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Opinion: There's More to Lasou Kuyateh's Story Than Meets The Eye

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I watched the New York Times video on the bogus arrest of Lasou Kuyateh.


There were red flags from beginning to end, regarding the incident. From the illegal search of the young mens’ bodies, to the officer’s body camera’s “technical difficulties” and even Officer Kyle Erickson’s insistence that all of the boys be arrested, although there were no grounds, according to his partner, Officer Elmer Pastran, the video was damning with reference to the NYPD.

The police video footage of the stop was investigated by its Internal Affairs division and it was determined that the stop was lawful. I have no idea what video Internal Affairs watched but the stop was anything but lawful. But OK.

It’s no secret that the 163-year-old law agency, which is one of the oldest in the United States, has been plagued with accusations of racism, corruption and human rights violations throughout its history. Even internally, the department was called out on its practices. There was a 12 minority-officer class action lawsuit filed against the NYPD for discriminatory practices which included racist arrest quotas in August 2015.

With all that said, there’s something more to this story than what meets the eye. On the video, one of the cops identifies the driver as a gang member with whom he was familiar. The driver, Lasou Kuyateh, did six months in jail after copping a plea to second-degree assault. The arrest stemmed from a group of men, which included Kuyateh, brutally stabbing and beating a man who was trying to intervene and break up a fight. He confessed and was charged with attempted murder. He got off easy with the charge and conviction. They stabbed the young man NINE TIMES. They were trying to kill him. This occurred when he was just 17-years old.

I will be honest. The NYPD is way out of line but this doesn’t feel like they were randomly going after any group of Black boys. I believe Kutayeh was targeted because of the violence that’s happening in Staten Island. That belief is predicated on violence that Kuyateh has inflicted. I surmise that the department has it in for him but he isn’t some innocent law-abiding young man who’s trying to do something with his life. He is a victim but sometimes a person becomes a victim due to karma. *shrug*

By no means am I implying that Kuyateh doesn’t need an advocate but I wouldn’t advocate for him when there are others who actually do the right thing. When the prosecutor moved to dismiss the charges for the bogus marijuana charge, he stuck his tongue out at him for God’s sake. WHO DOES THAT

Blavity, The Root, and The Grio have picked up this story and someone would think, by reading their versions, Kuyateh was an Eagle Scout who helped little old ladies across the damn street and passed out holiday dinners to the homeless.

Again, I’m not condoning what the police did but I just wouldn’t put my dog in to fight for this young man if I am being honest. Am I being judgmental Maybe. I am just from the school of thought that someone should always call out corruption and discrimination by the police but we shouldn’t be painting the devil as a choir boy to do it.

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