Still Searching for Him! The Anonymous Montgomery Hero – WE NEED YOU!

As I was working on something in my home near S. Court Street in Montgomery, AL,  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A bull horn projected a powerful young man’s voice.

My jaw dropped as I heard the most ground shaking message my ears have been privy to south of Fairview Ave., at least since I’ve been here.

“Put the guns down and fight like a man! … BE A REAL MAN AND PUT THE GUNS DOWN!”

I rushed from window to window to see where and WHO this lyrical Westside superhero was.

His voice was street-hard, but one could easily tell that this was no wannabe baller.  This man right here was what you call a real gangster.  One who is bold enough to defy the system and speak truth to power.

What system?

The American system of institutional racism. The same system which was created in the 1700’s based on white supremacy, so that only whites could get rich while the country was being built on the backs of African slaves.  (And to this day, NOTHING has been done to REPAY, REPAIR, OR RESTORE what Black people have been through, and continue to suffer from resulting from slavery to Jim Crow, to now.)

That system continues to this day, except slavery now is called prison. 77% of all males sentenced to prison are men of color! Yes, you read that right.

So imagine, there’s a room filled with 100 men. About 60 are Black, 17 are Hispanic, Middle Eastern or Asian, and only 23 are white.

Now, when you take into consideration that there are at least 3 times as many white people in America than Blacks, Hispanics, etc., … what does that tell you? The system is still very much alive.

Yes, it is THAT system which glorifies Black men in the media through gangsta rap, etc.  as nothing more than common criminals who are so stupid that they would risk their lives into slavery … all for some cash, bling, and guns.

This is what our kids listen to everyday.  Their brains are so bombarded with it in the media, at 5 years old they can repeat these destructive lyrics VERBATIM.

But this powerful Black man who road through the west side of Montgomery knows the real game … and apparently is beating them at their own table!

I wasn’t able to see who or where he was. Days passed and I asked neighbors if they too heard this much-needed Westside messenger.  Some did, but like I, didn’t get a glimpse.

Now about 3 weeks have passed. I still do not know who our Westside truth-to-power-hero is.

If anyone knows who this man is, PLEASE inbox me at kw@civilrightsagenda.com.  This powerful young man needs to not only be shown all due respect, but also thanked and interviewed!

Thank you FB Fam!

M. Kita Williams

 

 

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To Those Who Think Louis Farrakhan Preaches Hate….

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To those who think that Louis Farrakhan preaches hate, he does not.  Let me make that clear first.

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A friend of mine recently questioned why I didn’t feel that Louis Farrakhan was a racist.  This is someone whom I have not known very long, however I have spent enough time with them for them to know that I am passionate about the civil and human rights of ALL PEOPLE, not just Black people.  I will not shy from saying that I can relate to the violations of civil rights against Blacks more so than someone who themselves are not Black.

This question was posed to me by an African American, Christian brother who attended a PWI and has a very different background than I.  It marked the second time he asked me the question.  It dawned on me that if someone who has had the opportunity to get to know me is still confused by my answer, then it probably puts all kinds of question marks in the minds of others who only know me via social media.

To the brother’s question, in which he took the time to read a definition of racism as a concept consisting of. “… the superiority of one race over another….the preaching of division and separation of the races….” and a few more things that I can’t recall – my answer was no.

I do not consider Louis Farrakhan to be a racist.  I consider Louis Farrakhan to be one of the most effective leaders and orators of our time.

I am an African-American, Christian woman and mother – blessed with a college education from not one, but two of this nation’s finest Universities:  Fisk University and Lincoln University.  At the time of my birth, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Malcolm X were still vivid, recent memories to every adult around me.

Like many others, my grandmother’s house prominently displayed 8×10 portraits of three men who were not related to us:  John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus Christ.  Of course Kennedy and King were featured in duplicates of actual photographs, so their images were etched in my memory from childhood.  The picture of Jesus was artistically drawn.  He was a white, angelic looking man with blond hair and blue eyes.  This was also impressed upon my memory from childhood.  It really didn’t matter to me back then because our historic Methodist Church in West Philadelphia had a completely Black congregation.  Even in Church, the same images of Jesus were there.  I never questioned the color of Jesus because by the age of two I learned that, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…”      Jesus’ love was the fluid of life from my grandparents and parents.  We all knew that Jesus loved us and that we loved him.  I still know this with all my mind, heart and soul.

However, what I learned over the years that I didn’t know then is that Jesus was far from White with blond hair and blue eyes.    I didn’t learn this from Louis Farrakhan either, although he has certainly taught thousands of people the same.  I simply read the Bible and started asking questions. Sure enough, my parents were already abreast on the topic and talked with me about it.  Later in life I posed the same question to theologians having direct origins from Europe to Africa, and they too believed that Jesus could not have been as he is depicted in America, because firstly, the Bible describes him as having hair as lamb’s wool and bronzed feet.  They also pointed out that people of the region and time in which Jesus lived were rarely if ever described with features of the American version of Jesus. Then, when you combine that with the scientific evolutionary facts that, to this day cannot be refuted, and is also proven in the very strings of our own DNA which span across the globe and links all of us back to the remains of “the original humans” on earth, found in Africa…its a wrap.

Did that make me love Jesus any less?  Of course not.  Did it make me question why the dominant images of Jesus Christ and all that was/is described as “good” in America was White?  Yes.  Did I begin to understand why Black people talked about light skin sometimes more favorably than dark skin;  “good” long hair more desirable than “nappy” hair?  Actually, I had no choice but to learn the truth behind these mental contortions because of my beautifully Christian, loving mother who – like my Dad was (and she still is) a civil rights advocate.  (They pursued their law degrees for this purpose, by the way.)  My mother is light skinned with straight hair.  As a child I said something like I wished my hair was as straight and as “good” as hers.  With her gentle spirit, she sternly told me flat out that, “there is no such thing as good hair”.  At the age of 5 or 6, I proceeded to absorb a history lesson that I will never forget.  Lighter skin never means better, straighter hair never is “good”, and natural African hair is the last thing from “bad or nappy”.  She went on to explain how slavery basically screwed Black folks’ minds completely up.

Now, back to the issue of Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan:

I have followed the ministry AND MISSION of the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan for 30 years now.  Both have evolved, as we all do if we are blessed with years in which to do so.

I do recall a time when he made strong statements nearly 30 years ago about Jewish people.  STOP RIGHT HERE

Had any Black man EVER, prior to the remote controlled 1980’s of constantly live, network and cable TV, EVER spoken on LIVE TV openly and directly about the practices of a group of Jewish people in a derogatory manner?  I’m not even sure if any White man had ever done that prior to Farrakhan.

You have to keep in mind that this was prior to the internet and YouTube.  Had I only been able to see the small clips which were provided by the news like most of America did, without hearing the entire speeches or interviews – the view of those who immediately felt that he was an anti-Semite is not far fetched for me to understand.  But, I did hear his entire speeches and interviews because back then, people in the Black community had sense enough to purchase cassettes of speeches (prior to the internet, how did your families listen to Dr. King’s speeches?  More than likely from a vinyl record, an audio or video tape.)  Farrakhan’s core messages were deleted from mass media exposure.  Then…BOOM, immediately Farrakhan was labeled by the media as an anti-Semite and one who “was inciting White hate” on national television.

Minister Farrakhan is what I call “an equal opportunity slayer”, meaning one who speaks truth to power to and about anyone or any group.  I have never heard Louis Farrakhan say that all White People, European people, Jewish people, etc. are bad or evil.  Neither have I ever heard Minister Farrakhan ever say that all Black people, Muslims or Christians are completely good.  On the contrary, Farrakhan has taught others for years that the Prophet Fard Muhammad, referenced as Elijah Muhammad’s (the founder of the Nation of Islam) teacher, looked like a White man.

One can clearly see from the history listed below by https://www.alislam.org/holyprophet/quran_verses.html, that the religion of Islam is one which professes that there is One God.

“The Prophet was born in Mecca in August 570 AD. He was given the name Muhammad, which means, the praised one. When the Prophet was over thirty years of age, love of God began to possess him more and more. Revolting against the polytheism and the many vices of the people of Mecca, he chose regularly to meditate in a cave two or three miles away. When he was forty years of age he received his first revelation. In these, the first verses of the Qur’an (96:2- 6), he was commanded to proclaim the name of One God, Who has made man and sowed the seed of His own love and that of fellow man in his nature; and it was foretold that the world would be taught all kind of knowledge through the pen. These verses constitute an epitome of the Qur’an.”

Most people don’t realize that Islam / Muslims also believe that Moses, Buddha, and Jesus Christ indeed were sent from God, and refer to the Torah and Bible often. (See https://www.alislam.org/books/study-of-islam/prophets.html)

Farrakhan recently talked about Jews, to a Jewish rabbi who attended one of his press conferences in Rosemont, IL.  You should watch it.   The point he made was: Of course not all Jews are bad, just as not all Christians or Muslims are bad. However, there are those in every faction which abuse their influence and control.  He talked about the basic sins of the flesh that all humankind are guilty of:  Greed, Power, Dishonesty, Lust, Sloth, Envy, and immoral behavior period.

Interestingly, what Farrakhan discussed with the Rabbi was that Jewish people in America, although a minority, are the most powerful group of people who have control of the entertainment industry.  A majority of film production, television production and music production behemoths are owned and/or controlled by Jewish people.  What Farrakhan also stated was, just like it is wrong for Christians and Muslims to sit idly by and watch other Christians or Muslims do harm to others, the same rule applies to Jewish people.   Again, BOOM….in the news Farrakhan is racist…an anti-Semite…is preaching White hate.  (Hmmm….interesting parallel isn’t it?  The media is predominantly owned and/or controlled by Jewish people)

As one who studied the media very recently at Lincoln University, I have confirmed that it is true that the majority of the largest media companies are owned and /or controlled by Jewish people.   Does this mean that I like Jewish people or dislike them more or less because of this fact?  No.  As Farrakhan describes far more brilliantly than I is this:  he who controls the media has the power to control minds.  I also firmly believe that this is true.

Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan is an African American born Black man, now 82 years young (although he still looks like he’s in his 50’s).  The man is absolutely brilliant with an IQ probably hovering way past the genius mark.  He speaks several languages, is a proven scholar of many topics, and shook a fully composed symphony and theater to its feet just a couple of years ago after expertly playing a violin solo of Mozart or Beethoven, or one of the other greats.

Farrakhan converted to Islam in young adulthood and has seen, lived and studied the generational mental, physical, biological, institutional, and socioeconomic oppression and degeneration of African Americans – which are direct results from the enslavement of Africans/Blacks for 400 years in the “New World”, which includes the United States.  The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade by the way, was declared by the United Nations years ago as a “crime against humanity”, meaning that it merits reparations / the act of repairing the harm which was done – by the guilty nation(s).

Farrakhan is also a fiery, bold, outspoken, thought-provoking, fearless Black man.  He says what many Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Caribbean Americans, and many other cultural groups want to say, but haven’t the platform, voice, or courage to  say.  And if you take the time to listen to him fully, you’ll get it.  Furthermore, you will understand what “Justice or Else” really means.  It’s the fulfillment of Dr. King’s “Poor People’s Campaign”..

Blessings,

M. Kita Williams – http://www.civilrightsagenda.com

Happening Today and Tomorrow: Find Your Location to Demand Criminal Charges for Eric Garner’s Death

Mass marches, rallies and events are scheduled throughout the country today and tomorrow in protest that no criminal charges have been brought against the police officer responsible for Eric Garner’s death.  These events heed the cry of Eric Garner’s family who plead that , “We still need you to stand with us”.
Despite video footage, eyewitness accounts, and the coroner’s report which clearly ruled Garner’s death AS A HOMICIDE resulting from “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,”  NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo has still not been charged for Garner’s death.
Now, after the city of New York has settled a $5.9M civil action brought by Garner’s family, city officials are sticking to a script which ‘just ain’t cutting it’. According to the Huffington Post, NYC comptroller Scott Stringer stated that while the multi-million dollar settlement, “acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death… the city has not admitted liability.”

What kind of mess is that?

Garner’s mother Gwen Carr said at a press conference on Tuesday, “At the grand jury, we didn’t receive justice even though my son said he couldn’t breathe 11 times,” Carr said. “Eleven times he said he couldn’t breathe.”

Carr asked people to join her and the mothers of other men who died at the hands of police to “commemorate and never forget the name of Eric Garner (and names of their son’s),” at tomorrow’s rally announced by Rev. Al Sharpton.  This rally will take place on Saturday at the steps of the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn, NY.  However, events are being held today across the nation.

The family says that the financial settlement does not represent justice for her family.  Garner’s daughter Erica stated,

“We are calling for the Department of Justice and (Attorney General) Loretta Lynch to deliver justice for my father,” said Garner’s daughter Erica.

Throughout the day, cities from LA to Atlanta and from Houston to New York are holding rallies, marches, as well as other events in protest of the blatant injustice of not charging Daniel Pantaleo with the crime of homicide

The Black community along with that of many other ethnic backgrounds are sick and tired of police officers killing people at will without facing criminal justice.  If any other civilian, with the unfortunate exception of George Zimmerman, committed the same egregious acts that we are witnessing of police officers, we would be thrown in jail with the keys thrown out of the window.

Below you can find is a listing of rallies and events taking place today throughout the country.  Information on tomorrow’s rally in Brooklyn can be found on the NAN website.  

Friday July 17: One Year After NYPD Killed Eric Garner; Still NO Justice

“Stop Mass Incarceration” Calls on people everywhere to hold protests.

July 17, 2015 – One year since the murder of Eric Garner! One year since we watched the cops choke him to death. One year since we watched them ignore his dying words: “I can’t breathe.” And still no justice! When this murder happened, people took to the streets. More people went into the streets when Michael Brown was murdered less than a month later. We need to be back out in the streets, letting everybody know that we haven’t forgotten, and that we still refuse to suffer these horrors in silence. If this outrage and all the other murders of Black and Latino people by the police that followed hurt you to your heart, join us in taking to the streets to say NO MORE! STOP POLICE TERROR – WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Join in turning this society upside down — 3 days of powerful resistance, October 2-23-24, 2015, thousands and thousands of people from around the country descending on NYC, joining thousands and thousands of people here, shutting the city down by the sheer weight of our numbers. Start mobilizing now!

STOP POLICE TERROR – WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?   #RiseUpOctober   # EricGarner
More info –
Stop Mass Incarceration Network 929‐249‐7996
SIGN ON to the Call for #RiseUpOctober


New York City Friday, July 17   https://www.facebook.com/events/1618297425102688/

1:00 pm
Rally at Staten Island Ferry Plaza, Manhattan Whitehall on R/South Ferry on 1

2:00 pm
Ride ferry to Staten Island 2:30 pm St. George Terminal. Meet up to march to the site where Eric was killed.

3:00 pm Rally on Bay Street along Tompkinsville Park

5:30pm  Columbus Circle  Hosted by Millions March NYC  


Los  Angeles“I CAN’T BREATH” Friday, July 17  
Phone: 213-840-5348 Email: StopMassIncarcerationSoCal@yahoo.com
8:00 am
– Press Conference The One-Year Anniversary of the Police Murder of Eric Garner  Court appearance for people arrested at the April 14th protest to stop police murders Join us to take Rise Up October to STOP Police Terror to the people at the Criminal Courts Building. Los Angeles Criminal Courts Building  –  210 West Temple Street, Los Angeles

9:15am “I Can’t Breathe” Vigil and Protest for Eric Garner, murdered by the NY police one-year ago. Corner of Wilshire and Vermont, Los Angeles Bring your posters and banners as we take Rise Up October to STOP Police Terror on the one-year anniversary of the murder of Eric Garner to one of the busiest intersections in Los Angeles.

3pm
Skid Row, at the LAPD murder site of Brother Africa, San Pedro, near 6th St in downtown LA

 5pm
Pershing Square – at the steps on the corner Hill St. and 5th


Chicago  Friday, July 17  

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Jackson Blvd and State St., ChicagoJoin us this Friday as we take our outrage to the streets! http://bit.ly/I-Cant-Breathe
https://www.facebook.com/events/1601496373463561/


San Francisco/Bay Area   Friday July 17
4pm Oscar Grant Corner,  14th/Broadway, Oakland
Phone: 510-404-3628


New Haven  Ct July 17 – SPEAK-OUT/RALLY

4:00 pm  NEW HAVEN GREEN — CHURCH AND CHAPEL
Contact: smin.21nh@gmail.com


Houston Tx 
6:30pm
Converge at the corner of Alabama and Burkett


Atlanta Ga.
4pm-6pm
SPEAK OUT
One Year Since The Police Murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and Still NO Justice!
5 Points Marta Downtown Atlanta  (Peachtree Street side)
Come speak out in concert with other actions across the country.

President Obama Is Right: Americans of All Stripes Strongly Support Reducing the Country’s Prison Population – Huff Post

 On Tuesday afternoon, President Barack Obama told NAACP members at their annual convention that the country is finally ready for comprehensive reform of our broken criminal justice system. “We cannot close our eyes anymore” to the cost in human lives destroyed and taxpayer dollars wasted, he said, “and the good news, and this is truly good news, is that good people of all political persuasions are starting to think that we need to do something about this.”

The president is right, and the numbers bear this out all across this country, in blue and red states alike. In early June, the ACLU commissioned a nationwide poll of registered voters who are likely to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The results, released Wednesday, demonstrate that we have arrived at a bipartisan moment where majorities of Americans no longer believe our criminal justice system serves the common good.

Nearly seven out of 10 registered voters polled said the United States should begin to reduce the nation’s prison population, which accounts for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. And this majority isn’t composed of just Democrats and independents. Fifty-four percent of Republicans said it’s time to shrink the number of Americans serving time in prisons and jails, too.

Those polled also understand our public policies must be smarter. Eighty-seven percent agreed that drug addicts and people with serious mental illnesses don’t deserve to be behind bars but in treatment. They even know that our past desire to make prison the consequence of far too many crimes, no matter how big or small, has been counterproductive. Almost 80 percent of those polled agreed that funneling nonviolent offenders into prison won’t make their communities any safer because these institutions have a poor track record of rehabilitating people with serious addictions and mental illnesses.

President Obama also spoke morally of the need for second chances. Those polled believe this too. Approximately 60 percent said that “people who have committed serious crimes can turn their lives around and move away from a life of crime with the right kind of help.”

These numbers only confirm what I know is true from crisscrossing the country in pursuit of criminal justice reform. My travels have introduced me to people who have spent time behind bars, who are still behind bars, and who are sentenced to stay there for life. I’ve sat with Mississippi clergy and Oklahoma women separated from their children. I’ve listened to the family and loved ones of murder victims and met with police, prosecutors, and judges.

My conversations confirm what our polling numbers tell us: Americans are tired of a criminal justice system with only one tool in the toolbox, worn out from overuse and in desperate need of replacement. Americans want more effective options that reflect understanding that holding someone accountable doesn’t necessarily mean warehousing them in a cage, and that failing to provide individualized support for rehabilitation and re-engagement with community is pennywise and pound foolish. We spend $80 billion every year locking people up, and this number doesn’t capture the indirect costs to families, communities, and taxpayers that flow from failing to address the root causes of crime.

While this has truly been a historic week because of the White House’s very public embrace of criminal justice reform, we cannot forget that all roads do not lead to Washington. While the population of our federal prisons has exploded over the last four decades, they still only hold 200,000 people. Our state prisons and local jails hold 2 million.

Oklahoma, where President Obama will be visiting the El Reno prison today, has the third worst incarceration rate in the country overall, and the second worst if federal prisoners are removed from the calculation. Furthermore, it ranks first in incarceration rates for women, at a rate that is more than twice the national rate.

Even though the president rightly focuses on the devastation wrought by federal mandatory minimums for drug crimes, it is important to remember that where Congress led, the states followed. One in four people in state prison in Oklahoma is there for drug distribution or possession, with sentences averaging five years for possession and 10 years for distribution. Half of Oklahoma’s state prisoners are incarcerated for a nonviolent offense.

Reversing the last four decades’ explosion in incarceration rates may seem like an impossibly huge lift. It is true that the makeup of our jail and prison populations reflects deeply rooted patterns of poverty and racism in our communities, and some will argue that we will never be able to fix our broken criminal justice system unless we fix those problems first.

This is not so.

We can immediately implement reforms that will bring down the numbers of people behind bars; address untreated addiction, trauma, and mental illness; and help people with training, education, and jobs. These steps help people today and impact their standing in society tomorrow. Moreover, these steps will help bring us back in line with America’s promise of a just society that believes in both accountability and fairness, and mistakes and second chances.

Or as President Obama put it, “justice and redemption go hand in hand.”

By:  Become a fan

Director, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice

Alison Holcomb is the director of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice.

Eric Garner’s family reacts to $5.9 million settlement – CNN

Eric Garner's family, NYC reach settlement

Eric Garner’s family, NYC reach settlement 01:14

Story highlights

  • Eric Garner’s family renews calls for officer to be charged
  • New York City settles “pre-litigation claim” with Garner estate for $5.9 million
  • Garner, 43, died at the hands of police in 2014 in an incident that triggered nationwide protests

(CNN)The mother of Eric Garner, the man who died nearly one year ago at the hands of New York City police officers, said Tuesday that a $5.9 million pretrial settlement reached with the city is not a victory, and she renewed calls for federal charges in the case.

“Don’t congratulate us,” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters. “This is not a victory. The victory will come when we get justice.”

Garner’s family accepted the settlement Monday, which stemmed from a racially charged case that fueled months of anti-police protests across the nation. Garner’s estate filed a claim against the city in October 2014 for damages related to his death.

“Following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of Eric Garner that is in the best interests of all parties,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Garner’s family reacted to the settlement Tuesday at a news conference with activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, who announced a rally scheduled for Saturday outside the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn.

“At the grand jury, we didn’t receive justice even though my son said he couldn’t breathe 11 times,” Carr said. “Eleven times he said he couldn’t breathe.”

She asked people to join her and the mothers of other men who died at the hands of police to “commemorate and never forget the name Eric Garner” at Saturday’s rally.

“We still need you to stand with us,” she said.

Garner’s daughter Erica agreed that the settlement does not represent justice for her family.

“We are calling for the Department of Justice and (Attorney General) Loretta Lynch to deliver justice for my father,” she said, referring to an ongoing federal civil rights investigation into the case.

In an op-ed in the New York Post Tuesday, Ed Mullins, president of the New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association, called the settlement “obscene” and an attempt by the city to “placate outside political agendas.”

Police Commissioner William Bratton declined to comment on the settlement.

NYC: settlement an acknowledgment, not an admission

Cell phone video of the fatal encounter on July 17, 2014 shows Garner, an African-American man, being held on the ground by an NYPD officer in an apparent chokehold. Garner, who had been apprehended for allegedly illegally selling cigarettes, repeatedly yelled, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” — words that would later become a rallying cry at anti-police demonstrations.

“We are all familiar with the events that led to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our city and our nation,” said Stringer. “It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve.”

No officer was indicted in his death, and Stringer said that while the multi-million dollar settlement “acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death… the city has not admitted liability.”

The incident — and perhaps the subsequent protests — triggered reforms inhow police go about their business, particularly in minority communities. Asked about Garner prior to the settlement announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the anniversary of his death was on his mind, as it was with many New Yorkers, but also said “I think the important thing is to stay focused on the work of reform.”

“I think we’ve come a long way, even in the last year, in terms of bringing police and community together,” said de Blasio. “The whole police force is being retrained.”

Fast facts: Controversial police encounters

South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder in Black Man’s Death

WASHINGTON — A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting and killing an apparently unarmed black man in the back while he ran away.

The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, had said he feared for his life because the man took his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man — Walter L. Scott, 50 — fled.

The North Charleston mayor announced the state charges at a news conference Tuesday evening.

(In a video provided to The New York Times, a police officer in North Charleston, S.C., is seen shooting an apparently unarmed man after a scuffle following a traffic stop.)

The shooting comes on the heels of high-profile incidents of police officers using lethal force in New York, Cleveland, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere around the country. The deaths have sparked a national debate over whether the police are too quick to use force, particularly in cases involving black men.

A White House task force has recommended a host of changes to the nation’s police policies, and President Obama dispatched Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., to cities around the country to try to improve police relations with minority neighborhoods.

Photo

Officer Michael T. Slager

North Charleston is the state’s third-largest city with a population of about 100,000. African-Americans make up about 47 percent of residents, and whites account for about 37 percent. The city police department is about 80 percent white, according to data collected by the Justice Department in 2007, the most recent period available.

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mayor Keith Summey said of the shooting during the news conference. “And if you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”

The shooting unfolded after Officer Slager stopped the driver of a Mercedes-Benz with a broken taillight, according to police reports. Mr. Scott ran away, and Officer Slager chased him into a grassy lot that abuts a muffler shop. He fired his Taser, an electronic stun gun, but it did not stop Mr. Scott, according to police reports.

Moments after the struggle, Officer Slager reported on his radio, “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” according to police reports.

But the video, which was taken by a bystander and provided to The New York Times by the Scott family’s lawyer, presents a different account. The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Officer Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Mr. Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Mr. Scott turns to run.

Something — it is not clear whether it is the stun gun — is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.

The officer then runs back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picks something off the ground. Moments later, he drops an object near Mr. Scott’s body, the video shows.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the state’s criminal investigative body, has begun an inquiry into the shooting. The F.B.I. and the Justice Department, which has opened a string of civil rights investigations into police departments under Mr. Holder, is also investigating.

The Supreme Court has held that an officer may use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only when there is probable cause that he “poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

Officer Slager served in the Coast Guard before joining the force five years ago, his lawyer said. The police chief of North Charleston did not return repeated calls. Because police departments are not required to release data on how often officers use force, it was not immediately clear how often police shootings occur in North Charleston, a working-class community adjacent to the tourist destination of Charleston.

”He has four children; he doesn’t have some type of big violent past or arrest record,” said Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Mr. Scott’s family. “He had a job; he was engaged. He had back child support and didn’t want to go to jail for back child support.”

Mr. Stewart said the coroner told him that Mr. Scott was struck five times — three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks and once in the ear — with at least one bullet entering his heart. It is not clear whether Mr. Scott died immediately. (The coroner’s office declined to make the report available to The Times.)

Police reports say that officers performed CPR and delivered first aid to Mr. Scott. The video shows that for several minutes after the shooting, Mr. Scott remained face down with his hands cuffed behind his back. A second officer arrives, puts on blue medical gloves and attends to Mr. Scott, but is not shown performing CPR. As sirens wail in the background, a third officer later arrives, apparently with a medical kit, but also not seen performing CPR.

The debate over police use of force has been propelled in part by videos like the one in South Carolina. In January, prosecutors in Albuquerque charged two police officers with murder for shooting a homeless man in a confrontation that was captured by an officer’s body camera. Federal prosecutors are investigating the death of Eric Garner, who died last year in Staten Island after a police officer put him in a chokehold, an incident that a bystander captured on video. A video taken in Cleveland shows the police shooting a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was carrying a fake gun in a park. A White House policing panel recommended that police departments put more video cameras on their officers.

Mr. Scott’s brother said that his mother called him on Saturday, telling him that his brother had been shot by a Taser after a traffic stop. “You may need to go over there and see what’s going on,” Anthony Scott said his mother told him. When he arrived at the scene of the shooting, officers told him that his brother was dead, but he said they had no explanation for why.

“This just doesn’t sound right,” he said in an interview. “How do you lose your life at a traffic stop?”

Anthony Scott said he last saw his brother three weeks ago at a family oyster roast. “We hadn’t hung out like that in such a long time,” Mr. Scott said. “He kept on saying over and over again how great it was.”

At the roast, Mr. Scott got to do two of the things he enjoyed most: tell jokes and dance. When one of Mr. Scott’s favorite songs was played, he got excited. “He jumped up and said, ‘That’s my song,’ and he danced like never before,” his brother said.

APRIL 7, 2015 – Reposted by civilrightsagenda.com