Slate.com’s Justin Peters is dubious of a piece in TheAtlantic.com by Bobby Constantino, a white former prosecutor who puts on a suit, goes to Brooklyn, and tries to get arrested for possession of graffiti instruments. No one will arrest him, and Constantino concludes that the justice system works very differently for white people than it does for black people. Peters says, “Constantino's conclusion is undoubtedly true. But I'm not sure that his story does very much to prove it.”
Constantino writes that he worked as an assistant district attorney in Boston until he grew disheartened about constantly having to prosecute young black men for petty crimes for which white men never would have been arrested: “riding dirt bikes in the street, cutting through a neighbor's yard, hosting loud parties, fighting, or smoking weed.” The problem with Constantino’s experiment, says Peters, was that “we have nothing to directly compare Constantino's results against. Did the cops refrain from arresting him because he was white? Was it because he was wearing a suit?” Possibly, it was just that the police thought he didn’t intend to damage any property.