From California to South Carolina to Pittsburgh, from Missouri to Detroit to New York, Blacks are being assaulted, shot and killed. As anger grows, protests rise, and frustrations build, people are asking, when and how will this end?
Ever since Black people were brought to the shores of America in the bottom of slave ships, misery, suffering and death has been their constant companions.
“What we are going through now, actually, it’s a different level of what we experienced in slavery,” Nancy Lockhart, a social justice advocate, told The Final Call. “I definitely feel that it’s open season on us.”
Ms. Lockhart said there must be laws mandating prison time for police officers who exert brutality and excessive force. Too many minor misdemeanors like traffic stops and jay-walking are ending in outright murder of unarmed people, she said.
Incident after incident of brutality and death
On Oct. 1, a jury convicted Michael Dunn of first degree murder for shooting Jordan Davis over loud music. Earlier this year, a jury also convicted Mr. Dunn of three charges of second-degree murder for firing into the vehicle that carried three others along with teenager Davis. Dunn was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Friday.
“We send our love and support to the family of Jordan Davis. Today is a day to remember Jordan and honor his life, renew our commitment to ending Florida’s deadly ‘Stand Your Ground’ or ‘Shoot First’ law, and grow our movement to end violence perpetrated against Black youth,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, an online civil rights organization.
Marlene Pinnock, the 51-year-old Black, then-homeless grandmother captured on video being savagely beaten by California Highway Patrolman Daniel Andrew, settled her lawsuit against the highway patrol for $1.5 million. She announced the agreement with her attorney Caree Harper at a press conference on Sept. 24.
Atty. Harper told The Final Call both sides made concessions but it was crucial for Ms. Pinnock that Mr. Andrew be fired and could never be rehired as a highway patrolman. They allowed CHP to say Mr. Andrew resigned, she explained.
“I feel good about the settlement and this chapter can be closed in my life and I can move on,” Ms. Pinnock stated, as she thanked God, her attorney, and David Diaz, who videotaped her assault. She was glad the cop who beat her lost his job. “I didn’t want him to hurt nobody else like he hurt me, and expose another woman or another child’s grandmother the way I was exposed,” she said.
Their next steps are to testify in the criminal phase of the case, Atty. Harper said. “We have to make sure that he serves actual jail time and receives every inch of punishment he deserves,” she added.
In Tallahassee, Fla., Officer Terry Mahan has been placed on administrative leave after a neighbor’s video revealed he tasered 62-year-old Viola Young in the head on Sept. 30.
According to Officer Mahan’s statement in a police report, he’d arrived on the scene to help two officers with two suspects already on the ground. Reportedly, police were responding to complaints of drug deals in the area.
Officer Mahan stated Ms. Young approached to ask what was going on and when ordered to leave, she refused. He tried to arrest her, and when she walked away, he tasered her in the back of the head. Police Chief Michael DeLeo said there were enough concerns to call for an internal investigation.
In Houma, La., sheriff’s officials called the September fatal shooting of Black teen Cameron Tillman a “freak accident,” saying the deputy, who is also Black, feared for his life because he thought he saw 45-caliber pistol. According to police, deputies received calls that five or six men with guns had entered a vacant house.
The deputy shot the 14-year-old four times. According to police, the child was carrying a BB gun.
Bad cops, bad decisions?
On Sept. 23, federal Judge Percy Anderson sentenced six L.A. County Sheriff deputies to federal prison for obstructing an investigation into corruption and civil rights abuses within county jails. For their roles in conspiring and scheming to hide an inmate informant from the FBI and a federal grand jury in 2011, the five men and one woman will begin serving their prison terms ranging from approximately two to three years on Jan. 2.
In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich announced an investigation by the Department of Justice would be appropriate after a grand jury decided not to charge police who fatally shot a 22-year-old unarmed Black man in Wal-Mart on Aug. 5.
In a call to 911, Ronald Ritche falsely claimed John Crawford III was brandishing a gun and pointing it at other customers, two children included. Video showed at no time did Mr. Crawford point a toy gun—sold at the store—toward others. Police say he refused commands to drop the gun and they opened fire.
“There has to be a law across the board to stop this,” Ms. Lockhart said.
America’s history of murdering Blacks
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SOURCE: NNPA News Service