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“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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