The Pleasures of Policing
The Pleasures of Reporting Ebonics/Downtown/Fri Aug 9/12:37 pm: Officer G. E. Kuenzi writes: "The man had just finished his drink at the bar in the Hurricane Cafe and was leaving when he stopped and talked with the woman. The woman did not know the man, who appeared to have a 'buzz on.' The man said to her, 'I don't like to see no innocent lookin' face shot up. The nigger owes me $30,000 he won't pay.' The woman asked the stranger to make some sense. 'Doesn't matter. Get your crew and go home. If I don't get my money, I want blood,' he said, and left."
What impresses me about this report is--as in many police accounts--the officer felt compelled to mimic black English ("I don't like to see no innocent lookin' face shot up"). Another report, composed by Officer Agate on August 3, describing an argument between an angry black man and a scared white woman, contains this sentence: "I'm gonna beat your ass 'cause you're a tramp, you white ho." Why is the black speech reproduced? Why didn't Officer Agate translate what the suspect said into standard English ("I'm going to hurt you because you are untrustworthy and a white prostitute")? Obviously, there is a secret, if not perverse, pleasure in reproducing black speech.
The Pleasures of Reading Ghetto
Police Reports/South Seattle/Mon Aug 19/12:23 pm: Speaking of pleasures, the language and tone of this report by Officer Winterer (a curious name), involving a black couple who were caught drinking Olde English "800" and smoking crack (indeed, ghetto pleasures), delights me to no end. He writes: "I observed suspect one [the black woman] quickly bend over and try to grab something in her bra. I became afraid for my safety and told her to stop grasping her chest area inside her shirt. She did not comply. I ordered her to leave her hands where I could see them and get out and stand next to her husband, suspect two. She did so. I asked her if she was hiding a crack pipe in her bra. She said yes. I asked her to give it to me and she pulled it out of her bra and gave it to me. [Later,] she admitted that she bought the crack on the 9100 block of Rainier Ave S, on the sidewalk in front of the Jack in the Box."
The Pleasures of a White Hoodlum/University District/Sun Aug 18/3:30 pm: Concerning a robbery that took place in the front yard of a house on 18th Avenue NE, Officer Toms writes: "The suspect was holding a knife and said to the victim [a teen from Auburn], 'Give me all your stuff bitch boy!'" The suspect, after roughing up the Auburn teen, "reached into the victim's pants pocket and removed a $10 bill and several ones." The suspect then returned the ones, but kept the $10. Obviously, the suspect is white. The expression "bitch boy" is not a black expression.