Archive | Police Brutality

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Sorry Ms. Bland, for the Oppressive and Callous Treatment that You Received…

Posted on 23 July 2015 by mdepeine

Dear Sandra Bland,

First of all, I want to tell you that I am proud of your efforts to speak on the topic of race, police brutality and oppression in America.  It takes a lot of courage and conviction to speak on a topic that so many in America want to ignore and deny even exists.  Racism is a word and an act that you and many other blacks in America are too familiar with and would want to see changed.

Secondly, I want to say “congratulations” on your recent job interviews.  I hear you even had two job offers and had just come from an interview when you got pulled over.  Wow, you had traveled from Illinoise to find work in Texas!  I’m so sorry that your life was cut down just when you were approaching such a great moment of joy.  I am so sorry that an untrained, hot headed individual decided to be brutal towards you, rather than treat you as a human being.  I wished, that for a second, he would have thought of you or treated you like most police officers treat white women that they pull over.  They are often treated, regardless of their disposition, smoking or not, with respect and consideration.  You, on the other hand, you were confronted!  You were told “I will light you up.”  You were taunted and were expected, directed and eventually “commanded” to put out your cigarette. Although I don’t believe in smoking and its effects, everybody knows that for most people, cigarettes have a calming affect.  I wished that the officer would have seen you as someone’s sister, daughter, possibly someone’s wife or mom and said to himself, “No, let me let her be and just stick to the matter at hand; the traffic issue.”  I am sorry he did not do that.  I am sorry that the protection of your life was not at the forefront of his mind.  Things would have ended differently if your life mattered to him.

I wished the officer in question would not have demanded that you come out of the car.  What was the reason for such a demand or an expectation?  Most officers go out of their way to insist that motorists “remain in the car.”  They usually get very agitated and nervous when a motorist (black or white) gets out.  Yet, in your case, this officer insisted that you come out of yours.  I would have asked the same thing, “Why?  I’m not under arrest!”  I am so sorry that the officer in question, proceeded to further abuse his position of authority and retroactively tell you that you are “under arrest.”  No rights were read to you, nothing was formally done.  You were treated with such disrespect and callousness, and I feel for you.  I feel for your family.

Sandra, I am so sorry that you lost your life.  There is a lot of talk about whether you took your life or whether they took it from you – murdered you?  There is talk that you said you suffered from depression?  Bottom line, your life was stopped short!  Your life was taken away from you when you were stopped by that officer.  Your life did not belong to you when he treated you like an animal.  I understand your disbelief and your anger.  A traffic stop does not warrant that type of intensity and rage.  Especially from a worker who belongs to a group of workers who often work under the motto, “Protect and Serve.”  You were neither protected nor were your interests served.  You were treated like a piece of disposable garbage.  For that, I am sorry you experienced such treatment in the United States of America, while you were on a journey to responsibly take care of yourself and live out the life that God gave you on this earth.

I am sorry that you went from joy to intense depression.  If you suffered depression in the past, then, a greater wrong was done to you.  If I were in your position, arrested for a minor traffic offense, spoken to the way the officer spoke to you, then jailed for three (3) days, then I likely would have been experiencing severe depression.  Why?  Because, now, you will have a police record that you never had.  You are now in that monstrous system that so many black Americans have been thrusted in.  You were probably thinking, “My job offers, I will not be hired any more.  I will now have a record.”  In an instant, your life was taken away.  Now, you no longer live on this earth.  You are one of many stories that we heard and saw this year and past years about black people and the oppression that occurs too often in America.

So far, I have not seen in the news reports what you did for a living.  I know you graduated from Prairie View A&M (TexasThe Death of Sandra Bland: What We Know So Far – NBC News).  What was your occupation?  Now, I hear, you may have smoked marijuana?  It looks like there is some movement towards smearing your character.  I hope that people don’t look at the silly little things that a lot of regular people engage in, but instead, they look at the tragedy of your life being taken away from you at such a young age.  You were only 28 years old.  You deserved better.  You should have received better.

Finally, I am sorry that America has spent so long denying the serious effects of slavery and racism.  So many lives are adversely affected and lost because of the hatred and denial that exists due to the sordid history that was never confronted.  Our “Uncle Sam” has to decide to go into therapy with all of his children (black and white) and discuss what went wrong, what is still wrong and what it will take to make the “American Family” a united family.

I am sorry Sandra, that you got caught up in the net of unresolved racial tension, brutal history, and preferential treatment.  Once Uncle Sam addresses the negative history and dismantles the oppressive systems and laws, this American Family will be a healthier family.  Precious lives like yours will be allowed to thrive and not stomped out of existence just because someone felt like it.

Signed,

Concerned Citizen

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Black Teens Being Mistreated by the Police

Posted on 08 June 2015 by mdepeine

 Police treatment of teens

We have a problem in America.  When young black citizens can be treated like criminals just because of their color, we have a problem.  When black teens are randomly handcuffed because they are expressing their disapproval of the treatment they are receiving, then we have a problem in America.  When a young teen girl can be “manhandled” by a police officer in America because she protested the treatments she observed, we have a problem in America.

What I find very telling from the above video is the way the “officer” calmly talked to the white teens, while he vigilantly pursued the black ones.  The whites seemed to have been presumed innocent, as they confidently and securely looked on, while the blacks had guns pulled out on them.  Is it not clear to all America that there is a big race problem that is still not being acknowledged and addressed?

This race problem will require a HUGE dialogue and some serious introspection.  It will not be addressed by blind denial or quick bandaids.  This will only be addressed when we look at America’s history from the dawn of slavery to the Civil Rights Movement, to the present.  America has attempted to give blacks some rights, but America, as a whole, never accepted that blacks and whites are indeed EQUAL and must be given EQUAL treatment under the law.

Right now, it appears that the police, like the police of early America (post emancipation to the present), exists to protect whites from blacks, and not just protect all citizens of the US.  There have been some positive changes in some police departments, but the bigger change will need to involve the whole history of America before any real changes are made.

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Ferguson – Before You Judge: Consider the History and the Circumstances

Posted on 27 November 2014 by mdepeine

First of all, I want to say to Michael Brown’s parents, his family and friends, I am sorry that you have not been accorded the same treatment that many whites and people of privilege have received in America.  I am sorry for the loss of your son, Michael Brown.  I am sorry you have had to endure the same pain that many other black parents in various parts of America have endured and continue to endure.  Your pain has no bound.  No one can tell you how to feel, in general, and they certainly can’t tell you how to feel now.  This is a very tragic event!  This was not an exercise of the “American justice system at work.”  This loss for you, the Brown Family, was an example, too often seen in America, of the devaluation of black people and other people of color.

While I don’t agree with the looting and violence that have erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, I can understand what people may be feeling.  There are those who are angry and have no constructive way to channel that anger.  There are those who are angry and have just said, “I don’t care, I’m going to do something that makes me feel a little relief.”  I put that very mildly.  There are those who feel very oppressed and just want to “push back” in some fashion.  They are not content with being told, “Despite the fact that you feel wronged, violated, minimized, marginalized, disenfranchised, devalued, helpless, discriminated against, feel like a second class citizen, wrongly judged because of your color, just ‘suck it up’ and be happy that we let you live in America.’”  So rather, than accept such an unfair, and unjust existence, many have decided to react.  There are also those in Ferguson, like any other community and people, who are just opportunists; they just want to take advantage of the moment and they seize the opportunity to get some “free stuff.”

Some, as usual, will make comments like, “Look at them, you see why they get killed.”  Others will say, “They’re just looking for ways to steal and to destroy their own community.”  Still, others will say, “Why should they get any justice, they don’t even know how to control themselves?”  But, who will stop and have empathy for the long and painful history that clearly “states” that a black person’s life is not that important?  Who will stop and actually put themselves in the shoes of black parents who fear that their child could be the next Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, and the long list of young men and women of color who were killed in the name of “law enforcement” because they “looked” a certain way, or evoked some “feelings” in the killer’s psyche?

Since the time of Jim Crow, where America attempted to see black people and people of color as “equal,” this issue has been a well-known fact.  The fact: arrange the laws and justice proceedings so that the death of a black person can be justified through the court system.  What party are these law enforcement individuals having when they realize that they are “essentially untouchable” when it comes to the death of unarmed black people?

I think in the recent case of Trayvon Martin it was too much to ask the Florida prosecutors to prosecute “their own.”  A prosecutor, in any city or state, works closely, every day with the police.  They look for every angle to convict those people (black, white, brown, etc.) who have been arrested.  They want their arrests to “stick.”  They don’t want to prosecute any cases that will be thrown out in court.  In the case of Michael Brown, the same applied.  Why would the prosecutor do everything possible to push a case against the man he has been so faithfully working with, to prosecute the accused?  Now, all of the sudden, we expect this same prosecutor who hung out with the police, had drinks, went to family functions, sports events, weddings, to “turn on their buddies?”  That is not possible, in any universe.  It is not a realistic process.  Any hopes of objectivity would be gone.  It only works on television.  It will never work in real life.

The laws must be changed!  The proceedings must be changed also.  We must push for laws that define the limits of “force” used against any non-police individual.  At the very least, in my opinion, “excessive force” is when you shoot and strike an unarmed individual more than two (2) times.  If we were to decide that “excessive force” was used, then, there would need to be prosecution of the law enforcement officer, regardless of color, stature, or tenure.  We may call that law, The Lethal and Excessive Force Law.  Furthermore, the prosecution CANNOT involve any individual in the local government.  It needs to be headed and conducted by an independent team who works in the interest of the citizens, residents, like an oversight department similar to internal affairs.  As I stated earlier, using the regular prosecutor is not realistic, and it is unfair to put that person in that position.  Even the best-intentioned prosecutor would have a huge amount of conflict trying to prosecute “his own teammate.”  So there needs to be different laws about excessive force and different proceedings in order to have a true prosecution of any officer who violates the excessive force laws.

Towns like Ferguson need to also organize and vote out any public officials who do not want to protect and serve them.  After all, they are paying taxes to keep these people employed.  They pay for their vacations, cushy retirements, uniforms, guns, squad cars, tasers, bullets, and the perks that come with being a law enforcement individual.  Each community that sees that the leaders are not acting in their best interest must organize to root them out.  I also know that those in these positions will tend to push back and try to squash efforts for change.  But the community must organize and work, as one, to bring about the change.  Don’t wait for another shooting to organize; take them out of office before they use the guns, cars, uniforms you supplied them with, to kill you and your children on the streets.  Remind them that, by law, you are to be protected and served.  If they can’t execute that job in a legal, respectful and humane manner, then they need to be fired!

If the chief of police is callous, apathetic and indifferent about the welfare of the people in the community, then he or she needs to be trained to see his or her role differently.  If that does not work, then that individual needs to be replaced with someone who will show cultural sensitivity and take on the role of a guardian for the people in the community.  We must be vigilant to change the tone of the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  Once the tone of law enforcement becomes one of “us against them” there is a BIG problem.

In education, we hear terms like “cultural sensitivity,” “differentiation,” “inclusion,” “anti bullying,” and others.  These terms have gained popularity and acceptance because teachers are being trained to consider and accept the differences that exist in the classroom among students.  It is not “one size fits all.”  The same methods don’t work for everybody.  A teacher should not just teach from his or her cultural perspective.  A teacher should be willing to connect with his or her students using the student’s culture and background as a reference point.  Also, a teacher should not look down, ignore, or minimize the students who are “different” from him or her.  This fosters “safe classrooms.”  We see banners in many schools that say things like “Everybody counts!”  We need to transfer a lot of that awareness to the police departments in America.

Police departments, all over America, need to be brought into the twenty-first century, like education professionals are being trained to recognize cultural bias and the need to not impose their culture on their students, but be willing to accept the differences and learn how to work for the good of the individual.  The “us against them” mentality that exists in communities like Ferguson must be challenged and eradicated.  That is a lethal mixture for continued and repeated disaster.

Again, I want to say, I’m very sorry to see the pain that Michael Brown’s family has endured and must continue to endure.  Many in Ferguson and throughout the United States are hurting right now.  We all must demand change.  We all must learn and practice the lost art of EMPATHY.  Excessive force laws must be implemented and new proceedings must be developed to prosecute those who break those laws and disregard the needs of the communities they are to serve.  All communities like those of Ferguson must push to get law enforcement leaders and individuals who will look out for their interests; they should be protected and served, not prejudged and executed on the spot.

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Texas Police Drag 77 Year Old Senior Citizen Out of Car

Posted on 14 September 2012 by mdepeine

Lynn Bedford was rushing to find a bathroom because she was reportedly suffering from a bladder infection.  She didn’t cooperate with the police when he asked her for Id and he proceeded to drag her out and assert his “authority.”

Perhaps force should not be the first option to use.  Just because the force is there in “abundance” doesn’t mean that it is the only means available to deescalate the situation.  It seems that some police are “trained” to escalate rather than find a way to deescalate situations.  I think a certain degree of police diplomacy should be used when dealing with the elderly.  I’m sure this is not the first time this has happened.  It just happen to get “caught on camera”  and it is now available for all to see and hear on the internet.

Elderly Woman Dragged From Car by Texas Cop – Yahoo!

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Mentally Ill 49 Year Old Black Man is shot 46 Times by Saginaw, MI Police

Posted on 30 August 2012 by mdepeine

Saginaw, Michigan (July 2012): Milton Hill (49 year old black man) was allegedly shot at 46 times by 6 police officers who were about 10 feet away. All of that took about 5 seconds. That’s an average of 9 bullets per second towards one man. Officers said that Milton had a knife and he refused to drop it. Milton’s parents said that he suffered from mental illness. Why didn’t they stop at one (1) bullet? Too many of these killings are occurring and nothing is being done to stop it or address it as a nation. See the video on CNN.com

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LA Police Forgot to “Serve and Protect” the “Client”

Posted on 30 August 2012 by mdepeine

LAPD commander removed in probe of rough arrest – Yahoo! News

It looks like there needs to be a whole new overhaul of several police departments across the country.  It looks like a lot of  police employees have forgotten that they are there to “serve and protect,”  not beat up and kill while upset.

The above story is about a 5 foot 4 inch tall registered nurse that was repeatedly tackled and “manhandled” by LA police during a traffic stop.  She was on the cell phone while driving.  It seems that once some officers take “action” they unleash their full power and authority against their “clients” and then they reflect after all is “said and done.”

More officers need to be trained to calmly assess the situation.  Being cursed at or having a defiant “client” does not justify “extreme force.”  It seems that a “switch” turns on that says “neutralize this threat now!”  Such fury is unleashed that the officers “forget” that they are dealing with a woman and she is only 5’4″!  Perhaps officers need to start referring to people in non-leathal situations as  “clients.”  Maybe that will remind them that they are there to “serve and protect” the “client” not “destroy, annihilate, or kill” them when they “step out of line.”

This happened to a white female.  Imagine if this situation involved a black male?  I think it would have been a lot uglier and maybe even deadly.

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Young Black Male in Police Custody, Hands Handcuffed Behind His Back, “Found Dead” in Back of Police Car?

Posted on 22 August 2012 by mdepeine

Death Of Handcuffed Man In Police Car Ruled A Suicide : The Two-Way : NPR

How does such a thing happen in America and we are not all enraged?  How does the “Police” have the nerve to rule this a suicide?  Chavis Carter, 21 years old (Arkansas), was thoroughly searched and there was no gun found and yet he was killed by a single bullet to the temple.  Where did the gun come from?  Why was there a gap in the police dashboard monitor’s footage?  Why is there no footage of the so-called “suicide?”

I smell “cover-up!”

This is another Trayvon Martin, plain and simple!

Mario Depeine, Sr. | Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) | CD Baby Music Store

 

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Did Trayvon Have the Right to Defend Himself? Bernard Goetz Did!

Posted on 17 August 2012 by mdepeine

Somehow Trayvon Martin did not have the right to defend himself as he felt threatened or was threatened by a complete stranger who followed him in the dark.  In New York, in1984, Bernard Goetz (37 years old), who was white, felt threatened and he opened fire and shot four young black males.  He was later acquitted of attempted murder but found guilty for possessing an illegal gun.   He served only 8 months in jail.  Suppose Trayvon carried an illegal gun, shot George Zimmerman, would he only have served 8 months like Bernard Goetz did?  Suppose he had killed George, instead, would he have been out on bail or would he have been on death row already?

Bernard Goetz just “thought” that four (4) black young men were going to mug him on the train and he “opened fire” and wounded all four.  Many hailed him as a hero, while others saw him as a racist.  The four black men, in this case, “pursued” Bernard Goetz to his subway seat. Bernard Goetz was asked for $5 by four young black men and he opened fire because he “felt threatened.”  He felt “threatened and he “opened fire!”  He concluded that he was being mugged, again.

Trayvon Martin was “pursued” by a white man (Spanish mom does not necessarily mean, “nonwhite” mom, there are plenty of Spanish people who’s race is “white”), he obviously felt threatened and possibly “fought” for his life before his life was unnecessarily taken by George Zimmerman.  George could have followed the direction given to him by the “real” police but he instead aggressively “pursued” an innocent (was not committing any crime which warranted apprehension or lethal force) “young black male.”

Surely, in America, we are not saying that only white men and women have the right to defend themselves  (“stand your ground”) when they “perceive” a threat or are aggressively “pursued” in the dark of night?  Suppose Trayvon had managed to wrestle the gun out of Zimmerman’s hand and shot / killed Zimmerman, would he have been found “guilty” of murder / manslaughter?  Would it have been an “open and shut” case?  Bernard Goetz carried an illegal gun to “protect” himself and used it, not against one person, but against four (4) people, and he was not found guilty of the shootings.  He carried a loaded, illegal gun.  That showed premeditation!  Yet, as a white man, he was not found guilty of the shooting.

Why is Trayvon Martin’s “right to life” an issue?  Perhaps he fought George? Perhaps he knew martial arts?  Does that take away his innocence in this situation?  If he fought George Zimmerman, he may have done what any white American has the right to do, defend himself based on a “perceived threat.”  If someone who is not a police officer pursues me and he has a gun, I can only assume that that person is out to harm me in some way.

Goetz was asked for $5 by four young black men and he “opened fire” because he felt threatened.  Why are so many shocked and concerned that Trayvon Martin may have “fought” Zimmerman for his life?  If he fought for his life it was because he, like Bernard Goetz, felt threatened.  Only, in Trayvon’s case, he was black, he was not armed and he was killed after he was “pursued” and threatened.

Whether Zimmerman should be convicted of second degree murder is for the court and jury to decide.  But it is clear that Zimmerman “pursued” an innocent young black man and caused the death of that young black man, Trayvon Martin.  Zimmerman disregarded the direction given to him by the police and he escalated the situation until it became violent and eventually, lethal.  Trayvon Martin did not bring this on himself, Zimmerman “brought it on” Trayvon Martin.  If George Zimmerman had listened to the police, we would not have even heard of a Travon Martin or a George Zimmerman.  It would not have been a story at all.  Trayvon would have gone home to his family and that would have been the end of the story!

The fact that there is a Trayvon Martin story is because this young black man was wearing a “hoody” in a certain neighborhood (his father’s neighborhood).   We have to explore this issue and address the “profiling” that occurs in America.  We have to address the racism that causes the death and incarceration of so many young black men in America.  We have to take a “real” look at this issue and not be quick to dismiss it as “nonsense” or “sensationalism.”  There is still a race problem in America and the sooner we address it the healthier we will be as a nation.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/17/lkl.01.html

 

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