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To The Editor: “How Long, Not Long”

This 81-year-old writer asks, “How long will the slaughter of African American males continue?” In my lifetime, Black males have been tortured, executed, and hung from trees. This writer witnessed our family cotton gin and general store burned to the ground, twice, by racists. Today, horses have been replaced with cars; and sticks and ropes traded for guns. In Fruitland Park, Florida, sheets of a notorious hate group were traded for law enforcement uniforms. On behalf of Dan’te Parker, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Donte Jordan; and others, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I ask “How long?” Through the years the south was infamous for racial hatred and abominable acts, however, now barbaric activities against Blacks take place nationwide.

Weekly, in California, Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, Ohio, all across the nation, a Black mother’s son dies at the hands of professed law enforcement personnel who are sworn to protect, not to kill our citizens. Black men have been shot in the back; shot in the top of the head; choked, and electrocuted to death by law enforcement officers. How long before these atrocities are stopped?

Dan’te, a hard-working, good natured, father of five children, who loved to sing, left home in Victorville, California riding his son’s mongoose bike because Dante’s bike had a flat tire. He was exercising to lose weight. Dante was stopped at approximately 5 PM by a Deputy Sheriff because of a reported attempted break-in at a residence. The resident, reporting the incident, said the suspect left riding a bicycle. ‘A Black man on a bike’ was stopped by a law enforcement officer, stunned by a Taser “multiple times”, “more than five times”, was dead by 6 PM, and his family never notified. Why? How Long?

By 11 PM, when her husband had not returned home, a concerned, alarmed, wife began phone calls only to be informed that her husband was at a medical facility. Accompanied by her father-in-law, the wife went to the facility, was questioned by detectives, and after several hours of waiting, when she asked to see her husband, was informed that her husband’s body had been transported from Victorville, in San Bernardino County, to Riverside County. The family was never notified. Reportedly Dante’s six year old son asks every morning, “Why all black men have to die?” This writer asks, “How Long?”

The eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines genocide as: “The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”

How long will this seemingly open season on Black males continue? From the cradle, through the prison, to the grave, seems to be the designated channel for too many Black males in our society. Blacks do not own the airplanes and ships that bring drugs to the neighborhood, nor do we manipulate the systems that eliminate jobs. However, there is always an ample supply of drugs and gangs on the street corners. Seemingly, there are those who destine Black youth to go from the schoolhouse to the courthouse to the jailhouse, so that they have no opportunities to be in their own house. How long will we tolerate this systematic demise of a people?

The outrage crosses racial, generational, gender, and all barriers. A 90 year old Caucasian female survivor of the Holocaust was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri as she marched for transparency and justice. We send Black males around the world to protect the very hands which needlessly kill them in their own country. How Long will this continue?

How long will culturally uneducated politicians refuse to listen to those who have “boots on the ground” in the Black communities and culture?

This “open season” and massacre of Black males must end. How long? I hope not long because we can wait no longer for accountability and an end to the genocide.

Dr. Mildred D. Henry

Retired

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Publishers Corner…by Clifton Harris…Publisher

This article was published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is worth reading due to the state of affairs involving the attacks on innocent black males across America by law enforcement. As of this writing the family of Michael Brown is morning his death at the hands of a Police Officer in the city of Ferguson, Missouri. Details are sketchy and most facts have yet to surface. Several witnesses have said Michael was shot for no apparent reason. The Justice Department is investigating. Hope to have more information on this case next week.

 

Attorney General Holder is right: Racial animus plays role in Obama opposition

 

By Morris Dees, Founder, Chief Trial Attorney

 

Right-wing pundits are jumping all over Attorney General Eric Holder for daring to suggest on Sunday that “racial animus” plays a role in the “level of vehemence” that’s been directed at President Obama. They’re denouncing him for “playing the race card” and “stoking racial divisions.”

Who do they think they’re fooling?

The rhetoric is what’s hateful. Calling people out for it is not.

The racism Holder described has been obvious since the 2008 campaign, when Obama was portrayed as someone who was not a “real American” – a Muslim, a Kenyan, a communist, even a terrorist sympathizer.

Since then, an entire movement has been built around the thoroughly discredited notion that the president’s birth certificate is a fake. And that’s just the beginning.

Newt Gingrich has called Obama the “food stamp president” and referred to his “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.”

Rush Limbaugh has said Obama – and Oprah Winfrey, too, by the way – have reached the pinnacle of their professions only because they’re black. He added this week that “so-called conservative media types” praised Holder’s nomination only because he’s black.

Glenn Beck has said the president, whose mother was white, has a “deep-seated hatred for white people, or white culture.”

Conservative hero and former rock star Ted Nugent, who was invited to campaign with the GOP nominee for Texas governor, called the president a “subhuman mongrel.”

A Confederate flag was waved in front of the White House during last year’s “Million Vet March.”

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina screamed “You lie!” during the president’s address to Congress in September 2009. When has that happened to a president before?

All manner of overtly racist posters have been seen at Tea Party rallies, including one depicting the president as a “witch doctor.”

We’ve repeatedly seen stories about conservative politicians sharing racist jokes about Obama.

And, we’ve seen an explosive growth of radical-right groups, including armed militias, since Obama was elected, and repeated threats that violence is needed to “take our country back” from the “tyranny” of Obama. This is part of a backlash to the growing diversity in our country, as symbolized by the presence of a black man in the White House.

I grew up in rural Alabama during the Jim Crow years and lived through the civil rights movement, when white supremacists did everything they could, including committing violent atrocities, to turn back the tide of progress. And I’ve stared across the courtroom at some of America’s most vicious hatemonger’s – men like neo-Nazi Frazier Glenn Cross, who recently killed three people and once targeted me. I know racism when I see it.

No one, of course, is suggesting that merely disagreeing with Obama is evidence of racism. That’s clearly not true.

But we have a political party and a right-wing media machine that pander incessantly to the racist reactionaries in our society, often through code words. It’s been going on since Nixon implemented his “Southern strategy” of appealing to white resentment in the wake of the civil rights movement.

I wish it weren’t so. But it is simply undeniable. We should call it what it is.

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Our Nation Needs Community Policing

By Dr. Lee P. Brown

As someone who has made law enforcement his professional career, I was saddened and bewildered as I witnessed events unfold in Ferguson, Missouri.

Local law enforcement's initial response in that city was reminiscent of the 1960s when many police agencies responded to urban unrest, or the threat of it, by arming themselves with military equipment, not unlike that which our armed forces personnel uses when it engages an enemy in combat. Such tactics should not be used by American law enforcement agencies against citizens of our country.

Before making a judgment on whether or not the fatal shooting of young Michael Brown was warranted, all of us should wait on the outcome of the investigation by local and federal investigations as they attempt to determine what actually occurred in Ferguson.

I would, however, suggest that there is a philosophy of policing that would have prevented the events that have occurred in Ferguson. That philosophy is called Community Policing.

As Chief of Police in Houston, Texas, I implemented principles of the concept in a city in which the police and the citizens were at odds and were alienated from one another.

Community Policing is a philosophy of law enforcement that I pioneered while leading the force in Houston. The city's police had a national reputation for brutality and racism. The Community Policing concept transformed the police department into one of the most respected police agencies in the nation.

In 1990, I was appointed Police Commissioner of New York City. A crack-cocaine epidemic had engulfed the city, and crime was at an all-time high. Community Policing was implemented as the cornerstone of then Mayor David Dinkins' Safe Streets - Safe City program.

We utilized the principles of Community Policing as our style for the delivery of police services to the people of New York City. After one year, crime went down in every index category over the previous year. That was the first time that it had occurred in nearly 40 years.

Former President Bill Clinton understood the value of Community Policing when he incorporated it into his 1994 Crime Control Bill, and created the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

I am convinced that if the Ferguson Police Department had adopted and implemented Community Policing as their dominant style of delivering police services to the citizens of Ferguson, the recent events would not have occurred.

Under Community Policing every officer must demonstrate that they support the community. Residents become allies and not targets. Officers are hired in the "spirit of service," and not in the "spirit of adventure." The police agency should also mirror the racial composition of the community under the concept.

Community policing demands that officers interact with people who live or work in neighborhoods that they patrol. Officers are trained to communicate with people, solve community problems and develop an appreciation of cultural and ethnic differences.

In fact, under Community Policing officers are not just evaluated on the number of arrests that they make. They are also assessed on their ability to solve problems, and the absence of crime in their assigned areas. Equally important, under Community Policing officers are rewarded for their problem solving abilities and the absence of crime.

Community Policing is also value driven. For example, every police agency should have as its core value the importance of human life. They must understand that deadly force is only to be used when their lives or the life of a citizen is at risk.

While serving as Police Commissioner of New York City, I was invited in 1991, prior to the end of apartheid, to travel to South African to help establish policies of policing for a free society. While there, I introduced Community Policing. Subsequently, the South Africans incorporated the concept of Community Policing into their new constitution.

I believe that Community Policing is the most effective and prudent method of policing that will work in our country. If properly adopted and implemented Community will prevent events such as those that occurred in Ferguson.

 

**The former chief of police in New York City, Atlanta and Houston, Dr. Lee Brown, has recently authored a book entitled: Policing in the 21st Century: Community Policing.

 

Contact details:

Dr. Lee Brown

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

832-366-1584

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