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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Stop Snitchin Slogan Taken Seriously By Witnesses

From cbsnews.com: In most communities, a person who sees a murder and helps the police put the killer behind bars is called a witness. But in many inner-city neighborhoods in this country that person is called a "snitch."

"Stop snitchin'" is a catchy hip-hop slogan that embodies and encourages this attitude. You can find it on everything from rap music videos to clothing. "Stop snitchin'" once meant "don’t tell on others if you’re caught committing a crime."

But as CNN's Anderson Cooper reports for 60 Minutes, it has come to mean something much more dangerous: "don’t cooperate with the police – no matter who you are."

As a result, police say, witnesses are not coming forward. Murders are going unsolved.

Reluctance to talk to police has always been a problem in poor, predominantly African-American communities, but cops and criminologists say in recent years something has changed: fueled by hip-hop music, promoted by major corporations, what was once a backroom code of silence among criminals, is now being marketed like never before. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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