One man in Miami has such a storied past with the police, you’d think he’s run into some major convictions.
But Earl Sampson, a long-time employee at the 207 Quickstop convenience store, has been arrested 56 times, stopped by police 258 times, and searched more than 100 times. And despite that long rap sheet, the 28-year-old has never been convicted of anything more serious than possession of marijuana.
So why are the police stopping him excessively? For trespassing … at his own job.
Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens.
But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop.
So how can he be trespassing when he works there?
It’s a question the store’s owner, Alex Saleh, 36, has been asking for more than a year as he watched Sampson, his other employees and his customers, day after day, being stopped and frisked by Miami Gardens police. Most of them, like Sampson, are poor and black.
And, like Sampson, many of them have been cited for minor infractions, sometimes as often as three times in the same day.
Saleh has since installed video cameras, not to catch thieves, but to protect his employees from the police.
The videos show, among other things, cops stopping citizens, questioning them, aggressively searching them and arresting them for trespassing when they have permission to be on the premises; officers conducting searches of Saleh’s business without search warrants or permission; using what appears to be excessive force on subjects who are clearly not resisting arrest and filing inaccurate police reports in connection with the arrests.
And what do the police have to say about their behavior? Nothing.
According to the Miami Herald, repeated phone messages and emails to Miami Gardens Police Chief Matthew Boyd and City Manager Cameron Benson asking for comment on this story were not returned. Boyd did, however, release a statement, saying that the department is committed to serving and protecting the citizens and businesses in the city.
But doesn’t look they’re doing such a good job, don’t you think?
SOURCE: Miami Herald | PHOTO CREDIT: Screengrab