Defining Black Lives Matter – Part 3
Is Black Lives Matter a Racist, Anti-Cop Movement?
“Black Lives Matter.” People of all colors march together chanting it. Law enforcement officers have marched with protesters who support it. Yet, it’s accused by some, including politicians and former chiefs of police, of being “racist” and “anti-cop.” Why?
In looking for answers to that question, maybe this post should be sub-titled how Black Lives Matter is re-defined by opponents because that seems to be the root of the re-defining.
A piece written by Riley Lewis on The Odyssey Online articulates the misunderstanding that people have about Black Lives Matter, and how it comes about because of those who claim support for Blue Lives Matter.
“The defensive nature that surrounds the use of blue lives matter is troubling. This situation doesn’t have to be a duality; either black lives matter or blue lives matter. The lives of cops are just as valuable as the lives of black people, however black lives are not met with the same level of respect. We aren’t asking for superiority over all other lives when we say Black Lives Matter. We’re asking for equal treatment. With the amount of videos that display unnecessary use of force against African American people, it is almost impossible to claim there isn’t an issue with the treatment of people of color in this nation. “
That peeked my interest, so I researched Blue Lives Matter online. It turns out that they have a Facebook page and a website. The Facebook page gives a description for itself which says in pertinent part;
“The name of Blue Lives Matter originated from the incident in Ferguson, Missouri; however, the initiative has been a long fought battle in the history of law enforcement. In today’s evolving society, an increasing number of citizens fail to accept responsibility for their actions and attempt to escape the consequences through outward blame.”
The Blue Lives Matter website states that it is a “media company” and
“The officers who founded this organization were motivated by the heroic actions of Officer Darren Wilson, and many others, and decided to create this organization in the hopes that it could prevent more officers from being hurt.’
The site doesn’t say how Darren Wilson was hurt. It is reasonable to think that they are referring to the investigation. However, people are investigated when they kill another human being, so that’s not out of the ordinary in the criminal justice system.
What is clear is that Blue Lives Matter was formed in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter seeks to end police brutality against the Black community. Blue Lives Matter says that Black Lives Matter gives a false impression of police brutality against people of color. In reading the website and Facebook comments for Blue Lives Matter, it appears that they pursue their agenda by representing that every Black person killed by law enforcement deserved to be killed.
Natasha Lennard of Rolling Stone Magazine wrote:
“The other flawed logic driving Blue Lives Matter initiatives is the equation of a uniform with a skin color — only one of which you can take off. The police uniform is accorded unique authority, impunity and power. Black skin is marked with the opposite.”
That is a position I’ve heard, and adopted, because Blue Lives Matter represents the uniform, a job and for some, a career. It’s a voluntarily sought-after job. Race is not something that people choose. It cannot be pulled off at the end of a shift.
The current national spokesman for Blue Lives Matter is retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Randy Sutton. Randy Sutton has criticized President Obama for addressing police brutality, and accused Hillary Clinton of dividing our nation against the law enforcement community.
In a video that he did, Sutton misrepresents that all of the children of the mothers who appeared at the DNC were killed during confrontations with the police. That is not true. Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Hadiya Pendleton, and Blair Holt were not killed while in confrontation with police. Sandra Bland died while in police custody. Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of manslaughter for killing Oscar Grant. Maybe Sutton does not realize that George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn were never cops, and that Dunn was convicted of first-degree murder for killing 17-year old Jordan Davis. For Sutton to give law enforcement status to those who were never a member of law enforcement is totally misleading.
Out of the 9 mothers at the DNC, that leaves 3; the mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Dontré Hamilton as individuals who were directly killed by the police. As I wrote about Mothers of the Movement on July 27, 2016, two of the children were killed by Black private citizens and one of the victims was the son of a Chicago cop.
So, why is Blue Lives Matter misrepresenting the truth regarding Mothers of the Movement? Because they are making a desperate attempt to paint Black Lives Matter as an anti-cop movement. Sutton’s misrepresentation of Mothers of the Movement is accompanied by his failure to acknowledge what President George H.W. Bush did after 4 officers that were charged with beating Rodney King were acquitted. President George H. W. Bush wrote:
“Now let’s talk about the beating of Rodney King, because beyond the urgent need to restore order is the second issue, the question of justice: Whether Rodney King’s Federal civil rights were violated. What you saw and what I saw on the TV video was revolting. I felt anger. I felt pain. I thought: How can I explain this to my grandchildren?
Civil rights leaders and just plain citizens fearful of and sometimes victimized by police brutality were deeply hurt. And I know good and decent policemen who were equally appalled.
I spoke this morning to many leaders of the civil rights community. And they saw the video, as we all did. For 14 months they waited patiently, hopefully. They waited for the system to work. And when the verdict came in, they felt betrayed. Viewed from outside the trial, it was hard to understand how the verdict could possibly square with the video. Those civil rights leaders with whom I met were stunned. And so was I, and so was Barbara, and so were my kids. “
Was President George H.W. Bush accused of causing a racial divide? No. Was President George H. W. Bush accused of dividing our nation against the law enforcement community? No. Was he provoking citizens to hate the police? No. By presenting President Obama’s words as divisive and racist, opponents of Black Lives Matter convey that it’s not what is said, but the color of the skin of the person who says it that makes the difference.
Racial Bias and Hypocrisy Selects What Blue Lives Matter To Blue Lives Matter
On August 14, 2016, Blue Lives Matter published a piece on their website about Sylville Smith, the man killed by a Milwaukee police officer. It is alleged that Sylville pointed a gun at the officer. Milwaukee Chief Edward Flynn has reviewed the body cam footage and said that it shows Sylville pulled out a stolen pistol that was fully loaded, and Smith raised the pistol to the officer. The video has not been released to the public.
The author, “Officer Blue” wrote:
“Sylville Smith had a long criminal history which included reckless endangerment stemming from a shooting and witness intimidation in 2015. Those charges against Smith were later dismissed, despite the prosecutors having recorded audio where Smith told his girlfriend to pressure a witness of the shooting to recant. The failure to prosecute Smith left him on the street to victimize more people.”
A search on the website using “Sylville Smith” returned 8 articles. There are also photos of Sylville on the site. So, I searched the website to see what, if anything, Blue Lives Matter had to say about Billy Jones. The search returned 3 articles. In one, it says;
There are no photos of Jones on that site.
According to Fox News and the Washington Post, on August 20, 2016, during an approximate 5 hour standoff with law enforcement from several counties, Billy Jones wounded Hackett Chief of Police Darrell Spells; shot a K-9 twice; shot a police robot disabling it; and killed 65-year old Deputy Bill Cooper who had been on the force 15 years. Jones was taken alive.
Attorney Jim Robb of Fort Smith who once represented Billy Jones said his client disliked law enforcement but is not a sociopath. He described Billy as an argumentative know-it-all but not violent and a man who worked hard and “smoked a little weed.”
Arkansasonline reports that in 2007, Billy Jones plead guilty to a charge of manufacturing marijuana. If he paid a fine of $750 and $150 in court costs and $250 for a DNA sample fee, his sentence would be suspended for 5 years and he would be eligible to have the case sealed. The case was sealed in February 2013.
In February 2016, Billy Jones was pulled over for speeding. When the officer asked if he had any weapons, Jones pulled a loaded .40-caliber Glock 22 handgun from under his overalls. The officer found two pills on Billy that were later determined to be oxycodone. Jones was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of oxycodone. Jones posted a $5,000 bond. He failed to appear in court and a petition to revoke his bond was filed. His attorney in that case, Norman Honeycutt of Fort Smith, filed a petition to withdraw.
Jones has been charged with one count of capital murder, 10 counts of attempted capital murder; one count of injuring an animal used in law enforcement, and a charge of habitual offender.
If the life of Deputy Cooper matters to Blues Lives Matter, why are they writing more information about a man killed by an officer, than they write about the man who actually killed an officer?
Why does Blue Lives Matter give cop-killer Billy Jones the decency of not reporting his “long criminal history” while making that accusation against Sylville whose cases were dismissed?
I also searched the Blues Lives Matter website for the names Thomas Cottrell and Doug Barney. The search returned “0”. I then searched for the name Jose Chavez and it returned one article. There are no photos of the alleged cop-killers.
Officer Thomas Cottrell, killed by Herschel Jones III
On January 17, 2016, Danville, Ohio police officer Thomas Cottrell was shot and killed. His cruiser and service weapon were stolen. Herschel Jones III, 32-years old, was later arrested.
Herschel Jones has a lengthy criminal record, dating back to 2001, including convictions for possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs, breaking and entering, burglary, receiving stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon.
Officer Doug Barney killed, and Officer Jon Richey wounded by Cory Henderson
The same Sunday that officer Thomas Cottrell was killed, Utah Officer Doug Barney, of the Unified Police Department, was shot in the head and killed near Salt Lake City. A second Unified officer, 50-year old Jon Richey, was shot three times; twice in the legs and once in the torso. He survived. The shooter, Cory Henderson, was killed by other officers.
The Deseret News reports that Henderson was wanted by the state for probation violation and possession or transfer of a firearm by a fugitive.
In 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2015, Henderson was convicted for possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. In 2014, he was imprisoned for possession of a firearm by a restricted person. On December 7, 2015, Henderson was released to the Fortitude Treatment Center where he left, leading to arrest warrants.
Officer Jose Chavez killed by Jesse Denver Hanes
Blues Lives Matter wrote on the death of Officer Jose Chavez, but as of the writing of this post, they did not as much as mention the name of the person charged with his murder.
Jesse Denver Hanes, 38, of Columbus, Ohio, has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, federal firearms and carjacking offenses arising out of an Aug. 12, 2016 traffic stop in Hatch, New Mexico. Hanes killed Police Officer Jose Chavez in the traffic stop. He then hijacked a car at a rest stop, wounding the driver. Hanes has also been charged with first-degree murder by the State of New Mexico, and is facing a murder charge in Ohio.
Officer Chavez was 33-years-old, the father of two daughters, and a two-year veteran of the Hatch, New Mexico police force.
A case-by-case discussion does not support the Blue Lives Matter message that the Black Lives Matter Movement is responsible for the killings of law enforcement. I do not believe in killing period, and do not expect for Blue Lives Matter to support my position. However, to honor and support the men and women in blue, it should be more important to provide all available details when an officer is killed in the line of duty, than ONLY focusing on the background of Blacks who are killed by cops. Additionally, it is important to do that regardless of the race of the parties.
Individuals make their own decisions. Black Lives Matter cannot be rightfully accused as the reason for the killing of law enforcement when Whites also kill cops. Indeed, those such as Blue Lives Matter demonstrate racial bias when cherry picking who to paint as“violent criminals” when we know that “violent criminals” come in all colors.