According to a recent story by Quartz, the Dutch city of Rotterdam will soon allow local police to confiscate clothing from kids that “look too poor to wear them.”
The program will “[target] young men in designer clothes that the police believe they couldn’t afford legally. If it’s not clear how the person paid for the clothing, the police may confiscate it,” the story says.
While the punishment is clear, what, precisely, the program’s founders hope to achieve with it is not. A police spokesperson who was quoted as saying, “we’re going to look at how they get those clothes, where did they buy them, from where the money came that they buy [sic] them,” would not verify what “types of crime they’re hoping to reduce with the program.”
Further muddying the moral waters were comments made by the Chief of Rotterdam police, who told Dutch paper De Telegraaf, “We’re going to undress them on the street,” which means that this absurdly heavy-handed faux-justice will be carried out in the moment, and publicly, with local police officers acting as judge, jury and executioner.
Not surprisingly, “critics have slammed the idea,” saying that “it will be legally difficult to confiscate anything, and more concerning, it could lead to racial profiling.”
As one Rotterdam resident summed it up: “Police won’t consider a white guy walking around in an expensive jacket to be a potential drug dealer. But it’ll be a different story with minorities.”
You can read more about it at Quartz.