Which more accurately stands as the symbol of today’s America?

This topic is showing up in the news only as a consequence of the police shooting story. Residents of this Atlanta community demanded that city officials come talk to them, and city officials got an earful. The kicker? City council members did not know that the law the residents complained about being arrested under even existed. This is representation?


Atlanta Ordinance Allows Police To Arrest Just About Anybody

DC-6 is the most frequent non-traffic offense cited by Atlanta police. As of Dec. 18, 7,551 DC-6 arrests — about 22 a day — were made in 2006, outpacing criminal trespass at 5,407 and drinking in public at 4,621.

Some City Council members and city officials weren’t even familiar with the ordinance until it came to their attention at public meetings organized in the wake of the Nov. 21 home-invasion killing by police of an 88-year-old woman.

According to the DC-6 ordinance: “It shall be unlawful for any person [to] … be in or about any place where gaming or the illegal sale or possession of alcoholic beverages or narcotics or dangerous drugs is practiced, allowed or tolerated[.]“

What that means, essentially, is that a person can be arrested simply for being in what police designate as a “known drug area” — even if he or she just walks down the street or chats with a neighbor. That’s problematic, says American Civil Liberties Union Legal Director Gerry Weber, because the law is so ambiguous that it invites discriminatory enforcement and therefore may be unconstitutional.

Weber says the ACLU is seeking the right case for a legal challenge.

WXIA notes, “The problem is nearly half the cases are thrown out of court. And that’s why many consider it a legalized form of police abuse.”


If only PR campaigns were enough….



  1. noname says:

    I recently read somewhere how a judge dismissed charges filed against the police over an issue where they claimed ignorance of some obscure law and that it wasn’t their intention to break the law.

    Our justice system, our prosecutors and judges are such hypocrites; it’s a wonder we don’t have more mass marches with people chanting “no justice, no peace”

  2. gquaglia says:

    several cities in NJ have similar laws. I personally don’t see a problem as most who are charged are either looking to buy or sell drugs. Remember, we are talking about real shit sections of cities that are nothing but drug havens. The ACLU can go scratch.

  3. joshua says:

    #2…gquaglia….the problem is, that normal humans also live in most of those areas, either left over from when the area wasn’t a shit hole or because they are to poor to live anywhere else.
    While I completely understand the reasoning behind such laws, it does tend to leave it up to the police who’s getting busted and who’s not.
    And after the recent screw ups in the news about Atlanta Police, thats just not a viable option.

  4. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    The ability to arrest someone, with the consequent problems to the arrestee – ranging from inconvenience and humiliation to loss of one’s car and/or job and more – is abused by corrupt, authoritarian cops who set themselves up (unconstitutionally, obviously) as judge, jury and executioner for people who haven’t broken any law but have merely displeased the cop.

    And who’s gonna take the time or make the effort to stop this abuse, since the victims are usually (although far from always) scummy people undeserving of much sympathy?

    The smartass phrase cops use for this practice of busting people for nonoffenses (because they’re pissed that they don’t have grounds to bust them for anything concrete) is “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.”

    More unethical, immoral, unAmerican conduct on the part of those who are supposed to be upholders of the law. And middle America can’t be bothered with trying to stop it – until it’s done to them!

  5. Smartalix says:

    The biggest problem is that our policing has mutated from a focus on community service and protection into one of an occupying force in a restive area. Why did the cops stop policing the community and start policing the citizenry anyway?

    Our society is sick. We are Rome anew, decadent and powerful, caring only about the outcome of the bowl game and whether or not the pizza guy gets to the house a half an hour after the order. (Then again, in a time of corrupt empire it’s usually better to lve in Italy than Dacia, even if the custodes in Rome are a pain in the ass.)

  6. Improbus says:

    I suppose that would make influx of Mexicans the barbarian horde.

  7. Grrr says:

    #2 – what part of “…even if he or she just walks down the street or chats with a neighbor.” seems reasonable or acceptable to you? Why not go the rest of the way and arrest everyone who’s in these drug-riddled “sections” of the city? Commercial delivery drivers included, of course. They should’ve known better.
    When would you see a problem here – before, or not until, a very similar ordinance is enforced in your “section” of town?

  8. Mr. Fusion says:

    #2, gq,

    If you read the ordinance, it says: “It shall be unlawful for any person [to] … be in or about any place where gaming or the illegal sale or possession of alcoholic beverages or narcotics or dangerous drugs is practiced, allowed or tolerated[.]”

    So if your next door neighbor is abusing his prescription of oxycodone or the woman next door is an alcoholic then that, presumable, would cover your house too. Honestly, I really wonder where some of you wing nuts got your take on the world from.

  9. Nth of the 49th says:

    How does a law like this even get put on the books? Are the people responsible that unaware. I don’t even live in the US and by just reading it, it is apparent that it contravenes rights.

    WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR COUNTRY, YOU SHOULD ALL BE CONCERNED and doing something about it.

    America has turned into a sniveling coward, scared of it own shadow.
    It’s pathetic to watch from outside. Or more correctly, I guess, the current American government is cowardly. Land of the free pffft what a joke.

  10. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    #9 -
    “How does a law like this even get put on the books? Are the people responsible that unaware.”

    Psssst! I’m gonna let you in on a dirty little secret: these bogus laws are crafted and enacted by LAWYERS. Their work product is the raw material of the system that provides a living for their fellow lawyers.

    The prosecutors are lawyers; the defense are lawyers; the judges are lawyers. In other words, both sides, PLUS the “impartial referree” are all lawyers, and the number one function of our legislators is to create work for their brothers of the Bar, at the expense of the public that they all victimize. Gotta keep the gears of the criminal justice industry turning, and you and I are grist for their mill.

    It’s gone on like this for so long that no one can see the forest for the trees even if they wanted to, which they don’t.

  11. spsffan says:

    #9 “How does a law like this even get put on the books”

    Public apathy mostly. But consider that in years past such laws were routinely used to enable “rounding up” of the usual suspects, by color and/or race. And make no mistake, even though we are talking about Atlanta, I’ll bet Chicago has similar laws. Heck, the 2nd Amendment doesn’t even apply in Chicago!

  12. pedro says:

    #5 I could not agree more with your description. But I would make it a little bit braoder and say that western civilization is Roman CIvilization anew, with different levels of degradation among its different members

  13. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #12 – It would interest me to learn what levels of degradation you attribute to which members…

  14. joshua says:

    #13…..now now….for THAT you have to buy the book, huh Pedro….lol :)

  15. pedro says:

    #13 my part of western civilization (at least I thought we were part of it) is way more decomposed than the US.

    More about that on the book.

  16. sweet-ep says:

    Sorry, but what is mariburjeka?

    Jane.