Tag Archive | "police brutality"

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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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Taboo: Speaking on Behalf of Blacks and other people of Color

Posted on 30 August 2012 by mdepeine

When something is considered “taboo” it is something that you dare not mention or bring up.  A common response to you mentioning something that is “taboo” would be “Don’t speak of it!”  When something is “taboo” everybody around “knows” that only a fool would bring up the “taboo subject” in a public setting.  You don’t blurt out such subjects when you are in a crowded room.  You don’t bring them up when you speak from the podium.  You don’t mention these “taboo subjects” at a cocktail party.  You only discuss them in the privacy of your home and in your bedroom with someone you trust.

In America, I realize that “race, racism, prejudice” are “taboo subjects.”  These subjects usually come up when a “victim” of racism or prejudice wants some expression or justice in relation to what they have experienced.  Then and only then do I see these things become almost “acceptable” to discuss openly.  For example, race was discussed openly when we saw what happened to Rodney King.  It was also discussed openly when we saw what happened to Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Chavis Parker and a host of other black men who were killed  by the police.  Other than these extremely publicized cases, it seems that the topic of race, racism and prejudice goes back on “the shelf” until needed again.

Another taboo subject in America is a person’s color.  There seems to be this collective consciousness that says that “We are all the same and we need not make distinction about color.”  Ideally, that is where we would like to get to as a country.  Realistically, however, that is not where we are.  There are too many examples that “scream” of inequality.  Too many blacks, yes, I used the word, live in poverty. Too many blacks are not getting a quality education (elementary, secondary and college).  Too many underperforming school districts are being “ravaged” by bureaucrats in the name of “school reform.”  Too many black men are in prison and have no possibility of parole.  Too many blacks are in and out of jail and don’t even have the “right to vote” any more.  Too many young black men are being brutally killed by police and other security forces in the name of “justified force.”

Yes, God has created all of us as human beings.  We breath the same air.  We drink the same water (H2O).  We bleed the same way.  Our bodies get the same sicknesses and have the same organs.  Genetically speaking, Science has linked all humans to one common mother they call “Eve.”  So, we are all the same, but when you look at the history (include slavery), we have not all been treated the same.

So, I want to shatter this “taboo” and freely discuss race, racism, prejudice and skin color (all shades) freely for the purposes of highlighting a problem that must be addressed so that lives can be improved.  The non-victims of race don’t care to discuss race.  For the victims who daily navigate this society with the understanding that the dominant (white) race barely “sees” them or cares to “hear” them, this is a true reality.  Sometimes it is more real than the air that they breath, if that were possible.

Somehow, in America, it is wrong to speak up and say that “This was done to him/her because he/she is black.”  Those of color KNOW more than anybody when they are discriminated against.  An “outsider” can never define that for them because the “outsider” does not know what it is to really experience that racism or prejudice as a minority.  Yes, a white person will experience racism and it is wrong, but even that “offense” is a lot different from the person in the minority experiencing that offense.  The person in “power” who experiences racism could say, “Well, that’s your problem if you don’t like me because of my color, I control things anyway, you will still need to come back to me.”  On the other hand, the person who is not in “power” does not have the luxury of saying what the dominant, white person can say.  The one in the minority can say “Wow, another reminder of what I have to overcome to get somewhere in this country, I hope that he/she doesn’t close too many doors for me.”  This is just a glimpse of the thoughts that people could have.  One person sets the conditions for racism, one person is forced to navigate through those conditions.

Those who are afraid to address racism in America will call anyone who points out these trends a “race monger.”  They may call anyone who wants to bring to light these issues a “racist.”  The reality is, they don’t want to open up this “can of worms.”  But those who are daily victims of it, live in the “can of worms” every day.  They just want the “can of worms” to be addressed constructively as a country, as a nation.  Lots of good was done in the 50s and 60s during the Civil Rights Movement, but still a lot more needs to be done today, in the twenty-first century.

I believe that all Americans, Christians and non Christians, should put in the effort to address this issue of race.  The funny thing is, our best churches and fellowships are afraid to tackle this issue thoroughly, even though it exists there as well.

Let’s shatter the “taboos” of race discussion.  Let’s discuss what really is there and not speak from a point of view of only what we wish was there.  You can’t confront and fix a problem that you won’t acknowledge is there.  The first step is “admitting that you have a problem.”  So, we don’t have to live by those “fake rules” that say:  Don’t mention black or white, don’t mention racism, don’t talk about slavery and its impact on race relations today, don’t talk about reparation, don’t speak up for blacks, don’t help the poor, don’t talk about trends against blacks, don’t talk about inequality, don’t talk about the contributions of slaves, and a host of other don’ts.  You fill in the rest.

We must bring race relations in the United States to the table and confront it.  It affects every facet of our society and our daily lives in an adverse way and we pretend that it doesn’t.  Barack Obama spoke about it four (4) years ago in 2008.  That was the last major attempt to address “race in America.”  Tons of books have been written about the subject and hundreds of millions of people are adversely affected by it in this country alone.  Yet, can we continue to stand by and ignore such a big PROBLEM?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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