Nel's New Day

May 23, 2015

U.S. Has ‘Whiteness’ Problem

Michael Brelo, Cleveland police officer, stood on his car and shot unarmed blacks 15 times after 100 officers riddled it with 137 bullets in 2012. Police chased the car because it backfired while passing the police headquarters. He said he thought he was in danger, and today a judge ruled he was not guilty of voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault. Brelo’s lawyer had described the armed police officer as the underdog in a “David vs. Goliath” fight. A review panel showing the violations in the 22-mile chase and the subsequent shooting resulted in the firing of one supervisor, the demotion of two others, and suspensions of 72 officers from one to 30 days. No other police officer faced criminal charges in the deaths of the man and woman in the bullet-riddled car.

Last year, a Cleveland officer killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was holding a pellet gun. Rice was killed within two seconds of the arrival of the 26-year-old officer who had left another police force after his supervisors declared he had “a dangerous loss of composure” during firearms training and was unemotionally unprepared to cope with the job. Almost six months later, the investigation into that shooting isn’t yet finished. In another investigation, 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson, identified by her family as bipolar, lost consciousness and died in police custody after pushed face down on the pavement. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.

Last year, a Department of Justice investigation into the Cleveland Police Department found a pattern of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” that resulted in dangerous and reckless behavior by officers. Abuses included excessive use of force by the police involving not just firearms, but also less-than-lethal weapons like Tasers, chemical spray, and fists, sometimes used for retaliation. The police used excessive force against mentally ill people and employed tactics that escalated potentially nonviolent encounters into dangerous confrontations. In one case the police fired at a fleeing man wearing only boxer shorts, and another man suffered a broken bone in his face while restrained on the ground with spread arms and legs after officers kicked him.

Cleveland is part of a culture across the United States in which police kill blacks while grand juries fail to indict or judges and juries fail to bring in guilty verdicts. A white police officer escaped any punishment for killing black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson (MO) with another white police officer in New York escaping indictment for the choking death of another unarmed black man, 43-year-old Eric Garner.

What all these killed people had in common is that they were black. Although killings are down in the past half century, young black men are 21 times as likely to be killed by police as young white men. Conservatives claim that anyone breaking the law risks the police killing them. Recently, nine bikers died in a Texas restaurant, another 18 were wounded, and 170 arrested. Waco Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton said that it was “the most violent crime scene” that he’d been involved in during his “34 years of law enforcement.” The police had been alerted to possible violence weeks before the event, and afterwards the restaurant floor was littered with bullet casings, knives, and a club. Yet the police didn’t kill any of the participants–almost all white–of the bloodbath.

Law enforcement used no SWAT teams, armored vehicles, tanks, snipers, Tasers, pepper spray, tear gas. There weren’t hundreds of police pointing assault weapons at the suspects, and the National Guard wasn’t called out. Mug shots show no beatings or chokings in the arrests. When the white men with supremacist tattoos and patches opened fire on the police, no one gunned them down en mass or forced them down onto the ground or beat them. Mainstream media largely gave the murders and arrests a pass with no reference about it’s being called “one of the worst gunfights in Waco history.” Almost all the white men in the mayhem belonged to organized “serious and violent criminal enterprises” going back over four decades. The aftermath of the violence looked like a Sunday gathering as they sat around smoking and checking their cell phones. Nobody was hogtied or harassed.

WacoAfter the Baltimore protests, both Texas GOP senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, blamed the riots on absent fathers because of the breakdown of family structures in the black community and raising children out of wedlock. Cruz went farther to accuse President Obama for “inflaming” the riots, that the president “exacerbated racial misunderstandings, racial tensions.” Neither one said anything about the cause of the biker gang killings in their home state.

The Waco event shows that blacks face a different standard than privileged whites. That was obvious a year ago when armed white terrorists took over part of Nevada and forced law enforcement to back down. A year after the standoff at the Cliven Bundy ranch, there have been no arrests, no indictments, no prosecutions.

Nothing clarifies the difference between treatment of blacks and white more than the language. Almost all the white men in the mayhem belonged to organized “serious and violent criminal enterprises” going back over four decades, yet they are described as belonging to clubs. Black protesters are almost universally referred to as “thugs.”

Incensed by the comparison that New York Times columnist Charles Blow made between Waco and the protests in Baltimore after Freddie Gray was killed in a police van, CNN  “law enforcement analyst” and ex-NYPD detective Harry Houck blamed the black community for pundits’ description of only blacks rioters and not white criminals as rioters as thugs. Houck tried to explain why thug refers to “bad guy” because of rappers.

“They started coming out with songs and calling themselves thugs, and I think that’s how this whole thing started, with the black community and the young men calling themselves thugs. Alright? And I think that’s how that all started.”

Much to Houck’s dismay, Blow disagreed with Houck’s etymology of “thug” and said that a bigger concern is that the black community is treated as the problem in a way that the white community never is. Sally Kohn agreed with Blow about a double standard, noting that no one identifies the race of white shooters or complains about a “whiteness” problem in violence.

Ferguson protesters were also labeled as “thugs” with news footage edited to demonize peaceful protesters. Yet a riot over a football game in Morgantown (WV) labeled the white people as “rowdy” and “unruly” in their “celebration.” White people rioting at a pumpkin festival “just got too drunk.”

police smileWhat would the police in the above picture do with a white victim? The United States has a “whiteness” problem.

December 29, 2014

Conservatives Lay Blame for Murders of NYPD Officers

Filed under: Racism — trp2011 @ 7:46 PM
Tags: , , , ,

A bomb at a peaceful workers’ rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago in 1886 discredited a movement against police killings of worker protesters who fought for the eight-hour day. Now conservatives are using the killings of two New York police officers for the same purpose.

For the past five months, protesters have marched throughout the United States in opposition to police killings and the judicial exoneration of law enforcement officers who killed blacks, despite the insignificant or nonexistent offences such as jaywalking, selling cigarettes, or trying to buy an air rifle in a Walmart. Nine days ago, a mentally ill career criminal killed his girlfriend before traveling to New York and killing two police officers while they sat in a patrol car. He had no connections with either New York or the protest movement, but conservatives used this tragedy to blame protesters and their supporters.

Pundits Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch are a very few of those who decided to blame NY Mayor Bill de Blasio, activist Al Sharpton, and President Obama because of their statements that young black men may be at danger from law enforcement. There is strong support for these men to talk about the dangers of being a black man in the United States. A black man in his early twenties is 21 more times more likely to be killed by the police than a white male of the same age.

Not all police officers agree with the conservative pundits and politicians who blame progressives for the killing of these two police officers. Adhyl Polanco, a nine-year veteran officer of the NYPD, said that his fellow officers turning their backs on de Blasio was “absolutely wrong.” Polanco said, “This police department has a culture that is going to make whoever tried to change that culture and life impossible, including the mayor.”

Regarding de Blasio’s statement that he had to talk to his mixed-race son about the dangers he faces because of his racial background:

“How can a parent—how can a parent who has a black child, how can a parent that have seen millions of kids being stopped by stop-and-frisk—and you know the statistics of that—how can the parents of kids and see black kids get killed by police over and over, how can parents that see kids being summoned illegally, being arrested in their own building for trespassing, and being the treatment that they deserve from—they get from the police department—not from all officers, because not all officers are the same—how can you not responsibly to have that conversation with your son? You have to.”

According to Polanco, white police officers don’t need to have the same conversation with their white children.

The city’s police commissioner, Bill Bratton, agreed with the criticism, saying that it was “very inappropriate” for the police not to face de Blasio while he was eulogizing Rafael Ramos at his funeral. He said the police rancor toward de Blasio reflects broader conflicts over the union contract and other issues.

Conservative police hate de Blasio for the same reason that conservatives hate President Obama: their lack of authoritarianism. Both have tried to be inclusive in their administrations, and both received ridicule for this practice. Before Giuliani denigrated de Blasio for his understanding of protesters, he blasted the president for not being like Russia’s Vladimir Putin. De Blasio wants a police force that “protects and serves,” rather than one who instantly brings violence and death to the people who pay their salaries.

Giuliani is a leader of the party that relies on white voters. Without the constituents among minorities—people of color, women, LGBT, etc.—the GOP cannot afford to lose whites as well. Giuliani says, “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,” and he means, “Hate the Democrats because they support blacks.” Many of Giuliani’s listeners ignore the fact that he is wrong about “the propaganda.” Politifact rated Giuliani’s comments as “pants on fire,” and the Washington Post gave Giuliani four (out of possible four) Pinocchios.

Giuliani wasn’t alone in his claims: former Rep. Joe Walsh accused Obama of having “blood on his hands,” and Erick Erickson said the president has “created a situation where Americans cheer police officers being gunned down.” Rush Limbaugh again raised the specter of race war, using rhetoric reminiscent of the 18th century that encouraged poor whites to join the slave owners because black slaves might revolt against all whites. Then and now, racists are painting blacks as bloodthirsty savages. No one in the protest movement has called for killing police officers despite Baltimore Fox Affiliate Fox 45’s cutting a protesters’ chant and changing “killer cop” into “kill a cop.”

After an investigation, federal government may indict police officers through a little known law. Department of Justice and FBI have for weeks been examining the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, and Dontre Hamilton, all killed by police officers but not indicted through grand juries.

“Color of law” declares that anyone deprived of

“any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States … on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”

This law was used to prosecute five New Orleans police officers over the shooting of six unarmed people on Danziger Bridge after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, two of whom died. The officers were convicted, but a federal judge overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial. The officers are still in prison awaiting the trial. The LAPD officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted on state charges but later convicted for violating his 14th Amendment due-process rights.

If Giuliani and other people blame progressives for the deaths of the police officers, they must also blame conservatives who spew hateful invective. After Bill O’Reilly’s 28 episodes about “Tiller the Baby Killer,” activist Scott Roeder killed the Wichita abortion provider George Tiller while he was in church. After anti-government hysteria, Timothy McVeigh bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring over 600. Fox network preaches hatred of Islam before people bomb an Islamic Center in Joplin (MO) and  Wade Michael Page kills four and wounds another six at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. NRA-lovers kill 28 in Newtown and 12 in Aurora (CO) while wounding another 70. After anti-IRS paranoia, Andrew Joseph Stack crashed a private plane into an IRS building in Austin (TX) and killed two people. Anti-LGBT activism leads to killing and beating thousands of suspected LGBT people. Sean Hannity supported Cliven Bundy’s “range war” against the BLM before his supporters Jerad and Amanda Miller killed five people in Las Vegas, including two police officers.

Because no official records of police killings exist, Congress voted to re-establish a federal database for all people in the U.S. killed in law enforcement detention or custody. Past efforts to collect information have not been successful, but states that fail to report the data can lose up to 10 percent of their federal law enforcement grants. The reports must include gender, race, and age. Perhaps the country will get a picture of who the police are killing. A follow-up to that should be a record of everyone who is killed in the United States through violence.

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