Category Archives: Police

Tamir Rice’s Mother – No Candidate Endorsement

Why I Have Not Endorsed Any Candidate

Reflections from a Mom of the Movement
by Samaria Rice

Reprinted in Support of her fight for justice.

Over the past few weeks, I had been approached by many people all with the same question: Who will I endorse for President of the United States? I have heard this even more since the launch of the Justice For Tamir Speak Out Tour. I have watched as my fellow mothers that have lost children have chosen a candidate to invest their faith in and I support them in their pursuits of justice for their children, and the people want to know where I stand.

For over a year I have been fighting for justice for my son, Tamir , who was killed by Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. For over a year, I’ve waited to see if any candidate or official, including my state’s governor, would release a plan of action that addressed the failures and inhumane decisions responsible for my son’s death. While I’ve waited, I’ve been speaking out for true action, with changes that would help prevent another tragedy like Tamir’s murder, changes that truly hold these police accountable and give people power in the communities we live in.

As a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, my local and state governments have not only failed my family, they’ve caused us severe trauma. After shooting Tamir, Cleveland police neglected to call aid for my son and handcuffed my daughter, who was trying help her brother. Then the city of Cleveland later tried to charge me for the ambulance ride that was too late to save my son’s life. They said it was a mistake, and no one was held responsible for any of pain they caused my family.

After Tamir’s death, the county prosecutor, Timothy McGinty, an elected official, responsible for seeking justice for Tamir, instead blamed my 12 year old boy for his own death.


NOTE: Timothy McGinty, the Cleveland prosecutor who cleared cops in Tamir Rice’s death was defeated in primary


All of this happened under the administration of Ohio governor, John Kasich, a 2016 presidential nominee. Ohio’s state government has shown me repeatedly that the people elected to serve have no interest in justice. The loss of Tamir has made it clear to me that Cleveland is deeply invested in a system of injustice. No one has been held responsible for any part of this entire traumatic experience. No one has at least apologized for killing my son. Not a single politician has offered me some substantial support.

While I’ve continued to push my state’s officials towards real changes, several Presidential candidates have said my son’s name in their mouth, using his death as an example of what shouldn’t happen in America. Twelve year old children should never be murdered for playing in a park. But not a single politician: local, state or federal, has taken action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Instead of plans for justice and accountability, I have been shown several plans for criminal justice reform, none that address my experience of the entire system being guilty. Those plans don’t address the many ways elected officials become exempt to accountability and the legal flaws that allow them to extend that exemption to cops who kill. These plans do not get rid of the trauma of knowing that my tax dollars help pay the salaries of the police officers that killed my son.

As one of the Mothers of the Movement, I know the death of Tamir has shown many just how important police accountability is. I also know it must be a piece of a larger plan to address the deep corruptions that exist in America. The people should be the ones determining what accountability looks like, not prosecutors who work closely with police to deny the people justice. County Prosecutors whose job requires them to believe the police the majority of the time, should not be the same people prosecuting them. Police officers often lie about fearing for their life.

True community oversight of the police is one that evens the balance of power and allows the communities police serve to judge how well they are doing their job. My experience has let me know that the system is working just the way the people in power want it to. That is why I refuse to accept plans or support politicians that offer what they propose as solutions, not informed by us, the community. It’s why I won’t accept plans for more “community police” as positive solutions when it was the police that killed my son. I cannot settle for partial solutions and lip service. I know we need real action, and I refuse to endorse any candidate that offers less.

MLK Day and St. Louis’ first murder of the year

I didn't attend any ceremonies, speeches or marches this Martin Luther King holiday. Instead, I attended the funeral of the first murder victim in the City of St. Louis, Markel Simms.

On January 8th, I wrote a two sentence editorial beneath the headline, on the news page,  announcing St. Louis' first murder of the year. Two days later, I discovered that the murder victim was my nephew's cousin. My nephew, who lives in California, was devastated when he got the news. His brother was killed almost twenty years ago on the same street.

Markel was 35 years old, married and the father of four children. The pastor who eulogized Markel was a police officer with the Homicide, Ministers & Community Alliance (HMCA), a group founded to assist families as they cope with the homicide of a loved one; originally authorized by former police chief Dan Isom. It was refreshing to know that the St. Louis Police Department had such a program. Protect and serve was in full effect today.

The pastor describe how the worst sound in the world is that of a mother upon seeing her child's body at a murder scene, a sight he acknowledged, he has experience much too often. He reminded everyone that all life is precious and warned against the dangers of  vengeance and retribution. He also mentioned how most of St. Louis' murder victims are mostly young black men and women and how most of those murdered were killed by someone they knew. He cautioned those in attendance to mind the company they kept.

I couldn't help but think about the tragedy of attending a funeral of a murdered young black man on Martin Luther King Day. As I listened to the pastor's eulogy, I couldn't help but think about what King might say.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the funeral today, I saw people who I have known for years, some for most of my life who I never knew had a connection to Markel or one of his family members and I was reminded how interconnected we all are.

What happens in a person's mind when they decide that a particular person's life no longer matters and decides to end it? Do they ever consider the fact that they may be killing the brother of their future wife? Do they consider that life may be a relative of a close friend? Do they think about all the other lives that will be impacted?

As I made my parting view of Markel, I thought to myself how a part of King's dream had died with Markel and with all the other murder victims, past and future. Help keep King's dream alive.

Help someone lift up someone else. If you can help a neighbor, co-worker or even a stranger, do it! It could be as simple as giving advice about how or what to do. Young black men killing each other is a symptom of the diseases of poverty, hopelessness, marginalization and negative self imagery. If you can help cure just one person, you will have made a tremendous difference and helped keep the dream alive!

My Dungeon Shook

Hours after I attended Markel's funeral, Chris Rock read James Baldwin's letter to his nephew, "My Dungeon Shook", during a tribute at the "MLK Now" event in Harlem honoring the late Martin Luther King.

Although this letter was written in 1963, it describes the challenges faced by young black men all across America and is still unfortunately true and timely.

MY DUNGEON SHOOK
LETTER TO MY NEPHEW ON THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EMANICIPATION
by James Baldwin

Dear James:

I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times. I keep seeing your face, which is also the face of your father and my brother. Like him, you are tough, dark, vulnerable, mood—with a very definite tendency to sound truculent because you want no one to think you are soft. You may be like your grandfather in this, I don’t know, but certainly both you and your father resemble him very much physically. Well, he is dead, he never saw you, and he had a terrible life; he was defeated long before he died because, at the bottom of his heart, he really believed what white people said about him. This is one of the reasons that he became so holy. I am sure that your father has told you something about all that. Neither you nor your father exhibit any tendency towards holiness: you really are of another era, part of what happened when the late E. Franklin Frazier called “the cities of destruction.” You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger. I tell you this because I love you, and please don’t forget it.

I have known both of you all your lives, have carried your Daddy in my arms and on my shoulders, kissed and spanked him and watched him learn to walk. I don’t know if you’ve known anybody from that far back; if you’ve loved anybody that long, first as an infant, then as a child, then as a man, you gain a strange perspective on time and human pain and effort. Other people cannot see what I see whenever I look into your father’s face as it is today are all those other faces which were his. Let him laugh and I see a cellar your father does not remember and a house he does not remember and I hear in his present laughter his laughter as a child. Let him curse and I remember him falling down the cellar steps, and howling, and I remember, with pain, his tears, which my hand or your grandmother’s so easily wiped away. But no one’s hand can wipe away those tears he sheds invisibly today, which one hears in his laughter and in his speech and in his songs. I know what the world has done to my brother and how narrowly he has survived it. And I know, which is much worse, and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it. One can be, indeed one must strive to become, tough and philosophical concerning destruction and death, for this is what most of mankind has been best at since we have heard of man. (But remember: most of mankind is not all of mankind.) But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.

Now, my dear namesake, these innocent and well-meaning people, your countrymen, have caused you to be born under conditions not very far removed from those described for us by Charles Dickens in the London of more than a hundred years ago. (I hear the chorus of the innocents screaming, “No! This is not true! How bitter you are!”—but I am writing this letter to you, to try to tell you something about how to handle them, for most of them do not yet really know that you exist. I know the conditions, under which you were born, for I was there. Your countrymen were not there, and haven’t made it yet. Your grandmother was also there, and no one has ever accused her of being bitter. I suggest that the innocents check with her. She isn’t hard to find. Your countrymen don’t know that she exists, either, though she has been working for them all their lives.)
Well, you were born, here you came, something like fourteen years ago: and though your father and mother and grandmother, looking about the streets through which they were carrying you, staring at the walls into which they brought you, had every reason to be heavyhearted, yet they were not. For here you were, Big James, named for me—you were a big baby, I was not—here you were: to be loved. To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against the loveless world. Remember that: I know how black it looks today, for you. It looked bad that day, too, yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other none of us would have survived. And now you must survive because we love you, and for the sake of your children and your children’s children.

This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish. Let me spell out precisely what I mean by that, for the heart of the matter is here, and the root of my dispute with my country. You were born where you were born, and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity.

Wherever you have turned, James, in your short time on this earth , you have been told where you could go and what you could do (and how you could do it) and where you could do it and whom you could marry. I know that your countrymen do not agree with me about this, and I hear them saying “You exaggerate.” They do not know Harlem, and I do. So do you. Take no one’s word for anything, including mine—but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence your came, there is really no limit to where you can go. The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you. Please try to remember that what that believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity and fear. Please try to be clear, dear James, though the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words acceptance and integration. There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you.

The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for so many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case, the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of identity. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shinning and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is our of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations.

You, don’t be afraid. I said that it was intended that you should perish in the ghetto, perish by never being allowed to go behind the white man’s definitions, by never being allowed to spell your proper name. You have, and many of us have, defeated this intention; and, by a terrible law, a terrible paradox, those innocents who believed that your imprisonment made them safe are losing their grasp of reality. But these men are your brothers—your lost, younger brothers. And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it.

For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become. It will be hard, James, but you come from sturdy, peasant stock, men who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroads, and in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved and unassailable and monumental dignity. You come from a long line of poets, some of the greatest poets since Homer. One of them said, The very time I thought I was lost, My dungeon shook and my chains fell off.

You know, and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon. We cannot be free until they are free. God bless you, James, and Godspeed.

Your uncle,
James

More Unarmed people killed by Police, than officers killed while on duty

When I expressed my disbelief to my 16-year-old son that the police officer responsible for killing Tamir Rice,  was not indicted, he replied; why are you surprised, the police never are!

Racial bias most certainly plays a part in the officer's perception of the threat posed by Tamir Rice. It's doubtful that the same officer would have reacted the same way if it had been a 12-year-old white kid. That perception has to change!

During 2015, according to the Guardian, 1,139 people were killed by law enforcement officers, 223 of whom were unarmed. The Washington Post lists 980 people killed by police officers, 91 of whom were unarmed. I can only imagine how many more people might have died if police actions were not under scrutiny.

Below is a video compilation of police shootings of mostly unarmed people to demonstrate how easy an innocent person can be killed by mistake by police officers.

Admittedly, police have a dangerous job and I understand their need to protect themselves and their right to go home at the end of their shift. However, many of the unarmed people killed by police also had the right to continue living. If trained police officers are justified killing a 12-year-old kid with a toy gun while playing in a park, then when is it ever unreasonable for an officer to use deadly force? When is the officer's fear for his safety unreasonable?

During 2015, a total of 129 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died while on duty. Not all of those deaths were caused by violent acts against the officers; 18 died from heart attacks, 8 from illnesses,  32 from automobile or motorcycle accidents, and 4 from other accidents.

When the deaths from illness and accidents are excluded, a total of 67 law enforcement officers from the FBI, U.S. Border Patrol, Marshal Service, State Police, Highway Patrol, local police and other agencies were killed.

I want police officers to go home after their shifts, but I also want my sons to come home after their encounters with those officers. I don't want them to fear those encounters.

Unfortunately, biases both conscious and unconscious exist and influence how  many police officers react and interact with others. We have seen too many horrible videos of police treating people poorly and it needs to stop.

People with the least power are victimized the most. The more you educate yourself about the law and your rights you decrease the likelihood that you will be victimized.

First They Came

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality". – – Desmond Tutu

First they came for Black men, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not Black.

Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Muslim.

"First they came …" is a famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many poetic versions of the speech:


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


White Lives Matter Too!

A White man died from injuries suffered while in St. Louis City jail. The homeless man was arrested for trespassing. The man's mother believes police beat her son and told a reporter that she and family members were shocked when they saw Gilbert’s body at the morgue. “He’s black and blue and swollen all over,” she told a reporter Wednesday. “It just blew our mind when they pulled the curtain back. I wanted them to pull the sheet further down because we wanted to see his full body. They killed our kid. My husband went nuts. We knew immediately that this was no head injury or wrestling around — no, they beat him.”

During an event that took place earlier this year in Washington, MO, a White man was tasered while handcuffed, but in his case the incident was captured on video. The police officer has since been fired and Washington, MO paid an undisclosed amount in settlement of a lawsuit.

People and organizations such as Black Lives Matter are not imagining police brutality, it does happen.  It's just a matter of time before the injustices people remain silent about, visits them.  "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Police Lives Matter and so do Body Cameras

The St. Louis City Police Department announced today; they will begin a body camera pilot program. Only a few officers will have them, so I expect videos will often be unavailable when the situation is questionable. However, I expect to see many videos that prove the suspect's guilt.

With controversial St. Louis City police shooting deaths since Michael Brown including Kajieme PowellVonderritt Myers, Isaac Holmes and Mansur Ball-Bey, there's no viable reason why officers shouldn't have body cameras. The only legitimate  privacy concern is when an officer enters a private residence or any other non-public location. In public spaces, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled there is no expectation of privacy, so there is no valid reason not to require body cameras, other than to shield officers and the City from accountability.

Police officers provide a very important and necessary function including public safety. They are authorized by law to use deadly force and there should be some protections built is to make sure that deadly force is absolutely necessary. Even when police officers use excessive force unless there's a video is involved, the police officer's version is never questioned, until video surfaces.

The average person is a decent law abiding person, but criminal laws exist against theft, robbery, rape, murder and a host of other crimes. Those laws don't exist because every person is expected to commit crimes, they exist because some people do. We don't need body cameras because all police officers are rogue or corrupt, we need them because some are.

As I've expressed many times before, I believe most police officers are hard working and honest with an extremely stressful and dangerous job to do. However, unchecked power is dangerous. The "founding fathers" understood that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". The authorized unquestioned use of deadly force is absolute power!

Since a technology exist that allows checks and balances on the use of police force, it should not be a contract bargaining issue. I can think of no other circumstance where an employee is allowed to dictate to his employer what type of equipment will or won't be used in the performance of their duties unless it involves some sort of safety issue. In this instance safety is involved; those of both the police officer and the public.

Police lives matter too

Body cameras protect police officers too! Many suspects will be more aware that their actions are being recording which should result in reduce resistance; because it will be much easier to prove and charge resisting arrest. The videos will often exonerate police officers in situations such as Elkhart, TX.

A 24-year-old rookie St. Louis city police officer was shot Sunday, November 22nd and, fortunately, a suspect was quickly caught. I'm happy they caught the person allegedly responsible, but that is what I expect. I can't recall many crimes when a police officer is a victim, where no suspect is caught. I'm certain it happens, but those instances are most certainly exceptions rather than the rule. Body camera video will help get convictions.

I have friends who are or were police officers and even some of them have expressed frustration with other police officers. Below, three black St. Louis police officers describe their experiences with white officers on the Jamie Allman Report.

One of my friends was killed when he was only 23. His funeral was attended by what seemed to be every police officer in the city and police officers from various departments blocked traffic and lined the route to the cemetery. I was reminded of him on November 22nd and I'm glad his family didn't experience what my friend did.  I wonder if body cameras would have made a difference in my friend's case. Maybe the suspect wouldn't have been so quick to pull the trigger, knowing his actions were being recorded.

Another friend was severely burned while responding to a domestic situation. A flammable substance was thrown at him and ignited and my friend's shirt, which was mostly synthetic, melted onto his skin resulting in severe burns over most of his upper body. St. Louis City police uniforms were changed as a result of that incident. Flame and heat resistant materials were used to better protect officers. I doubt that a body camera would have prevented my friend injury, but body camera will make it much easier to get convictions and longer sentences for these types of acts.

Long History of Police Brutality

Since the inception of policing, police brutality has existed. Policing in the United States has been primarily concerned with the protection of property and began in the early 1600's with slave patrols. During labor movements in the late 1800's and early 1900's, police brutalized workers fighting for decent wages, working conditions and the right to unionize.

Minneapolis – November 2015

Police shootings of unarmed people and incidents of police abusing their authority have provided glaring examples of rampant police brutality. Most recently, a Minneapolis police officer shot an unarmed black man whom several witnesses claim was handcuffed.

Beginning with the civil rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's, police brutality reached new heights and recently incidents of police brutality have been frequently captured on video; a few examples are below.

Malcolm X

More than 50 years ago, Malcolm X stated: “the police commissioner feeds the type of statistics to the white public to make them think that Harlem is a complete criminal area where everyone is prone towards violence. This gives the police the impression that they can then go and brutalize the Negroes, or suppress the Negroes, or even frighten the Negroes.”

“This force that is so visible in the Harlem community it creates a spirit of resentment in every Negro. They think they are living in a police state, and they become hostile toward the policemen. They think that the policeman is there to be against them rather than to protect them. And these thoughts, these frustrations, these apparitions, automatically are sufficient to make these Negroes begin to form means and ways to protect themselves in case the police themselves get too far out of line.”

Malcolm X could make the same argument today about Ferguson, New York, Baltimore or any number of cities or recent incidents.

Watts Riots

On August 11, 1965, a black driver, Marquette Frye, was arrested for drunk-driving, the driver's mother, Rena Price, got involved and Mr. Frye, a passenger, and Ms. Price were arrested. The treatment by the police caused anger to onlookers. Rumors spread that the police had roughed Frye up and kicked a pregnant woman; angry mobs formed and the situation escalated and suddenly turned into a riot.

The second night of the riots, my uncle, comedian and civil rights activist, Dick Gregory tried to calm down the crowds, he was shot in the leg. Mr. Gregory, who was born and raised in St. Louis, discusses the incident below and makes a very interesting observation about police brutality.

Thirty-four people were killed, and more than 1,000 injured, during the riots that lasted six days.

Black Panthers

In October of 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense was created in response to challenge police brutality in Oakland, California and their movement spread across the country.  The original purpose was to arm black men to patrol their neighborhoods and monitor the behavior of police officers.  In 1969, community social programs, including free breakfast for children, and community health clinics became core activities of Black Panther Party members.

Black Panther membership peaked in 1970, with offices in 68 cities and thousands of members.

Huey P. Newton Gun Club

The Huey P. Newton Gun Club has formed in South Dallas, Texas utilizing the state's open carry law to patrol their neighborhood in the spirit of the Black Panthers. The group was started by two former Army Rangers and they have begun drills and training others in self-defense. See article for addition information.

The movie Panther (1995) portrays the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, tracing the organization from its founding through its decline. Creative license is taken but the general trajectory of the Party and its experiences is factual.

Rodney King – Los Angeles Riot

In 1991, the first videotaped incident of police brutality went viral. The beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police was broadcast worldwide and clearly showed Los Angeles police engaged in excessive force and a Los Angeles grand jury indicted four of the police officers.

The California Court of Appeals granted a change of venue to the city of Simi Valley, citing potential contamination due to saturated media coverage. Simi Valley was predominantly white and the jury consisted of 10 white members and no black jurors.

All four white officers involved were acquitted on April 29, 1992, and people began rioting after the verdict was given, resulting in over 2,000 injuries, 53 deaths and nearly $1 billion in financial losses. The riots ended when the California national guard was called in.  The riots resulted in federal civil rights prosecution and two of the four officers were convicted and imprisoned.

Sister Souljah, a raptivist, appeared on an episode of Bill Cosby's "A Different World", and expressed sentiments held by many; which still ring true today.

The Issue Is Race

Months after the verdict in the Rodney King case and riots in Los Angele, Phil Donahue hosted a PBS special, "The Issue Is Race: A Crisis in Black and White". It's disheartening to watch this show from more than 20 years ago because many of the exact same issues are still major problems today.

Slavery Back in Effect

Slavery was so profitable that it fueled the wealth and independence that made the United States a world power. This country that describes itself as the land of the free has never fully made good on that promise. During the last decade of slavery, slaves seeking freedom were given the diagnosis of Drapetomania,  a supposed mental illness,which caused black slaves to flee captivity.

After the Civil War, and the North's abandonment of reconstruction, a new form of oppression, Jim Crow, created conditions not far removed from slavery.  According to legal scholar Michelle Alexander’s best-selling book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness", there are more Black men under some form of correctional supervision (incarceration or probation) now than were enslaved prior to the Civil War.

In 1995, Sister Souljah released the video, "Final Solution: Slavery Back in Effect", which imagines a police state where blacks fight against the re-institution of slavery; the video was banned by MTV.

Sister Souljah during an interview about the Rodney King/ LA Uprisings that occurred earlier that year was quoted as saying ‘If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?’.. her remarks were connected to a much longer response and in full context makes sense, but isolated subjected her to criticism. Sister Souljah provided a jarring response to Governor Bill Clinton's negative comments about her in 1992 made while he was running for president.

School Psychology Weaponized

Mental diagnosis is once again being used against black students. African American students are disproportionately represented in special education. 85% of all special education students receive drugs. African American males are only 3% of the public school population, yet they make up 30% of students separated from the “normal” students in school by placement into special education. See Dr. Umar Johnson, a nationally known school psychologist, comments about black children in special education.

The labeling of these students is sabotaging and endangering their education, destroying futures and leading to increased mass incarceration; the last form of legalized slavery.

Policing without deadly force

Somehow police in other countries can successfully capture suspects wielding weapons without resorting to deadly force.

UK man with a knife is taken down by a couple of police officers with pepper spray and police clubs.

A black man with knife captured in London by police using a taser. This man would have certainly been killed in the United States.

Below a man with a machete, who appears to be under the influence of drugs is taken down by police alive using plastic riot shields.

The fact that so many police officers were devoted to capturing the man with the machete may seem like a waste of manpower, however, in the U.S., when a person is killed by police; a similar number of officers often arrive at the scene and remain much longer processing the scene, logging evidence, and crowd control.

UK Traffic Cops Arrest Suspect Trying to Run Away

The video camera is our greatest weapon against police brutality. Police unions across the country are fighting body cameras, so the question must be posed; what is it they don't want people seeing? Continue pressing your alderman, mayor and other politicians for mandatory police body cameras. Record encounters you witness of police, use ACLU mobile app. You never know when the next innocent victim will be you, your child, friend or neighbor!

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, KilledByPolice.net 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.

St. Louis Municipalities Weaponized Ignorance

On the one year anniversary of Michael Brown's killing, keep in mind that before the militarized response to the Ferguson Protesters occurred, ignorance was weaponized in and around the St. Louis area. Ignorance is a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge) and is not used here as an insult to anyone. Various police departments and municipal courts used people's ignorance of their rights and how to properly defend those rights in court as weapons against the very people they were sworn to protect and serve. 

As the discussions about Michael Brown's death continued, the fact that people were being victimized not only by the police but by the municipal courts began to be reported. After I lost my job and ran into my own legal issues, I was shocked to see how blatant rights were being violated within our local courts. The new municipal court reforms put in place are a good start, but it's just a matter of time before municipalities start implementing new strategies. As time passes, new issues will dominate the headlines and memories of specific details about police and municipal courts will begin to fade. The remedies normally available through the courts are usually too expensive because of the high cost of attorneys, but you don't need an attorney to make the court system work for you. 

Policing has changed and the reactions to excessive force by police has changed dramatically. Prior to Mike Brown's killing, police departments almost always stood by the side and defended cops accused of brutal acts and unjustified killing. That has now changed, at least when a video exists. Hopefully, there will come a day when a video is not required to bring justice against rogue cops. I am certain the vast majority of police are decent, honest and hard-working, but there are some that are not and that factor coupled with the blue code of silence wreak havoc on certain communities. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, responding to comments about a University of Cincinnati Police Officer, during a conversation about with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd conceded police do protect each other from criticism no matter what, as do other professions.

Americans have short attention spans and memories. Municipalities will most likely start violating rights again using new creative unfamiliar methods and ignorance will once again be weaponized and used against people. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. However, most people are only vaguely familiar with the law; even lawyers only know a small portion of the law. There is a principle which is sometimes put in the form of a rule of evidence, that everyone is presumed to know the law. That principal is based on the difficulty to prove that a person did, in fact, know the law. Additionally, many people would purposefully not make themselves aware of particular laws to preserve their ignorance. As long as people remain ignorant about their rights and how to invoke and protect them, that ignorance of the law will certainly be taken advantage of and weaponized not only by unscrupulous governments but by predatory businesses and institutions. 

Just as slavemasters used ignorance against slaves to exploit them, St. Louis area municipalities have used ignorance of state law, legal procedure and constitutional protections to exploit and oppress people. Many St. Louis municipalities created illegal laws with the sole purpose of creating revenue. Just because an ordinance exists doesn't mean it's valid; ordinances and other laws sometimes get struck down as being void, illegal or unconstitutional. Most municipalities know that many people won't even bother to read or research the law

You don't need a lawyer to discover what the law says, the law is available for everyone to read. Prior to my job loss, I made a pretty decent salary and could easily afford to pay an attorney to take care of traffic tickets. For example, I paid attorneys as little as $30 to handle traffic violations. Bellefontaine Neighbors has a speed trap on eastbound Lewis & Clark (Hwy 367) just past Hwy 270 overpass, where the speed drops from 55 to 45. There's a sign posted with the reduced speed limit about halfway on the overpass. A truck in the right lane blocked the posted 45mph sign from my view. A traffic cop was positioned just past the overpass and I got caught by that trap. I found an attorney on Craigslist, paid that attorney $30 to have the violation reduced to a moving violation, but I had to pay the City of Bellefontaine a fine of about $200. 

However, even a $100 red light ticket fine became a major burden after my steady income was gone. There are a lot of organizations that provide free legal assistance, their resources are limited and they can only help so many people. When my legal issues arose, I could not afford an attorney, and the legal assistance agencies I contacted couldn't help. I was facing the loss of tens of thousands of dollars, so I learned how to effectively defend myself. This site contains valuable free information for you to help yourself and additional information is constantly being added. No one will ever fight as hard for you as you will, don't get caught in the trap of being dependent on someone else to do for you what you can learn to do for yourself. Even if you can currently afford to pay for legal services; keep in mind that may not always be the case. During the very time when I was most vulnerable and need assistance the most was when I could not afford legal services. Fortunately, I was able to research the law for myself, but most people I witnessed in court on their own lost; your ignorance is their power. 

Skewed statics, policial, institutional and media spin all contribute to confusing the issues and create or increase ignorance. One of Adolf Hilter's closest advisers, Joseph Goebbels, stated; If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself. To overcome ignorance, you must first learn to see through the layers of lies to first understand what the actual issues are and then formulate a strategy to overcome them.

Phillip Agnew, with Dream Defenders, gives a near perfect response to the systematic oppression of black people during the PBS program America After Ferguson and exemplifies what can happen when a person is no longer held captive to ignorance.

 

See the full-length PBS program America After Ferguson, which includes additional statements by Phillip Agnew not shown in the brief clip above. Tim Wise during his lecture on the Legacy of Institutionalized Racism addresses the topic of responsibility brought up in America After Ferguson.

List of Six Baltimore Officers and Charges

Baltimore did what Ferguson and St. Louis County did not; decide that probable cause existed of a crime. Unfortunelty, it took civil unrest and riots, but at least a decision to bring charges was made. The Baltimore prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, did not need a grand jury and secret witnesses to determine if charges should be made.

Prosecutors all across the country bring charges against ordinary citizens on far less evidence than what existed in either Ferguson or Baltimore. In theory, no one is above the law, however, in practice that has not always been the case. Until recently, it was a rare event for police officers to be held accountable for their actions. In most cases, charges of brutality or misconduct was not believed or in some cases covered up. That lack of accountability created an atmosphere ripe for abusive practices. History show us that revolutions ususally stem from abuse of power or injustices.

One of the key differences between Ferguson and Baltimore is the question of exactly who was responsible. Was Freddie Gray's death caused by injuries sustained before being put in the van or did they occur during transport. The arrest video of Freddie Gray seems to show Gray was already in pain. However, it was clear that Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, that fact was never in dispute. The only question was whether the killing involved misconduct on the part of Wilson.

The grand jury in the Wilson case was provided bad law, witnesses were allowed to provide false testimony and Wilson was allow to provide unchallenged testify after having months to construct a narrative, possibly based upon media reports and analysis. The Ferguson Police certainly must have questioned Darren Wilson extensively after the Brown's killings. Questions about why Wilson stopped Brown and why he re-engaged Brown after intially pulling away were certainly asked. The Ferguson Police Chief stated almost a week after Brown's killing that Darren Wilson was not aware of the alleged strong arm robbery at a convenience store. Months later, Darren Wilson testified before a grand jury that he was not only aware of the robbery, but realized that Brown fit the description of the strong arm robbery suspect.

Darren Wilson and his fellow Ferguson officers had total control of the crime scene for some time before St. Louis County was even called. The video of South Carolina officer Michael Slager shows how easy it is to tamper with or plant evidence.

Unless some of the Balimore police officers provide testimony against a fellow officer, I expect the officers to be found guilty of the misconduct and false imprisonment charges, but not guilty on the more serious charges of assault, manslaughter or murder. Clearly someone caused the injuries that resulted in Mr. Gray's death, but proving beyond a reasonable doubt who caused those injuries will be hard for the prosecutor to prove. Hopefully, I'm wrong and the evidence can clearly show who is responsible. However, had the three arresting officers not arrested Mr. Gray in the first place without probable cause, this entire incident would never have occured.

Here is a full list of charges, as released by the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City:


Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr.

Mugshot - Caesar R Goodson Jr

The only officer in the group facing a murder charge. He drove the van that transported Gray to jail.

1) Second degree depraved heart murder (30 yrs.)
 2) Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.)
 3) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 4) Manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence) (10 yrs.)
 5) Manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence) (3 yrs.)
 6) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment* )


Lt. Brian W. Rice 

Mugshot - Brian W RiceOne of the three arresting officers. Rice was the first officer to make eye contact with Gray while on bike patrol, State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said. Rice then chased Gray, calling for backup on his police radio. Mosby said Rice failed to establish probable cause for Gray’s arrest.

1) Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.)
 2) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 3) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 4) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
 5) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
 6) False imprisonment (8th Amendment*)


Officer Edward M. Nero

Mugshot - Edward M Nero

One of the three arresting officers. On bike patrol with Rice and another officer when they chased Gray. Nero handcuffed Gray and held him down until the police wagon arrived, Mosby said.

1) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 2) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 3) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
 4) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment* )
 5) False imprisonment (8th Amendment*)


Officer Garrett E. Miller

Mugshot - Garrett E Miller

One of the three arresting officers. Miller was on bike patrol with Rice and Nero when they apprehended Gray, according to the prosecutor. Miller helped load Gray into a police wagon and failed to restrain him with a seat belt, Mosby said.

1) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 2) Assault/second degree (10 yrs,)
 3) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
 4) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment* )
 5) False imprisonment (8th Amendment* )


Sgt. Alicia D. White

Mugshot - Alicia D WhiteShe was dispatched to investigate two citizens’ complaints abut Gray’s arrest. At one point, according to Mosby, she “spoke to the back of his head,”even though Gray was unresponsive.

The prosecutor said White made no effort to assess Gray’s condition despite having been told he needed medical assistance.

1) Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.)
 2) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 3) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)


Officer William G. Porter

Mugshot - William G PorterPorter, checked on Gray and asked him whether he needed medical assistance. When Gray said he could not breathe, Porter helped him off the van floor and onto a bench. The officer failed to restrain Gray with a seat belt, Mosby said. Porter did not call for medical help, despite Gray’s request.

1) Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.)
 2) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
 3) Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)


*Any sentence that does not constitute cruel & unusual punishment