Pubdate: Thu, 02 Oct 2003
Source: Key West Citizen, The (FL)
Copyright: 2003 Key West Citizen
Author: Anne Shaver
Bookmark: (Racial Issues)


For nearly two years, on alternate Sunday afternoons, I have been attending 
a "Community Dialogue on Race." Led by Deborah Capraro until she left the 
Keys, it is now convened by Jerome Fain.

Over many months of talking together, it has become clear that a major 
problem in our community is the arbitrary behavior of our law enforcement 
officers toward city and county citizens, especially people of color. 
Racist behavior has gone unpunished, or has been punished only lightly in 
the sheriff's office, and the Key West police have too often behaved with 
grave discourtesy toward residents of Bahama Village.

At the listening session of the Citizen Review Board at Douglass Gym 
Nutrition Center on Sept. 8, several of us were appalled to learn that 
police, without probable cause, often stop Bahama Village residents simply 
to ask them what they are doing in their own neighborhood -- and, much 
worse, have come without warrants to search their homes.

No wonder we are in need of a strong CRB. In addition, all of us need to 
learn our rights against arbitrary search and seizure. We need to learn the 
correct way to assert those rights without arousing police brutality and 
without having to fear reprisals. We need to support and educate each other 
to find the courage to resist injustice.

All of you are welcome to join us in the dialogue. If you would like to be 
on our e-mail list, or would like to know the location of the next meeting, 
please contact Jerome Fain at Anne Shaver, Key West
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