Category Archives: Race

Crime Won’t Decrease, Until Oppression Decreases

St. Louis has the highest murder rate in the country. Unfortunately, it seemed as long as murders were only being committed within certain neighborhoods, no one outside the community really cared. Once murders and shootings began occurring in the Central West End, Downtown and other areas a crisis was declared. The speed in which suspects were found when the victim was white, was amazing and reflects an urgency disparity.

Greater concern, effort, and resources are expended when the victim is white. The media uses a different vocabulary to describe white victims and seldom are drugs or illegal activity mentioned. When a black shooting victim states they don't know why they were targeted, their integrity is questioned along with the possibility of the incident being drug or gang related. White victims appear to be instantly believed, even when their stories seem bazaar.

I am fifty years old, and during my lifetime, there have been 9,415 murders in St. Louis; an average of 188 per year. Among those victims were my brother-in-law and nephew. I don't know any black family that hasn't been touched directly or indirectly by murder. There was no crisis declared, no end violence initiatives by news channels until multiple white people became victims.

Ironically, some people seem to think that before channel 4's #EndViolenceSTL, that no one was concerned or addressing violence in our community. There have been multiple attempts to raise awareness and end violence, the most notable recent attempt was a Call to Oneness.

Unfortunately, a 16-year-old was killed just hours after the Call to Oneness event.  There was a "Clergy call for citywide prayer to end violence in St. Louis", months before Michael Brown. Until the  root causes of crime are addressed, various forms of oppression, it will continue and we are all at risk to falling victim to it.

War on drugs

The war on drugs was waged almost exclusively against black and brown people. After a new drug crisis was declared when methamphetamine and heroin began affecting white communities, no new drug war was declared. In fact, once large numbers of white kids became addicted to drugs, the country suddenly started to realize that the war on drugs was too harsh and unfair. Instead of calling for incarceration of these new white addicts, medical treatment was prescribed for their "illness".

American Drug War:The Last White Hope (a kevin booth film)

Visit Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or any other major city in the United States and you'll discover a statistical anomaly; each of these cities contains impoverished areas that are overwhelmingly black or brown. Unless you're prepared to say that black and brown people are less ambitious, less intelligent or inferior; you must come to the realization that those groups are artificially held back by institutionalized oppression and discrimination.

The sad reality is that many people  have been conditioned to believe that something is wrong with black and brown people. Unfortunately, some black people even believe this myth. Some have even convinced themselves that because they achieved some measure of success, they are somehow the exception to the rule. They don't seem to understand that when they move into an all-white community or attend white schools, that standard is applied to them and they are considered by those around them as less than. If you indict a group of people and you are a member of that group, you cannot escape the indictment.

Until systemic oppression and inequality ends, including; abusive policing, government policy, inferior education, business practices, media bias, resource distribution, unfair court practices, mass incarceration, and employment discrimination, crime will continue to rise and will spill over into communities that had previously been considered immune or safe.  Increasingly, criminals are beginning to realize it is more profitable to target people with more resources.

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced,  where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe” – Frederick Douglass

Crime and Poverty

Both the United Nations and the World Bank indicate  poverty, oppression, inequality and lack of economic opportunities results in increased criminal activity. When inequalities are great, crime goes through the roof. When people see vast wealth differences, especially if the wealth disparity is based on injustice, crime becomes even worse.

According to the U.S. Census  Bureau, in the United States, there were 46.7 million people in poverty in 2014. The official poverty rate was 14.8 percent. Contrary to some common stereotypes about America’s poor, which included 25,659,922 Whites, 11,197,648 Hispanics, 9,472,583 Blacks, and 1,899,448 Asians; poverty affects all groups.

At least 4.2 million, one-third of the 13 million children living in poverty are white, 27% of Latino children (4 million), 33% of black children (3.6 million), 12% of Asian children (400,000) and 40% of American Indian (200,000). Source National Center for Children in Poverty.

Even Elvis' recognized this when he recorded, "The Ghetto" in 1969. This song is about poverty, describing a child who can't overcome his surroundings and turns to crime, which leads to his death. It was the first song Elvis recorded with a socially-conscious message. He was reluctant to do it for that reason.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Just about every college student will learn about a motivational theory developed by Abraham Maslow in the 1940's. His theory is taught in a variety of subjects including education, psychology, business management and marketing.

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory proposed that motivation is the result of a person's attempt at fulfilling five basic needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization.

Physiological needs are those needs required for human survival such as air, food, water, shelter, clothing and sleep. A person will do just about anything to meet these needs.

Safety needs include those needs that provide a person with a sense of security and well-being. Personal security, financial security, good health and protection from accidents, harm, and their adverse effects are all included in safety needs.

Social needs also called love and belonging, refer to the need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. Social needs are important to humans so that they do not feel alone, isolated and depressed. Friendships, family, and intimacy all work to fulfill social needs.

Esteem needs refer to the need for self-esteem and respect, with self-respect being slightly more important than gaining respect and admiration from others.

Self-actualization needs describe a person's need to reach his or her full potential. The need to become what one is capable of is something that is highly personal. While I might have the need to be a good parent, you might have the need to hold an executive-level position within your organization.

I remember watching the Hurricane Katrina news coverage and wondering if the government was purposefully trying to create a Maslow situation to cause people to act on their survival instincts to show images of blacks behaving like animals. How else could the government's lack of aid to such an enormous disaster be described?

The opposite occurred and the people of New Orleans displayed exceptional amounts of humanity towards one another.

Food Stamps

In many countries that do not provide an adequate safety net, kidnapping and other crimes that target well-off citizens are common. What many people do not seem to understand is that social programs such as food stamps, section 8 and others that help people meet basic needs, prevents people from being forced to turn to crime to meet those needs.

Use a simple common sense approach. What would you do if after following all the rules, you could not afford to provide for the basic needs of your family and your children are hungry? If you do not have family or friends who can help; and if there is no outside assistance available, many people would do things they would not have considered doing previously.

The media has demonized the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly known as "food stamps" over the years, often portraying the recipients as lazy, dependent, or unwilling to work.

Most SNAP recipients don’t rely exclusively on the benefits for food – only 22 percent of the program’s 47 million beneficiaries in 2013 had zero gross income. Many recipients have recently lost their jobs, are low wage earners or employed part time. Among those 22 percent with zero gross income are children, elderly, people affected by disasters, injured or too ill to work.

As pointed out in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, when a person can't feed themselves or their family, they will do whatever is necessary to fulfill that need.  Oxford University and the Pew Research Center have estimated that half of all job that exists today will be gone within ten years. The irony is that as computerization and robotics displace large numbers of workers; the very people complaining about these benefits today, will be the same ones that the benefits will not available for tomorrow.

Recent profiles of successful individuals illustrate how SNAP helps disadvantaged people achieve success.

Famous People who were on Food Stamps

When Jan Koum sold his company, WhatsApp, to Facebook for $19 billion on February 19, 2014, he signed the paperwork against the front door of the welfare office where his family used to collect food stamps. After the sale of WhatsApp, the Huffington Post profiled a number of prominent people who have had to rely on food stamps, including:

President Barack Obama and his mother Ann Dunham received food stamps when the future president was a baby.

Musician Bruce Springsteen received food stamps during the earlier parts of his career. I have always respected the fact that Springsteen recorded "American Skin (41 Shots)" is a song inspired by the police shooting death of Amadou Diallo.

For those not familiar with Amadou Diallo

Dr. Ben Carson, in his book "Gifted Hands", wrote, “By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps," …"She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.”

Craig T. Nelson who was once helped with food stamps seemed to be making an argument against government assistance for others.

Other notable food stamp recipients

Olympic speed skater Emily Scott was forced to apply for food stamps when her monthly Olympic stipend was cut to just $600.

Viola Davis, Actress – grew up in extreme poverty and stated, "I Have Stolen, Jumped in Garbage Bins With Maggots For Food"

Scarlett Johansson – She stated, “My family grew up relying on public assistance to help provide meals for our family”.

Taraji P. Henson,  – Was on welfare after the tragic death of her husband

Kelly Clarkson – grew up poor living on food stamps.

Oprah Winfrey, – her mother had to rely on welfare to feed her family.

J.K Rowland – “Harry Potter” author argues government assistance helped her survive in her early years.

Whoopi Goldberg – became a mother at 17 and relied on welfare until she was able to do better.

Iyanla Vanzantraised in a family that relied on welfare to get by.

Tobey Maguire "As a kid, I was very poor. I mean, it's all relative, but we would get groceries from neighbors. I always had a roof over my head, but I slept on couches of relatives, and some night we wandered into a shelter. My family had food stamps and government medical insurance.

I've often wondered if we as a society have failed to properly educate and support a child who would have cured cancer.

Five Hour Energy Billionaire Trying to Make a Difference in the lives of the poor

Response to Peggy Hubbard

Peggy Hubbard, a black woman from the Belleville, IL area, posted a video on her Facebook account that went viral. She expressed outrage that people were protesting for a "thug" instead of a nine year old girl that was killed.

In a follow up video post, Ms. Hubbard mentioned that people were saying she wasn't black enough, calling her a sellout, and a house nigger. Although, I strongly disagree with some of the tone and sentiments expressed by Ms. Hubbard, I certainly do not think she's a sell out. She has been brainwashed by a lifetime of racial conditioning that we have all been subjected to. A sellout is someone who purposefully tries to improve their condition at the expense of others. I believe she was genuinely concerned about the state of black America, but simply misguided.

It's natural to be upset about the senseless murder of an innocent nine year old girl. I am outraged myself! But simply because there are multiple problems and one seems greater than the other, you don't ignore the lessor problem simply because it's not as important as the other.

For example, let us assume that a person with diabetes has a heart attack, unrelated to the diabetes and is rushed to the hospital. The doctors at the hospital won't ignore the diabetes simply because the heart attack is the more pressing issue. Additionally, those doctors will seek to discover the reason or cause of the heart attack and instruct the patient what he needs to do to improve his chances of avoiding additional heart attacks.

Just like the heart attack is a symptom of something going wrong in the body; the protest, riots and reactions to real or imagined police excessive force is a symptom of a much larger problem, maybe a problem that Ms. Hubbard escaped, but currently an issue for those still trapped.

There's a certain amount of compromise that has to be made for achievement by black people in this country. There's an ancient saying, "when in Rome do as the Roman's". Success requires a certain amount of assimilation. Most black people in this country speak and think using a European language, English. I don't know many brothers that speak languages indigenous of Africa. 

Even people that consider themselves extremely Afro Centric drive cars manufactured by white companies and live in a home built by a white builder. You may not want to work for the man, but you must use the man's monetary system to purchase goods and services within the man's capitalistic system. As a group of people we don't print money, own major manufacturing, water purification or electric generation facilities. We don't even control any means to communicate on a mass scale with one another. We are unfortunately dependent on others who control the means of production, including durable goods and food. However, with that said, a person still needs to know when something runs counter to their best interest or the group of people that they most closely identify with. 

When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.  –  Bayard Rustin quotes

Below is the transcript of Peggy Hubbard's video with commentary made in bold.

Hi, I'm Peggy Hubbard. By now you guys probably already know, what happened in St. Louis last night. Police officers went to go; ah pretty much what they did was they went to execute a warrant for an arrest for a very very bad guy. When they came to get him, instead of going peacefully, having his day in court, he decides to pull out another stolen gun, shoot at the police, police shot back and he was killed.

Mansur Ball-Bey, an 18 year old recent graduate of McCluer South-Berkeley High School,  was killed by police who were serving a search warrant (not an arrest warrant) at a relatives home, Ball-Bey did not live there. According to a relative Ball-Bey worked part-time for FedEx and was in his uniform at the time of his death and was headed to college in the fall and planned to become an engineer. Police alleged Mansur Ball-Bey pointed a gun at them, but did not shoot. An autopsy later revealed that Ball-Bey died from a single gunshot wound to the back.

Within the same timeframe, news broke out about a nine year old girl in Ferguson, died in drive by shooting, in her room, doing her homework; she dies by a stray bullet to the chest.

Jamyla Bolden was a nine year old girl killed while she was doing homework on her mother's bed. This was a senseless, cowardly act.

“Last night, who do you think they protested for? The thug, the criminal, because they’re howling, ‘police brutality.’ Are you fucking kidding me? Police brutality? How about black brutality.

The goal of a protests is to create awareness of an issue so that it can be the catalyst of real change. From that perspective, nonviolent protest or resistance is a broad concept encompassing education, organizing, alternative social structures, personal-witness, noncooperation — and, of course, direct action protests. 

As Dr Martin Luther King Jr. wrote during the Letter from Birmingham Jail,  "The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation". 

Protesters may organize a protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy, or they may undertake direct action in an attempt to directly enact desired changes themselves. 

Protest usually involve a known target such as, changing an unjust law, the indictment of a particular person or persons, complaining about the practices of an institution or industry such as banking reform. In the case of Mansur Ball-Bey, the targets were the individual police officers, police brutality, racial profiling and unnecessary killing by police officers.

A vigil attended by more than two hundred people was held for Jamyla Bolden. However, as far as a protest, who are the targets? Are they neighborhood thugs? Are they white supremacist drawn to Ferguson who randomly picked a shooting target? Was that home targeted by mistake? Was someone harboring a grudge against Jamyla's family? At this time, no one knows.

The universal expectation is that once the killer is identified, they will be brought to justice. There is no expectation that once identified that they will suffer no consequences as is often the case with police who have killed unarmed and sometimes innocent people. Remember Amadou Diallo​? I suppose you could protest near the police station for more resources to be aimed at this investigation. However, unknown murderers and criminals will not respond to protest. Vigils, however, will encourage solidarity, empathy and may move someone with information about the murder to come forward.

When a police officer who is supposed to protect and serve, while exercising government sanctioned lethal power, abuses that power, and then not held accountable, that is cause for protest. There is certainly probable cause to scrutinize the police officer's version of events. The Ferguson Protest resulted in real measureable change. The municipal court system of the entire state of Missouri will undergo reform this week. Hundreds of thousands of bench warrants for minor offenses have been recalled. Judges have been removed. The amount of traffic ticket revenue that a municipality can retain has been reduced. People's eyes have been opened.

You black people, my black people, are the fucking most violent motherfuckers I have ever seen in my life.

There were 391,467 violent crime arrests in 2013 of which 228,782 were white and 151,627 where black. In just about every other category of crime, whites were arrested at rates almost three times that of blacks, but somehow we see a majority of black mugshots displayed in the news. 

The 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of annual crime statistics, shows that 83 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders and 90 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders. Black offenders usually don't randomly target schools, federal buildings, churches or movie theaters. The genocidial slaughter of natives was not caused by black people. The vast majority of domestic terrorism in this country including lynchings and other atrocities committed by Klan members and other supremacist groups were not committed by blacks. 

A little girl is dead. You say black lives matter? Her life mattered. Her dreams mattered. Her future mattered. Her promises mattered. It mattered.

Yet, you trifling motherfuckers are out there tearing up the neighborhood I grew up in. I was born and raised, I was raise by a single mother, eight kids. This woman raised eight kids by herself she lost one, one. Because that boy did not listen and he died by the gun.

The protesters were peaceful. The people looting and destroying property were criminals and possibly infiltrators or spies using the peaceful protest as a cover.

You want to be upset about black lives? You want to be upset about police brutality? There is real police brutality out there. I will give you that. But night, after night, after night on Channel 4, Channel 2, Channel 5, Channel 30, Channel 11 and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: murder, murder, murder, murder. Black on black murder.

ProPublica analysis of federal data from 2010 to 2012 found young black males were 21 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. Racially biased media reporting consistently over-represent Black people as perpetrators of crime. They are unfairly and disproportionately focusing their crime reporting on Black suspects, and inaccurately exaggerating the proportion of Black people involved in crime.

The FBI reports 12,253 murder victims in 2013, of which 51.7 percent of the victims were black, 45.7 percent were white; 53.6 percent of the murderers were black, 43.9 percent were white. The sad fact is that their are more black murders than white murders. Oppression and systemic racism prevents opportunity which helps fuel the conditions that results in murder. Inequalities lead to unemployment, poverty and crime.

But yet you ass holes are out there tear up your own shit, it's not your shit other people’s shit for a criminal, for a thug. Bailing out criminals and thugs.

The two police officers allege Ball-Bey pointed a gun at them, but he was shot in the back. The thug label until more facts are known is premature. 

Let me tell you something. I got a kid locked up. Oh yeah, I put him there. I turned his ass in. Yes I did because I’m a strong black woman. I am a black mother. I told my children that if you fuck up, if you go to jail, I am not getting you out. You will stay there. You will do the time. I'm not putting nothing on your books. I ain't coming to visit you. I ain’t sending you magazines. I’m not doing shit for you because I did everything I could for you out here and yet you chose to go in there; fuck you. I'm from the Madea school of hard knocks, fuck you. If you don’t care about me and your father working and putting in time and effort to raise you and be there for you. To go to every function, everything that your were interested in. We took note of, we nurtured, encouraged and yet your stupid ass ends up in jail. You belong exactly where your are; don’t drop the soap. That is what I told my son, don't drop the soap.

Seems a little harsh, especially the comment about the soap. I don't know the circumstances here so I won't comment further.

You guys need to stop. You’re hollering this black lives matters bullshit. It don’t matter. You’re killing each other. The fuck, white people don’t care. They don’t care. Save us some tax dollars. I need new parts for my Harley. If you want to die, die. Go ahead and knock yourself out. Your life does not matter. If it doesn’t matter to you it sure in the fuck doesn’t matter to us. That just the truth of the reality. If you don’t care we don’t care.

The media pundits have spun the "Black Lives Matter" motto out of context. The sentiment expressed by "Black Lives Matter", means that black lives matter "also", in addition to other lives; not that black lives matter more than anyone else's.

If you don't give a damn about your life, why in the fuck should we care. Why should we go out and protest for your ass? You broke the law. You’re carrying another stolen gun. You’re yelling fuck the police; fuck you. You’re shooting at the police. Police drops your ass. Oh, poor ‘so and so’ he died due to police brutality. 127 homicides later… Y’all want to holler ‘police brutality’? Black people, you’re a fucking joke. You're tearing up communities over thugs and criminals. You’re putting plaques in the ground over somebody that would not stop. He had a chance to stop. How may times is somebody going to tell you to stop doing that shit before they do something to you?

It is a tragedy when a person's life is violently taken away. Unfortunately, in large metropolitan areas, crimes occur including murder. The sad reality is that, St. Louis, with the exception of only one year, has seen at least 111 murders every year since 1963.

1963 was the pivotal year for civil rights, when MLK penned his Letter from Birmingham Jail; Bull Connor turned fire hoses and dogs on black demonstrator; Medgar Evers was assassinated; the March on Washington where King delivered  the "I have a Dream" speech, and four little girls were killed when their church was bombed. Before 1963, only 4% of Americans thought civil rights was the country's most pressing issue; afterwards it was 52%.

In 1963 there were 138 murders in St. Louis. By 1970, the year I enrolled in kindergarten, the number increased to 309. During my junior year in high school there were 265 murders and by the birth of my first son in 1993, the murder rate peaked at 69.9% with 267 murders.

Many of the 127 people you mentioned were innocent murder victims, and I wouldn't assume that they didn't care about their lives. Your assumption that all those victims being criminals and thugs is offensive. I'm certain the lives of those victims mattered not only to themselve and their families, even if they didn't matter to the murders

Do you think the police are out here for fun? Do you think they’re out here for games? They’re not going to tuck you in. They’re not going to give you a cookie and sing you a lullaby and tuck you in. No, they’re going to pop a cap in your ass. You shoot at them and they’re going to shoot at you. That's just the realism of it. If you try to kill them, their job is serve and protect, not serve and die.”

Mansur Ball-Bey did not shoot at the police, some of your details were wrong.

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.- Elie Wiesel quotes

Ms. Hubbard's follow up video is below:

Ms. Hubbart, please consider the possibility that the racially biased media picked up on your message and used it as propaganda to create negative imagery of black Americans. It's ironic that you mentioned in your first video that you have a son in prison, but you find fault in the parenting skills of others if one of their children gets caught up in the system. I won't comment any further, not sure that if would do much good anyway.

Take at look at the documentary White Like Me, produced by a white man about Race, Racism & White Privilege in America. Hopefully, it will educate you about some realities you may not have known about and provide some clarity for you to better use you platform.


18 Year Old Shot In Back by Police

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that an autopsy performed on Mansur Ball-Bey, showed that he died from a single wound in the back, police officials said.  The black 18 year old's death by a white police officer's gunfire this week stirred protests, Mansur Ball-Bey was killed during a raid upon an aunt's residence near Fountain Park on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. 

According to family accounts, Ball-Bey stopped by an aunt's house to meet up with his cousins on his way home from his part-time job at FedEx. They were met by police in an unmarked car and Ball-Bey "got caught up in some bs being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Cotton-Booker said. 

He was still in his FedEx uniform when he got shot, family said. The distraught family said they could not believe the police account because Ball-Bey, who went by Man Man, was not capable of those crimes: he had just graduated from high school, held a steady job and was heading to college, according to the New York Daily News

His family belonged to Moorish Science Temple of America, at 2918 Sarah Avenue. Members wear a hat called a fez, and many include Bey or El in their last names.

St. Louis Police vigorously opposed body cameras, which could have easily proven the police's version of events. I live near the Fountain Park area and rode through there the day before this incident. It's hard to understand how you shoot someone pointing a gun and hit them in the back. "I understand people's skepticism," Police Chief Sam Dotson said Thursday. "But don't let social media and innuendo drive what you believe to be true. You have to let the facts speak."

It's been over a year since the national debate about police body cams began. Had the officers involved been wearing body cams, those "facts" would have spoke volumes. People usually get shot in the back when they are running away. Just last month, it was body cam footage that revealed the truth in the unjustified killing of a black man by a University of Cincinnati police office. That video is included on the racial bias in media page.

Police have cited privacy concerns over body cams, however, the Missouri Supreme Court recently affirmed that Police officers have no constitutional ‘right of privacy’ in records of their official misconduct, when it denied the final appeal of police officers who wanted to block release of department records in the 2006 World Series ticket scandal.

Maybe some St. Louis police officers are afraid body cameras will reveal the darker side of policing as in this video below from last year.

Millions of people including retail, bank, casino, school employees and even office workers perform their duties under constant video surveillance. I'm certain many of those employees do not like it, but it's part of the job. As Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey stated on Meet the Press, "we can't afford to have that sort of thing in policing, the role we play in a democratic society is just too important".

If the police routinely profile black people, then it's only fair those same people profile police when there are so many senseless police killings. The St. Louis Police Department has lost the benefit of doubt in these types of cases until they implement the mandatory use of body cams. Write or call your alderman and tell them you demand body cams for police officers.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that David Klinger, an UMSL criminologist said the Supreme Court has ruled it constitutional for police to shoot someone in the back if they believe that person could be a threat. However, under U.S. law, the fleeing felon rule was limited in 1985 to non-lethal force in most cases by Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S.

The Supreme Court of the United States held that, under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless "the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."

So far in 2015 police in the United States have shot dead at least 626 people, almost 10% of them were unarmed according to the Washington Post.  Another sources, list 751 people killed by police this year as of August 20, 2015. Police in the US Kill Citizens at Over 70 Times the Rate of Other First-World Nations. One area in which the U.S. is unquestionably exceptional is the level of state violence directed against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and working and poor people of all nationalities, according to GlobalResearch. U.S. police killings outnumber those in other developed capitalist countries by as much as 100-1! It would be ridiculous to believe that all of these killings are justified, but I assume most are

Elkhart, TX

I believe most cops are good cops and many go their entire career without firing their gun or killing anyone. Police should embrace body cams for the evidence record they provide and they are certainly the best tool to remove doubt about an officer's version of events. The May 31, 2015 fatal police shooting of James Bushey, 47, of Elkhart, TX is a perfect example. The videos are taken from the body cameras of two officers with the Palestine, TX., police department. Bushey was suspected of stealing some alcohol from a local Wal-Mart. In the videos Sgt. Gabriel Green confronts Bushey in the bathroom of an Applebee’s restaurant. Green and Officer Kaylynn Griffin escort him outside then and then asked about identification, Bushey pulls a out what turns out to be a BB gun; and the officers open fire killing Bushey. I doubt that anyone watching these videos could argue that the officers were not justified. Any reasonable person would have feared for their lives in that situation. Warning, the video is graphic!

Sgt. Green Camera Footage

Officer Griffen Camera Footage

The two videos above demonstrate why police should embrace the use of body cameras. Those videos completely vindicate Green and Griffin and points out how professionally the officers handled the entire situation without escalation.

White Middle Class Fatigue

As I watched the August 6, 2015, episode of DonnyBrook, the phrase, "white middle-class fatigue" was mentioned at about 2:30 in the timeline. Evidently, many people are tired of hearing about injustices, discrimination, and oppression endured by people of color. A quote by Barbara Smith – "For those of you who are tired of hearing about racism, imagine how much more tired we are constantly experiencing it", which summarizes how I felt when I heard the then unfamiliar phrase, white middle-class fatigue. 

It's foolish to let your oppressor tell you that you should forget about the oppression that they inflicted upon you. I am not indicting people for the sins or acts of their ancestors, but many people today benefit from those sins. Land that was stolen and wealth that was accumulated was passed down and provided advantages to succeeding generations of European Americans; while decimating native, enslaved and oppressed populations. See The Unequal Opportunity Race.


I assume white middle-class fatigue is one of the contributing factors why comments from Donald Trump stating he doesn't have the time to be politically correct resonates with so many people. White privilege allows Trump to make statements such as, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.….They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”  Many of the Mexicans crossing the borders are actually crossing land that had previous been stolen by the U.S. during the Mexican Session of 1848. 


So when Trump calls Mexicans crossing the border are mostly criminals, he should take a closer look at U.S. history and consider one of history's greatest land thefts of First Nation Peoples. This country was built on the theft of human lives, resources, and land. The success that our country enjoys today is based upon that theft. Trump's statements reminded me of an ad campaign about discrimination of another people native to their land which was stolen by new settlers. The subject of the ad campaign was discrimination of Australia's indigenous population, however, the theme could just as easily be applied to any group that is discriminated against. 

Political correctness is a term used to criticize language, actions, or policies seen as being excessively calculated to not offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society. When objectionable language is directed toward you, it is considered offensive, but when it's directed toward others, I guess that's when it's considered an issue of political correctness. 

Many people seem to think that the past has no effect upon the present or the future. The past is foundational and effects people and communities just as the quality of a building's foundation effects how well it endures over time. If a person's grandfather was relatively well off, not rich, but firmly part of the middle class, he most likely provided a decent education for his son and the son stood a good chance of going to college. That son would then most likely surpass his father in economic status and the grandchild would possibly get an even better education than both the parent and grandparent. In addition, when the grandparents and parents die, their accumulation of property passes down, enriching the grandson even more. Multiply this by 350 years of slavery, then by another 90 years of Jim Crow plus factor in the destruction of black wealth and discriminatory legislation and it's easy to see how white families are worth 20 times that of black families. A cartoon, "The Unequal Opportunity Race" does an excellent job of expressing this point.


Dr. Claud Anderson discusses the sentiments expressed by The Unequal Opportunity Race cartoon in his lecture, The Truth About Slavery.

It's unfortunate that when people who have been oppressed both socially and within statutory codes of law, that others feel fatigue by their efforts to secure better circumstances for themselves. 

The Injustice System

The News 4 Investigates documentary, “The Injustice System: Cops, Courts and Greedy Politicians", aired yesterday June 26, 2015, and points out many of the flaws with our justice system. It's not enough to know the problem exist, people caught up in an unjust system must be taught how to navigate their way out. At the moment, a lot of attention is being given to this issue, but like all issues, over time people will forget and the system will eventually figure out new ways to strip rights and cash from its victims. 

Take the time to look around this site and become familiar with the tools you need to defend yourself. Your rights do not evaporate simply because you can't afford an attorney, but most people don't know how to invoke their rights. If you can't afford an attorney you have two choices; continue being a victim and having you hard earned money stripped away from you or take some time and learn about our court system and the rules that protect you. Decide whether you want to miss a few hours of television programming and develop knowledge that may help you the rest of your life or become a helpless victim to a system that will surely invent new ways to as my departed grandmother in law would say "rob you without a gun".


President Obama’s Eulogy of Clementa Pinckney

President Obama gave a remarkable eulogy which honored not only Pastor Pinchney, but the other eight killed along side him in his church. President touches on gun violence, history and many of the important issues of the day. 

President Obama delivered the following eulogy at the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the College of Charleston’s campus.

OBAMA: Giving all praise and honor to God.


The Bible calls us to hope, to persevere and have faith in things not seen. They were still living by faith when they died, the scripture tells us.


They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith, a man who believed in things not seen, a man who believed there were better days ahead off in the distance, a man of service, who persevered knowing full-well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed, to Jennifer, his beloved wife, Eliana and Malana, his beautiful, wonderful daughters, to the Mother Emanuel family and the people of Charleston, the people of South Carolina.

I cannot claim to have had the good fortune to know Reverend Pinckney well, but I did have the pleasure of knowing him and meeting him here in South Carolina back when we were both a little bit younger…


… back when I didn’t have visible gray hair.


The first thing I noticed was his graciousness, his smile, his reassuring baritone, his deceptive sense of humor, all qualities that helped him wear so effortlessly a heavy burden of expectation.

Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived, that even from a young age, folks knew he was special, anointed. He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful, a family of preachers who spread God’s words, a family of protesters who so changed to expand voting rights and desegregate the South.

Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching. He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. He did not exhibit any of the cockiness of youth nor youth’s insecurities. Instead, he set an example worthy of his position, wise beyond his years in his speech, in his conduct, in his love, faith and purity.

As a senator, he represented a sprawling swathe of low country, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America, a place still racked by poverty and inadequate schools, a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment — a place that needed somebody like Clem.


His position in the minority party meant the odds of winning more resources for his constituents were often long. His calls for greater equity were too-often unheeded. The votes he cast were sometimes lonely.

But he never gave up. He stayed true to his convictions. He would not grow discouraged. After a full day at the Capitol, he’d climb into his car and head to the church to draw sustenance from his family, from his ministry, from the community that loved and needed him. There, he would fortify his faith and imagine what might be.

Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean nor small. He conducted himself quietly and kindly and diligently. He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen. He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.

No wonder one of his Senate colleagues remembered Senator Pinckney as “the most gentle of the 46 of us, the best of the 46 of us.”

Clem was often asked why he chose to be a pastor and a public servant. But the person who asked probably didn’t know the history of AME Church.


As our brothers and sisters in the AME Church, we don’t make those distinctions. “Our calling,” Clem once said, “is not just within the walls of the congregation but the life and community in which our congregation resides.”


He embodied the idea that our Christian faith demands deeds and not just words, that the sweet hour of prayer actually lasts the whole week long, that to put our faith in action is more than just individual salvation, it’s about our collective salvation, that to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society.

What a good man. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized, after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say somebody was a good man.


You don’t have to be of high distinction to be a good man.

Preacher by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith.

And then to lose him at 41, slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God — Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson.

Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people.


People so full of life and so full of kindness, people who ran the race, who persevered, people of great faith.

To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church.

The church is and always has been the center of African American life…


… a place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors, where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses, where their free descendants could gather and shout “Hallelujah…”


… rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for the foot soldiers of the civil-rights movement.

They have been and continue to community centers, where we organize for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harms way and told that they are beautiful and smart and taught that they matter.


That’s what happens in church. That’s what the black church means — our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people in inviolate.

There’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel, a church…


… a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founders sought to end slavery only to rise up again, a phoenix from these ashes. (APPLAUSE)

When there were laws banning all-black church gatherers, services happened here anyway in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps.

A sacred place, this church, not just for blacks, not just for Christians but for every American who cares about the steady expansion…


… of human rights and human dignity in this country, a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all.

That’s what the church meant.


We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history, but he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…


… an act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion, an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.

Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.


God has different ideas.


He didn’t know he was being used by God.


Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer would not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love that shown as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle.

The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that.


The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley, how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond not merely with revulsion at his evil acts, but with (inaudible) generosity. And more importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we so rarely see in public life. Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood — the power of God’s grace.


This whole week, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace.


The grace of the families who lost loved ones; the grace that Reverend Pinckney would preach about in his sermons; the grace described in one of my favorite hymnals, the one we all know — Amazing Grace.


How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.


I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.


According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God.


As manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Grace — as a nation out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind.


He’s given us the chance where we’ve been lost to find out best selves. We may not have earned this grace with our rancor and complacency and short-sightedness and fear of each other, but we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway. He’s once more given us grace.

But it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with gratitude and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift.

For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate Flag stirred into many of our citizens.


It’s true a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge, including Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise…


… as we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride.


For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression…


… and racial subjugation.


We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capital would not be an act of political correctness. It would not an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be acknowledgement that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong.

The imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong.


It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history, a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds.

It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races, striving to form a more perfect union.

By taking down that flag, we express adds grace God’s grace.


But I don’t think God wants us to stop there.


For too long, we’ve been blind to be way past injustices continue to shape the present.


Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty…


… or attend dilapidated schools or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate.


Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal-justice system and lead us to make sure that that system’s not infected with bias.


… that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement…


… and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure.


Maybe we now realize the way a racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it so that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal…


… so that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote…


… by recognizing our common humanity, by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin…


… or the station into which they were born and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American. By doing that, we express God’s grace.


For too long…


For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation.


Sporadically, our eyes are open when eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day…


… the countless more whose lives are forever changed, the survivors crippled, the children traumatized and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never feel his wife’s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows every time they have to watch what happened to them happening to some other place.

The vast majority of Americans, the majority of gun owners want to do something about this. We see that now.


And I’m convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions, ways of life that make up this beloved country, by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace.


We don’t earn grace. We’re all sinners. We don’t deserve it.


But God gives it to us anyway.


And we choose how to receive it. It’s our decision how to honor it.

None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight. Every time something like this happens, somebody says, “We have to have a conversation about race.” We talk a lot about race.


There’s no shortcut. We don’t need more talk.


None of us should believe that a handful of gun safety measures will prevent every tragedy.

It will not. People of good will will continue to debate the merits of various policies as our democracy requires — the big, raucous place, America is. And there are good people on both sides of these debates.

Whatever solutions we find will necessarily be incomplete. But it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allow ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again.

Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual. That’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society.


To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change, that’s how we lose our way again. It would be a refutation of the forgiveness expressed by those families if we merely slipped into old habits whereby those who disagree with us are not merely wrong, but bad; where we shout instead of listen; where we barricade ourselves behind preconceived notions or well-practiced cynicism.

Reverend Pinckney once said, “Across the south, we have a deep appreciation of history. We haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”


What is true in the south is true for America. Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other; that my liberty depends on you being free, too.


That — that history can’t be a sword to justify injustice or a shield against progress. It must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, how to break the cycle, a roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind. But more importantly, an open heart.

That’s what I felt this week — an open heart. That more than any particular policy or analysis is what’s called upon right now, I think. It’s what a friend of mine, the writer Marilyn Robinson, calls “that reservoir of goodness beyond and of another kind, that we are able to do each other in the ordinary cause of things.”

That reservoir of goodness. If we can find that grace, anything is possible.


If we can tap that grace, everything can change. Amazing grace, amazing grace.

Amazing grace…



… how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now, I see.


Clementa Pinckney found that grace…


… Cynthia Hurd found that grace…

… Susie Jackson found that grace…


… Ethel Lance found that grace…


… DePayne Middleton Doctor found that grace…


… Tywanza Sanders found that grace…


… Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace…

(APPLAUSE) … Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace…


… Myra Thompson found that grace…


… through the example of their lives. They’ve now passed it onto us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift as long as our lives endure.

May grace now lead them home. May God continue to shed His Grace on the United States of America.





April 2015 Police Killings

Thaddeus McCarroll

On April 18th, Thaddeus McCarroll a 23 year old Jennings, MO man was killed after his mother reported he had barricaded himself alone inside her house. Officers tried to engage McCarroll but he refused. A few hours later he came out of the house with a knife and Bible. Officers first shot his leg with a rubber bullet which didn't stop him and he allegedly charged at officers, at which point they shot and killed him.

I couldn't help but wonder, how burglary suspects armed with guns; who shot at a home owner, police and random people on the street survived, seeming without shots being fired from the police. However, a clearly mentally disturbed young man in Jennings armed with a bible and knife was killed by St. Louis County Police, the same police force that responded in South St. Louis County. The police officers were on the scene in Jennings for hours, had prior notice of what the situation was before arriving and had more than ample time to formulate a game plan where no one had to die. Below is news footage from the South County incident, followed by body camera footage of the Jennings incident.


Two Many Unarmed Police Killings

During the month of April 2015, there have been three incidents of police killings of unarmed black men captured on video that have gained national attention. In each of these incidents, if no video existed; these deaths may have gone mostly unnoticed by the public.If some police officers are still so brazen in their behavior to be caught on video killing unarmed people, how many others have met similar fates which have not captured on video? Everyone reading this should make sure they download the ACLU mobile app on their phone and start recording!

Freddie Gray


Partial transcript of Baltimore television news station's account of the Freddy Gray incident. 

"Freddie Gray was initially accused of making eye contact with one of the police officers. Here's Freddie Gray, a twenty five year old man, how was not accused of any crime, because looking at a police officer is not a crime, even in Baltimore, running from police after that, after apparently having done nothing wrong, at least according to the police is also not a crime. And yet, according to judge Napolitano, the arrest would have been an illegal arrest. That said, they did take him away in this van and when he got out of the van he had what his attorney called a severed spine; and Freddy Gray on Sunday, last Sunday, not yesterday, but the Sunday before died". 

The video below, roughly at 6 minutes, is where the above transcripted portion can be viewed.


Freddie Gray funeral: 'Most of us knew a lot of Freddie Grays. Too many'  

Freddie Gray’s Death Reveals A Dark History Of “Nickel Rides” And Police Van Torture

On September 28, 2014, The Baltimore Sun published an article titled, "Undue Force", detailing years of police brutality.

Walter L. Scott

April 4th, North Charlston, SC – Walter L. Scott, 50 was fatally shot in the back multiple times by officer Michael Slager during a traffic stop. Slager was subsequently charged with murder. See previous post.

Eric Harris

April 2nd, Tulsa, OK – Eric Harris, 44, Harris is seen running from police before a voice shouts "Taser, Taser". A moment later, there is a single gunshot, and voice says, "Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry." Harris cries out, "He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath." "Fuck your breath. Shut the fuck up," an officer shouts back in response. Harris was unarmed at the time of the shooting. Part-time volunteer reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, was charged with manslaughter, however, a judge approves a family vacation the the Bahamas for Robert Bates.


4-27-2015: Tulsa Undersheriff Resigns Amid Allegations He Falsified Training Records Of Eric Harris' KillerTulsa Undersheriff Resigns Amid Allegations He Falsified Training Records Of Eric Harris' Killer

Other lesser known killings of unarmed men this month include:

Frank Shephard

April 16th, Houston, TX – Frank Shephard, 41: The father of 3+, wanted for allegedly making unsafe lane changes, refused to pull over and called 911 threatening to harm a child in the vehicle if police tried to stop him again. A 15-20 minute pursuit ended in a collision at an intersection and he was shot (10-12 shots fired) when he got out of the car. There was no child in the vehicle.


William L. Chapman

April 22nd, Portsmouth, VA – William L. Chapman II, 18: An officer responding to a shoplifting call shot and killed the unarmed Chapman after an aledged struggle between the two.

Police ID 18-year-old shot, killed in Portsmouth

Hector Morejon

April 23rd, Long Beach, CA – Hector Morejon, 19:-Officers responded to a residential complex in response to reports of several subjects trespassing and vandalizing a vacant residence. Officers saw Morejon in the residence standing next to a wall. Morejon allegedly turned toward the officer while bending his knees and extending his arm; he was then fatally shot. No weapon was found at the scene. Four others were arrested, not killed, for trespassing. 

Hector Morejon, Unarmed Teen Shot, Killed By Police, Cried For His Mother: 'Mommy, Mommy, Please Come'


Police Officer Charged with Murder of Unarmed Man

My son's car is being repaired and I had to pick him up after classes today. He explained how today had been a particularly good day because two of his professors had very interesting guest speakers in class. One of those speakers was a police officer and childhood friend of the professor. The officer explained how most cops are good and how he the and professor had grown up in a ruff area and were frequently harassed by police. His motivation for becoming an officer was to make changes from the inside. 

Unfortunately, shortly after our ride home, the news of yet another shooting and killing of an unarmed person by police was on the news. As I have stated before, I believe that most cops are good cops, but good cops aren't the problem. There is a major problem with the way some officers target and interact with members of the black community.

A police officer with the North Charleston, SC Police Department, was arrested today, Tuesday April 7th, for a shooting that took place Saturday morning after a traffic stop concerning a brake light. The officer, Michael Slager, claimed he had feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun during a scuffle after the traffic stop. His arrest took place after a video surfaced that shows him shooting an unarmed man eight times who was running away.

Walter L. Scott, a 50 year old Coast Guard veteran and father of four, who family members said was preparing to get married was identified as the victim. Five of the eight bullets hit Scott, his family’s attorney said; four of those struck his back, the other hit an ear.


"I can tell you that as the result of that video and the bad decision made by our officer, he will be charged with murder," North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told reporters Tuesday. "When you're wrong, you're wrong. And if you make a bad decision — don't care if you're behind the shield or just a citizen on the street — you have to live by that decision." 

Unfortunately, it takes someone taking a video at the exact moment of a police shooting before its considered a bad decision or a possibility that a crime was committed. When police are not held accountable for their questionable behavior, it encourages other officers to commit even bolder acts. For years, rouge cops have been getting away with what have been blatant abuses of power and using deadly force unnecessarily. 

Michael Slager didn't even hesitate to shot, because most likely he felt his story of feeling threatened would be believed. Two people filed complaints against Slager during his time with the force, including one man who said the policeman shot him with a Taser for no reason in September 2013.

A woman who witnessed the 2013 incident and gave her account to the investigators at the time, and told a newspaper reporter that Slager pulled Mario Givens, who was clad in boxer shorts, from his home and shot him with a Taser. Internal investigators exonerated Slager of any wrongdoing, even though the suspect in that case was never arrested.

Attorney David Aylor, who released a statement on Slager’s behalf earlier this week, said Tuesday that he wasn’t representing the officer anymore.

I will be fifty years old in August, the same age as the victim. It's bad enough having watch out for criminals, but having to fear normal interactions with the police only adds insult to injury. I understand some people reading this will think, but what about all the other killings being committed?

Other than murders that occur during the heat of passion, most murders are committed by criminals participating in illegal or illicit behavior. They do not have the public trust and most people when being approached on the street by a stranger has a heightened sense of awareness and mentally sizes up the stranger to determine the appropriate level of precaution. When threatened by a stranger or criminal, a person may take defensive action to protect themselves. 

A person doesn't feel a sense of obligation to engage with a stranger and can therefore avoid some potentially dangerous situations. However, a police officer has public trust and more importantly government sanctioned authority over you and openly carries a weapon. A person feels compelled to follow the instructions and direction of a police office and therefore will automatically interact with the police officer, even during a chance encounter on the street.

When a person feels threatened by a police officer, they are less likely to take defensive actions; and even if they did, most likely the police version or assessment of the situation will be believed over the citizen's. If a person uses deadly force to protect them self from a rouge officer, that person will certainly be charged with murder. The only viable option available to an innocent person being threatened by a police officer is the flee, however, that very act of running away will be used to justify deadly force against them.

Below is a longer version of the video of Mr. Scott being killed. After you watch it, I want you to consider whether most people, including yourself, would have believed the officer's version that his life was in danger, if this video didn't exist.

Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina, urged state and federal officials to start a broad probe into North Charleston police policies, training and allegations of racial profiling. Past calls for such an investigation have been met with no response, she said.

Update: 4-9-2015

The dash cam video from Michael Slager's squad car was released today. The video shows Walter Scott, exiting and running. Based upon what's visible in the dash cam video, there doesn't appear to be any apparent reason for Mr. Scott to take of running the way he did. The dash cam indicates that Slager's approach and demeanor appear to be appropriate. Mr. Scott running the way he did certainly appears to have escalated the situation and it will certainly be argued that he would still be alive if he had not run. There appears to be a passenger in the car with Mr. Scott and hopefully he will be able to provide some reason or explanation for Mr. Scott's behavior. Based solely on the dash cam, Mr. Scott made a poor decision and was in the wrong. However, what has been shown in the shooting video, Mr. Slager made a worse decision and there was no justification for a trained police officer to use deadly force in that situation and in that manner. Mr. Slager certainly new the dash cam video would have supported his lie about believing himself to be in danger.


Racist Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Chant

Members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), University of Oklahoma chapter, dressed in formal wear while on a bus, were caught on video singing a racist chant. SAE is the first national fraternity to be established in the deep south, it was founded at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, on 9 March 1856 and is one of America’s largest college fraternities. The group reportedly was on their way to a day party to celebrate the fraternity's founder's day.

How many of the members shown in the video or others with similiar views will be future public defenders, prosecutors, judges, government administrators, political office holders or even police officers?

This is why developing information about our legal and justice system is crucial, especially for those that are the targets of this type of behavior. The video below does not bleep out any word and is offensive, also the text of the chant is shown below the video.


Text of chant: "There will never be a nigger at SAE, there will never be a nigger at SAE, you can hang him from a tree, but they'll never sign with me, there will never be a nigger at SAE!"

SAE national headquarters has closed its Oklahoma Kappa chapter and the university president said the university's affiliation with the fraternity is permanently done as a campus group and called for the expulsion of fraternity members. This is the type of swift decisive action that was called for in Ferguson and is to be expected in situations such as this.

Racism and bigotry will remain in our country for a very long time, but when there are no consequences for participating in this type of dispicable behavior, future instances of the same behavior is encouraged and validated.

In contrast, Ferguson, MO in their effort to protect the questionable actions of a single police officer, resulted in million of dollars of property damage, a Justice Department investigation, the firing of several city employees, the loss of their municipal court system and staining their city's reputation to the point where they are now the new face and ground zero for a resurgent national civil rights movement. Even President Obama invoked Ferguson during his speech about the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Al.


President Obama’s 50th Anniversary ‘Bloody Sunday’ Selma Speech

President Obama delivered a magnificent speech at the 50th aniversary of  'Bloody Sunday' in Selma, Alabama at the Edmond Pettus Bridge. The President mentioned the Ferguson Protest in the same spirit as Selma and discussed the DOJ Ferguson Investigation report.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., John Lewis returned to Selma to speaks at the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”. 50 years after John Lewis was beaten, he introduced President Obama on the very bridge where he was beaten.

The History of "Bloody Sunday"

The three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 were part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement and led to the passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. Activists publicized the three protest marches to walk the 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery as showing the desire of black American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression.

A series of discriminatory requirements and practices disenfranchised most of the millions of African Americans across the South since the turn of the century. The African American group known as The Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) launched a voters registration campaign in Selma in 1963. Joined by organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), they began working that year in a renewed effort to register black voters. Finding resistance by white officials to be intractable, even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation, the DCVL invited Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the activists of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to join them. SCLC brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to Selma in January 1965. Local and regional protests began, with 3,000 people arrested by the end of February.

On February 26, 1965, activist and deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson died after being mortally shot several days earlier by a state trooper during a peaceful march in Marion, Alabama. To defuse and refocus the community's outrage, SCLC Director of Direct Action James Bevel, who was directing SCLC's Selma Voting Rights Movement, called for a march of dramatic length, from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. Bevel had been working on his Alabama Project for voting rights since late 1963.

The first march took place on March 7, 1965. Bevel, Amelia Boynton, and others helped organize it. The march recently gained the nickname "Bloody Sunday" (a term more commonly applied to an analagous incident in Northern Ireland dating from 1972) after its 600 marchers were attacked at the Edmund Pettus Bridge after leaving Selma; state troopers and county posse attacked the unarmed marchers with billy clubs and tear gas. Law enforcement beat Boynton unconscious; media publicized a picture of her lying wounded on the bridge worldwide.

The second march took place March 9. Troopers, police, and marchers confronted each other, but when the troopers stepped aside to let them pass, King led the marchers back to the church. He was seeking protection by a federal court for the march. That night, a white group beat and murdered civil rights activist James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalis minister from Boston, who had come to Selma to march in the second march. Many other clergy and sympathizers from across the country also attended the second march.

The violence of "Bloody Sunday" and of Reeb's death led to a national outcry and some acts of civil disobedience, targeting both the Alabama state and federal governments. The protesters demanded protection for the Selma marchers and a new federal voting rights law to enable African Americans to register and vote without harassment. President Lyndon Johnson, whose administration had been working on a voting rights law, held a televised joint session of Congress on March 15 to ask for the bill's introduction and passage.

With Governor Wallace refusing to protect the marchers, President Johnson committed to do so. The third march started March 21. Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, the marchers averaged 10 miles (16 km) a day along U.S. Route 80, known in Alabama as the "Jefferson Davis Highway". The marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25. With thousands having joined the campaign, 25,000 people entered the capital city that day in support of voting rights.

The route is memorialized as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail, and is a U.S. National Historic Trail.

For those that think it's too much trouble to protect and preserve your rights in court, consider how much trouble those that came before us went through that fought and died so that you could have privileges that you now take for granted.

Eight days after "Bloody Sunday", President Lyndon Johnson addressed Congress and the American People and delivered his Voting Rights Speech.