NEW YORK CITY– A black kid who was selling M&Ms on the subway was arrested yesterday, despite the fact that he was allegedly selling them in order to “stay out of trouble.” On Saturday, sixteen-year-old DeShawn Stevenson was exiting the Brooklyn bound F train at Delancey Street in Manhattan when suddenly, a small packet of cocaine fell out of his front pocket. An undercover cop witnessed this, and he promptly placed the teenager in handcuffs. Stevenson, who is a resident of East New York, has already served two separate sentences in a juvenile detention center. One of those sentences stemmed from a previous drug related charge. The other sentence was for the possession of a concealed weapon.
The cop who made the arrest, Officer Lawrence O’Talloran, admitted to being “shocked” by Stevenson’s actions. “Since he was selling candy, I had no doubt in my mind that he was a model citizen,” said O’Talloran. “In fact, when that packet of cocaine fell out of his pocket, at first, I assumed that it was Fun Dip or something. But then I recalled from my training at the academy that it might very well be some form of narcotic.”
So how are commuters on the subway taking the news? Brooklyn resident Tim Cooper admits to feeling “betrayed.” He distinguishes between the black kids who sell candy to stay out of trouble from the black kids who sell candy to raise money for their basketball teams. “I was always afraid to purchase candy from the basketball players,” he said. “I knew that since they were exercising, they were going to get big and strong, which, in the long run, will give me less of a chance of surviving when they attack me someday. But for those who were just selling candy to stay out of trouble, well, I’m all in favor of that.” He added, “Then again, they probably stole the candy that they’re selling anyway, so they tend to lose credibility.”
That may be so, but it hasn’t stopped Rev. Al Sharpton from taking on Stevenson’s case. “DeShawn Stevenson is quite a diverse young man,” said Sharpton. “Not only was he selling drugs, but he was also selling M&Ms. That sense of entrepreneurialism should be encouraged. But since he’s African-American, he was arrested. It’s discrimination, plain and simple. And it is discrimination that fails to melt not only in the mouth, but in the hand as well.”
A trial date has been set for December 21.
October 13, 2007