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25/08/14 Black News , featured , Race & Racism , ybw #

21 Reasons Why White People Should Care About What Happens In Ferguson

21 Reasons Why White People Should Care About What Happens In Ferguson

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

by Melissa Cordner

If I hear one more person claim the people of Ferguson are “just playing the race card,” I am going to scream. If one more person tells me to calm down because Ferguson “doesn’t affect me,” I am going to scream. The truth, of course, is that we’ve all been screaming for ten days… or for hundreds of years.

WHITE PEOPLE—THIS AFFECTS YOU. White people—I care because I, as an American citizen, CANNOT afford not to. White people—you cannot afford not to care either. Here are some reasons why white people need to educate themselves about, and get involved with, what is going on in Ferguson. Each of these points affects you—your community, your government, your media, your country, your life. Your continued silence on each of these issues implies your continued compliance with them.

  1. The basics: an UNARMED TEENAGER was shot six times by a police officer. This is a problem no matter what color or nationality or sex or religion or sexual orientation or what-have-you the teenager was. This would also be a problem no matter the age of the person, but the fact the victim was eighteen and starting college within a week adds a particular type of horror to the situation.

  2. Some people are saying we should care because “it could be you/your child.” This isn’t strictly true. White people don’t get gunned down for no reason in broad daylight by law enforcement. Black people, however, hear this kind of story about people who look like them all the time. FOUR UNARMED BLACK MEN (that we KNOW OF) HAVE BEEN KILLED BY POLICE OFFICERS IN THE LAST MONTH (Google Eric Garner, John Crawford III, and Ezell Ford; I’ll wait). Black people of all genders are murdered or assaulted by law enforcement figures by the HUNDREDS each year; they are treated far rougher and often sentenced far more harshly than white people who are suspected of committing the same crime.

  3. The fact that you are basically immune to the type of terror many Black people face every day is exactly why you should care. Those voices may not be heard, while YOUR voice has the power to make a difference about it. That is what white privilege is. It is not your fault you were born with it; it is your fault if you aren’t using it for good.

  4. White culture is one of distrusting anyone different than you. We were raised with it. Racism is not usually blatant or even intentional; it is in the way you put your hand over your wallet when a Black man passes you on the sidewalk, or the way you really mean “Black neighborhood” when you say “bad neighborhood,” or the way you never question that the Black guy is never innocent on TV crime shows. You have been brainwashed into being a jerk and perpetuating the system you (even unintentionally) benefit from. Many aspects of the current struggle in Ferguson are proof of this; your silence on it is more obvious proof still.

  5. If this was a white unarmed teenager, and the offending officer was first protected by a staunch commitment to anonymity by the police department, and later revealed but not arrested, the ENTIRE NATION would look like Ferguson looks right now. Black people are not “playing the race card”—Black people are speaking out against a systematic centuries-old oppression of which law enforcement is an intrinsic part. Families that look like Mike Brown’s teach their children not to make sudden movements in front of a police officer as surely as families that look like mine teach their children not to merge without checking their blind spot.

  6. Some people say that Mike Brown COULD have charged at the officer, COULD have intended to grab his gun. I ask those people; even if this is true, and we can’t say it is, since when are police officers trained to shoot to kill aggressive teenagers? Officers are only allowed to shoot to kill if their or another innocent person’s life is in danger, or if the target is fleeing the scene of a felony; neither of these are true in this case. Do you want your police officers to go unpunished for breaking this rule, for murdering someone for jaywalking? I literally jaywalk almost every day; no one has ever shot me about it.

  7. Folks who are arguing that the shooting officer ‘has no disciplinary record’ of past violence or complaints against him may be unaware of what this really means. Darren Wilson HAS NO DISCIPLINARY RECORD, period, because disciplinary records are not kept on an individual basis by the Ferguson police department. Police officers are not held accountable for their own actions even when similar complaints are repeatedly filed against them, because no organized personal record of those complaints or actions is kept. Police are also not required to report “unjustifiable” killings, but only “justifiable” ones, to be recorded in annual police shooting statistics, which means that the statistics you and I have access to are inaccurate, and potentially wildly so.

  8. The police department’s responses to this entire thing has been dishonest in a way that is nothing short of terrifying. They tried claiming Brown assaulted a police officer, even though eyewitness reports and autopsy results reveal that at LEAST the first shot was fired from INSIDE THE CAR, and others were fired while Brown had his hands in the air and was facing the officer. They tried claiming Brown robbed a store five minutes beforehand, even though the footage shows someone in an entirely different outfit and the shooting officer was unaware of the robbery at the time of the shooting. Law enforcement has blatantly lied to the public—that’s you—multiple times already concerning this case. How often do they lie without being caught?

  9. The fact that the police department and some media outlets have been trying to tarnish Brown’s name with vague propaganda about his character is important. Some individual officers, including Marc Catron in Kansas City, have gone so far as to circulate faked photographs of Brown with a gun. Your police and media are trying to tell you that murder is justifiable based on their personal judgments of character. Do you want to live in a country in which you could be shot because a random stranger with a badge decided you weren’t a nice person that day?  

  10. This senseless character defamation has also been applied to individual officers; Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson has been accused by various media outlets (including CNN) of flashing “gang signs” in photographs with Ferguson community members. This “gang sign” is in fact a regularly used greeting by members of Kappa Alpha Psi, a Divine Nine fraternity of which Johnson is a member.We are living in a country in which a white police officer can kill an unarmed teenager and face no consequences, but a Black police officer can face demands for his resignation for belonging to a fraternity. If you believe racism is not at play you are not paying attention.

  11. Police officers did not arrive on scene in uniform to maintain order and peace among the protestors, or between them and car or pedestrian traffic; they arrived on scene in riot gear, and then military gear, to inspire fear and incite chaos. Your law enforcement responded to a peaceful civilian gathering with the mindset of controlling and overpowering, rather than serving and protecting, the citizens of this country.

  12. The police are responding to the protests with a military-like force reminiscent of—some even argue more severe than—the presence of our troops overseas at actual war. The cops have this equipment because of a federal program designed to funnel excess military equipment into local police departments. There is no training sent along with the equipment, and police departments are only allowed to keep the equipment if they use it within a year. In short your local law enforcement is not just encouraged, but practically required, to use military equipment against local citizens WITHOUT TRAINING.

  13. Some people are crying out about the lootings of area stores as justification for increased police presence. Refocusing this case to be on the lootings committed by a few, rather than on the protesting of hundreds and the murder of one, is placing more importance on physical property than on human life.

  14. Police officers have been caught on tape baiting protestors into violence by shouting things like “You fucking animals, bring it,” and issuing death threats to reporters and protestors alike. The police sworn to protect the public from violence are inciting and encouraging it and nothing has been done to condemn or stop them.

  15. Early on, Ferguson was declared a no-fly zone, which kept media helicopters away from the scene. This was so that you and I could not find out more about what was happening. THE NO FLY ZONE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO REMAIN IN PLACE ANOTHER WEEK. Your government is intentionally trying to keep you ill-informed about what is going on around you. Think about that.

  16. Reporters who are on scene in person have been bullied, tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and arrested by police for reporting the facts to the general public. Your media is being intentionally silenced; your country’s law enforcement is intentionally trying to keep the truth from you.

  17. As of August 19th, the solution to the media situation has been to round up all reporters into a pen and label it a First Amendment Area. This entire country is supposed to be an “area” protected by, and protective of, the First Amendment, but Ferguson shows that authority can pick and choose when to uphold this even in public spaces.

  18. It is also interesting to note that this holding pen has still suffered multiple assaults from police weaponry. Even journalists are denied access to this ‘safe’ space; Tim Pool, after being hit with tear gas and rubber bullets, was told by a police officer that his press badge “doesn’t mean shit” when he attempted to reenter the ‘free speech zone.’ Other journalists report narrowly missing being hit by speeding police vehicles barreling through crowds.’ This is reminiscent of other situations where the police have disregarded their own rules, such as trying to enforce the curfew two hours early one night. The police are not respecting their own safe areas or following their own rules; there is no balance of power in play here, only abuse of it.

  19. As of August 20th, the ‘free speech area’ has been shut down, and only “credentialed” journalists will be allowed into the new area. Journalists must vacate the scene or face arrest; this directly violates our right to free press.

  20. As of August 20th, police and National Guard troops have been forcing their way into homes door-to-door across Ferguson, presumably looking for individuals who have ‘fired shots at authorities.’ This is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, which guards citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures and requires warrants that describe what the police are looking for. This sets a precedent that allows police officers to disregard your Fourth Amendment rights.

  21. When the rights to free speech and free press are taken away from American citizens, it will not mean, “except for you.” When the right to assemble is taken away from American citizens, it will not mean, “except for you.” When the right to privacy is taken away from American citizens, it will not mean, “except for you.” American rights are literally at stake in this case, and you cannot afford to stand by and let this happen regardless of your personal connections to Ferguson.

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23/08/14 Black News , ybw #

Cop Suspended for Comparing Ferguson Protesters to Rabid Dogs

Cop Suspended for Comparing Ferguson Protesters to Rabid Dogs

Pappert Ferguson

A Glendale, Missouri police officer has been suspended for making inappropriate comments about Ferguson protesters, according to the department.

According to local affiliate KSDK, an officer was suspended on Friday after posting inflammatory comments about Ferguson protesters on Facebook.

“The posts, in our opinion, were very concerning, very shocking to us,” said Glendale Police Chief Jeffrey Beaton. “We would have never thought one of our officers would have made such posts.”

Officer Matthew Pappert posted, “I’m sick of these protesters. You are a burden on society and a blight on the community.” and  “Great, thugs and white trash all in one location.”

In another post, Pappert says that “These protesters should have been put down like a rabid dog the first night.”

“The views or opinions that were posted on that post, if they were by our officer, are absolutely not the opinions or views of the Glendale Police Department or the city of Glendale,” said Chief Beaton, who reportedly learned about the posts on Friday.

Pappert is not the first police officer to land himself in hot water over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, as BreakingBrown previously reported:

Kansas City Officer Marc Catron made negative comments about Brown and passed around images of a man he claimed was Brown. As it turns out, the man pictured with money in his mouth and a gun is actually an accused criminal from Oregon.

 

The Kansas City Police Department’s spokesperson told local affiliate KCTV that they are addressing this like a personnel issue and provided the station a copy of the department’s social media policy.

 

 

 

 

 

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22/08/14 Black News , ybw #

Navy Discharges African-American Sailor Over Her Locks

Navy Discharges African-American Sailor Over Her Locks

Just days after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reversed a ban on some African-American hairstyles, Navy officials have decided to discharge a sailor for wearing locks. Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jessica Sims, 32, is being forced to leave the Navy for refusing to cut her locks, the Navy Times reports.

Jessica Sims

Jessica Sims

Although Sims has been wearing her hair in its current style since 2005, Navy officials are scheduled to discharge her today on the grounds that her hair does not meet regulations. At issue is the size of her bun which, according to officials, is too big to be worn with a gas mask.

“For the past couple weeks, not knowing what the Navy was going to do, if they were going to move forward with the discharge or keep me in, had me in a little limbo,” Sims told a reporter at the Navy Times. “In the back of my head I knew that they weren’t going to change, so it was more of just waiting for the date.”

Chief of Naval Personnel spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello said Sims is being discharged for refusing an order from her commander to get her hair in regs.

“[Assistant Navy Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan] Garcia and [Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Bill] Moran have completed their review and are more than satisfied that the chain of command handled this case by the book,” Servello said.

Sims maintains that she is not in violation since regs ban “widely-spaced individual hanging locks” but her locks are closely spaced.

She insists that this has more to do with a bias against natural hair than her violating military regulations.

“I don’t think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don’t think I should have to cover it up with a wig,” she told the Navy Times.

Sims has been in the Navy for 12 years.

In a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed that he was reversing a ban on some African-American hairstyles.

Secretary Hagel explained that service members will now be allowed to wear two strand twists and larger braids. The military has also decided to remove the phrasing “matted and unkempt” from the official policy.

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22/08/14 Black Crime & Incarceration , Black News , featured , ybw #

Autopsy Raises Questions About Man’s Death in Back of Squad Car

Autopsy Raises Questions About Man’s Death in Back of Squad Car

Victor White

On the morning of March 2nd, Victor White III, 22, allegedly took his own life in the back of a Louisiana cop car. Officers from Louisiana’s Iberia Sheriff’s Department insist that they checked White for weapons before arresting him for drug possession, after White was allegedly involved in a convenience store fight. Still, somehow, according to police, the handcuffed man pulled a gun and shot himself in the back of a squad car. Now, however, an autopsy report casts doubt on the story told by police.

Trooper 1st Class Stephen Hammons said in a press release back in March that the trouble started after White became agitated, according to The Advocate:

“Once at the Sheriff’s Office, White became uncooperative and refused to exit the deputy’s patrol vehicle,” Hammons said.

 

As the deputy requested assistance, White produced a handgun and fired one round, striking himself in the back, Hammons said.

 

White was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

However, according to Wilbert L. Cooper of Vice, the autopsy contradicts the police version of events:

Despite initial statements made by authorities that said Victor III was shot in the back, the report describes no back wounds at all. Instead, his cause of death is described as a gunshot to his right chest that perforated his left lung and heart, exited through his left armpit, and lacerated his upper arm. It was reported in initial local accounts of the shooting that Victor III was handcuffed behind his back. So in order for him to have shot himself in the chest, he would have had to pull himself through his cuffed arms in the backseat of that cop car—and of course, have a gun in the first place.

Suicide? But White’s family says the young man had no history of depression or mental illness. The autopsy also suggests that White was beaten by officers before he was shot:

The report also lists two abrasions on Victor III’s upper left face and around his eye, which seems to be in line with what White’s father, Victor White Sr., told me a couple weeks after his son’s death: “I know they beat him before he arrived at the station,” he said, “because those who were with him before he was arrested said he didn’t have a mark on him.”

Victor also Sr. told Vice that police didn’t tell him that his son had died in police custody and that he’d only been allowed to see his son from the neck up after he passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21/08/14 Black News , Black Politics , featured , ybw #

60% of African-Americans Approve of Obama’s Ferguson Response

60% of African-Americans Approve of Obama’s Ferguson Response

Obama sad

Although President Obama has received some criticism for not going to Feruson, MO after unarmed teen Michael Brown was gunned down by a police officer, a new poll shows that the majority of African Americans are satisfied with the president’s response. According to the CBS/NYT poll, 60 percent of African-Americans surveyed said they were satisfied with Obama’s response, while only 20 percent said they were dissatisfied.

According to the Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake, however, these numbers aren’t as good as they look:

While the CBS/NYT poll notes that 60 percent of blacks are satisfied with Obama’s response to the Ferguson shooting — a clear majority — that’s less overwhelming when you consider how hugely popular Obama is among African Americans in general. The latest Gallup numbers show that 86 percent of African Americans approve of the president. In that light, a 60 percent approval rating on Ferguson is less impressive.

Previously, Ezra Klein at Vox made the case for why Obama can’t speak about race like he once did:

The problem is the White House no longer believes Obama can bridge divides. They believe — with good reason — that he widens them. They learned this early in his presidency, when Obama said that the police had “acted stupidly” when they arrested Harvard University professor Skip Gates on the porch of his own home. The backlash was fierce. To defuse it, Obama ended up inviting both Gates and his arresting officer for a “beer summit” at the White House.

What are your thoughts? Should Obama keep quiet or take a stand?

 

 

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