although officers said they recovered heroin and marijuana during a search of his vehicle Thursday near Pennsylvania Avenue and Dolphin Street.Staten said he was targeted by police because of his work with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which held an organizing meeting yesterday for city cabdrivers. Staten had no previous drug charges or criminal convictions.

Shortly before the arrest, Staten said, he was near a bus stop attempting to solicit cabdrivers to come to the meeting. Police came up to the car, Staten said, and asked him to step out, searched the vehicle and handcuffed him. Staten said he was held at downtown police headquarters for about an hour before he was released. Staten said he had never been locked up in his life and that the incident has 'defamed my character.'I'm calm now on the outside, but I'm not on the inside. I'm very troubled that this type of information would be made public but no charges filed.' Staten added that he has been in contact with a lawyer to consider litigation. A police spokesman said yesterday that the allegations against the Police Department are unfounded.'I'm not going to justify them with a comment,' Anthony Guglielmi said. Staten said the drugs that police found belonged to a volunteer who was helping pass out fliers about the rally. Kevin Logan, 44, who was in the back seat of the car, was charged with two counts of drug possession. But police said they found Staten in possession of Suboxone pills, or buprenorphine, which is prescribed to treat heroin addiction.

'They singled me out because I'm the one responsible for getting the cabdrivers together. No more perfect person to defame than the NAACP,' Staten said.'If the police had found something on me, why would they release me? I'm stunned. I'm shocked. I wasn't in possession of any drugs or anything. That's why I was not charged.'More than 100 taxi drivers attended the meeting at the Vulcan Blazers headquarters. Staten is one of the lead organizers in the NAACP's work with the drivers, who are considering forming a union... "

I bet who you believe in the above story depends on a lot of things, including your life experiences. A black guy playing the race card? Or just another brotha profiled because he was driving while black? (DWB) Personally, I believe Staten. (Gee, there is a shock, field believes the black guy) And no, I am not naive enough to think that just because the guy is an official with the NAACP he couldn't be doing drugs. My problem is I considered the totality of the circumstances, and I have to ask myself; why was Staten singled out and stopped in the first place? The circumstances surrounding the stop just seemed a little fishy to the kid. But then, that's just me. To me, as I am sure it is with Mr. Staten, DWB is a way of life, so incidents like these always make me say, hmmmmmm. Unfortunately for Mr. Staten, he isn't just saying it, he is living it right about now.


Francis Holland said...

This is why I hate the United States, and I do my political organizing thousands of miles away from the long (white) arm of the law. (Of course a lot of Black police officers have long white arms as well.)

They didn't charge the guy yet. Police are notorious for trying to cover for their offenses against Black citizens by charging Black citizens with offenses. Just because they let the guy go doesn't mean that they won't charge him at a later date.

It's apparent to me, as well, that the traffic stop was probably political, if not because of the taxi driver organizing work then because it's inherently a political statement to continue to be Black in the United States while so many government officials in blue openly hate and persecute us for doing so.

If I hadn't received permanent residence in Brazil based on marriage, I was seriously considering requesting political asylum.

I'm glad I didn't renounce my citizenship, as I was often tempted to do over the last eight years, because then I wouldn't have been able to vote for Barack Obama.

Thanks for your work with Philadelphia Reads. A Nicaraguan revolutionary once advised about engaging the public in political organizing, "First teach them to read."

Anonymous said...

I believe him, too. I've had a DWB, so I can tell you firsthand this also extends to brown people as well.

I was never charged with a crime or broke any traffic laws, but being searched like a criminal was the longest and most embarrassing thirty minutes of my life.

Hathor said...

The Republicans should be down on their knees in front of Arlen Specter; he's the one mostly responsible for Clarence Thomas's seat on the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

WELL, it look's as if black men will pay a heavy price for BARACK becoming the PRESIDENT, the police are sending a message to black men, and they could care less about status, we all know that, and why in the world would this man, be bold enough to walk around with drug stuff on him?

FIELD NEGRO. I was watching GLENN CRAZY BECK tonight, I like to be informed about everything, no station is off limit's to me, so anyway, he has this website called, THE 912 PROJECT.COM, I went to the web and trust me those people are CRAZY, GLENN BECK is planning something for SEPTEMBER the 12th, remember SEPTEMBER the 11th, this has to do with VIOLENCE, CHUCK NORRIS is involved, and these people are STARK RAVING MAD!!! they want the PRESIDENT, of course they say, they are losing their right's as AMERICAN'S, but we know that is a cover up.

FIELD NEGRO, this man, called CHRIS GARDNER was on the show, the one who wrote the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS, what a idiot! check out the 912 PROJECT.COM website, GLENN BECK is a dangerous man, he is stirring up most of this MADNESS! and we wonder why black men are under attack!

TrueBlue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TrueBlue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TrueBlue said...

Like Field, I'd be curious as to why the cops stopped the car to begin with. That said, it appears to be undisputed that there were drugs in the car. The big question seems to be whether or not Ellis Staten had anything to do with it.

I'm wondering whether the place where Staten was doing his organizing work was also a drug hangout known to police. I am also wondering about the Suboxone pills. Where did the police say they found 'em? In Staten's shirt pocket?

Do Suboxone and heroin go together on the street? Maybe Suboxone and marijuana? I don't know, I'm just wondering.

Staten is saying that the cops planted the Suboxone on him. I gotta say I'm skeptical of his story, given that there's no dispute about the other drugs. I also think it's a stretch to claim that the local police targeted him for NAACP membership or involvement in the taxicab issue.

The NAACP is a mainstream group. I don't see them as logical targets of the Baltimore police.

TrueBlue said...

A side note: I am no fan of Glenn Beck, to put it very mildly. But I don't see what he has to do with any of this. Surely Anon 2:09 isn't arguing that all roads lead to Glenn Beck, because if he is then he belongs in the same rubber room I'd reserve for Beck himself.

Christopher said...

The first problem is the assumption that the cops are always right.

Anyone with a brain and a few years of life experience know this premise is as faulty as the Republican claim that George W. Bush actually won the 2000 election fair and square.

Cops are notorious for planting evidence. What do you think happens to the dope cops find in the course of an honest arrest? Some of it is destroyed, some of it is used as evidence in court and locked away, some of it is taken home and enjoyed by the arresting officers but a fair amount goes back out with patrol cops and used as planted evidence.

Police from Miami, to Atlanta, to Dallas, to Los Angeles, and numerous small towns in-between have had their asses handed to them by courts who convict them of abusing the authority of their badge by planting evidence. Nothing thrills an ambitious young cop more than bringing down a big fish -- a high profile target like an elected official or a celebrity.

As I've said before: never, ever trust a cop.

Saleema said...

A family friend of ours once was stopped by a cop at night while driving. He had not comitted any violations so was baffled at being pulled over. Cop walks up to him and asks for a driver liscense. Sees the name "Mohammed" and looks at him and say, "I thought you were Mexican." Hands the liscense back and walks back to his car and drives away.

Mohammad only drove away after he could no longer see the cop car. He was in shock but much relieved. Of course this was before 9/11, in the early 90s. And this was in Texas.

Jody said...

Upon careful reading of the article... I agree, this is highly questionable. First, it says the police came up to the car, which suggests the car was stopped. They did not stop him. And then, they told him to get out and they searched. What was the probable cause to search? There was no traffic violation. They can't say he was driving irratically. Sounds like the first thing wrong was illegal search. Then, if they had a drug charge, why no charges? And the classic response to questioning is "Im not going to dignify that" a non-response response. He wasn't actually arrested, he was detained. Who called the media? Did the cops? Or did he? That is the issue for the defamation. This is for sure harrassment, but if he called the media, he is the one that made it public, not the cops, especially if there was no arrest, thus no public record would have been made.

In any case, he was definitely harrassed and I believe him about the drugs..... As a political activist, who has supported many folks who have been arrested for their activism (including myself), no doubt in my mind that is what this was about.

field negro said...

Jody, spoken like a true connoisseur of the law. :)

Grinder, I hear ya, but there is one problem: they didn't charge the guy. That, as much as the stop itself, is most troubling.

Francis, how are things with you? Man, I gotta tell you, a lot of people reading this don't have w whole lot of sympathy for a guy who lives in Brazil. But I am glad you were able to relocate and continue yor cyber activism.

Anonymous said...

Who knows? A cab union sounds like a evil plot to promote taking the bus though. Off topic... but short. The AR legislature recently passed a bill saying cops can ticket drivers for not wearing seatbelts even if they're driving is fine. Black legislators have successsfully stopped this until a rider is in place that prevents racial profiling. And yes, my mind is exploding trying to comprehend the practical application of that legal logic.


Anonymous said...

Y'all are right on this one...I haven't got a ticket since 1983, and got off with a warning.. in fact, haven't even been pulled over since 89, and that was only cause I was driving my friends totally pimped out Caprice, with the curb feelers and Crown fragrance dispenser on top of the dash...Yeah, my friend was black, blow me... and any y'all call him a House Nigger better make sure y'all wearing Level IV body armor...

Jody said...

pork.... you obviously have no respect for what unions have done for YOU! Like having a weekend? Thank the Union. Like workers comp if you are injured? Thank the Union? Like having a 40 hour work week, or the right to overtime pay? Thank the Union. Like sick leave? Thank the Union. Think protecting children from child labor? Thank the Union. ALL of these things were fought and won by Unions.
So, if taxicab drivers are trying to collectively organize to protect their rights... good for them and Thank the Union!

La♥audiobooks said...

As if Staten would even ride around with hero and mari in his car. Especially knowing he would be attending a rally and DWB. These people are f-ing with the man's intelligence, and ours.

Also, if it was so legit, why not stand by the "evidence" and charge him? This entire thing smells like it was intended to be a good ol' fashion Jim Crow warning to me.

I agree with you Field... I tink Babylon plant deh shit in he car.

Unknown said...

So the guy was stopped, talking to other drivers, and the police just rolled up on him? They probably are going to say it looked like he was trying to sell drugs, but the real issue is that folks get scared when black people are in groups. We know there is a First Amendment right to assemble peacefully, but that goes out the window when we're doing it. It must mean we're up to something from either selling drugs or, doing the worst thing possible, getting organized about doing something positive.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pennsylvania Avenue and Dolphin Street is a drug area. I believe the cops.

Anonymous said...

Jody, my last cab ride in the US was in 1982. The driver went the wrong way on the interstate to jack up the price and when I asked why, he replied "Company rules". I've mananged to get around without cabs since then. It's this kind of crap that unions exceed at without restraints in place. I do appreciate what unions do for employees but everytime they negociate a pay raise it comes with an increase in production requirements. The one thing they get right is demanding a clear cut career path that moves you out of manual labor before you become a cripple.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you Field.A lot of my friends and I have been subjected to this DWB phenomenon at some time.So you're right, We can identify with Mr. Staten.I believe that the indivdual officers who participate in this phenomena should be scrutinized/investigated as deep as possible and above all the indivdual who issued the marching orders. I believe that the majority of the officers are decent folks...many of whom have ignored those marching orders.However, until some sort of flag is instituted into the system, all of the officers will be viewed with suspicion.

Another thing Field, white folks are the minority. We all know what the minority, with power, does to maintain their perceived status.Peace.


Anonymous said...

42% of homicide victims last year were male blacks. 99% of those were killed by other black men. So who should you be more afraid of... cops or other black men?

On top of that The number one killer of African-American females, ages 15 to 34, was homicide at the hands of an intimate partner or ex-partner. Black women comprise 8% of the U.S. population, but account for 20% of the intimate partner homicide victims. The African-American community experiences domestic violence at greater levels than White Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos

Anonymous said...

One of the more interesting things with the new Administration, may well be the flush of the mess the Bushit made of the Justice Department.

In particular, the prosecutors:

May not solve the DWB issue...

But it can't hurt.


Anonymous said...

From the Chicago Sun TImes -

Study, fix problem of racial profiling

March 15, 2009
The uncomfortable facts, presented in the charts below, are these:
Police forces throughout Illinois much more often search, with permission, vehicles driven by African Americans and Hispanics than by whites, even though they more often find contraband -- such as drugs and guns -- in the cars driven by whites.

It is difficult to interpret those facts any way other than to conclude that the police, on the whole statewide, discriminate against black and Hispanic drivers.

For that reason, the American Civil Liberties Union is pressing for a complete ban on such "consent searches," and this page is one editorial in the near future away from endorsing the ACLU's position.

If the police can't find a way to conduct consent searches without discriminating by race or ethnicity, they should not be allowed to do them at all. Searches still would be allowed on the basis of credible suspicion, such as the smell of pot, but no longer solely on the basis of an officer's instinct...",CST-EDT-edit15.article


Anonymous said...

From New York City's "City Journal":

blacks aren’t stopped enough, considering the rate at which they commit crimes. Though blacks, 24 percent of New York City’s population, committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in the city last year.

Anonymous said...

T'aint no darkies gonna be commentin till tonight...its "Selection Sunday", biggest Basketball day of the year...

field negro said...

"Now What"? And what is the connection to those stats and this story? Are you suggesting that blacks shouls be profiled and illegally stopped because a high percentage of young black males commit crimes?

La~Ingognita, I am loving the"babylon" referfence." :)

Frank, you actually have a black friend? Quick, someone call the Drop Squad.

Anonymous said...

yes, let's all generalize here why don't we....

cops- on the take/plant evidence/unfairly pick on blacks

blacks- all on warfare/sell & use drug/women are hoes

gays- flaming/village people/decorators/take it in the booty hole

there ya'll right...idoits

wouldn't it be ironic if the popo was a gay/black man

Anonymous said...

I know this has been around for awhile but I pass it on whenever I get the chance. Sorry if it's not pertinent to this particular discussion. I think it's valuable nonetheless.

Law prof and cop agree: never talk to the cops about a crime, even if you're innocent.


Anonymous said...

One of the leading proponents of race based differences was a guy named Dr. James Watson, who along with Dr Crick, discovered how DNA functioned for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize.

He also wrote a number of treatises on the differences in intelligence between racial groups, claiming that darker skinned folks (blacks, Jews, etc) were less intelligent...

Seeking to illustrate his own racial purity being the font of his own vaunted intelligence, he took a DNA test...

His genome revealed that he had a very large percentage of DNA from a recent, black African ancestor.

Indeed, by either the "One Drop" or 1/16th rule prevalent in the South...

Dr Watson's a Kneegrow!

Ran across this a while ago. This was a study done in 1958 (Yeah...1958!) which had deduced by empirical methods that as of 1950 -

21 percent of White Americans had Black ancestry within the past four generations.

Today, according to DNA research...

That's about 33%.

So Frank's "black friend" may well be his left hand...

Filled with a little white lotion - to make sure he doesn't hurt himself.


rainywalker said...

Field I really think your doing a stretch here. None of us have enough data to support guilt or innocence but I would like to see it taken to court. Try and flush out the truth behind Lady Justices blindfold.

Anonymous said...

HIV/AIDS Rate in D.C. Hits 3%
Considered a 'Severe' Epidemic, Every Mode of Transmission Is Increasing, City Study Finds

At the D.C. jail, some 19,000 people, 90 percent male and black, are incarcerated each year, a third on drug charges.We know that inmates are having sex inside. We know they're sharing needles.

Just another case of "the white man" trying to hold homie dowm. Making him have booty sex and run drugs up his arm.

Bob said...

DWB, yeah. But the NAACP connection was probably coincidental, & Staten is trying to spin in a political conspiracy thing. The way these things go, the news headline is NAACP OFFICIAL IN HEROIN BUST. Two days later, buried on page 10, is the tiny headline, "Man cleared of drug possession."

field negro said...

"So Frank's "black friend" may well be his left hand...

Filled with a little white lotion - to make sure he doesn't hurt himself."


Lady M said...

I only skimmed the story so I may have missed something but if the police stopped him without a reason, then that's a violation of the fourth amendment. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) On the other hand, they did find the pills on him. So if he were truly innocent, I don't think this would've been an issue in the first place. And also, bringing in the NAACP as some sort of conspiracy theory muddles things up even more.

I'm not really sure what to think about this, but I'm leaning towards DWB.

Anonymous said...

Whats with y'all Darkies and the Drugs??? Don't Y'all know its the White Mans plot to keep Y'all on the bottom?? Give up the Pot! Get High on Life!!! And BTW whens that 2-Pak comin out with a new album??

Anonymous said...

How in the hell does being an albino make you smarter lets not forget white is a mutation,that cant be good! Soon as all these so called hard working white people loose thier jobs as this piece of shit country goes properly down the toilet,well get back at those wack ass stats you ballless busters post!

Antonio said...

That pic is hilarious.

Sadly this type of story doesn't shock me anymore.

ABlock said...

I've had some DWP's (driving while poor), and tow notices/impounds of "eye sores" allow the foot soldiers in blue to enforce bourgeois aesthetic norms. I've got an idea for the brave gentrifying masses: Stay the fuk out and stop calling your city on your new neighbors while being fake nice/insecure to their faces.

The troubling thing about DWB is that transcends class. I guess it's too much for a weekend warrior redneck that's a step above a mall cop to believe that a person of color has a car that's nicer than theirs.


Hey there....

He was working with a volunteer who had heroin? Come on...

How about the junkie was in his car about to get high and then they both got busted??

He should not have been stopped in the first place but I don't believe that the guy in the backseat was a volunteer...


Royal Model said...