Massachusetts High Court recently overturned the conviction of a black Bostonian who was charged with unlawfully owning a gun. The Supreme Judicial Court said that the black man, whose name is Jimmy Warren, had every right to flee from the Boston police because the police had far too little information to go after him. The court believes that this arrest was a case of racial profiling by the police force.
The story of Jimmy Warren’s arrest begins in the Roxbury area of Boston in the year 2011. Police had received a call about African American men who were wearing hoodies and walking away from a reported break-in. The police arrived at the scene, and Warren immediately fled. Eventually, the officers arrested Warren and found that he owned a firearm without a permit.
The Massachusetts High Court said that there was not enough specific information given to the police department to act in the way they did, and that their actions were mainly due to unfair racial profiling. The only authority the police seemed to be following, the court argued, was the gut instinct of the chief. And gut instinct, the court argued, is not enough to convict Warren.
There were also statistics revealed in this trial that showed how the Boston Police Department was far more likely to search black men than people of other races between the years 2007 and 2010. The Justices believe that this shows just how biased the police department in Boston is, and how Warren had every right to run away from the police due to fear of unfair racial profiling.
The Boston Police Commissioner, William Evans, had many problems with the ruling. He believes that the court did not understand that the police were not targeting due to race, but rather due to what he called geographical “hot spots.” He also believed that the police have a right to count running away from a police officer as reasonable suspicion.
Evans also said that he believed the statistics used in the court were biased. He said that the main reports used against the Boston Police Department were from the ACLU, and he believed those reports were not objective at all.
This case is just another instance of the racial divide being felt all over America at the moment. This case may change how police departments around the nation act when dealing with people they suspect of breaking the law. It may also change legal codes and how courts interpret fleeing from the police in the near future.