The ‘Stop Snitching’ policy has been a hindrance in solving many cases in our community. In the case of 16-year-old Derrion Albert, his brutal beating was recorded via camera phone, but no one came forward as a witness for one of three reasons: 1) They didn’t want to break the ‘code’, 2) They feared for their own safety and wellbeing, or 3) They want to show loyalty.

Four teens were charged with first-degree murder in Derrion Albert’s case, but the fact that bystanders stood and witnessed such a brutal crime is an outrage. Albert’s case is one of many. They may have found the culprits in that case, but there are still cases they’ve been trying to solve for years, but one thing is stopping them; witnesses are refusing to talk to the police.

Lil’ Kim served 366 days in prison four years ago after she failed to tell the grand jury what she knew about a club shooting. The murder cases of Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., and RUN DMC’s Jam Master Jay still haven’t been solved due to lack of witnesses. I’m sure everybody’s mother told them not to be a ‘tattle tail’ or ‘snitch’ on anybody, but someone’s loved one is gone forever and they’re not able to move on because they still don’t know who committed the crime.

In 2006, Busta Rhymes’ bodyguard and friend, Israel Ramirez lost his life due to gun violence outside of a recording studio. He received backlash after refusing to speak to the police about what he knew. The campaign has gotten so out of control that t-shirts and DVDs have been produced and promoted in black communities. People have failed to think about morality and have decided to promote violence in their own communities. Things would be different once promoters of the code were put in the position of Derrion Albert’s family. They would want answers if they lost a loved one too.

Everybody’s mother used to say, “Mind your own business,” or “Worry about yourself,” so what do you do, assist in solving a crime or stay silent?

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