Thursday, November 26, 2015

4 People Arrested for Shooting Black Lives Matter Protesters

The New York Times reports that:
MINNEAPOLIS — The police on Wednesday released the names of four men arrested in connection with a shooting during a Black Lives Matter protest outside a police station that injured five protesters.

The shooting erupted on Monday, during the ninth day of protests demanding action against two white Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, an unarmed black man, on Nov. 15. None of the wounded protesters had life-threatening injuries, the authorities said.

On Wednesday, protesters paused for the first time as Mr. Clark’s funeral was held, and hundreds gathered to commemorate him at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, calling for a day of peace.

The authorities identified the suspects in the shooting as Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23; Nathan Gustavsson, 21; Daniel Macey, 26; and Joseph Backman, 27. All are white and were arrested in the Minneapolis area. The police also detained a 32-year-old Hispanic man, but he was released after questioning.

The four men are being held at the Hennepin County jail and have yet to be charged.

According to Sun This Week,
Scarsella was identified as one of two masked men in a You Tube video in a dome-lit vehicle who say they were driving to the protest at Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct police headquarters for a “recon” mission.

The driver identifies himself as “SaigaMarine” and Scarsella as “Black Powder Ranger,” and says they are “locked and loaded” as he displays a black pistol.
Today, eyewitness Leslie Redmond appeared on Democracy Now. On the program, she suggested that the police may have been involved in the shooting. The shooting occurred right down the street from the police precinct. According to Ms. Redmond, the protesters heard over 10 shots fired. Despite the fact that shooting occurred right down the street from the police precinct, it took the police and the ambulance an unusually long period of time to arrive at the scene. When the police finally arrived, they maced protesters and witnesses. The police allegedly did not interview the witnesses until an hour later. Ms. Redmond further stated that the police wore similar masks as the white supremacist gunmen.

Check out the video below.

In addition to investigating the killing of Jamar Clark, we must demand that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the Minneapolis Police Department's practices and possible involvement in the shooting.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Justice for Laquan McDonald

The New York Times reports that:
CHICAGO — A white Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of a 17-year-old black man, just hours before city officials appealed for calm as they released a chilling video of the officer shooting the teenager as he lay crumpled on the ground.

The grainy, nighttime dashboard camera video, which a judge ordered released last week, shows the young man running and then walking past officers in the middle of the street and spinning when bullets suddenly strike him down. For a moment, lying on the ground, he moves but then is still after he appears to be shot several more times. An officer kicks an object away from his body. The video shows none of the officers on the scene offering assistance to the teenager, Laquan McDonald...

On the evening of Oct. 20, 2014, police officers approached Mr. McDonald on the city’s Southwest Side, prosecutors said, after a resident reported seeing him breaking into trucks and stealing radios. Mr. McDonald, who had the folding knife in his hand, walked away as officers arrived. Someone called for a police unit with a stun gun, though it was not clear whether anyone ever appeared with one. At one point, Mr. McDonald “popped” the tire on a police car, apparently with his knife, the prosecutors said.

With more officers arriving car by car, Mr. McDonald kept walking and jogging along, not responding to orders to drop the knife, prosecutors said. Near a Burger King along a busy stretch of Pulaski Road, Officer Van Dyke’s marked Chevrolet Tahoe pulled up alongside other police vehicles, including one containing a dashboard camera. Officer Van Dyke was on the scene for fewer than 30 seconds, prosecutors said, before he began shooting his service weapon, which had a 16-round capacity.

The shooting spanned 14 or 15 seconds, and in about 13 of those seconds, prosecutors say, Mr. McDonald was lying on the ground. He was hit 16 times, including in his backside. An autopsy showed the presence of the drug PCP in his system.
This tragic story raises two important questions. Why did it take Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez a whole damn year to file charges against Officer Van Dyke? The video clearly shows that Laquan McDonald was approximately 15 feet away from the officers. He did not lunge toward, approach or threaten the officers with the knife. In fact, Laquan was attempting to walk past the officers. While Laquan was on the ground, Officer Van Dyke fired most of his shots. It does not take an entire year to figure out the obvious. Officer Van Dyke murdered Laquan.

As reported in The Times-Pacayune, when two black Marksville, Louisiana police officers, Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, and Lt. Derrick Stafford, 32, killed a six year-old white boy, Jeremy Mardis, those officers were arrested and charged with second-degree murder three days after the killing. In the Jeremy Mardis case, there was video evidence from body cameras. In Marksville, the authorities did not need a whole year to analyze the footage and interview thousands of witnesses. They only needed three days to reach a decision.

Yet, the Cook County State's Attorney actually expects us to actually believe that she needed an entire year to reach an obvious conclusion. There is no rational justification for Cook County's delay in filing charges against that Office Van Dyke.  Apparently, when the victim is white, justice is swift. When the victim is black, justice is frequently delayed and denied.

Second, why was Officer Van Dyke never disciplined for prior offenses?  As reported on ABC 7 News, at least 18 prior citizen complaints were filed against Officer Van Dyke. Eight of those complaints alleged excessive force and two involved use a firearm. According to the news reports, some of the complaints allege that Officer Van Dyke used racial slurs. Yet, the Police Department never disciplined Office Van Dyke. Instead, they unleashed that rabid dog on the people of Chicago.

Unfortunately, this is not a case of "one bad apple." It is about a police department that is rotten to the core. The police department failed to hold that officer responsible for his conduct. If Officer Van Dyke was properly disciplined for his prior alleged misconduct, perhaps Laquan would still be alive today. Laquan's blood is on Officer Van Dyke's hands and the Chicago Police Department's hands.

No amount of blood money paid to Laquan's family will silence the people's righteous demand for justice. We will remain vigilant.  Enough is enough. Justice for Laquan McDonald, Jamar Clark and everybody else.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The War Against Black People: White Supremacists Shoot 5 Protesters

The AP reports that:
Dozens of demonstrators huddled around bonfires Saturday evening, maintaining their presence at a Minneapolis police station where they have established an encampment following the death of a black man who was shot by police last weekend.

Minneapolis civil rights activist Mel Reeves said the primary goal of the protests is to see the officers involved in the death of Jamar Clark prosecuted based on statements of people who say they saw the shooting. He said the officers should face charges and "go through the same procedures that we do. We think they're guilty, but let the court decide."

...Protesters, led by leaders from the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, also have called for the release of surveillance footage taken at the scene of the deadly encounter early Sunday...

Authorities have said the footage — from an ambulance, mobile police camera, public housing cameras and people's cellphones — doesn't show the full incident and that releasing the recordings would also taint a review by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Mica Grimm of Black Lives Matter said she was at the meeting and told officials the protests won't end until the community says it's OK. She said she wants to ensure the "safety of this community after we leave this space."

Both officers involved in the shooting, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, have been placed on standard administrative leave. Authorities haven't said who fired the fatal shot.

Police have said the officers were responding to an assault call and found the 24-year-old Clark interfering with paramedics. Authorities say there was a struggle. The head of the Minneapolis police union has said Clark was shot after reaching for an officer's gun. Protesters have said they don't believe that version of events...

Some people say they saw him handcuffed at the time of the shooting — a claim police have disputed. McKnight, speaking for the family, said that's not something they're concerned with.

"That's not the point. The point is: He was unarmed, on the ground, now he's dead," she said.

On Monday evening, white supremacists shot of the five protesters. Salon reports that:
Five people were shot at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis late Monday night. The Associated Press spoke with Minneapolis police who confirmed the shootings. Police spokesman John Elder told AP all five have injuries that are not life-threatening.

The local newspaper The Star Tribune reported that the five people shot were protesters. Black Lives Matter media contact Miski Noor told The Star Tribune “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.” When the activists tried to get the white supremacists to leave, Noor said the racists “opened fire on about six protesters.” Five were allegedly hit.
According to the New York Times,
Mica Grimm, an organizer with Black Lives Matter who said she arrived on the scene soon after the shooting, said two people were shot in the leg, another in the arm and a fourth in the stomach. None suffered life-threatening injuries.
Days before the shooting, white supremacists got on video and threatened the protesters.

The killing of Jamar Clark and the shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters are reminders that we are at war. That war began when we were brought us to this country in chains. Even with a black President in the White House, that relentless and ruthless war against black people continues today.

Sadly, we face a more imminent threat than foreign terrorists wearing black fatigues and ski masks. We face domestic terrorists wearing blue uniforms and shiny badges. Too often, instead of protecting and serving the black community, the police harass and brutalize the black community with impunity. Every other day, there is a new black person killed by the police. Every other day, there is a new hashtag on Twitter for another fallen black man, woman or child killed by the police. Today, the victim is Jamar Clark. Tomorrow, it will be someone else.

Not only do we face a threat from the police, we face an imminent threat from the rising white supremacist movement in this country. They are a greater threat to us than extremist Muslim terrorist groups. Monday night's shooting poignantly illustrates the very real danger that white supremacists continue to pose. Other recent examples include the Charleston massacre, the recent Virginia race war plot and racist threats against black students around the country.

How many more warning signs do we need before we finally wake up? We have a moral and legal right to defend ourselves. It is time for us to exercise that right. Speeches, marches and vigils are good, but we need soldiers, guns and bullets. Otherwise, we will continue to be sheep preyed upon by racist wolves.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Reflecting on #BenFields and the #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh

Hello, family. In his classic song Umi Says, Mos Def sings, "I don't wanna write this down. I want to tell you how I feel right now." I feel that. Often, instead doing a written blog, I tell the world how I feel at that moment on my YouTube channel. I encourage you guys to subscribed to the channel.

In the YouTube videos below, I reflect upon the recent incident of police brutality that occurred at Spring Valley High School in Richland County, South Carolina.

This video is my initial response to the situation.

After I posted that first video, I received a flood of callous and racist comments. I deleted some of those comments. Here are a few examples that remain:

"The negress was acting stupid and brought this all on herself. Why do blacks act so stupid?"

"When you act like an animal you get treated like one. Common sense. Mr.Dindunuffin."

"Why cant Negroes go to school and just Learn?"

"She deserved it."

"Looks like the cop deserves an award. Enough of these kids acting badly."

"Another example of blacks manipulating the media in order to gain a free lunch.
Show the entire video you racist black piece of shit."

"To the officer that did this, GOOD JOB! And remember, Jesus had enemies, too."

In response to those and other insensitive comments, I posted a second video.

Later, I read a news article about how Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott suggested that officer Ben Fields was not racist because he is dating an African American woman. When I heard that nonsense, I had to do yet another YouTube video.

I welcome your feedback.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Assessing the Justice or Else March

The people marched for Walter Scott, Sam DuBose. Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and other countless victims of police brutality and racist violence.

We are sick and tired of the police killing unarmed black people. We are sick and tired of the courts allowing the killers to strut free. Enough is enough. That is why hundreds of thousands of people came to Washington.  The March sent a powerful message to police departments, mayors, governors and other elected officials all around this nation. We are out of patience. We are not going to take it anymore. The Justice or Else March was a beautiful display of righteous indignation decorated with fiery speeches and moving songs.

No one is personifies that rage more eloquently than Minister Louis Farrakhan. The success of March is clear indication that his message resonates with the masses. It is a living testimony to Farrakhan's prowess as a leader. Unlike many other black leaders, he does not have to tone down his message to appease corporate donors and white liberal supporters. He is not beholden to the Democrats or the Republicans. He is a free black man.  He is manhood. He is courage. He is unafraid of the establishment. He speaks boldly and powerfully without wavering and without hesitation. Despite our ideological, theological and political differences, that is why we support brother Farrakhan. He speaks to our anger and frustration. He forcefully condemns the system that has failed us.

Anger is a commanding mobilizing tool. However, anger alone is not an effective organizing tool. Organization must be focused and results oriented. Like the Million Man March 20 years ago, the Justice or Else March had no legislative agenda. The brother gathered hundreds of thousands of black people to Nation's Capital during a Presidential election and presented no legislative agenda. Unfortunately, the March squandered a good opportunity to do so.

During his speech, Minister Farrakhan expressed a deep seated pessimism toward the Congress. He understandably questioned the federal government's ability to render justice and affect change. The minister made antiquated and fantastical calls for separatism. He compared the federal government to the pharaoh in the Bible and spoke of the need for a black exodus. Although that language is pleasing to the ears of the outraged, it is not a practical, probable or immediate solution to our current problems.

Our sweat, our blood, our tears, our history and our very lives are interwoven into the fabric of America. We are not going to any imaginary black utopia. Instead running away to some mystic black fantasy island, lets seize control over the communities and cities under our feet. In words of Malcolm, we must control the politics and the economy of our communities. Despite the continuing problems of police brutality and racism, this is a different era. We have many black mayors, city council members, state representatives, Congress members and black Senators. Today, pharaoh is not some evil "white devil." He is a moderate black man with a Muslim name. Whether one is willing to acknowledge it or not, that black pharaoh has helped pass laws that benefit black people. Maybe not as forcefully as we would like, that black pharaoh has spoken out against police brutality.

U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis, a black man, helped pass a resolution allowing the Nation of Islam to hold the Justice or Else March. Why not work with that same congressman to pass the Federal End Racial Profiling Act and other laws to designed to combat police brutality? As a result of mass mobilization, organization and vigilant struggle, the Congress that passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act and many other laws that ended Jim Crow in this country. Such laws brought about substantial progress and change in this country. Why not pressure Congress today? With proper organization, we will have the ability to affect change.

Hopefully, the organizers of the Justice or Else March will develop and/or embrace a modern day legislative agenda to address our modern day problems. Perhaps, Farrakhan did that when he met with black professionals after the March. After the agenda has been formulated, it must be pushed and passed. Otherwise, like a rock concert or circus, the March will have been just another feel good moment, producing absolutely nothing of substance. We do not need good moments. We need change.

We must end police brutality and racial profiling. Otherwise, there will be more Fergusons and more Baltimores. As one of the speakers said at the March, Ferguson will be "or Else."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson and the GOP Hate Olympics

"I was out-niggered, and I will never be out-niggered again." George Wallace

The GOP Presidential Primary has degenerated into the Hate Olympics. In the words of segregationist George Wallace, the top candidates are now trying to "out-nigger" each other. Today, the new niggers are the Muslims and the immigrants. Candidates are rewarded for displaying the most acrimony towards the new niggers.

For instance, Donald Trump catapulted to the top of the field by bashing Mexican immigrants. As reported on NPR, he stated that:
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."
Every since he uttered that racist and hateful statement, he has been leading on all of the major polls. His campaign is fueled by bigotry, sexism, nastiness and mean spirited attitudes. Instead being hurt by his sexist insults directed towards women news analysts and women politicians, grunting GOP Neanderthals continue to flock to Trump like sheep.

In order to compete with Trump, Dr. Ben Carson is placating the GOP's xenophobic, blood thirsty vampires by throwing them a new food source to devour, Muslims. As religious scholar Reza Aslan noted on CNN and as stated on the AP,
Carson’s campaign reported strong fundraising and more than 100,000 new Facebook friends in the 24 hours after he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

His campaign manager Barry Bennett told The Associated Press on Monday: “While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20.”

“People in Iowa particularly, are like, ‘Yeah! We’re not going to vote for a Muslim either,” Bennett said. “I don’t mind the hubbub. It’s not hurting us, that’s for sure.”
Like sex, hate sells. Despite his soft spoken nature and gentle image, Dr. Carson is now pandering to hate and bigotry. Similar to Donald Trump, Dr. Carson is catering to racist birthers. He is shining the shoes of right wing imbeciles who suffer from cognitive dissonance. Contrary to all of the evidence, those fools continue to believe that Obama is an uncover Muslim from Kenya. Like Mantan in Spike Lee's Bamboozled, Dr. Carson is tap dancing to the tune of those who bigots.

Even brash and outspoken Trump remained silent when a member of his audience falsely said that the Obama is a Muslim. Trump remained silent because he realizes that you cannot win the Hate Olympics by speaking out against the haters. To win, one appease them. The haters are not governed by logic and reason. They are governed by enmity towards those who are different.

Islamophobia is illogical. Islamophobia relies on hasty generalizations. Terrorists and radical fundamentalists are only a small minority of the Muslim population. It is wrong to condemn and discriminate against an entire religion based on the extremist actions of a few of its purported adherents. Most American Muslims are law abiding, patriotic citizens who love American democratic values. They proudly serve in America's military and in Congress.  Islamophobia is analogous to racial profiling and anti-Semitism.

For example, just because some black people sell drugs and kill people, one should not assume that most black people do. The negative actions of a few do not justify stopping and frisking thousands innocent, law abiding black people. It does not justify an employer refusing to hire or appoint black people. Similarly, the actions of small segment of the Muslim population does not justify discrimination against innocent Muslims. As an African American, Dr. Carson should understand that. Moreover, many Muslims such Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Mos Def and myself are African Americans. By discriminating against Muslims, he is also discriminating against his own black people.

Dr. Carson and others cloak their grotesque animus under the beautiful red, white and blue robes of patriotism. A true patriot believes in upholding and protecting the U.S. Constitution. Article 6 of the Constitution states that:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (Emphasis added)
By supporting a religious test for the Presidency, Dr. Carson is shredding on the very Constitution that he professes to love. He is trashing the noble ideals of American democracy. If he made the same rancorous statements about Jews, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists and any other religious group, he would have been forced to withdraw from the campaign. Sadly, due to media programming, animosity towards Muslims is widely accepted in this society.

Unfortunately, reason and logic do not matter win you are striving to win the Hate Olympics by out-niggering your opponents. Dr. Carson will never win that contest. In the eyes of many of the Islamophobes, Dr. Carson is just another nigger. A black man will never be able out-nigger a white man.