The Crimes of Color

While in my second, second year of post-education, I visited a grimy drinking hole in downtown Winnipeg, where 15-year-old aboriginal girls pass as women while 27-year-old men feed them Budweiser until their better judgement and panties fly out the window of an Astro minivan. Ripe as a banana in a brown bag, I sported a backpack filled with `93-till-infinity-esque contents:

– One Illmatic album
– One copy of Hunter S. Thompson’s Rum Diary
– One set of Technics headphones
– Two packages of Canadian cigarettes
– One LRG zip-up
– One eighth of ‘dro
– Three rolls of film
– Several markers
– One beat-up Olympus SLR from the `70s

By 2 a.m., closing time, I had consumed more liquor than the career alcoholic passed out in his urine, and during the evening I lost track of my pseudo-hip-hop backpack – a quick search turned up nothing. I was vexed.

Naturally I needed to break something, anything, to compensate for my loss. I found a two-by-four and smashed the windows out of a minivan, but that did not do it for me. Armed with a package of matches, I attempted to set the minivan on fire, but at -30° C (America, that is really cold in Fahrenheit) the cheap textiles inside would not set ablaze, so I called it a night.

I walked to a downtown doughnut shop to purchase a bag of day-old doughnuts to gobble down like Fat Albert. Back alleyways are A-OK to me and naturally I walk through them. Approximately eight blocks away from my downtown apartment my eyes are caught in headlights, much like a deer, and I freeze as a Crown Victoria’s lights blind me. Three Indo-Canadian men jump out of the Crown Victoria and slam my doughnut-consuming ass on the hood of their car. Although aggressive and angry, the men did not serve me. Instead, the three men questioned me, detained me and frazzled me with their keen detective work; they inspected my pockets for a lighter, checked my hood for pieces of glass and held out my hands to look for scars.

Within fifteen extremely long minutes, a Winnipeg Police Services Crown Victoria approached the beige Crown Victoria that I was held prisoner on. Two white officers approached the situation. First, the officers questioned the three Indo-Canadian men. Second, the officers questioned me. Naturally I did not drop dime on myself – I decided to wait X amount of years to confess in a column on the World Wide Web – and fortunately, the shattered glass from the minivan was shaken out of my hood by the Indo-Canadian men, and there was no evidence of my guilt. I admitted to the police officers that I was drinking at the skid-row establishment. They asked me for identification. Although drunk, I was not stupid; rather than showing a Native-Canadian Status Card, I used student identification, because my complexion is that of April Raintree and visually I do not look aboriginal.

On November 25, 2006, Sean Bell was shot to death in a car by five New York City police officers on the eve of his wedding. The police fired 50 bullets. One of the bullets fired at Bell and his friends nearly hit passengers at a nearby Airtrain terminal. Bell was to tryout for the L.A. Dodgers. The police suspected a gun was inside the car that Bell was killed in, but no gun turned up.

Michael Palladino of the Detectives’ Endowment Association believes the officers responded to the threat of the car being used as a weapon. Witnesses to the brutal shooting fear the NYPD will retaliate if they testify against the police officers.

Patrick Lynch, President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said, “Our police officers who pulled the trigger that day were put in a terrible situation,” but I cannot understand how their “terrible situation” is comparable to the terrible situation of being identified as suspects, being shot at 50 times and being marked due to skin color.

Final back alley verdict:

It was suggested that I do not become a patron of the downtown dive. The police did not arrest me. Instead, they drove me home and I was treated like one of their own that made the mistake of being surrounded by downtown depression.

I am guilty for mischief under $5000, but the Winnipeg Police Service is guilty of not listening to three Indo-Canadian men that could not seek equal justice from a police department paid for by their tax dollars.

Skin color should not be a crime. However, too many times undereducated police officers make skin color a crime.

What can people do when the bullies are the protectors?

Jordan Chalifoux

Latest posts by Jordan Chalifoux (see all)


  1. yo, this guy just wrote like a pretty serious and important article and the only thing you have to say about it is that you spell things like a fucking englishman. Stay on the And Jordan, shit is fucked up. Keep writing, and stay warm up north.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>