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The 'No Snitch' Culture

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 9:00 am
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Life is imitating art in cities all over North America. The hip-hop mantra "stop snitchin" has become a real movement. In their rhymes, MC's like Ice Cube and Li'l Wayne say talking to law enforcement is a death sentence. Hip-hopper Cam'ron even told 60 minutes there's never any reason to say anything more than "what's up?" to a peace officer. In Akron, a 17-year-old decided he'd rather go to prison than give evidence in court. The upshot? An accused killer was set free. It's not just Ohio, of course. The anti-snitch culture is alive and well in places as far afield as Denver and Toronto. And of course, it's not unique to hip-hop culture. Police forces famously have their own unspoken code of conduct: some refer to it as the thin blue line. But with the homicides in the city of Cleveland topping a hundred this month and so many of them going unsolved, the stakes seem to have gotten higher. So, is the code of the streets more of a deterrent than the penal code? If it is, what can be done? We'll talk about the 'no-snitch' culture Tuesday morning at nine.


Khalid Samad, Peace in the 'Hood
Charles See, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry
Bob Dyer, columnist, The Akron Beacon Journal

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