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Toxic environments, as evidenced by human exposure to dirty water or polluted air, are deadly for everyone. The police, or band of brothers, who fill quotas and shoot first are also toxic. To connect the dots completely, we must understand how police brutality and toxic environments are inextricable forms of violence that impact communities. We must understand how this violence intersects and demand an incompatible alternative to what we now endure.
There is a branding within our communities that is honored, praised and promoted – a branding that has been adopted out of ignorance and is more dehumanizing than the word nigger. Yet, this branding has been promoted and ingrained into the psyche of many within our communities to the point that it has been accepted and even worn as a badge of honor, not unlike the derogatory “nigger” terminology. The branding I’m referring to is the mark of a beast, a killer, a robber, a drug dealer or, simply, a criminal.
If white voters are racially resentful and if their resentments remain consequential for their selections at the ballot box, we might wish to understand who among the white population in the U.S. evinces the most racially resentful and racially conservative attitudes and why. Some recent sociological work has examined this question and found at least one primary suspect: white police officers.
A predator who takes pleasure in sexual behavior with a minor has no place on any police force, period! The worst type of criminal is the one who wears a badge. No one is above the law. Check out what civil rights attorney Adante Pointer, with the law offices of John Burris, had to say about this underage sex scandal currently disgracing many Bay Area police departments. About Celeste Guap, Pointer says, “These officers knew that she was underage and that she was vulnerable and sought to exploit her vulnerability for their own interests.”
Weeks ago, few had even heard the name Mario Woods. However, the sight of his shooting by officers of the San Francisco Police Department, brought to the world courtesy of YouTube, has made his name a rallying cry against police brutality in Northern California. Cries for justice thundered in the halls of San Francisco City Hall, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Community members and activists filled the hearing room and later the overflow room.
“The Talk” or “How to survive while Black” is given at one point or another to all young Black men. It is filled with different pointers and suggestions on how to handle police encounters when you are walking, driving or just breathing while being an African American. My mother gave my younger brother and me the talk several years ago when we turned 12, and 15 years later I gave it to my “little brother” M, a young man that I am mentoring.
Western press and officials now warn that the Rwandan massacres of 1994 are close to a replay in Rwanda’s neighbor Burundi, which shares its Hutu-Tutsi-Twa demographic. In “Burundi’s dangerous neighbor,” a letter to the Washington Post, former U.N. official Jeff Drumtra argues that the Rwandan government’s conscription of Burundian refugees to fight in a new, so-called “rebel force” is a grave danger that the international community should recognize before it’s too late.
A lot of activists in the U.S. joke during election times or when things get hot that they will move to Canada, but Canada is no utopia and can be rough living especially for people of color with disabilities, just like the U.S. There have been several cases of police brutality against people with disabilities, especially in Toronto. I spoke with Somali-Canadian singer and activist Sulekha Ali about her autistic brother’s run-in with the police on June 3, 2015, in Ottawa.
Loud pounding exploded on Liz Washington’s townhouse door on Treasure Island one day in 2005. A large African-American woman stood outside on the stoop. When her children's father cracked open the door, four burly male cops stormed in from behind her and pushed their way into the house. The worker announced coldly, “Someone at the school called CPS on you. I’m here to take your kids.”
On Tuesday, July 14, one day after commuting the sentences of 46 people currently serving sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in federal prisons, President Obama addressed the NAACP National Convention in Philadelphia. In his address, the president declared that our criminal justice system is “built on the legacy of slavery, segregation and other structural inequalities that [have] compounded over generations.” Our current system, the president said, is “not an accident.”
I caught up with Aaron Patterson’s lawyer, attorney Demitrus Evans, to get the story firsthand. This will be the first in a series of stories that I am working on to expose the cases of current day Black political prisoners in this country, because it is very important that our people know the truth about how this government deals with the people who truly do work on behalf of our empowerment.
Hundreds of people took to the streets here on Saturday to demonstrate against police brutality and call for accountability for the police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died April 19 as the result of a severe spinal injury that occurred when he was taken into custody a week earlier. Demonstrators chanted “shut it down.”
“I sit up here today, reflecting on where I started, in a public housing unit right down the street, five of us living on $700 a month,” said London Breed in her Board of Supervisors presidential acceptance speech on Jan. 8. “I remember standing in line at church for donated food, and standing in line at the fire house for our Christmas toys. I remember seeing a friend shot dead when I was 12 years old. ... But I had a grandmother who loved me. And early on I learned a lesson that San Francisco should carefully remember today: wealth is nothing without love.”
A Ferguson grand juror who heard the case of Darren Wilson previewed potentially scathing criticism of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch in a lawsuit alleging that McCulloch skewed the views of jurors when he delivered a lengthy public presentation to announce that the jury wouldn’t file any charges against Wilson for killing Michael Brown. The juror filed a federal lawsuit Monday anonymously to challenge a gag order.
Once again, the nation is compelled to mourn the death of police officers. Rightly so, if such mourning changes the dynamics of the relationship between para-militarized police and the communities in which they patrol. By no sense of the imagination should anyone be cavalier about the killing of a police officer, no more than they should be when a police officer wrongly kills a civilian, especially an unarmed civilian.
It’s kind of fitting that police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, murderers of Mike Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, were cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the last several weeks. The eruption of protest, activism and organizing in response to the (bad) decisions of legal bodies to not hold these officers accountable for their crimes has occurred at a time of special significance for the legacy of the Black Panther Party.
The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls for an immediate end to police violence, the taking of Black lives and the terrorizing of Black communities. We are inspired by the determination and courage of the people of Ferguson, Black people across the United States, and solidarity protests. In the face of such incredible injustice, we openly support this people’s rebellion.
When we were growing up, we understood that most of these white, Black and Brown police officers were predators. They came to our communities pumped up, looking for action. And there are several profiles of them: cocky, scared, fearless, racist, prejudiced, biased, anxious, gangsters etc. We was warned as young boys to have NO engagement with police, under NO circumstances.
They’re like, “Fuck it. I can die out here for nothing going at these cats from the other side or I could die for justice tonight with these police.” They’re fearless – they’re ready to be a martyr. Now all of this money that it must cost to bring all these cops in, ... all y’all had to do was put one man in jail. That’s it! A thousand police officers are going to be here in St. Louis and for what? To go out and kill another unarmed Black kid in the streets and then leave him there for four hours? I think that the ripple effect of this is going to rock the whole nation. It could be the tipping point for race relations in America when it comes to policing.
The joy of fatherhood can quickly be interrupted by unexpected twists and turns in daily life. We do our best to prepare our children for these occasions – let’s call them “bumps in the road” – that we know they will inevitably face. Over the past 30 years or so, the ever increasing presence of law enforcement in the lives of our children has created new challenges for them as well as for us as parents.
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