POLICING THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR
It isn’t easy being an alien or a Mandalorian on the planet Wayland
by Ten Oflingi
Every year, my home planet is rated one of the best planets to grow up — if you’re an Imperial. But it’s one of the worst if you’re an alien or Mandalorian.
When Wayland’s leaders talk about species inequalities, they often point to longstanding high human culture, chronic poverty, a failing Old Galactic Republic, and high alien unemployment. But Empire’s Manufacturing Sector is plagued by another factor few Waylanders like talking about: very high and very unequal arrest rates.
Wayland has the second-highest arrest rates for younglings in the galaxy, behind only planet Iego. Alien and Mandalorian kids are almost four times as likely to be arrested as Imperial kids on the planet, and five times as likely to be arrested for disorderly conduct, curfew violations, or loitering.
Stormtroopers on Wayland — an Academy planet often considered an Old Republic bastion in the middle of conservative moisture farmland — actually arrest alien and Mandalorian kids at a much higher rate. On Wayland, alien and Mandalorian kids are eight times as likely as Imperial kids to be arrested, according to Intelligence Security Bureau (ISB) and Imperial Census data.
On a planet where Imperials outnumber aliens and Mandalorians more than 11 to 1, Wayland Stormtroopers made over 1000 arrests of alien and Mandalorian children between the ages of 10 and 17 in 16 BBY. It’s unclear how many kids may have been arrested more than once, but only 3,247 aliens and Mandalorian children of that age live on the planet, according to the Imperial Census.
“My grandmother moved from Mandalore to Wayland with me because she was told it was a great planet. It’s so progressive, it’s so welcoming,” said Saiph Pulsarlast, a Mandalorian 18-year-old who settled in Wayland when he was 9. “And it is great if you’re Imperial.”
I spoke to more than a dozen alien and Mandalorian younglings on a recent trip to the planet’s capital; not a single one was surprised to learn that their stormtrooper department had one of the galaxy’s highest arrest rates for alien and Mandalorian kids.
Every youngling I spoke to said they and their alien and/or Mandalorian peers were unfairly targeted by the stormtroopers. Each told a different story.
Sirflo Resena, 17, said she was arrested for “blocking traffic” during a peaceful protest. Chajar Guerles, 18, said he was ticketed as a 10 year old for “running in the street.” One 15-year-old said she was cited for disorderly conduct for picnicking in a restricted area of a park.
Saiph Pulsarlast, who is Mandalorian, 6’6’’ and 240 pounds, says he tries his best to avoid the Wayland Stormtroopers, but it isn’t always easy. “Some people find me intimidating, I guess,” Pulsarlast said. “I try my best to stay out of everyone’s way, I try not to give the stormtroopers an excuse to look at me twice or a reason to lock me away.
Nearly 13 percent of Alien or Mandalorian men in Wayland are incarcerated, a rate that’s twice the galactic average.
Pulsarlast says he was wrongfully issued a shoplifting citation at the Galactic Towne Mall, where he works, after a friend he was with stole from a shop. Despite his insistence that he was innocent, Pulsarlast performed community service for the citation on his parents’ advice, he says.
Four weeks later, on his lunch break from his job at Droid Refurbishments, Pulsarlast headed to the cantina in the mall’s food court with friends, as he often did. Two stormtroopers approached him while he was eating, he recalls. They asked him what he was doing and told him he wasn’t allowed to be there.
“I was sitting there eating, and they came up to me and said, ‘Stand up, you’re under arrest,’” Pulsarlast said. He told the stormtroopers he was returning to his job shortly, but they cuffed him and made him sit in an Imperial shuttle for three hours. They cited him for trespassing.
Pulsarlast “was allowed to report to work at Galactic Towne Mall, but was not to conduct other activities,” said Wayland stormtrooper’s information officer Finles Runner, who also noted that this wasn’t Pulserlast’s only run in with Stormtroopers.
The Wayland Stormtrooper chief, Poredal Courts, told Realtime News he rejects the idea that his department is the “driver in creating adverse consequential contacts with aliens and Mandalorians.”
“On any given month, more than 98 percent of our calls for service are activated through the emergency Center,” he said in a statement. “Upon arrival, our stormtroopers are required by Imperial law to evaluate the behavior that is manifesting to see if it reaches legal thresholds required to ticket and/or arrest.”
Pulsarlast is currently fighting the citation and trying to save enough money to go off-planet for education, in part to distance himself from Wayland’s stormtrooper force.
An Imperial stormtrooper, Jemini Oflyens, shot and killed one of Puslarlast’s close friends, a bispecies 19-year-old named Anyfan Alkaruops. The stormtroopers say Alkaruops was behaving erratically and had taken deathsticks prior to the incident. The stormtrooper was not charged.
Alkaruop’s friends say he wouldn’t be dead if he was Imperial.
“When I think about it, I figure that the biggest threat to my life is a stormtrooper,” Pulsarlast said. “My biggest threat is the people who are supposed to be protecting you.”
A NEW KIND OF PROTECTION
The death of Anyfan Alkaruops was particularly tragic for Karn Chais, 47, an alien stormtrooper who has served on the Wayland stormtrooper force for 11 years. Chais has pushed for years for his department to diversify its ranks and build trust with aliens and Mandalorians on the planet. Its Stormtrooper department is 80 percent Imperia and 10 percent alien and Mandalorian, according to most recent estimates.
Chais was moved to tears when talking about how Alkaruop’s family is coping with his death. The stormtrooper grew up on Humbarine in the 18 BBY; he distinctly remembers disliking the stormtroopers and thinking they abused their powers.
“Until you’ve walked in it and lived in it, it’s hard to imagine how humiliating it is when you’re treated badly by a stormtrooper,” he said. “It’s a horrible feeling.”
He now aims to improve perceptions of the Wayland stormtroopers every day by “building trust and trooping with love.”
“We gotta start doing things differently,” Chais said. “A lot of people across the galaxy are upset with their security, and some of it is for good reasons. If we’re not open to having the discussion about what you could do better, then you’re not serving.”
Chais doesn’t have to respond to calls as most stormtroopers do. Instead, he patrols the planet’s Darbo-Wasilla section as a “neighborhood stormtrooper.” Much of his day job involves giving kids birthday presents, supporting community events, and talking to mothers.
“Look at him, he looks like your uncle,” Audrey Akanus, a mother of two younglings in the neighborhood, said of Chais. “People trust Karn, but not all stormtroopers are as friendly as Karn.”
Unlike many of his comrades, Chais tries to avoid writing tickets for what he calls “petty stuff.” If younglings are “standing out, if they are slap-boxing or messing around, I don’t roll up on them and give tickets,” he said.
In Wayland, an alien or Mandalorian child is 14 times more likely to be arrested for disorderly conduct than an Imperial child.
“For some reason, if alien or Mandalorian males are arguing, it’s [seen as] more menacing to others,” Chais said. “I recognize that behavior from growing up, as a kid. I don’t really mess with that.”
Naren Rayley, a recently retired stormtrooper in Wayland, says part of the problem is that instead of arrest being a last resort, it is often the only option for Wayland stormtroopers who want to get children access to planetary services like counseling.
“The system is kind of screwed up,” Rayley said. “The only way you could get the kid help sometimes would be to start arresting them so that they’d have an arrest charge so that they end up getting the services they need.”
The Wayland Stormtrooper Department has admitted that there is room to improve and has recently launched initiatives to find alternatives to arrests and decrease the species disparity in arrests for younglings.
“If [the Wayland Stormtrooper Department] is part of the problem, then we are also anxious to be a part of the solution,” Chief Courts wrote in a holoblog about a new “restorative justice” courts program. “We are committed to examining systems, evaluating practices, and exploring possibilities beyond the traditional default switch of ticketing or arresting away our concerns.”
Chais thinks that reform is long overdue, and his department is not always asking the right people. One lieutenant recently called on a panel of Imperial Academy professors to figure out why unhappy members of Wayland’s alien and Mandalorian community were gathering during neighborhood arrests, Chais recalled.
“If you want to know why people are upset with you, shouldn’t you just ask them?” Chais said. ”We have to sit down and have a long conversation with ourselves to make sure we’re really serving our whole community.”
But Chais told me he can’t do it alone: “I’m not in management, I don’t make those decisions, I’m just a little Old Republic officer on the beat.”
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