Monday, August 11, 2014

Is It Open Season On Black Men?

UPDATE 11/26/2014: Much has been made of forensics saying that Michael Brown was not shot in the back. Forensic specialists conclude eye witnesses that say that Officer Darren Wilson shot at Michael Brown while he was running away, were simply wrong. They further conclude that because there were no shots in the back that Darren Wilson is credible and simply told the truth.


But we remember the testimony of Piaget Crenshaw who says that she saw and heard Darren Wilson shooting at Michael Brown.while Michael Brown was running away. Now, why would they conclude that she was wrong? There is only one reason...They ASSUME that Darren Wilson was an accurate shooter. If that is the case, then why are none of the shots that hit the target center mass of Mike Brown's body? It is quite easy to understand why there were no shots in the back. Darren Wilson was not a good shooter.

***THIS WAS TOP STORY ON NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS 8/11/2014***

18 Yr. Old Michael Brown
18 year old, UNARMED, Black youth Michael Brown, was killed by the Police in Ferguson, MO Saturday afternoon Aug. 9th, 2014. According to the police, Michael was a participant in an "altercation" with police when "someone" fired a shot at the police. The policeman, after being pushed into his car, responded by coming up and shooting multiple shots. Reportedly, Michael was hit by most of these multiple shots and killed.

Eyewitnesses however have somewhat of a different version of events which has stirred considerable controversy. One eyewitness, who happens to be the other young man whom the police stopped with Michael, Dorian Johnson, reported that the police initially stopped both the youths without provocation and proceeded to try to place Michael in the squad car forcibly. Michael resisted. The police evidently shot though no shots were fired at him/them. Johnson went on to say this:
“He shot again and once my friend felt that shot he turned around and put his hands in the air and started to get down, and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”...“We wasn’t causing no harm to nobody [sic],”...“We had no weapons on us at all.”

Another witness affirms Johnson's account of the story by saying:
He kicked the door opened trying to hit him with the door. The door flew back and hit his leg. He pulled his gun out and shot inside the car, trying to hit [Mike]. [Mike] got out the car. Dude on his knees like this, “Bruh, don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me.” Shot him dead in the head and then walked up to his body and shot him four more times. Looked at his eyes, paused for a minute and shot him four more times. They talking about [he] was running from the police. For one, [his] shorts was way down here, he got on flip flops, how the f-ck he running from the police?  
He wasn’t running from the police. The Ferguson market didn’t even call the police. He didn’t steal sh*t. The police just wanted to do the sh*t. He saw a black dude, like 300lbs, 6’4. He’s like f-ck it, I’m not going to fight him. Yeah, suicide type sh*t. My dude was already on his knees like, “Bruh, don’t shoot me.” His hands threw up. What kind of sh*t is that? Yeah a black dude got shot…it ain’t no this dude? He didn’t do [anything] to you. Y’all didn’t get sh*t like that. It’s more than that. Why you messing with no call.

Yet another female witness on NBC nightly News claims and affirms the alternate versions of the story are true. She claimed that Michael, was running away from the Police, stopped at their demand, turned around with his hands up, but was still shot in the head and the chest by the police and fell to the ground. 

In all cases, except for the police version, Michael was not resisting arrest in the end and was still shot to death by a police officer. 

Controversy & Unrest In The Community & Family

Needless to say that this event has sparked considerable outrage particularly from the inner city residents of Ferguson and even from residents of nearby St. Louis. As late as Sunday afternoon, what was slated to be a peaceful vigil in commemoration of Michael ended in multiple arrests, looting, destroyed business establishments, bottles and rocks being thrown at the police and a considerable community riot that continues to the time of this writing. The dissatisfaction has been leveled at the local police who came in riot gear and full force, over some 200 strong, with dogs, in effort to defend the city and bring order.

School, which was scheduled to begin again on Monday Aug. 11th, was cancelled for fear of the ongoing community unrest and violence in the streets. under direction of US Attorney General Eric Holder, the FBI has been called in to conduct a concurrent investigation into Michael's death looking for any possible civil rights violations which may have occurred.

According to all reports, the situation on the ground is yet touch and go and there is still yet violence and demonstrations in the streets of Ferguson, MO and STL. Michael's family (Mother & Father) have called for peace, due process and for citizens to let the process of justice work stating:

"The violence needs to stop. The support is needed, but not the violence. The violence needs to stop!" ~ Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown's Mother.  

Black Leaders

Referencing the tragedy, Black leaders have all around the country have called for peace from the citizens. In a written statement NAACP President Cornell W. Brooks stated:
"Michael Brown was preparing to begin college, and now his family is preparing to bury their child — his life cut short in a tragic encounter with the police."..."Even as we call for accountability by those charged with protecting the community, we call on the community to act — collectively and calmly until we secure justice for the family of Michael Brown,"
Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network says that Michael's grandfather has reached out to him asking him:
“to come to St. Louis in light of the police killing of his grandson to assist the family in achieving a fair investigation and justice.”
Esaw Garner & Al Sharpton
One more thing on this, often when Black leaders speak up on issues, conservative Whites criticize them as "taking advantage of people's pain". While some of that may be attributable to the actions of some activists themselves, in many of these cases, including all them discussed in this article, if there was no Black leader or voice bringing things to attention, the ESTABLISHMENT, controlled primarily by White individuals would not give many of these issues the time of day. In most cases, unless we Black people, make it news and bring the issues to the forefront, it will stay in the background all day long. In addition, I see NONE of the critics providing relief for the families affected by these horrible tragedies, wiping the tears of the families or holding
their hands when survivors need relief.

After having performed over 40 community prayer vigils in my community since 2008, in which death by homicide was the cause of the community gathering, I can proudly say, that I am GLAD to be there for every family to speak toward the healing of the community and justice for the affected individuals. Just in case you haven't figured it out, these type of things affect ALL of us. 

So I am THANKFUL for these and other Black Leaders who make and take a stand on issues of national importance. THIS is one such issue among many that we, as a community, both Black and White, must address and overcome.

Open Season On Black Men?

The St. Louis area will certainly never be the same after this event, but there is even more to the whole set of events than meets the eye. This killing along with others in which Black men have lost their lives at the hands of authority in recent times, causes us to continue to question both the motive, motivation and operation of the police departments and authorities in general.

Here's a snippet of the concern:

Social commentor Marc L. Hill notes that a Black man is killed by "authorities" in America on average every 28 hours and in most cases the man being killed is not rioting or inciting community violence. That is alarming all by itself but let me reference some recent examples:   

According to the website Hip-Hop & Politics, between Jan. 1st and March 31st 2012, 28 Black men were killed by police, security officials, or self appointed community "peace keepers". Of the 28 people killed, 18 were unarmed, and 8 were alleged to have been in possession of non-lethal weapons. 7 of them appeared to be emotionally disturbed and 10 of them were engaged in illegal or potentially illegal activity.

One of the more popular murders that occurred during that time (in 3 months) was the murder of Trayvon Martin, who's killer, George Zimmerman was acquitted, but who has also faced considerable legal troubles since.

Although Trayvon Martin was in Florida, there seems to always be problems in New York as well. Recently, Eric Garner, a 43 year old Black man AND FATHER OF 6, was choked to death by police in Staten Island, NY. This was after the police engaged him and AFTER he broke up a fight on the street. Although this murder was caught on video the police initially denied what was clearly obvious to all of us looking on; that they and their strong arm tactics used by the NYPD were the cause of Mr. Garner's death. The whole incident arose from "suspected" sale of individual cigarettes by Mr. Garner to an unnamed  person or individual. The tactics were initiated by police whom Garner knew and claimed that had been otherwise "harassing" him. The police, still yet defending themselves said this:
Eric & Esaw Garner
"We believe, however, that if he (Garner) had not resisted the lawful order of the police officers placing him under arrest, this tragedy would not have occurred." ~ Patrick "Lynch",  President of the City's Patrolman's "Benevolent" Assn. (quotations added)
Even though NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has vowed to retrain all officers in the use of force, he continues to justify the officers use of force by stating that they should continue to uphold policy regarding even minor violations such as selling loose cigarettes.

The fact is that we think so too, but KILLING a man over a cigarette simply isn't a good way to make a difference in the community, unless that difference is intended to terrorize certain segments of the community.

Next? Death over the 17oz drink cup????

Are Black Men Safe At Walmart?

On Tuesday Aug. 5th in Beavercreek, OH a 22 year old Black man, John Crawford,  was considering buying a Crosman MK-177 Air Rifle that was sold at the local Walmart. Evidently Mr. Crawford was not moving quickly enough to purchase, and being Black with a gun was far too dangerous of a combination both for the police and the customers of the store. The Beavercreek police shot and killed Mr. Crawford claiming that he was unresponsive to their demands for him to drop the weapon (which he was purchasing). In the process another customer, 37 year old Angela Williams, died, (probably of a heart attack) as she tried to dodge the incident.

In this case it was a 2 for one deal...the BLACK LIGHT'S OUT SPECIAL! That story and news links can be found HERE

Community Policing & The "Broken Windows" FAILURE!
Many do not know that there are community policing tactics and a community policing philosophy. One of those tactics is the tactic called "Broken Windows" this philosophy seeks to connect public disorder to crime rate and therefore making the case. This is why in every situation, police are not only interested in doing police work, they are also interested in telling people where to stand, go, how to look, what to do and not to do, much of which is well above and beyond typical police duties. Now, go back and look at the video links above and ask yourself why it was more important for the police to control certain individuals in the crown than to give Eric Garner medical care? They told everyone to get back while they themselves stood over the body, flipping Mr. Garner back and forth, claiming that he was breathing although he was clearly unresponsive. 

This FAILURE of a policing philosophy was introduced to the public by social scientists James Wilson and George Kelling in 1982. The tactic revolves around abject control through the incitement of fear and raising even "petty" offences to a high level, and addressing those offences with overwhelming force. This tactic is used and adopted by communities of all sizes, but is primarily implemented within Urban areas (areas where there are a lot of Black folk or cross racial diversity) and is used as a deterrent to crime by instilling fear in the heart of the criminals (by way of the entire community even their family members) and making those individuals come under subjection by eliminating community "disorder" (as they define it) readily and quickly. 

NY City Mayor de Blasio (lft)
NYPD Police Commissioner Bratton 
When we look at Commissioner Bill Bratton's reluctance to condemn the over-heavy handed actions of his police over a "suspected" single cigarette sale, we shouldn't be surprised. Not only has Bratton's NYPD adopted "Broken Windows" as a community policing tactic, but Bratton has also called one of the co-authors of the tactic, George Kelling, his "intellectual mentor"! Is it any wonder why NYPD has had such an overwhelming record of killing Black men over the years? 

On the other hand, (and THANK GOD that there is more reasonable thinking than that of Bratton and others who have adopted the sorry policy of "broken windows") Ralph B. Taylor in his BOOK, "Breaking Away from Broken Windows: Baltimore Neighborhoods and the Nationwide Fight Against Crime, Grime, Fear, and Decline" [ISBN 0813397588] asserts that if a community is looking to make a long term impact to decrease crime that community leaders should work together to assure the economic futures of the individuals or citizens that live in the affected areas. 

In other words, when it is found that individuals have to sell single cigarettes to live, wouldn't it be more wise to address the economics of the situation? What is the cost of living? Is it too high? Then does this man have a JOB? Is he ill and can't work, or can the community find a way to give him job training so that he can work?  instead of any of these things, we are supposed to believe that it is everyone's "best interest" to kill a man and then say, you simply "followed policy"??? R U SERIOUS???

Conclusion:

As you can see, after a topical examination of the issues, community policing and the seeming state sanctioned murder of Black men is an important issue for not only the Black community, but the entire community. We should ask our police departments, "What is your community policing strategy?" This is vitally important to know and the stability of our entire community hangs in the balance.

How the police engage the community is of necessary and utmost importance. Believe me, we want police work to work in our favor, and no one suggests undermining police authority, but we also want FAIRNESS and JUSTICE, and we want the killing of Black men to stop. 

Maybe, this and other strategies, such as the "war on drugs" is an extension of slavery, when the Black population had to be "controlled" by the established powers. We can only speculate and look at the evidence. What we do know is that when a Black man is confronted by the police, the Constitutional question of "probable cause" and "unlawful search and seizure" does not seem to mean too much.

I have had to tell my son, who is BLACK like me, to not give police anything by which they may have an opportunity to look at you twice. Don't even question, simply take whatever punishment they dish out and handle it later...that is SAD...SAD because, no one payed any attention to Dr. Martin L. King Jr...There is NO ATTENTION paid to the content of one's character...SMH!!!!!!

Blessed!   


MSNBC VIDEO:

Read:

20 Unarmed Black Men Shot by police

Broken Windows & Eric Garner

  

5 comments:

  1. This is what I said on facebook regarding this story and the events we see unfolding in the St. Louis area:

    Now, people need not to be confused and stop letting people redefine the issues...Separate the violent demonstrations and results from what really happened in this case...

    1- Everyone cares about Black on Black crime and many of those involved in this case meet and continue to meet with the hip-hop community regarding the projection and promotion of violent images in their music and videos. Advocates like Sharpton have done that over and over and are vocal when Blacks kill one another all the time. However, some have a focus based on racial elements of social injustice. If anyone thinks that's a way to "keep one's name in the media" they are STUPID. There are all kinds of ways to get media attention without delving into the cesspool of utter hatred trying to correct injustice.

    2- This young man was shot and killed and he was unarmed. Everyone, including the police, acknowledge that. The WITNESS(es) says that the gun went off in the car because the police shot the boy from the car. The young man DID NOT reach into the car, neither was he EVER in the car. He was grabbed and was pulling away, but was shot anyway. That gunshot DOES NOT indicate that there was a struggle for the gun as the unnamed policeman asserts...Witness say there was no gun struggle.

    3- The looting is a separate issue and has no bearing on the CRIME that the police committed.

    4- Looters make Black people look no worse than White officers who kill citizens. Only that officer is guilty of his crime, the whole White race IS NOT guilty just like all Black folk are NOT violent.

    5- Folk should spend some time understanding the psychology of looting. Looters primarily loot stores which are not primarily owned by Black folk. This is an act of defiance and an act which seeks to equalize social injustice. The attitude that "non-Blacks" that have profited and been made successful off of the backs and dollars of Blacks, "owe" the community in its time of distress. That psychology is not right, but that is the way it is. Blacks don't generally go to other neighborhoods and communities to do damage or destroy. Blacks generally are not predatorial. We need to understand the psychology of oppression and anarchy that leads to such acts instead of criticizing it so vehemently.

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  2. Now we have police calling the protesters "animals" and arresting citizens and media...This is a complete TRAVESTY!!!!!! Everyone is NOT rioting!!!! In America we are STILL supposed to have RIGHTS...aren't we?

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  3. So Thomas Jackson, Ferguson police chief, puts out "photos" of this young man supposedly roughing up and employee and stealing cigarillos. Did he seriously expect anyone to think that KILLING a young man was justification for him stealing? Aside from that, he simultaneously admitted that he "wasn't sure" if the picture and video was of Michael Brown...He could not say for sure if Michael Brown had paid for the merchandise (although I believe that Dorian Johnson confessed that) and NONE of that gives the police (who didn't know about the theft) the right to gun this boy down while his hands were in the air AFTER he had already been shot at least twice...

    Then STOP all of this mess about Sharpton and Jackson stirring things up for attention...That is STUPID! As one who has been on the side of fighting for justice for individuals, there are better and easier ways to get attention. These men don't need that. They are doing what should be done in absence of them that won't do it...SPEAKING UP and BRINGING ATTENTION to the issues at hand...

    I don't care how much, Hannity, Limbaugh or O'Rielly don't like them, THEY are a part of our community. When is the last time either of those talking heads came to the community and served the needs of ANY Black family under distress such as this?....Let's see......NEVER!!!!! SHUT-UP Pundits!!!! You know NOTHING of the real struggle. People make mistakes because they are people. There is no mistake in this one.

    Get RID of broken windows and you will go a long way to solving the problem...then deescalate the prison mentality that you want to instill in schools...Neither school nor society are prisons and Black folk ARE NOT cattle for you to prod...I know you think that, but that is really not the case....

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  4. Now the Ferguson police chief, Jackson, claimed along with the media that Michael Brown had committed "strong arm robbery" prior to him being gunned down by this policeman.

    First, Michael may have and probably did take the cigarillos. under normal circumstances taking something from a store would be SHOPLIFTING.

    According to Findlaw.com shoplifting is: "Shoplifting" generally refers to the theft of merchandise from a store or place of business. Shoplifting is a type of larceny, which simply means taking the property of someone else without their permission, and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property taken.

    Whereas robbery: Many states define robbery as theft/larceny of property or money through the offender's use of physical force or fear against a victim. Where a deadly weapon such as a gun is used or the victim suffers injury, the robbery may be charged as "armed" or "aggravated." Unlike burglary, the crime of robbery almost always requires the presence of a victim who suffers actual injury, or is threatened with harm.

    Strong arm robbery or "Robbery by sudden snatching" means:The taking of money or other property from the victim's person, with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim or the owner of the money or other property, when, in the course of the taking, the victim was or became aware of the taking."

    So the store owner trying to stop him and Michael denying the store owner's attempt to do so is claimed to make this a 'strong armed robbery" as opposed to a shoplift or a simple robbery.

    NONE of that has any bearing on the FACT that he was shot-down by multiple shots fired from the police. So it really doesn't matter, because they can't try him of anything whether shoplifting, robbery, or strong armed robbery. then to assume that it speaks to the his "mindset" when confronted by the police and that he would have been ready to be violent towards the police is simply garbage. If anything he would have wanted to be "cool" as to not attract additional suspicion.

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  5. Well, here we go tonight at 8:00PM CST. the Grand Jury decides whether charges will be brought. Now, I know a lot of people charged and in jail without a grand jury. Why is there one necessary here? In addition, why is this ignorant Governor sending "mental health" professionals to council people to whom he claims have a "disagreement" with the law? Is he serious? What an ignorant person and silly sentiments!

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