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Out Of Control Neighborhood Watch Groups Become Vigilantes: Members Getting Kicked Out

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As a family, we’ve been going through a number of emotions, as we’ve been trying to process this ugly incident.  We’ve taught our son about his rights as an American, so his sadness transitioned to anger about being questioned by the police for doing nothing wrong and only exercising his right to walk down a public street, for being stopped and questioned by the police, without any probable cause.  After some huffing and puffing about that, his focused changed.  

We’ve also raised him as a Christian, so his anger shifted to empathy and concern for other children, who might not be white, who might actually be Hispanic or Black.  What might happen to them if they took a walk in our neighborhood?  

“My friends XXX and XXXXX and XXXXX are always coming to visit me — Hell, XXXX and XXXXXX live down the street!  Is she going to follow them, call the cops on them, maybe run over someone becasue SHE doesn’t think they BELONG?”

Good questions, son.   As parents, Trayvon Martin frankly came to mind.

We don’t know if the Neighborhood Watch team had anything to do with yesterday’s incident, or if the woman was just somebody in the neighborhood taking it upon herself to “protect” the neighborhood.  Looking at the website for the Neighborhood Watch, it seems that the incident yesterday was not in line with how the Neighborhood Watch is supposed to operate.  My wife was actually one of the people who had their car broken into, and had her wallet stolen, so normally, we might be people who would support of a Neighborhood Watch.  If the woman wasn’t someone on the Neighborhood Watch team, we’d appreciate being reassured to that effect.

If she isn’t, we wanted to alert the Neighborhood Watch to be on the lookout for the woman who racially profiled our child, scared him by following him around with her car, and then called the police on him.   She was skirting awfully close to Harassment of our minor child under KY 525.070  Harassment   (1) A person is guilty of harassment when, with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she: (d) Follows a person in or about a public place or places.   

The only thing the woman seems to have gotten right was our child was taking a walk — the rest of the ugly nonsense was the product of her own mindset.  We find this to be very disturbing.  

Our son will be continuing to walk, jog, fish, play, bike, and generally live his life in this neighborhood.  If anything like yesterday’s incident ever happens to him, again, the police have advised us to have him call them, and then, call us.  We want to make very sure this never happens to him or any other children or anyone, ever again.  

We will be attending the meeting on the XXth as a family to learn more about the Neighborhood Watch effort.  If you would like to contact me, my cell number is:  xxx-xxxx or my husband at xxx-xxxx.  

Thank you for you time and attention,

The reaction to this email was almost immediate.  It turns out that the woman was the head of The Neighborhood Watch!  My husband received a tear-filled apology call from the woman, who subsequently showed up on our door-step (uninvited) for an in-person apology.  That experience was deeply unnerving.  Talking a mile a minute, the woman definitely seemed like she had more than one issue, and we were both releaved when she left!  Days later, we got an apology card in which she tried to frame the situation like she had called the police, because she had been concerned about our child’s welfare!  

In addition to the response from the woman herself, we also recieved reply emails from most of the people on the Neighborhood List expressing their concern and support.  Most of them knew our son and were shocked and horrified.  All of the emails expressed disgust with the racial profiling.

We checked back on the Neighborhood Watch website, and the day after the email went out, the woman was no longer listed with the group and about half of the former members had quit.

We are still processing this experience.  With Zimmerman going on trial, our son has been following the events very closely.  We know that this is a common experience for many families, and it has increased our empathy.  We also know that the subsequent reactions and actions were due to white priviledge — the police responded and we got answers to our questions.  We were pleased with the number of neighbors who rejected the racism demonstrated in the situation.

BUT, the entire episode sits uneasily in our memories and on our hearts.  This event actually happened a couple of months, ago, and I am only now writing about it. We are just one neighborhood, and we worry and feel for all those who are targeted for walking while black, brown and even tan…..morehere

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    • VoiceofReason

      What you don’t realize is that the cops are useless when it comes to preventing crime. Neighborhood watch is essential in crime ridden neighborhoods. Not every neighborhood needs them, but even in my neighborhood which is as safe as they come for urban areas, I caught kids in the alley with a spray can & I caught someone looking in my neighbors camper shell at 2 in the morning.

      When I called the cops it took them 5 minutes to get here & the kids were gone & so was the guy looking in the camper shell.

      It just so happened the kids were white & it was dark so I couldn’t tell who the camper shell guy was but it doesn’t matter to me what color their skin was. Criminals are criminals & deserve to be caught.

      There’s no law against following people & watching what they are up to. In fact, it’s every citizen’s duty to keep an eye out for their neighbors. Zimmerman is a good man who was helping his neighbors. Anyone who has ever had their car vandalized or broken into or their home burglarized understand this.

      It’s the same as a school hall monitor watching you around the corner because there have been a lot of locker thefts lately. Does that give you the right to beat the hell out of them?

      How about if your wife follows you suspecting you of cheating on you. Does that give you the right to beat the hell out of her?

      Zimmerman also had no way of knowing if the guy was gonna pull a knife on him or keep beating him until he was dead or brain damaged. Any normal person in fear for his life would have reacted the same way. In fact, most people would have shot as he lunged at them.

      All this punk kid had to do was ask who Zimmerman was & after being told he was with neighborhood watch, any normal person would have said ok, & walked on.

      It was due to his racist upbringing that this kid attacked what he thought was a white cracka. I can guarantee you he would not have attacked a black person.

      • muckracker1

        Neighborhood WATCH is not the problem: the problem is profilers, instigators and vigilantes. Watch, Report does not mean follow, harass and intimidate

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