Category Archives: Black lives matter
In 2015, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, the parents of 18-year Michael Brown, filed a suit against the city of Ferguson, MO, the former Police Chief Tom Jackson and former police officer Darren Wilson. Today, the city settled that lawsuit.
Terms of the wrongful death settlement were not disclosed. United States District Court Judge E. Richard Webber approved the settlement and ordered it sealed, writing;
“The gross settlement amount is fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim and is in the best interests of each plaintiff.”
In 2014, Michael Brown was shot multiple times, with the fatal wound being to the top of his head, spilling his brains onto the street. His body laid in the street for more than 4 hours. A grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson, and the DOJ began a probe that found systematic racial discrimination in Ferguson that targeted Black residents and created a “toxic environment.” The report said the city overwhelmingly arrested and issued traffic citations to Blacks to boost city income, and used the police as a collection agency. Read the rest of this entry
My blog is dedicated to advocating equality and equal justice for all. We are currently following the trial of police officer Betty Shelby who killed Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma.
A guy and a girl get ready to go on a blind date, both nervous and worried. The guy is hoping that his date won’t be fat and ugly. The girl is hoping she won’t be raped or killed.
That’s a joke I remember hearing when I was a teenager, laughing and thinking to myself, “How true.”
The other day I thought of one like it that I wanted to share.
A black kid and a white kid go to a gas station, both nervous and worried. The white kid is afraid his parents will find out he stole money from the coin jar and bought candy. The black kid is afraid a police officer will mistake his candy bar for a gun and shoot him.
Not funny? What? Did you laugh at the first one?
All right, I will try one more that I told the other day.
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On April 29, 2017, 15-year old Jordan Edwards was leaving a party with two of his older brothers. He was in the passenger seat of a vehicle when shot in the head by Balch Springs, Texas patrol officer Roy Oliver.
The Balch Springs Police Chief was quick coming forth with the officer’s side of the story. It was reported that Officer Roy Oliver was called to investigate reports of underage drinking at a house party. When they arrived, they heard what they believed were gunshots. A car of teenagers leaving the party was driving toward the police in reverse in an “aggressive manner.” Oliver opened fire, striking Jordan Edwards in the head. Jordan died at a hospital.
Roy Oliver was placed on administrative duty while the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’ Office began investigating the shooting. The Balch Springs Police Department began an internal investigation.
The following Tuesday, Roy Oliver was fired on the basis that he violated department policies. Police Chief Jonathan Haber stated that he rushed to get information out to the public, but since watched two body cam videos showing that the teens were driving away from the officers when Oliver fired. Read the rest of this entry
Trayvon Martin was born on February 5, 1995. He would have been 22 years old today.
It is because Trayvon was killed that I came to the internet in 2012. The man who killed him claimed defense under Florida’s controversial stand your ground law. Seeing racially bigoted comments, and attacks upon his family and friends, opened my eyes that America is not post-racial. Others saw this too. The Black Lives Matter Movement was birthed.
Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, have published a book titled “The Enduring life of Trayvon Martin: Rest in Power“. The 368 page hardcover book sells for $26.00. The book is available for Kindle for $12.99 and on audio CD for $35.00. It became available in bookstores on January 31, 2017.
Yes, dear brother Trayvon, you are resting in power. May your parents, and all parents who advocate against gun violence and for truth and equal justice, be strengthened and empowered to keep the light burning.
Book: Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, Written By His Parents Is Now Available for Preorder
Amazon introduces Rest In Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin:
“Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.”
“Martin was walking home with candy and a can of juice in hand and talking on the phone with a friend when a fatal encounter with a gun-wielding neighborhood watchman ended his young life. The watchman was briefly detained by the police and released. Trayvon’s father—a truck driver named Tracy—tried to get answers from the police but was shut down and ignored. Trayvon’s mother, a civil servant for the city of Miami, was paralyzed by the news of her son’s death and lost in mourning, unable to leave her room for days. But in a matter of weeks, their son’s name would be spoken by President Obama, honored by professional athletes, and passionately discussed all over traditional and social media. And at the head of a growing nationwide campaign for justice were Trayvon’s parents, who—driven by their intense love for their lost son—discovered their voices, gathered allies, and launched a movement that would change the country.”
“Five years after his tragic death, Travyon Martin’s name is still evoked every day. He has become a symbol of social justice activism, as has his hauntingly familiar image: the photo of a child still in the process of becoming a young man, wearing a hoodie and gazing silently at the camera. But who was Trayvon Martin, before he became, in death, an icon? And how did one black child’s death on a dark, rainy street in a small Florida town become the match that lit a civil rights crusade? “
“Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, answers, for the first time, those questions from the most intimate of sources. It’s the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and the inspiring journey they took from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to meaning.”
If carrying a concealed weapon makes one a threat, then America is geared for slaughter on the streets.
Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN)The officer who fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott won’t face charges, a prosecutor said Wednesday, closing a two-month investigation into the killing that led to heated protests and divided the city of Charlotte.
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In response to the killing of Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Police arrested 92 protesters. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office would not prosecute the protesters. However, those arrested incurred bond, administrative fees and court costs in order to be released. To have those arrests expunged requires more money.
Activist DeRay McKesson was among those arrested.
A federal class-action lawsuit was filed alleging that the militarized police were aggressive in their response to protesters and used “unconstitutional tactics” to infringe upon the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Fewer than 10 percent of the protesters in the class-action lawsuit were from out of town. Read the rest of this entry
Leonard Greene of the New York Daily News articulated it very well;
“If you think black people are relieved that the suspect in the shooting death of two Iowa police officers is a white guy, you’ve got it all wrong.”
“If anything, most black people, like any other law-abiding citizens or residents, were outraged and angered over these kind of sick assaults on our communities.”
“But we are also tired of the speed-of-light rush to judgment, and the collective need to blame black people for all of society’s ills.”
“That is exactly what happened in the hours after police officer Justin Martin and Sgt. Tony Beminio were ambushed by a cowardly lone gunman as they sat in their patrol cars early Wednesday morning.”
“Social media, with its tweet-first-ask-questions-later way of communicating, quickly became an ugly, racist lynch mob intent on stringing up anyone ever associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Scott Michael Greene, 46, is the lone suspect for the slayings of Urbandale Police Officer Justin Martin and Des Moines Police Sargent Tony Beminio. As Leonard Greene describes it, Greene’s turning himself in saved law enforcement the trouble of taking down some innocent black man for the crime.
According to the New York Daily News;
“Police believe Greene began his rampage Wednesday by firing more than two dozen rounds at Urbandale Police Officer Justin Martin as he sat in his squad car about 1 a.m.
“I wouldn’t call it a confrontation,” said Police Chief Ross McCarty of Urbandale, which is in the Des Moines metropolitan area. “I don’t think (Martin) may have even been aware that there was a gunman next to him.”
Journey For Equal Justice In Valdosta, GA. The Death of Kendrick Johnson and Recent Judicial Complaints
(A note. Highlights in blue are embedded links to news sources. Clicking on them opens the source in a new tab.)
It’s been a long journey for the parents of Kendrick Johnson. In January 2013, the 17-year old’s body was found in a gym mat in the high school he attended. Local authorities ruled the death an accident. Kendrick’s parents hired a pathologist who found that Kendrick died of blunt force trauma.
To add insult to injury, all of Kendrick’s internal organs were missing, replaced with newspaper.
In April 2013, Kendrick’s parents Jackie, Kenneth Johnson, and 5 family members protested outside of the courthouse. The protest was designed to pressure the local sheriff’s office to release the investigative file of Kendrick’s death. They were arrested. In January 2015, they were convicted of civil disobedience. Their sentence was suspended for 12-months as long as they didn’t get arrested for civil disobedience in the next year.
Judge Mark Mitchell allowed cameras in the courtroom during the trial. He explains his order in the first 3 minutes of the below video.
In October 2013, federal prosecutors announced an investigation in Kendrick’s death. Read the rest of this entry
Subtitled; How Charlotte–Mecklenburg Chief of Police Kerr Putney Has Messed Up.
The citizens of Charlotte, North Carolina, have no trust in Putney’s inconsistent representations.
There are times when it’s best to be quiet rather than exert one-side of a story to the public. Putney has shown that he accepts whatever his officers say and therefore, cannot be any part of an impartial investigation.
Keith Lamont Scott was killed on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. There are so many conflicting points of view and reports that they make the head spin.
On September 22, 2016, Keith’s family was shown dash cam video. The attorney for the family stated that the video shows that Keith was walking with both arms at his side, and no gun present. Police Chief Kerr Putney refused to release the dash cam video to the public.
Keith’s wife took cell phone video and released it to the public yesterday. News sources and social media arm-chair sleuths gave their opinions on what the video shows. There was lots of jumping to conclusions because the cell phone video shows an officer standing at the passenger side window of a truck. Some analyzing that video said that the officer would have been able to see that Keith was holding a gun by standing at that window of Keith’s truck.
Now, we learn that the officer was not standing at Keith’s truck, but he was standing at a truck parked on the opposite side of the street from where Keith was parked.
On the cell phone video, we hear an officer shouting for Keith to put down the gun. On the dash cam video, Keith comes out of his truck and walks backwards with both arms at his side. His hands are holding nothing.
It has not yet been explained how a person sitting in a car is to drop a gun when putting it out of the window can lead to the same assumption that it is being pointed with intent to fire. Read the rest of this entry
I can barely keep up with the names and the cities and states where it happened — nor the numbers which appear to increase weekly.
So I haven’t written a new blog post in a minute (or maybe more), but I’m so damn tired of so many white Americans losing their shit over a pro-football player taking a stand against oppression of people of color in this country, and yet the same people turn a blind eye when yet another killing of a black, or Latino, or Native, occurs. Honest to God people, wake up!
I don’t even know the name of the latest victim of a trigger happy cop. I know that he had his hands up the entire time. I know that he presented zero risk to the cop. I also know, considering how other cases like this have gone in the past couple of years, that said cop will be placed on paid leave (paid vacation), and that there will almost certainly be no charges file. If there are charges filed, the…
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A few days ago, a beloved former student of mine (a black man) from the charter school where I used to teach tagged me on Facebook with the following meme:(It’s probably good to note here that I’m one of those teachers that is better in retrospect than I am in the present moment. I’m kind of […]
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. Read the rest of this entry
I can’t help but question — if they are pro-cop, then why weren’t they carrying signs with the names of those cops killed, regardless of the race of the killer? I think that one officer out of New Mexico was buried this weekend.
Armed with assault rifles, confederate flags and white supremacist slogans, a group of the extreme fascist right-wing calling itself ‘white lives matter’ stood on the grounds of the Houston Chapter of the historic civil rights organization – the N.A.A.C.P. – to sing the praises of police officers who’ve killed unarmed Black people and decry activists who’ve spoken out against police abuse. They claimed to be exercising their “second amendment right to defend ourselves”, despite their going into the overwhelmingly black third ward to spread their toxic agenda.
Perhaps not surprisingly these white supremacists with their stated pro-cop agenda were barricaded and protected by police officers. It goes without saying that the response to this demonstration on the part of police was completely different from their response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Imagine for a moment organizers of a #BLM march carrying assault rifles and wearing bullet proof vests! You can’t imagine it…
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In my research for the series Defining Black Lives Matter, I found some articles about Blue Lives Matter. I was going to include the following in a part of the series, but decided that this needs its own post. It is about Georgia Sheriff Deputy Kyle Dinkheller. First, please watch the video. When I first watched it, I fell to my knees sobbing. It’s one of those painful things that we need to watch to see what humans do to other humans, and should remind us of the precious gift of life.
Andrew Brannan was convicted of the 1998 murder of Laurens County, Georgia sheriff deputy Kyle Dinkheller. Deputy Dinkheller was 22-years old when he was murdered. Dinkheller pulled Brannan over for driving 98 mph. Brannan used a M-1 carbine rifle. At the time, Brannan was 49 years old when he deliberately shot Officer Dinkheller 9 times, the last shot being in the eye.
Brannan was found the next day. He had been wounded in the stomach. He was taken alive.
Officer Dinkheller left behind an expectant wife and 22-month-old daughter when he died on January 12, 1998. Deputy Dinkheller’s son was born in September 1998. Read the rest of this entry
Hat-tip to CFBostonBrian who referenced a link on his blog. Reading that link, I found another link to a 20 page report by Phillip Atiba Goff and Matthew Christian Jackson of the University of California, Los Angeles; Brooke Allison Lewis DiLeone of the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Boston, Massachusetts; Carmen Marie Culotta and Natalie Ann DiTomasso of the University of Pennsylvania. The research paper is titled “The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children.”
Their study, conducted in 2008, indirectly corrected me on using the term “demeaning”. I should have been using the term “dehumanizing.”
When Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012, there were people online who vigorously argued against Trayvon being a child. That argument continues today. Memes of Trayvon and his family being apes and raccoons were used to justify his killing. On May 4, 2014, I blogged some of the screenshots. I looked for reasons behind the demeaning because it was more than racial prejudice — it was absolute hatred, wishes of violence, and disrespect for human life.
The research and study conducted by Goff and colleagues supports that there is a link between dehumanization and sanctioned violence. It gives a history of dehumanization in the United States as a necessary condition for state-sanctioned violence. :
“The logic of this assertion is that dehumanizing groups morally excludes them (Opotow, 1990), making it permissible to treat people in a way that would be morally objectionable if they were fully human. U.S. history is replete with examples of this kind of moral exclusion of Black children. For instance, the policies of chattel slavery (mostly pertaining to peoples of African descent) permitted children to be separated from their parents and forced into labor at any age (Guttman, 1976). In 1944, a Black 14-year-old, George Junius Stinney Jr., became the youngest person on record in the United States to be legally executed by the state (electrocuted without the benefit of a lawyer, witnesses, or a record of confession; Jones, 2007). And, notoriously, in 1955, a 14-year-old Black boy named Emmett Till was dragged from his bed, disfigured, and lynched for allegedly whistling at a White woman (Crowe, 2003). What psychological context could explain this treatment of children? Again, there is reason to believe it may be contexts that provoke dehumanization.”
Historical Attitude That Black Lives Are Expendable
“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 – NIV
Have you ever been in an argument or debate with someone and mention what they did previously and their defense is that you are bringing up the past? When patterns or behaviors are repeated, and even current, the past is brought up to show a demonstrated pattern of conduct. The criminal justice system does it all the time.
In February 1991, 34 nations led by the United States successfully freed the people of Kuwait from Iraq’s invasion. American troops represented the spectrum of America, being all colors and genders. General Colin Powell was the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and he was in interviews along with General Norman Schwarzkopf. They were perfect examples of the love of freedom for America and other countries. America’s military and the men who led it exemplified unity and the greatest of this country.
Less than one month after freeing Kuwait, on March 3, 1991, this nation and the world would see another side of America.
A Sony handheld camcorder captured the beating of Rodney King. The man who recorded the beating was ignored by the police and subsequently turned his video over to a local television station.
Following four days of grand jury testimony, on March 14, 1991, three Los Angeles police officers, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno, were charged. A ranking officer at the scene, Sargent Stacey Koon, was charged with “willfully permitting and failing to take action to stop the unlawful assault.”
The jury of 10 Whites, 1 Latino and 1 Asian acquitted Koon, Wind, and Briseno. The same jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charge against Powell.
Then Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley disagreed with the verdict, telling The New York Times that “the system failed us.” The day after the riots began, President George H. Bush asked the Department of Justice to look into charges against the officers for violating Rodney King’s civil rights.
President George H. Bush stated,
“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?”
Today, we ask the same question, not about a video from 1991, but videos since then — maybe yesterday— or even today.
Many Black Lives Matter activists were not born until after the beating of Rodney King was recorded and the officers placed on trial and acquitted. I wonder if former President George H. Bush has any words for their parents and grandparents of how to explain the repeated pattern?