In Philadelphia, two men were stopped and frisked by police officers. What was their crime? Saying hello while black. After greeting a couple police officers who were patrolling the neighborhood, these men were asked to show their IDs and interrogated. When they asked why, the police officer on duty, later identified as Philip Nace, responded: “You don’t say ‘hi’ to stangers, at least not in this neighborhood.”
The men were on their way to work, with one of the gentlemen insisting that they were just walking. Nace corrects him. “You can tell me whatever you want,” the office responds. He then turns to his partner and says, “He’s a fucking dirty ass…He’s fucking crooked.”
During this exchange, one of the men records the incident on his phone, dropping it on the ground. For most of the video, all we get is the audio as the event descends further into harassment. The most telling part of the video comes next, when Officer Nace admits that they had no reason to stop them. Nace says, “You’re not looking at it from where we are. You don’t know what we know. How do you know what we know? How do you know we didn’t get a radio call?”
One of the pair in custody protests their innocence and is shot down. When Officer Nace explains that it was a preemptive measure in case men fitting their description recently robbed a nearby store, Nace asks him: “Is that wrong of us?”
That’s a question you should ask yourself as you watch the video below. If there’s any moment you should take away, it’s this. While Nace verbally berates his “suspects” with racist commentary, he tells them, “We don’t want you here, anyway. All you do is weaken the fucking country.” How, you might wonder? Nace says, “By freeloading.”
Whether you’re Forest Whitaker, Oprah or just walking to work, it doesn’t matter. If you’re black, you’re guilty until proven innocent.