Category Archives: Race and Race Relations

Two Justice Systems In Black and White

I originally blogged about these cases on Dec. 7, 2013.  Since then, there has been additional information, including the filing of and decision in a civil lawsuit.

Both cases are in the State of Illinois but different counties about 27 miles apart.  When committing the crimes, all defendants in both cases were residents of the City of Rockford.  All defendants were charged with murder under the same state law.

Let me be clear that this post is not about the innocence or guilt of the defendants.  It’s about racism yielding privilege for some and inequalities for others. It’s the type of prejudice that prosecutors might not realize motivates them to make decisions.  It’s the type of politics that call Black defendants “violent offenders” but offers White defendants, charged with the same crime, pleas for lesser offenses and shorter sentences.

In the Black Lives Matter Movement, there is talk about how Blacks and Whites are charged for the same crimes, but Blacks are given longer sentences.  Mostly, people who bring up that issue speak in terms of marijuana possession or misdemeanor crimes.

The cases I present here would not have been misdemeanor crimes even if no party had been killed.

Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/9-1 states in pertinent part:

A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits first degree murder if, in performing the acts which cause the death, he is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than second degree murder.”

This law is generally referred to as felony murder.  Simply put, if a person is committing a felony and another person is killed during the commission of that crime, the person or persons committing the crime are charged with murder.  The sentence for felony murder carries a mandatory minimum of 20 years. Read the rest of this entry

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)

 

 

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

Dare Call it What it Is: Race Hatred Blessed By the President — Padre Steve’s World: Official Home of the Anti-Chaps

 

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Another day, another race based mass killing, another fake message of support from the President.

This time it was El Paso, Texas. A young white man from Dallas, an admitted White Supremacist went to a Walmart at a mall. Using an AK-47 he went on a killing spree. When police confronted him he offered no resistance.  The latest casualty count is 20 dead and 26 wounded, but the count is still fluctuating.  In his manifesto retrieved from the 8Chan site preferred by violent White Supremacists, he wrote:

“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.” 

via Dare Call it What it Is: Race Hatred Blessed By the President — Padre Steve’s World: Official Home of the Anti-Chaps

IT’S NOT MENTAL HEALTH, IT’S WHITE SUPREMACY — THE LEON KWASI CHRONICLES

It’s also White Supremacy taking advantage of the First and Second Amendments.  Too many are now one-man “militias” under the auspice of helping the government wage race war on American soil.   

via IT’S NOT MENTAL HEALTH, IT’S WHITE SUPREMACY — THE LEON KWASI CHRONICLES

“A Symbol of Renewed White Identity and Common Purpose” What Trump is to White Supremacists and Nationalists

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Yesterday in Christchurch New Zealand an Australian White Nationalist not only committed mass murder against Muslims at worship in Christchurch’s two mosques. Before he did so he released a 74 page manifesto on Twitter, and announced it on 8chan, a website devoted to White Supremacism, Racism, and war against Muslims, Jews, dark skinned immigrants, and people on the political left. When he made his attack he announced to his followers that it would be carried live on his Facebook page.

He killed 49 men, women and children in cold blood, and wounded many more, live-streaming the whole event. It was an event made for social media and it became viral before media outlets and YouTube attempted to scrub it from their servers, but be assured, it will keep popping up in other places because White Nationalists will publicize it, and ghoulish people will,watch it and…

View original post 938 more words

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…

View original post 1,416 more words

Omarosa – What Trump Thinks About His Chosen “Liaison” To Black Americans

I did not watch the Apprentice.  In fact, until campaigning in 2016, I barely ever heard the name Donald Trump.  I saw him on television touting the “Birther” claims and thought of it as a circus.  Barack Obama could have been born in a plane flying over Germany.  His mom was still a natural born U.S. Citizen which according to federal law, makes him a United States citizen.  In other words, I paid little attention to that nonsense.

Yes, I heard that he owned some casinos and hotels.  Not being a New Yorker, I had not heard of Trump Tower until 2016.  Back around1998, I knew that Trump attempted to team with Jessie Ventura who was then governor of the State of Minnesota, and that he was considering a run for the presidency.  I didn’t pay that much attention.

With the recent news about Omarosa, I didn’t pay it much attention at first.  I can’t keep up with the names of the people who have gone through the revolving door of Trump’s administration.  What did peek my interest however, were Trump’s recent tweets about Omarosa.

Yes, I find his arrogant and condescending name-calling as signs of immaturity, insecurity, inadequacy, and completely unprofessional.  There are people who find Trump’s name calling of Omarosa as an offense to all women.  I don’t disagree.  What I do see however, is something that goes much deeper.  It goes into Trump’s attitude about citizens.  Here’s an analogy …

Let’s imagine that parents did not support Trump for president.  Their interests in parenting, whether it be custody issues, education, health, nutrition, capture and prosecution of child sex abusers, are all packed under the one category of “parental rights”.   Trump wants to try to win parents over to support him. Read the rest of this entry

Bogus 911 Call About Black Teens Leads To Minneapolis Park Police Pointing Guns In Their Face — Chicago Sun-Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Three black teenagers say they feared for their lives when a Minneapolis Park Police officer pulled a gun on them while responding to a bogus 911 report that they were armed.

The July 10 incident at Minnehaha Park drew widespread attention after a bystander recorded part of it and posted a video to Facebook that’s been viewed over 2.8 million times.

The officers were responding to a female 911 caller who falsely reported that four teens were following her boyfriend and wielding knives and sticks. Park police released the four after finding they were unarmed and hearing witness accounts that contradicted the caller’s story. The department has since said the call was “misleading” and apologized to the boys.

At a news conference Monday called by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, 14-year-old Aden Aden said he and his friends were just trying to have fun when a white kid confronted them. Witnesses have corroborated that account.

“When I was at the park, I was just trying to have a good day with my friends,” Aden said. “And this white kid came up to us saying racial slurs towards us, and when the cops came, they just pulled guns to our faces. And I felt like I was discriminated (against) and I felt like it was not supposed to happen, and I hope it never happens to anyone again.”

Fourteen-year-old Suhaib Ahmed said the officers frightened them. “I was scared he was going to shoot me.”

Police said in a news release last week that one of the officers “unholstered his firearm and pointed it in the general direction of the four suspects.”

via Black teens terrified by Minneapolis Park Police with guns — Chicago Sun-Times

 

 

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…

View original post 401 more words

Roseanne Barr

It seems as if we’ve gone from dog whistles, to outright, in-your-face, bigotry.

Abagond

(ABC/Robert Trachtenberg)

Roseanne Barr (1952- ), US comedian and conspiracy theorist, is best known as the star of “Roseanne” (1988-97), a US television comedy on ABC about a White working-class family. The show made a comeback two months ago, March 2018, quickly becoming one of the most watched television shows in the nation – only to be suddenly cancelled yesterday on May 29th.

Barr destroyed her show in just 53 characters on Twitter:

“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj”

This was so racist that even Sean Hannity of Fox News found it “appalling”.

“VJ” is Valerie Jarrett, a long-time adviser to President Obama and an object of right-wing conspiracy theories. Jarrett is also a Black woman.

Blacks as apes: Barr said it was a “joke”. Ha ha. It plays on and pushes the profoundly racist idea that Black people are like apes, less than fully…

View original post 404 more words

Two Black Men Arrested At Starbucks Agree To Settlement To Pay It Forward

PHILADELPHIA — Two black men arrested for sitting at a Philadelphia Starbucks without ordering anything settled with the city Wednesday for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs. The men’s lawyer and Mayor Jim Kenney outlined the agreement to The Associated Press.

“We thought long and hard about it and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see,” Robinson said. “It’s not a right-now thing that’s good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time.”

via 2 black men arrested at Starbucks settle with Philadelphia — Chicago Sun-Times

Arizona’s Black Legislators Chastised After Race Talk

PHOENIX — The only two black members of the Arizona Legislature were formally chastised for speaking out against a Republican lawmaker’s published column, which included a racial slur and they say derided black activists while attempting to discredit leaders of a teacher group protesting for better pay.

Rep. Maria Syms wrote in a column published in the Arizona Republic that the two best-known leaders of the #RedforEd movement are “political operatives” who are radicalizing Arizona youth. She called Noah Karvelis’ classroom “exotic” and said he prides himself on teaching students music from the hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar. Syms included a lyric from the Pulitzer Prize-winning artist that included a derogatory term for African-Americans.

Democratic Rep. Reginald Bolding, who is black, said he was offended by the language she used.

via Arizona’s only black legislators chastised after race talk — Chicago Sun-Times

%d bloggers like this: