It’s been a rough four years for Florida resident, Earl Sampson, where the judicial system is concerned. Sampson’s number of run-ins with the Miami Gardens police department is unprecedented. To be more specific, Sampson has been stopped and/or questioned approximately 258 times, and searched over 100 times. Then, to make matters worse, the interrogation and harassment is only the gist of it all.
Sampson, who is an African American, has also been arrested a total of 62 times as a result of racial profiling. But, get this, almost every time Sampson was arrested for trespassing, it was at the 207 Quickstop convenience store where he works. There have even been cases where Sampson has actually been followed to the store before being arrested, even with his employment status at the store.
According to the International Business Times, of all the encounters and arrests Sampson has endured, his biggest conviction is still possession of marijuana. That particular conviction actually had no relation to any incident at his workplace.
Alex Saleh, owner of the 207 Quickstop, also weighed in with his perspective and negative experiences of harassment from Miami Gardens law enforcement. “I thought, you know, there is a lot of serious crime in Miami Gardens,” he said. “Why do they need six police officers on a car stop with a burned-out tag light?” Due to the high level of harassment around the convenience store, Saleh took the initiative and installed 15 video cameras in and around the parameter of the store in an effort to monitor the actions of Miami Gardens police. Saleh explained his hopes to uncover why the police department continues target and harass the same individuals on a regular basis.
The Miami Herald reports that the area’s demographic predominantly consists of African Americans. Most of the individuals stopped are black and impoverished. The Herald also notes that some have been stopped and frisked as much as three times in one single day in that particular neighborhood. “There is just no justifying this kind of behavior,” police policy consultant Chuck Drago explained to the Herald. “Nobody can justify overstepping the constitution to fight crime.”
In store’s video footage, officers were captured searching and arresting both employees and customers at the store, although no law violations were evident. The footage also shows the officers searching the store without proper warrant.