police racism

Required Reading (Justice and Dissent)

[#kneelbeforeJustice]Colin Kaepernick (r.) and Eric Reed kneel during the national anthem before a 2016 NFL game. (Photo: Associated Press)

“Donald Trump took time out from comparing missiles with Kim Jong Un and ignoring Puerto Rico to declare that the athlete who takes a knee is a ‘son of a b***h’ who should be fired for disrespecting America. He was harder on the athletes than on the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.”

Leonard Pitts, Jr.

This is not one of those things where I get to say something like, “What he said!” or, “Plus one!” More directly, we can rest assured my part has something to do with paying the fuck attention.

Dear black people:

I guess we’ve messed up again. Seems like we’re never going to learn how to properly protest, no matter how hard conservatives try to teach us.

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A Quote Worth Paying Attention To (Blame a Black Man Mix)

VIII. Adjustment.

“Given the current outrage from black communities around police violence against black citizens, police fabrications take on additional seriousness. Glad to see Sherry Hall is going to be charged. One would hope other cops will pay attention to her fate.”

Denise Oliver Velez

And this is what that means:

Officer Sherry Hall, of Jackson, Georgia, faces four charges alleging she shot herself and then blamed the incident on a nonexistent black man. (Detail of frame from CBS46, 2016.)An officer shot. A bullet stopped by body armor. A 10-day chase for an unidentified shooter.

A newly hired Jackson police officer told a compelling story about what happened late the night of Sept. 13. After only three months on the job, Sherry Hall found herself immersed in a high-profile shooting, pitting a white officer against a black man. At least, that was her account of what happened.

But she made the whole thing up, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

On Friday, Hall was charged with four felonies, including evidence tampering and giving false statements to investigators.

After her account began to unravel over the past two weeks, investigators were left with little to conclude other than she shot herself, but officials stopped short of saying so Friday.

(Atlanta Journal Constitution)

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Image note: Right ― Officer Sherry Hall, of Jackson, Georgia, faces four charges alleging she shot herself and then blamed the incident on a nonexistent black man. (Detail of frame from CBS46, via Daily Kos.)

“GBI: Cop lied about being shot by black man”. Atlanta Journal Constitution. 23 September 2016.

Oliver Velez, Denize. “White Georgia police officer will be arrested for claiming a black man shot her”. Daily Kos. 24 September 2016.

The Masculine-American Way (National Insecurity)

Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, 13 July 2016, via Daily Kos Comics.And … that would be Matt Bors.

The artist, I mean. Not the closet case with the rifle.

The fun part about asking, “Any questions?” or, “Who needs this one explained?” is the lovely adventure, when someone raises a hand or clears their throat, of trying to figure out just what they need explained and why.

At some point, though, we probably shouldn’t laugh at these people. They unwell, terrified of everything, and carry a killing range on average between a quarter and half mile. As such, they are extraordinarily dangerous.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, via Daily Kos Comics, 13 July 2016

Beyond Comprehension

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

I … don’t ....

A Kansas police officer has been fired from his post after leaving a comment on a Dallas woman’s Facebook page that threatened her 5-year-old daughter.

Facebook user “Rodney Lee” published the comment at 11:50 p.m. last Thursday on LaNaydra Williams’ Facebook page. “We’ll see how much her life matters soon..” he wrote beneath a two-year-old photo of Williams’ daughter, India. “Better be careful leaving your info open where she can be found :​) hold her close tonight, it’ll be the last time.”

Overland Park Police Chief Francis Donchez Jr. confirmed in a statement that the post was written by one of his officers.

(Grenoble)

I mean, come on, really?

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Grenoble, Ryan. “Kansas Cop Fired After Threatening 5-Year-Old Girl On Facebook”. The Huffington Post. 11 July 2016.

My Own Incoherent Distress

Michelle Obama addresses the graduating class at King College Prep High School in Chicago on Tuesday, 10 June 2015. (Photo: Christian K Lee/Associated Press)

“That’s a burden that President Obama and I proudly carry every single day in the White House, because we know that everything we do and say can either confirm the myths about folks like us―or it can change those myths.”

Michelle Obama

This is not, technically speaking, fair.

Then again, such is life. Michelle Obama stood before the graduating class of King College Prep High school in Chicago, yesterday, and delivered remarks that some have taken as a suggestion that the First Lady has officially entered the fight:

At a time of roiling debate over the issues of race and opportunity, punctuated by the events of Ferguson, Mo.; Staten Island; and Baltimore, the nation’s first African-American first lady has added her voice. It is not a new message for her, but one that has taken on special resonance and one delivered with bracing candor in recent speeches. Along the way, Mrs. Obama has opened a window into her own life, not just in Chicago but also in the White House.

By her telling, even living at the world’s most prominent address has not erased the sting of racial misunderstanding. In recent weeks, Mrs. Obama has talked of “insults and slights” directed at her husband and caricatures that have pained her. It all “used to really get to me,” she said, adding that she “had a lot of sleepless nights” until learning to ignore it. But she said she realized that she and her husband had a responsibility to rewrite the narrative for African-Americans.

“That’s a burden that President Obama and I proudly carry every single day in the White House,” she told the graduating seniors of King College Prep High School on Tuesday, “because we know that everything we do and say can either confirm the myths about folks like us―or it can change those myths.”

(Baker)

Some of us might be pessimistic. After all, what signs have we that President Obama and the First Lady have changed any perceptions about dark skin? Indeed, if we measure by the headlines, we might suggest they have somehow managed to exacerbate race relations.

Then again, that would be a misperception, and this is the important part.

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Important Reading

Samaria Rice and her daughter Tajai, left, in Cleveland near where Ms. Rice's son Tamir, 12, was killed by a police officer. (Credit Michael F. McElroy for The New York Times)

It really should be required reading, this article from Shaila Dewan and Richard A. Oppel Jr. of The New York Times:

Seconds later, the boy lay dying from a police officer’s bullet. “Shots fired, male down,” one of the officers in the car called across his radio. “Black male, maybe 20, black revolver, black handgun by him. Send E.M.S. this way, and a roadblock.”

But the boy, Tamir Rice, was only 12. Now, with the county sheriff’s office reviewing the shooting, interviews and recently released video and police records show how a series of miscommunications, tactical errors and institutional failures by the Cleveland police cascaded into one irreversible mistake.

Yes, we have considered these aspects before, but, you know, just who the hell are we and why would we matter?

And Rachel Maddow covered some of these questions in December, but, you know, liberal media conspiraciess and all that. So now we have the New York Times.

Oh.

Right, then. Let’s just cut to the chase, since we all know what the FOX News headline would be: “No Second Chance: Racist msnbc Thugs Hate White People Who Are Trying Really Hard”.

Meanwhile, back in reality, yes, Dewan and Oppel’s article really should be required reading.

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Dewan, Shaila and Richard A. Oppel Jr. “In Tamir Rice Case, Many Errors by Cleveland Police, Then a Fatal One”. The New York Times. 22 January 2015.

NBC News. “‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ for Thursday, December 4th, 2014”. Transcript. NBCNews.com. 5 December 2014.

Pass/Fail

"TRUE OR FALSE: Objecting to certain police tactics is the same as hating all police officers."  (Jen Sorensen, 30 December 2014, via Daily Kos Comics)Remember how the cycle works.

It is a really simple idea: We would like to be able to support our law enforcement institutions and personnel.

This argument has been going on for a while; cartoonist Jen Sorensen asks an obvious question. Indeed, it is so obvious a question one need not wonder why the public discourse flees it in screaming terror.

So here’s the thing: When an ugly episode arises involving law enforcement, we are reminded that these episodes come about because of a proverbial few bad seeds. Yet these few seem rather quite protected by other police traditions that require the participation of the rest of those allegedly good officers. Didn’t see a thing, or the guy was definitely reaching for a gun, or what, do you want a guilty person to go free just because of a technicality?

But that is just a fallacy, a fundamentally dishonest reaction. It always seems to come down to an all-or-nothing proposition put before us by police supporters.

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One of Those Things That Shouldn’t Be Said Explicitly

“Sadly, the bloodshed will most likely continue until those in positions of power realize that the unequivocal support of law enforcement is required to preserve our nation.”

Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore

Alright, then. From their pen to your eyes: Unequivocal support of law enforcement is required to preserve our nation.

Carte blanche. That’s all they’re demanding. If you don’t back the police hell or high water, regardless of what they do or fail to do, it’s all over, people. So say the Baltimore cops.

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A Perfectly Reasonable Request

Detail of cartoon by Randall Enos, 4 December 2014, via Cagle Post.

Over at Daily Kos, Dartagnan makes a perfectly reasonable request:

Considering the gravity of the circumstances and their potential impact on race relations in this country, it would seem prudent to hear from some actual police officers reacting to the non-indictment of one of their own for the “chokehold” death of Eric Garner. As has been pointed out repeatedly both here on this site (although those voices are decidedly in the minority) and in many other web-based forums, the job of a police officer entails a high degree of personal risk and stress often with very little in terms of reward. I think it’s incumbent on all of us to at least consider and try to appreciate some of their views so we can have a full understanding of the attitudes towards African-Americans in general of the officers to whom we have entrusted our safety and protection.

As Reported in The Week, several confirmed legitimate police have publicly weighed in on this tense and delicate debate on the website PoliceOne.com ....

With that kind of setup, certainly you have some idea of what comes next.

Call it what you want, but it is important to note that the one thing we shouldn’t call it is new.

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Dartagnan. “Wait A Minute—Let’s Hear From Some Actual Police Officers Before We Rush To Judgment”. Daily Kos. 4 December 2014.

Image credit: Detail of cartoon by Randall Enos, 4 December 2014, via Cagle Post.