How Poor Young Black Men Run from the Police
Alice Goffman is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose book, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City (out this month on University of Chicago Press), has been getting far more attention than academic works usually get. The book is a result of her living in a poor black neighborhood in Philadelphia she refers to as “6th Street” for years as an undergraduate and a grad student. (She changed the names of people and places in her book.) She eventually fell in with a group of young men who were almost constantly under the threat of being arrested and jailed, often for petty probation violations or unpaid court fees. She became a “fly on the wall” and took notes as her subjects (who were also her friends) attempted to make a living, support each other, and maintain relationships with their loved ones, all while attempting to evade the authorities. Goffman’s work shows how the threat of imprisonment hangs over the lives of so many in communities like 6th Street and warps families and friendships in the process. It’s an uncommonly close look at how lives are lived under police surveillance and should be read by anyone with an interest in poverty, policing, or mass incarceration. This excerpt is from the second chapter, which is titled “Techniques for Evading the Authorities.”
A young man concerned that the police will take him into custody comes to see danger and risk in the mundane doings of everyday life. To survive outside prison, he learns to hesitate when others walk casually forward, to see what others fail to notice, to fear what others trust or take for granted.
One of the first things that such a man develops is a heightened awareness of police officers—what they look like, how they move, where and when they are likely to appear. He learns the models of their undercover cars, the ways they hold their bodies and the cut of their hair, the timing and location of their typical routes. His awareness of the police never seems to leave him; he sees them sitting in plain clothes at the mall food court with their children; he spots them in his rearview mirror coming up behind him on the highway, from ten cars and three lanes away. Sometimes he finds that his body anticipates their arrival with sweat and a quickened heartbeat before his mind consciously registers any sign of their appearance.
When I first met Mike, I thought his awareness of the police was a special gift, unique to him. Then I realized Chuck also seemed to know when the police were coming. So did Alex. When they sensed the police were near, they did what other young men in the neighborhood did: they ran and hid.
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How Poor Young Black Men Run from the Police

Alice Goffman is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose book, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City (out this month on University of Chicago Press), has been getting far more attention than academic works usually get. The book is a result of her living in a poor black neighborhood in Philadelphia she refers to as “6th Street” for years as an undergraduate and a grad student. (She changed the names of people and places in her book.) She eventually fell in with a group of young men who were almost constantly under the threat of being arrested and jailed, often for petty probation violations or unpaid court fees. She became a “fly on the wall” and took notes as her subjects (who were also her friends) attempted to make a living, support each other, and maintain relationships with their loved ones, all while attempting to evade the authorities. Goffman’s work shows how the threat of imprisonment hangs over the lives of so many in communities like 6th Street and warps families and friendships in the process. It’s an uncommonly close look at how lives are lived under police surveillance and should be read by anyone with an interest in poverty, policing, or mass incarceration. This excerpt is from the second chapter, which is titled “Techniques for Evading the Authorities.”

A young man concerned that the police will take him into custody comes to see danger and risk in the mundane doings of everyday life. To survive outside prison, he learns to hesitate when others walk casually forward, to see what others fail to notice, to fear what others trust or take for granted.

One of the first things that such a man develops is a heightened awareness of police officers—what they look like, how they move, where and when they are likely to appear. He learns the models of their undercover cars, the ways they hold their bodies and the cut of their hair, the timing and location of their typical routes. His awareness of the police never seems to leave him; he sees them sitting in plain clothes at the mall food court with their children; he spots them in his rearview mirror coming up behind him on the highway, from ten cars and three lanes away. Sometimes he finds that his body anticipates their arrival with sweat and a quickened heartbeat before his mind consciously registers any sign of their appearance.

When I first met Mike, I thought his awareness of the police was a special gift, unique to him. Then I realized Chuck also seemed to know when the police were coming. So did Alex. When they sensed the police were near, they did what other young men in the neighborhood did: they ran and hid.

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Last night John McAfee was picked up by the Guatemala special police task force for questioning about his illegal entry into the country. His lawyer, Mr. Guerra, accompanied him to Emigrason Albergue in Guatemala City and is attempting to get John out before his press conference tomorrow. Updates to come.

(Source: Vice Magazine)

John McAfee states his alibi on record, buys a new suit and talks to reporters in Guatemala.

John McAfee states his alibi on record, buys a new suit and talks to reporters in Guatemala.

Here is a small taste of the footage we have taken over the last five days with John McAfee.

(Source: Vice Magazine)

John McAfee Is in Guatemala City and He Just Hired the Best Lawyer in the Country

Photos by Robert King
This morning I had a delicious breakfast of crepes and fresh fruit with John McAfee and his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend, Sam Vanegas, at a luxurious resort in Guatemala City. We awoke early, preparing for our meeting with powerful Guatemalan lawyer and former Attorney General Telésforo Guerra. He also happens to be Sam’s uncle.Less than 30 minutes ago, after explaining his situation in detail, John retained the services of Mr. Guerra. He has agreed to help John untangle the web of confusion and—according to John—corruption that has taken over his life in Belize since April.“I’ve been on the run for three weeks,” John said to Mr. Guerra. “I crossed the border into Guatemala with the reporters from VICE and your daughter. We have passports, but we have no entry stamps into Guatemala or exit stamps from Belize. I need a lawyer, sir.”They shook hands, we handed over our passports to Mr. Guerra, and John professed his love for Sam: “I have known Samantha for a year and a half. She is a remarkable young woman. I love her very much and we are getting married. Unfortunately you will have a potential criminal in the family. My apologies for that, and I will do the best I can to make it up to you.” Mr. Guerra smiled and chuckled.John’s face relaxed as a wave of exhaustion and relief washed over him. Later in my hotel room, after reading aloud what I had written above to the happy lovers, Sam said, “That sounds good! Finally you used your brain and not your ass.” I promise that in the coming weeks, once we wrap up our documentary and corresponding magazine piece, you will find out exactly what that means.In the coming days—most likely tomorrow—John will hold a press conference in Guatemala City at a location that is to be determined. I have been with John and Sam for the last five days, and very soon the world will be able to watch everything that happened along the way. It has been dangerous, amazing, touching, and many other adjectives that I cannot remember right now because I am so exhausted and blown away by it all.

Stay tuned for more reporting on this story as it unfolds.

John McAfee Is in Guatemala City and He Just Hired the Best Lawyer in the Country

Photos by Robert King

This morning I had a delicious breakfast of crepes and fresh fruit with John McAfee and his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend, Sam Vanegas, at a luxurious resort in Guatemala City. We awoke early, preparing for our meeting with powerful Guatemalan lawyer and former Attorney General Telésforo Guerra. He also happens to be Sam’s uncle.

Less than 30 minutes ago, after explaining his situation in detail, John retained the services of Mr. Guerra. He has agreed to help John untangle the web of confusion and—according to John—corruption that has taken over his life in Belize since April.

“I’ve been on the run for three weeks,” John said to Mr. Guerra. “I crossed the border into Guatemala with the reporters from VICE and your daughter. We have passports, but we have no entry stamps into Guatemala or exit stamps from Belize. I need a lawyer, sir.”

They shook hands, we handed over our passports to Mr. Guerra, and John professed his love for Sam: “I have known Samantha for a year and a half. She is a remarkable young woman. I love her very much and we are getting married. Unfortunately you will have a potential criminal in the family. My apologies for that, and I will do the best I can to make it up to you.” Mr. Guerra smiled and chuckled.

John’s face relaxed as a wave of exhaustion and relief washed over him. Later in my hotel room, after reading aloud what I had written above to the happy lovers, Sam said, “That sounds good! Finally you used your brain and not your ass.” I promise that in the coming weeks, once we wrap up our documentary and corresponding magazine piece, you will find out exactly what that means.

In the coming days—most likely tomorrow—John will hold a press conference in Guatemala City at a location that is to be determined. I have been with John and Sam for the last five days, and very soon the world will be able to watch everything that happened along the way. It has been dangerous, amazing, touching, and many other adjectives that I cannot remember right now because I am so exhausted and blown away by it all.


Stay tuned for more reporting on this story as it unfolds.