In what has the be one of the most talked about mug shot photographs in years, an unknown ex felon, Jeremy Meeks was thrust into the national spotlight. Meeks’ mug shot has garnered several views and adoration from women across the country. Not only has the photograph gained it admirers, it also has it critics who believe that a man with such as past as Meeks’ should not be glorified. While everyone is swooning over the photograph, there is one thing about it that has not been mentioned: Justice is definitely not blind.
When Meeks was arrested on June 18th, Stockton police were actually on their way to search someone else’s house, with a search warrant, when they encountered Meeks driving away from the home. After searching his car, police found a 9mm round of ammunition and a small stash of "what is believed to be" marijuana in his passenger compartment. Police also discovered an unregistered, loaded Springfield Armory .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun in Meeks’ trunk.
The sad thing about this scenario is it is a common occurrence for many African Americans, especially ex convicts. Without even asking why Meeks was at the home under surveillance, Stockton police just assumed that he was doing something wrong. With laws, such as Stop and Frisk in New York City or "random searches" in airports, racial profiling has become a norm for our community. While Meeks has spent the last decade in and out of courtrooms, officers at the time only noticed his multiple tattoos, including the teardrop beneath his eye and the word "Crip" on his arm, and linked him to the Northside Gangsta Crips in Stockton. Though I am not a fan of tattoos, I do not believe that they should hinder a person from receiving fair and equal justice under the law.
There is a serious disconnect with police officers and the communities they serve. While in neighborhoods, such as University Village, River Oaks, and Spring Branch police officers view residents as equals and friends; in neighborhoods, such as Settegast, Sunnyside, and Trinity Gardens, residents are viewed as common criminals. In University Village, River Oaks, and Spring Branch, children are taught to run to the police when they are in trouble. In Settegast, Sunnyside, and Trinity Gardens, children are taught to fear the police and even given suggestions on how to avoid conflicts with them.
Jeremy Meeks’ mug shot may not have been published to cause such a national stir, but it has given us insight into how we as Americans are truly superficial. Our views on a person’s guilt or innocence should never be decided based on their physical traits. Unfortunately, in this country we elect politicians, hire employees, and even select friends based on how they look. Our Pledge of Allegiance ends with this simple phrase "liberty and justice for all". I guess it is time to remove it, since we have never followed it. #ijs