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Blue Lines, Shaded in Black and Brown: The Diallo Shooting, Race and Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  11 mean, she just wanted him to stop hitting her. But the [police] came him in and he was dead.” That some communities must choose between being terrorized by violence on the streets or at home, and being terrorized by police patrolling their neighborhoods is a very bad choice, indeed. But it is an equation people in communities of color address all the time. In addition to sitting on the Citizens Complaint Review Board, Lorraine Cortés Vázquez was also the President of the Hispanic Federation when we talked in 2001. Started in 1990 by the United Way, her organization was created to coordinate the funding of organizations in Hispanic communities around the New York City area and to advocate for issues affecting their membership. Among other activities, they surveyed Hispanic New Yorkers annually and published the results. One of their research areas was policing. When I asked Lorraine about how people in her community felt about Giuliani’s crime-fighting policies, what she said was far more measured than I’d expected: You know, it’s really funny because [speaking slowly] the way I try to balance that is to say that this city has improved over the past nine years in major ways. When the Hispanic Federation issues its annual survey of the Latino community, Latinos say that their neighborhoods are safer. Also in our survey, Latinos say they’re enjoying a better economy. We have more people employed. But Latinos are also saying that they’re being terrorized by the police, and that they also know that police treat Latinos very differently from others.We’ve seen crime go down, but the thing we can’t have is a police department that’s run amok. And one of the things that we have found is that during the late eighties, early nineties, we were having major crime epidemics, and there was a need for strong and aggressive street law enforcement. However, crime statistics have

Authors: Roy, Beth.
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mean, she just wanted him to stop hitting her. But the [police] came him in 
and he was dead.”
That some communities must choose between being terrorized by 
violence on the streets or at home, and being terrorized by police patrolling 
their neighborhoods is a very bad choice, indeed. But it is an equation people 
in communities of color address all the time. In addition to sitting on the 
Citizens Complaint Review Board, Lorraine Cortés Vázquez was also the 
President of the Hispanic Federation when we talked in 2001. Started in 1990 
by the United Way, her organization was created to coordinate the funding of 
organizations in Hispanic communities around the New York City area and to 
advocate for issues affecting their membership. Among other activities, they 
surveyed Hispanic New Yorkers annually and published the results. One of 
their research areas was policing.
When I asked Lorraine about how people in her community felt about 
Giuliani’s crime-fighting policies, what she said was far more measured than 
I’d expected:
You know, it’s really funny because [speaking slowly] the way I try 
to balance that is to say that this city has improved over the past 
nine years in major ways. When the Hispanic Federation issues its 
annual survey of the Latino community, Latinos say that their 
neighborhoods are safer. Also in our survey, Latinos say they’re 
enjoying a better economy. We have more people employed. But 
Latinos are also saying that they’re being terrorized by the police, 
and that they also know that police treat Latinos very differently 
from others.
We’ve seen crime go down, but the thing we can’t have is a police 
department that’s run amok. And one of the things that we have 
found is that during the late eighties, early nineties, we were having 
major crime epidemics, and there was a need for strong and 
aggressive street law enforcement. However, crime statistics have 


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