Category Archives: civil rights

Donald Trump’s Version of Law and Order Is Nonsensical

Donald John Trump, the impeached president of the United States who Senate Republicans refused to remove from office, uses “law and order” to intimidate three groups.  The first group are protesters.  If enough of them are blinded by rubber bullets, maybe they will stop protesting. The second group are people afraid of protesters believing that all protests and marches are riots. (Trump has so far identified that group “suburban housewives”.) The third group are Republicans who have strange, generalized beliefs that all Democrats are evil.

In an unbalanced, prejudicial, generalized manner, Trump represents all protests as riots.  He postures all as taking place in cities with Democratic mayors or states with Democratic Governors.  There are too many cities and states to list, but not all looting and vandalism occurred in Democratic led cities or states.  Additionally, there were attacks by people upon protesters that Trump does not mention.  There was also great physical harm caused by police on protesters and journalists.

 

Maybe Trump is threatening to send mercenaries to American cities after he realized that there are police who understand, agree with, and will not harm peaceful protesters.

While it is true that some protests included damage to property and looting, Trump is not addressing the root “law and order” issue.

On May 25, 2020, where was law and order for George Floyd? 

Indeed, an officer of the law casually tortured Floyd for over 8 minutes until he died.  The video of Floyd’s death went viral, waking-up many people to just how “law and order” is abuse of power and cover-up with dishonest police reports. Read the rest of this entry

Confederate Flag and Monuments

When I was a little girl, I only saw the confederate flag on television programs or in movies.  It caused me to think that maybe the North and the South sat down at a negotiating table and decided on conditions to end the Civil War.  Why else would there be a flag flown in addition to the stars and stripes, right?  Why else would a nation have statutes of generals that fought for the South, right?

Through grammar, high school and college, nothing was taught regarding why the United States honors people and a flag that lost America’s Civil War.

In the following video, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffrey Robinson addresses the history of the monuments that the current U.S. President does not want removed. It’s informative and a real eye-opener. 

 

The Killing of George Floyd Brought Back Memories

Although this blog was launched in August 2012, it was not until 2014 when I first blogged about a case involving an unarmed person killed by police.   It was Jonathan Ferrell.  Previously, I blogged about unarmed people killed by private citizens. Trayvon Martin was the first followed by Jordan Davis.

As I understand it, if you access this blog via cellphone, you have to click another button to see the top menu.  The top menu includes “Cases/Victims”.  A pull-down menu appears when hovering over it. Recently as I started to include three other names on that menu, I was struck with sadness.  There are already 127 names.

Most were killed by members of law enforcement.  At least one was a member of law enforcement.  Some survived the beating or shooting.  Most are Black, who are disproportionately killed by law enforcement.  Believing in equality and justice for all, the list on the pull-down menu includes Whites, Latinx, Asians, men and women.  The cases involve Black and White officers. What is interesting in documenting cases involving Black officers is the number of times they are charged and found guilty, compared to their White counterparts.

Offhand, I only remember one case where a Black officer was acquitted.  The victim in that case was 95-year old John Wrana, a WWII veteran.  Park Forest, IL officer Craig Taylor shot John in the abdomen with 5 beanbags in rapid succession.  John Wrana was in his room in a retirement home when he was killed.  He died from internal bleeding.  Officer Taylor had a bench trial and was found not guilty.

In September 2018, after I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I lacked the energy and time to write blog posts that required research.   That doesn’t mean that there weren’t victims, or trials, or recent news about investigations.  Then 2019 arrived and I heard about Javier Ambler II in Texas.  I thought that I felt complacent, thinking, “nothing will be done.”  It’s now been 15 months and the investigation is still opened.  The two deputies involved in Ambler’s death have not provided written statements.  LivePD that filmed the incident destroyed the video tape.

After seeing the video of the killing of George Floyd, I was reminded of Javier Ambler II. An officer placed his knee on Ambler who said several times that he could not breathe.

Ethan Saylor also came to mind.  Like Floyd, Saylor was not killed by gunshot, but by chocking.  His esophagus was broken.  Also like George Floyd, Ethan called out for his mother. Ethan Saylor was not Black, but he was different.  Ethan was Down Syndrome. None of the 3 deputy sheriffs involved in killing Ethan were charged.

Originally when I began writing this post, my intention was to name the cases where the officers involved were not charged.  They are names that others may have forgotten or not known about.  Along with Ethan Saylor is Darrien Hunt; Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri; John Crawford III; Mark Anthony Barmore.  I wanted to not only inform, but to also honor the victims; to let their families know they are not forgotten.  But, that all changed because there — are — just — too — many.  (sigh)

 

 

Derek Chauvin Was Negotiating A Plea Deal Before His Arrest

Derek Chauvin was the Minneapolis police officer who was fired after video was shown of him placing his knee on the neck of Gregory Floyd for over 8 minutes, killing Floyd.  It happened on May 25, 2020.  Things moved fast thereafter and Chauvin was charged with 3rd degree murder.

On the day that Chauvin was charged, personnel representing the federal government held a non-press conference.  I refer to it that way because there was no news given at that conference. I remember watching it when U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald stated, “I thought we would have another development to talk to you about, but we don’t.”

ABC is one of many news sources reporting that before Chauvin was charged, he was negotiating with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and the federal prosecutor to plea guilty to state murder and federal civil rights violation.  Negotiations held-up the press conference for about 2 hours.  Negotiations failed.

Charges filed again Chauvin now include 2nd degree murder.  Click here to see a copy of the criminal complaint.

Judge Jeannice M Reding set Chauvin’s bail of $1.25m with no preconditions, or $1m with conditions that include  not contacting Mr Floyd’s family, surrendering his firearms and not working in law enforcement or security as he awaits trial.

The 3 officers (also fired) who were with Chauvin, are all charged with aiding and abetting murder.

 

 

 

Distrust — Why People Are Demonstrating

If you’re like me, since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Cop Derek Chauvin, you’ve spent hours watching demonstrators in the streets of major cities.  I was doing that yesterday when seeing signs carried by demonstrators. Some signs had names of others killed by police.  One name struck me.  That name is Jose Campos Torres.

Kare reports the following:

MINNEAPOLIS — United States Attorney Erica Macdonald says they’re conducting a “robust and meticulous” criminal investigation into the police-related death of George Floyd.In a press conference Thursday evening, Macdonald said that the Department of Justice has made the investigation into George Floyd’s death a top priority.

“We have assigned the highest of the high in my office to investigate and look at the case,” Macdonald said. “FBI, likewise, has assigned their experienced law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation.” She added that President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr are “directly and actively monitoring the investigation.”

If people did not trust that system before MacDonald spoke, they certainly did not — cannot trust it after she stated that Donald Trump and Bill Barr are “directly and actively monitoring the investigation”.  For some, the distrust was planted in 1977 when Jose Campos Torres was killed by Houston police officers, and how that system punched justice in the face.

On October 7, 2015,  I published an Open Discussion post.  In that post, I wrote about Jose Campos Torres.  Seeing his name yesterday on a sign carried by a demonstrator inspires me to share with others that the people on the streets are not only protesting the death of George Floyd.  They are also demonstrating against a system of empty promises that has often laughed in our faces because they have the authority to do so.   The following is an excerpt from that post.

Read the rest of this entry

International Women’s Day

On this day, I am reminded of an experience when I was in college.  It was a writers, evening class made-up of mostly women.   The professor encouraged us to express ourselves, and there were a few women in class who always exercised that right by discussing the women’s movement of that time.  One pointed out that the make-up of the class, having very few White men, indicated that women did not receive the privilege of attending college right after high school.   We juggle family and full-time jobs with college classes.   Mostly, the motivation for a college degree was to increase our earning potential.

A man student mockingly sat back with a smirk on his face, and stated the reason was not because of White male privilege but because women were not as intelligent as men — are stupid, and belong in the kitchen and the bedroom.

There must have been 20 voices all talking at the same time after he said that.  I remained quiet until the professor gained control.  Then I raised my hand, was acknowledged, and turned to that man saying;

“I’m so sorry you feel that way about your mother.”

It was as if all the air was suck out of the room.  The professor gave us a break.  When we returned to the class room, the man did not return and it fact, he disappeared for the rest of the semester. Read the rest of this entry

A Danger to the Republic: Neo-Nazis and other Militants Embedded in the U. S. Military

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

On February 15th a U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant, who had served as an enlisted man in both the Marines and the Army National Guard was arrested. The man, Lieutenant Christopher Hasson has been charged with relatively minor gun and drug possession charges and will likely be charged with much more serious terrorism charges.

Hasson was caught because of how he used his work computer to research mass murders and was caught by a Coast Guard investigators using a program which monitors work computers for searches and activities to identify potential insider threats.

I read the news reports but did not write anything until today when I read the Court Filing by prosecutors from Justice Department in the District Court for Maryland. The filing https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/625-us-v-hasson/be7a4841596aba86cce4/optimized/full.pdf#page=1 is quite specific in what it alleges that Hasson was researching, preparing for, and his ultimate goal of a White Homeland…

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Ralph Northam In Blackface, But What About The Medical School That Allowed that Ideology?

Today’s cable news carried the headlines about Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.  Northam is the 73rd Governor of Virginia, being elected in January 2018.  He attended Eastern Virginia Medical School.  He is a physician by occupation having served as an United States Army medical officer from 1984 to 1992.   Northam completed pediatric residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and did a child neurology fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D. C. and John Hopkins Hospital.  Since 1992, Northam had been a pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, VA.

On February 1, 2019, a photo from Northam’s medical school yearbook’s page was released.  It shows an image of a person alleged to be Northham in blackface standing next to a person dressed in the hood and robe of the Ku Klux Klan.  A spokesman for Eastern Virginia Medical School confirmed that the image appeared in its 1984 yearbook.

I watched his press conference and could address Governor Northam’s excuses and inconsistencies, but there is something that weighs on me more.  That something is why would a medical school allow such an environment?  There is a presumptive thought that anyone who wants to practice medicine respects human lives regardless of skin color.  Apparently, Eastern Virginia Medical School did not instill respect for all humans in their curriculum. Read the rest of this entry

Dr. King’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

primary-source-mlk-birmingham-jail-497fe198

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Not long ago I posted an article about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’sLetter from a Birmingham Jail.

I included the link to the letter in my article, but I realize that most people, unlike me we not follow a link to get to the original source of the information supplied.

For those that don’t understand, my position as a Priest, if I am actually to be faithful to my vows requires that I be faithful to the Gospel. Sometimes that vow requires stating things that some in denial of their own faith would condemn as partisan politics. But this is not partisan, it echoes both the Christian and American propositions that all men are created equal.

With that in mind here is the full text of King’s letter. It is worthy of your full consideration and contemplation, and for that reason I make no…

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72 hours in America: 3 hate-filled crimes. 3 hate-filled suspects. — WTVR.com

Three incidents in 72 hours shared one thing: hate.

Consider the past week in America.

Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church.

After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested Friday — a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online.

And Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.

via 72 hours in America: 3 hate-filled crimes. 3 hate-filled suspects. — WTVR.com

Squirrel Hill, PA

ron stotyn's northof49blog

It is nearly a year since I have felt I could write again about terrorist attacks. The Squirrel Hill Massacre is an event that I cannot ignore in this blog. For any who for some reason do not know about this terror attack on US soil, know this: An American terrorist stormed a Jewish synagogue and executed 11 worshiping Jews in the midst of a naming ceremony. Police arrested the perpetrator who shouted words to the effect that all Jews must die. His crime has been termed Hate Crime by authorities. That is appropriate designation but I believe there is much more than hate crime in this event. More of my opinion about that comes below.

Before I continue with my comments about the Squirrel Hill murders, let me put some of my cards face up on the table. I am a former journalist and retired Associate Professor of Broadcasting…

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A 97-year-old, an elderly wife and husband: These are the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

Viral News Updates

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Thousands of people jammed an intersection amid light rain for a vigil Saturday evening for the victims of a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue earlier in the day. The gathering included prayers and singing in memory of those killed and wounded.(Oct. 27)
AP

The Jewish congregants were there to celebrate life, but were met by death. Most never had a chance.

Just before 10 a.m. Saturday, suspected gunman Robert Bowers, 46, burst into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and, yelling ?All Jews must die,? killed 11 before himself being wounded and taken into custody.

The list of those killed Saturday included middle-aged brothers, an elderly husband and wife and a grandmother nearing 100.

Many of them were there for a naming…

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Anti-violence protesters block major freeway in Chicago

Michael Eric Dyson: What Truth Sounds Like

Michael Eric Dyson put it in plain and powerful words;
“Whites expect Black public figures to help less fortunate Blacks (the social service model), but not to call out Whites (the social conscience model). That is why President Trump called Colin Kaepernick a “son of a bitch”.”

Abagond

“What Truth Sounds Like” (2018) by Michael Eric Dyson uses the meeting between Robert Kennedy and James Baldwin in 1963 as a springboard to talk about 2018.

Subtitle: RFK, James Baldwin and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America

In 1963 Robert Kennedy met James Baldwin to talk about race in the US. Baldwin brought along Lorraine Hansberry, Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, Kenneth Clark, and others. There is only one chapter on the meeting!

Dyson spends most of the book comparing the 1960s to the 2010s:

  • Robert Kennedy and Hillary Clinton,
  • James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates,
  • Harry Belafonte and Jay-Z,
  • Muhammad Ali and Colin Kaepernick,
  • The Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter,
  • etc.

He compares how Blacks speak out – or do not – and how Whites listen – or do not.

Burden of representation: Black public figures have the right and the duty to speak out and take…

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Shot In The Back: When can police fire on fleeing suspects? – Chicago Sun Times

CHICAGO — In decades past, police officers who shot suspects as they ran away were more likely to expect praise than criminal charges. And while the legal landscape and public opinion have shifted in recent years, it’s never a certainty that such shootings will result in officer indictments.

Prosecutors moved quickly to charge a white officer with criminal homicide Wednesday in last week’s death of an unarmed black teenager who was shot in the back while fleeing a traffic stop near Pittsburgh. In Georgia, another white police officer accused of fatally shooting a black man who was running away was fired and jailed.

In two other fatal police shootings — on Monday in Galveston, Texas, and on Saturday in Minneapolis — it remains to be seen whether charges will come. Those shootings also involved people who were running away.

A look at some of the history and legal principles behind such cases:

via Shot in the back: When can police fire on fleeing suspects? — Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. Judge Dismisses Charleston Shooting Lawsuits, Criticizes FBI — The Crusader Journal

(Reuters) –

A federal judge has dismissed 16 lawsuits filed by survivors of a 2015 mass shooting at a South Carolina church who sued the government over the failure of an FBI-run background check system to prevent the purchase of the murder weapon. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel also criticized what he called “abysmally poor” Federal Bureau of Investigation policies for the system that allowed Dylann Roof buy the gun he used to kill nine people, all African-Americans, at a historic black church in Charleston.

 
In his ruling released late Monday, Gergel said that the government had immunity from being sued for its policies, “even really bad policy choices.”Wrongful death lawsuits filed by survivors and family members of victims of the shooting alleged that at least one of the background check databases maintained by the federal government had information that should have prevented the firearm sale.

 

Gergel criticized the FBI’s policy to deny background check examiners access to the database, known as N-DEx.If the examiner assigned to Roof’s purchase request had been able to access N-DEx, he would have seen Roof’s 2015 drug arrest and would have barred him from buying the gun, Gergel wrote in his decision.

 

Read the full article: via U.S. judge dismisses Charleston shooting lawsuits, criticizes FBI — The Crusader Journal

PHOTO GALLERY: Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, Chicago remembers his time spent in our city, expanding his civil rights movement from the South.

King brought his movement for equal rights north to Chicago in 1966, targeting the city’s stark segregation. Here, hundreds marched with him to challenge the policies that maintained the rigidly white ethnic enclave, Marquette Park.

“I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hateful as I’ve seen here,” King said of Chicago.

In this gallery of Chicago Sun-Times and AP archival photos, King is seen energizing crowds and facing violent attacks as he led the march in Marquette Park. The photos, from 1966, show him renovating deteriorating buildings and confronting Mayor Richard J. Daley.

via PHOTO GALLERY: Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago — Chicago Sun-Times

A Message To The World To Remember, Lest We Be Hypocrites

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Forgotten Message – The Other America

“least racist” means “racist” but not as racist as others you know.

Just a moment ago, I heard the news play Donald Trump’s statement where he said he’s the “least racist person …”   Mr. Trump, “least racist” means you are “racist” but by your own comparisons, you think others are more racist than yourself.  Other than the Supreme Court of the United States, you hold the highest power in the land.  Racism is defined as person who shows or feels bigotry or prejudice against people of other races, because they believe their particular race is superior to others.

Give such people power and authority over the lives of others, and we have systemic, institutionalized racism.

Mr. Trump, being “least racist” is unacceptable.  You represent a country of people of all races, all genders, all economic statuses. You represent the healthy and the sick; the educated and poorly educated; people of all ages; people in rural and urban communities.  You represent this nation, and your representation is not making America great.  In fact, it has impugned us to the world.  If you think that returning America to the days before the Civil War, or to the days of Jim Crow is making it great, then you might want to remember that it was those very things that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged.  This country made promises and wrote privileges in its constitution.  There is no room for racism. We’ve come too far to turn back now. Read the rest of this entry

They Don’t Really Care About Us

“Some things in life they just don’t wanna see,

But if Martin Luther was livin’, he wouldn’t let this be.”

Lyrics from Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us. Read the rest of this entry

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