Posts Tagged ‘Eric Garner’

“Tell a white lie for no reason. They point fingers and bite the hand that feeds them. Help ’em Lord, for they know not what they do, swear to God they know better than you…Tell the truth,” by Jussie Smollett, actor/singer-songwriter.

The term ‘a white lie’ generally refers to the gentle lies we often tell each other or ourselves to avoid facing a harsh truth. Silence may be necessary at times; yet, in the end, the truth is better served though sometimes hurtful.

It is far better to be wounded by a thorn of truth and change our perspective, then shrink behind a bouquet of little white lies…to laugh not all of our laughter and cry not all of our tears.

Each time I hear young Jessie Smollett’s poignant song ‘Tell The Truth’ from the acclaimed television series Empire, it haunts me long after it’s finished. For me, it’s as if young Jessie, through the gift of his voice, is virtually crying out in the wilderness, beseeching those of us who are still asleep, and there are many, to wake up and see the truth before it’s too late.

And then, please tell the truth! Particularly, as it relates to decades of unregulated police abuse or harassment of African-American males, and others, that has now turned deadly.

Don Lemon’s Troubling Article

An award-winning journalist known for his pointed questions and impromptu remarks, his job, that reflects a free American spirit, Lemon anchors CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and breaking news stories on-the-scene. Which has included the recent Baltimore Riots, the Michael Brown tragedy in Ferguson, and the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford Florida. Before joining CNN in 2006, he had anchored for NBC News and its affiliates.

Although his recent article titled ‘Baltimore Crime is off the Charts, Guess Who Is To Blame?’ is troubling, I generally like Don’s reporting and follow him on CNN. While I feel Mr. Lemon is on our side re the smoldering issue of police abuse nationwide, I am not sure whether the article takes us to the truth-of-the-matter or distracts from it, here is why.

The above cited article reports a significant rise in crime in the Baltimore area, particularly the shootings and homicides over the Memorial Day weekend where “29 people were shot [and 8] were killed”. It also states that homicides are currently “up 40 percent from last year” making these crimes the deadliest since 1999. This, according to the mayor, is “disheartening” indeed, thus no argument there.

Seems “the recent unrest” is, in part, the blame for the crime surge. Yet, Commissioner Anthony Batts assures us that his police clearly are “not holding back” despite being surrounded by up to 50 citizens putting cameras in their faces whenever they respond to a call; a sure sign there is much work needed on community engagement, he states.

Though the article does not directly blame the mayor, the police commissioner, or the residents. Yet, by inferring that: “The real story however may not be anything Batts or the Mayor want to admit,” and that the reason for the crime surge “was the direct result of a coordinated police work slowdown,” alluding to an unnamed police officer’s beliefs, it sure seems so.

Are Massive Protests Against Police Brutality To Blame?

Apart from the recent riots in Baltimore sparked by Freddie Gray’s funeral, yet another African American male allegedly abused to death while in police custody, seems most of the nationwide protests against police brutality have been relatively peaceful.

The above cited article closes by stating: “But officers in Baltimore, according to at least one of their own, are turning their backs on not only the Mayor but also the citizens they’re sworn to protect, ” and ends with a list of shootings and homicides over the weekend.

Unintended perhaps, still it seems this scenario clearly smacks of the ol’ blame-the-victim game to avoid a harsh truth. This is not only troubling but dangerous! As the problem of systemic police brutality is escalating and threatens the very fabric of our great nation.

Are We Ready to Save Our Democracy?

Someone once said that the Chinese character for crisis represents destruction and opportunity. So, today, are we truly ready to save our democracy and take it to the next level? Or do we continue making the same old mistakes? The choice, as always, is ours.

First we have to recognize that our beloved democracy has not only reached a crisis, but the smoldering issue of nationwide police abuse is at its nexus!

Actually, the world often seems in one crisis or another; but, first, we must get our own stuff in order before we can even think about saving the world.

Thankfully, there are attributes within each of us ready to extinguish the smoldering fires of police abuse now! That now threatens to uproot democracy, our most cherished American value. Yet, we must be willing to see the truth and let it leads us…rather than continue with the usual convoluted cover ups.

Justice for Some Only is Likely the Real Culprit

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” a reminder from John Adams, c.1798, our 2nd U.S. President and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

Believe it or not! Today, justice for some only is likely the real culprit threatening to uproot our democracy, and it usually starts at the top. Thus making a mockery of the intent of our nation’s founders, and a facade of our U.S. Constitution that has now become fodder for the elite!

Though African-American males and other people of color, in particular, have either been harassed and humiliated or detained without cause by abusive police officers for decades, seems the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, with impunity, have sparked a new Civil Rights Movement. Many are protesting police brutality en masse while demanding justice for its victims!

In February 2013 while walking home alone on a misty evening, Trayvon Martin, an African American unarmed teenager was shot to death in Sanford Florida after being stalked by an alleged neighborhood watchman who never identified himself to Trayvon, states the police detective’s initial report. Before being killed by Zimmerman, Trayvon tells a friend on his phone that he is being followed by “a creepy ass white man,” a sure sign of intense fear.

Though Trayvon’s killer seemly had a fair trial, many believe otherwise. According to published reports, seems a bar to justice for Trayvon’s family and society likely started at the top; and ultimately corrupted the police investigation, the trial prosecution, and the jury.

In July 2014, Staten Island New York, Eric Garner an African American man, age 43, virtually died right before our eyes on national TV gasping “I can’t breathe.” Garner was in a chokehold held by a police officer trying to arrest him for selling untaxed single cigarettes. A petty crime that is evocative of Victor Hugo’s immortal hero Jean Valjean in Le Misérables, who is ever hounded by Inspector Javert, a self-righteous policeman, for stealing a loaf of bread, c.1862.

Today, Eric Garner’s tragic death seems to ask us all: Is not a person’s life worth more than a State’s tax on one cigarette? Are not our laws also meant to be merciful?

Though the New York Medical Examiner had ruled Garner’s death a homicide, in December 2014 a Staten Island Grand Jury declined to indict his killer. Thousands marched on Washington protesting police violence, with slogans of “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter.” And so the clarion call for justice continues.

In August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot multiple times by a local police officer in Ferguson Missouri while begging for his life. Witnesses stated Michael had stopped running, and had turned around with his hands up in surrender. The police officer basically said Michael was madly charging at him with his fists balled up. Stumbling, grimacing, doubling up in pain from all those nasty ol’ gunshot wounds, dying perhaps? Of course, this atrocity would have easily been exposed in a fair trial.

No indictment was issued by the local Grand Jury. Thus, no trial!

In a March 4 2015 Memo re Michael Brown’s killing, the U.S. Department of Justice mainly states no criminal charges filed, case should be closed. Various witness testimony was deemed “inconsistent” that could also mean incoherent, confused, inarticulate, and so on. Yet, some of these witnesses were quite lucid during previous press interviews, in my opinion.

When We Tell the Truth, Everyone Wins

The most dangerous lie that we will ever tell, is the lie that we keep telling ourselves, whether collectively or individually. Such as the persistent lie that tells us we are wrong when we are right, and the lie that tells us we are right when we are wrong!

Within a democracy, a good police force is society’s first line of defense. It protects and serves its citizens and those in charge of society. When police dogma begins to see itself as a power separate from those it has sworn to protect and serve, despite the cause, society slowly gets the message and loses trust in its police force. Eventually, the police adopt the old us-against-them mentality. Soon, an undeclared war between the police and its people likely begins.

Whether its leadership care to admit it or not, society begins falling apart as fear is now in charge and the blame game begins. As we know, or should know, fear is a treacherous companion.

The police blame the people, usually those that are historically marginalized by society, and the so-called hero’s of the day, the politicians, rise up blaming the very same people by promising an all out war on crime and such.

Sadly, though the numbers may change, this fictitious war on crime is never won. Since rarely is the truth sought. That is, until the people have had enough and takes to the streets demanding justice, which is where we are today. But, of course, we have been here before. So how do we get out of it this time?

First, as the young troubadour says at the beginning herein, “Tell the truth”!

And since this current mess between the police and the people started at the top, our leaders must no longer be allowed to protect the cop who has failed; or, to protect the abusive cop who, much like the abusive parent, must no longer be tolerated by society.

Being human, we are quite capable of transferring our anger and hatefulness, unless stopped by our own sense of justice. So, like the rest of us, cops must also be responsible for their actions. No job is so dangerous that qualified workers cannot be held responsible for their failures.

Many veteran cops have never had to draw their weapons, nor do they become abusers. So they must be doing something right. Thus rules, regulations and self-disciple are highly valued by good cops and good people everywhere. Which is why truth and justice denied will ultimately destroy a well-ordered society despite its good intentions.

Preventing Police Abuse

Immediately after the 9-11 attacks, the police and firefighters who, without hesitation, sacrificed their own lives by going into the collapsing World Trade Center to save the injured while the able were frantically trying to get out, not only captured the world’s adoration but instantly became our national heroes. Sadly, as widespread police abuse intensifies, now caught on video, the adoration so nobly gained on 9-11 is slowly fading away.

Besides giving today’s good cops a very bad name, police abusers and their cover-ups have now turned our criminal justice system upside down.

Please fix this! As justice, or the lack thereof, ultimately affects the moral standard in any given society. Hence, justice for one is justice for all.

Much like stopping the abusive parent, the abusive cleric, and the abusive teacher, society must now admit that some police officers are abusers. And then make a concerted effort to prevent police abuse before the police officer spins out of control, rather than afterwards!

Thus, I still believe that a good way to deter police abuse is to enable the people to complain directly to their government about a troubling encounter with an abusive police officer, at all levels if necessary, and store such in a data system with a file number for reference.

Naturally, those police officers who tend to abuse, or resent others in general, will likely object loud and clear; and present all kinds of reasons why they should not be held directly accountable to the people they have sworn to serve and protect. But that’s to be expected.

Telling The Truth Matters

Recently, Cpl. David Eric Casebolt, a veteran police officer in McKinney Texas was suspended after a shocking video emerged, now gone viral on YouTube titled ‘Cops Crash Pool Party’, showing the raging officer shouting obscenities at some of the teenage party guests while soon manhandling a bikini clad African American female, age 14, and threatening to put her in jail if she doesn’t be quiet.

Besides pulling her hair, throwing her on the ground and pinning her face down with his knee until she is cuffed, seemly for no apparent reason, the officer drew his gun on the children coming to her aid as she frantically cried out: “ Call my mama and please don’t hurt me”.

Read more at: Texas police officer pulling gun on teenagers at pool party. Seems race played a factor as usual, read: Texas Pool Party Chaos, What Role Did Race Play and ‘Go back to your Section 8 home’. Expert news analysts on CNN and MSNBC basically stated the officer was definitely out of control. The kids were released; an investigation is now ongoing.

Thankfully, no one was killed…this time, though mentally and emotionally injured perhaps, which is also abusive. Yet, this was a highly trained police officer, a 15-year veteran. Who not only acted out of character but, by barking obscenities at some rather than speaking respectfully to all at the scene, he failed miserably on a potentially dangerous call.

Thus, when police officers fail, telling the truth matters. This is not only tantamount to ensuring stability in our criminal justice system, but stops police abuse that generally escalates violence rather than restore the peace.

If we can go to the moon, we can stop police abuse! Please tell the truth, it matters.

Update: Cpl. David Casebolt, the abusive police officer in the Texas pool party incident, has now resigned. Yet the situation is likely not over given talk of law suits and such. Related story here: Police Officer at Texas Pool Party Resigns Over Incident Caught on Video.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  ~President John Adams, c. 1798

As students of American History, we have seen our government evolve from a slave-breeding society to a much more humane society, in which we all can be proud. Yet, somewhere between then and now, we, as a people, seem to have lost our moral compass and should be very, very concerned.

As the truth, being eternal, cannot or will not be abandoned forever.

Perhaps America’s morality has never been fully realized in higher places given its dark history of slavery, which is a moral error that has yet to be fully reconciled. Perhaps herein lies the root of our society’s perpetual confusion, yet not the complete story.

Birth of the Bully

Actually, there have always been certain people in a given society who harbor a hateful bias and fear-driven animosity toward others, which often lead to great unhappiness in their own lives when left untreated. As this prolonged angst becomes too painful to bear, many such persons actively engage in projecting their inner hostility outwardly, which generally exacerbates in time. And the proverbial bully is born, oft-wearing a mask.

Sadder still, once in a position of authority, the obscure bully persona seems to enjoy wielding power over others rather than assume self-control…that is until the Universal Law of Karma appears and demands it’s due.

The Unexposed Bully, the Real Menace to Society

Meanwhile, once in power, the bully personality can take many forms. Yet, as our society continues to evolve, many of these hidden forms of bullying are now being recognized and rightly exposed.

And thus, what was previously dismissed as shocking and quite unthinkable, many of society’s bullies are now brought to justice, such as: the abusive teacher or clergy, an abusive parent or spouse, a mentally ill care-giver, or even an abusive icon.

Once again, seems the people have had enough and now a different type of bully is being forced out of the shadows, though our collective society has yet to indict such.

Perhaps, it is the age-old myth that exposure of one “bad apple” will spoil the lot!  Yet, while other bad apples might also fall; still, upholding the truth will solve the problem, if we let it!

Sadly, among many of today’s unexposed bullies are our respected authority figures, those we rely on for protection and leadership, such as: the police, the military, and even our elected officials.

To deny such a possibility is ridiculous. As it is these individuals who present the most danger to our society when not dully recognized and brought to justice.

So What is Justice Exactly?

As with all unseen qualities that most of us aim to live by, justice, much like truth and mercy cannot be adequately described, but it can be felt. Therefore, we can safely deduct that justice, along with truth and mercy, is a quality of the heart that responds favorably when allowed and engenders righteous indignation when denied.

Thus, being human with a living heart, we well know when truth and justice are allowed, and when such are not!  With no grand jury indictments in both the Eric Garner and Michael Brown killings by police recently, which were committed before our very eyes as Michael’s hands appear up in surrender or while hearing Eric’s plaintive cry for a breath of air, we, the people, have been protesting nationally and even globally ever since.

Read articles here: When Two Students One Black One White Protest here, London protests here, US Capitol staffers for Ferguson here, Protests in Support of Eric Garner here, Ferguson Protesters March to Missouri Governor’s Mansion here, Lawyers Stage ‘Die In’ in L.A. to Protest Police Brutality here, Medical Students Stage #WhiteCoats4BlackLives Protests here, and reminiscent of the Sixties Civil Rights Movement: Thousands March in Washington to Protest Police Violence here.

Iconic athletes are now wearing warm-up shirts reading “I can’t breathe,” Pres. Obama applauds LeBron James and others for speaking out here.

Sunday, Net players who also wore the “I can’t breathe” shirts, called for peace and a moment of silence following the very tragic murders of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos by a madman on Saturday December 20th, here.  And so the noble call for justice peacefully continues, as it must!

Why is Justice Important Now?

Of course, justice is always important in any civilized society. First, justice affirms the values by which we all must live, with the initial precept being to harm no one. Next, after a meticulous search for the truth during a fair trial, justice then declares what is right and what is wrong in a given case, which affects us all.

With police bullying being seen as such and thus considered a crime to be charged accordingly, police brutality would virtually cease.

Sadly, without the right use of our justice system by responsible authorities, our entire society suffers. See recent articles relative to the alleged manipulation of the Michael Brown case put before the grand jury by the local prosecutor here and here, and the so-called mistakes of his assistant prosecutor here.

Since our justice system is meant for the good of all the people, no one must be held above the law, including our law enforcers and our lawmakers. Nor should government officials seek to manipulate the justice system in their favor, ever!

Beware of the ‘Bad Apples’

Perhaps this is what Pres. John Adams, a Puritan who never owned a slave, meant so long ago when he penned the following line in a letter to his officers in the Massachusetts Militia, c. 1798, and should be fixed over the doors to every hall of justice in our nation:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Thus, we must be mindful of the ‘bad apples’ among us, particularly those unethical officials in our justice system who tend to make up their own rules as they go along!

And so we all must remain vigilant and guard our fragile democracy with tender care. When truth and justice are denied we must not only protest, as we do, but stay the course until truth and justice are restored, as we’ve always done in the past!

A Crisis of Truth and Justice Denied

Meanwhile, in honor of the Christmas Season, we offer prayers for the Truth and nothing but the Truth to prevail in this crisis of truth and justice denied, which is calling us all.

According to the Chinese Ancients, a crisis represents destruction and opportunity. Thus, we always have a choice as to our response.

Either we surrender to our fearful denial of justice in the Brown-Garner cases and let fear rule us, which generally ensures further disaster…

Or we can all join hands together, neither looking right nor left, and keep marching for Truth and Justice to blossom in our land. The choice is ours!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2014. All rights reserved.


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