I wrote this op-ed for the New York Times on why nuisance abatement laws force stores in low-income neighborhoods to operate almost as an arm of law enforcement.
Ever since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers on May 25 after a grocery store reported that he had used a counterfeit $20 there, Muslim Americans have been asking why the store’s workers called the cops in the first place.
Like many grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods, Cup Foods is owned and largely staffed by an immigrant Muslim family, and the police call has prompted some to see racist motives.
Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the Palestinian-American owner of Cup Foods, the grocery store, was away when a 17-year-old worker made the call. A statement from the store referred to a “state policy that requires stores” to notify the police about counterfeit bills and Mr. Abumayyaleh described the practice as “standard protocol” for businesses. He vowed that his store will no longer do so “until the police stop killing innocent people.”
Read the rest here.