Rochester's violent crime rates far exceed the national average, say statistics, and the city's now bracing itself for a round of budget cut-related police layoffs. So how come local police officers were patrolling the town with rulers the other day, busting people for bad parking jobs?
Well, they're not busting just anyone, it seems—only supporters of Emily Good, a woman who was arrested on May 12 for videotaping a police traffic stop while standing in her front yard in her sleeping gear. Good says she was trying to document racial profiling; now she's facing a second-degree obstructing governmental administration charge. Her case has become a cause for local activists, who got together on Thursday evening at a joint called the Flying Squirrel Community Space (Voted "Best Empathy Practice Circle" in western New York state, three years running) to show support and discuss police accountability. While they were meeting, some cops walked around the neighborhood and measured how far their Activistmobiles were parked from the curb! Cars parked more than 12 inches away got a ticket.
An Indymedia activist video-documented some of the measuring activities, which you can see here. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Rochester police chief says the officers hadn't been assigned to ruler patrol, and that an investigation will now take place—possibly to coincide with their other investigation regarding the circumstances surrounding Good's arrest. Well, it's good to stay busy. [Indymedia, via Democrat and Chronicle]