“I think it’s tragic what happened to Trayvon, but there’s a bigger picture and that’s the movement of Occupy…. I mean this is something that will pass because anger always passes. But Occupy talks about what’s wrong with the whole damn system at large.”
“Though the law itself be fair on its face, and impartial in appliance, yet, if it is applied and administered by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the constitution.”—Justice Stanley Matthews, Yick Wo v. Hopkins
I just heard about this case today and I think I can say this without fear of contradiction:
Black America is in an abusive relationship with America. Black America needs a restraining order against America. Plain and simple!
This is utterly disgusting and further indication of how little value is placed on the lives of Black folks today in America by law enforcement sworn to protect and serve as well as those who choose to play at law enforcement. Yesterdays lynchings were facilitated by ropes and trees. Todays lynchings are facilitated by bullets, tasers and ridiculous pieces of legislation and policing initiatives. Bigotry and racism being the common denominator between the two.
Malcolm X once said that as far as he was concerned the Mason-Dixon line was at the Canadian border. Those words ring so true today.
America is a very ugly place if you are a person of colour.
We are at one of those moments where all those folks who spend their energies tirelessly fighting to preserve dignity for animals on our planet and the health of our planet for that matter need to turn some of their energies to the dignity of human living.
Taking On Police Tactic, Critics Hit Racial Divide
Black and Latino lawmakers, fed up over the frequency with which New York City police officers are stopping and frisking minority men, are battling what they say is a racial divide as they push legislation to rein in the practice.
The divide, they say, is largely informed by personal experience: many who object to the practice say that they have themselves been stopped by the police for reasons they believe were related to race.
Senator Kevin S. Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, recalled several occasions when, as a high school student walking home in Flatbush, he was stopped by the police, patted down, told to empty his pockets, produce identification and divulge his destination.
Assemblyman Karim Camara, a Democrat from Brooklyn, remembers greeting a woman who was walking down a street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, when, he said, officers in plain clothes approached him and demanded to know who he was, where he was going and whether he had any guns or drugs.
And when Senator Adriano Espaillat, a Manhattan Democrat, was just 14, he said, detectives threw him against a wall and patted him down in Washington Heights, in Manhattan, when he was on his way to buy a Dominican newspaper for his father.
The lawmakers say the racial imbalance with which stop-and-frisk is applied has a corollary effect: Many white legislators have remained silent on the issue, or have supported the police, revealing a racial gap over attitudes toward the practice.
“There is an ethnic divide on who’s being stopped and frisked, and there is an ethnic divide on who’s fighting against the policy,” said State Senator Eric L. Adams, a Democrat and a retired police captain from Brooklyn.
The lawmakers’ effort to set off a debate in Albany is taking place with an increased focus on the interplay between race and public safety. It was highlighted in New York by the fatal shooting last month of Ramarley Graham, 18, by a police officer in the Bronx, and nationally by the fatal shooting last month of Trayvon Martin, 17, by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida. The young men were unarmed.
“Both illustrate the perils of racial stereotyping when individuals are empowered with the capacity to make life and death decisions,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat. He said the shootings had “further emboldened legislators to continue to fight to deal with the out-of-control stop-and-frisk practices.”
The split among Albany lawmakers over the stop-and-frisk issue reflects a divide among New York City voters: according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on March 13, 59 percent of white voters approve of it, and 27 percent of black voters do.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, facing increased complaints about the practice, has pushed back hard against critics. Last week, assailed by the City Council over the practice, Mr. Kelly said that the policy was an important policing tool intended to reduce the violence that has victimized blacks and Hispanics, and that, “What I haven’t heard is any solution to the violence problems in these communities.”
“People are upset about being stopped,” he continued, “yet what is the answer?”
According to the Police Department, 96 percent of shooting victims last year, and 90 percent of murder victims, were minorities.
“There’s more police assigned to a place like East New York than, say, a precinct in Riverdale,” said the Police Department spokesman, Paul J. Browne, “so the police are going to be in a position to observe suspicious behavior more frequently.”
But the Police Department frames the numbers in a different way: last year, it said, it recovered 8,000 weapons, 800 of them handguns, via stops. And over the last decade, the number of murders has dropped by 51 percent, “in part because of stop, question and frisk,” Mr. Browne said.
Some white elected officials have strongly criticized the stop-and-frisk policy. They included the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, and the public advocate, Bill de Blasio, both of whom are likely candidates for mayor; and Brad Lander and Daniel Dromm, who are on the Council. Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat from Queens, has offered a bill that would make it illegal for the department to set a quota for the number of stops officers must make.
Mr. Stringer said it was important for elected officials “who look like me” to help broaden the coalition of New Yorkers fighting against stop-and-frisk.
But race continues to dominate discussion of the issue. Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, a black Democrat from Harlem, is still smarting over a legislative debate he had in 2008 with Assemblyman David R. Townsend Jr., a white Republican from central New York, on a proposal to prohibit racial profiling. Mr. Townsend said part of good police work involved questioning people who seemed out of place in a particular neighborhood, regardless of their race.
“If you were spotted in an affluent section of Oneida County where we don’t have minority people living, and you were driving around through these houses, and I was a law enforcement officer and a highway patrol, I would stop you to say, No. 1: ‘Are you lost? Is there something we can help you with, or what are you doing here?’ ” Mr. Townsend said to Mr. Wright.
Two years ago, the Legislature passed a law requiring police officials in New York City to no longer store the names and addresses of people stopped but not charged. Gov. David A. Paterson, the state’s first African-American governor, signed the measure despite objections not only from city officials, but also, he said, from an all-white panel advising him on the issue.
In a recent interview, Mr. Paterson, a Democrat, said his views of the measure were informed by his own experience, which included being stopped three times by the police.
“It’s a feeling of being degraded,” he said. “I think that’s what people who it hasn’t happened to don’t understand.”
we walk through a calligraphy of hats slicing off foreheads ace-deuce cocked, they slant, razor sharp, clean through imagination, our spirits knee-deep in what we have forgotten entrancing our bodies now to dance, like enraptured water lilies the rhythm in liquid strides of certain looks eyeballs rippling through breezes riffing choirs of trees, where a trillion slivers of sunlight prance across filigreeing leaves, a zillion voices of bamboo reeds, green with summer saxophone bursts, wrap themselves, like transparent prisms of dew drops around images, laced with pearls & rhinestones, dreams & perhaps it is through this decoding of syllables that we learn speech that sonorous river of broken mirrors carrying our dreams assaulted by pellets of raindrops, prisons of words entrapping us between parentheses - two bat wings curving cynical smiles
still, there is something here, that, perhaps, needs explaining beyond the hopelessness of miles, the light at the end of a midnight tunnel - where some say a speeding train is bulleting right at us — so where do the tumbling words spend themselves after they have spent all meaning residing in the warehouse of language, after they have slipped from our lips, like skiers on ice slopes, strung together words linking themselves through smoke, where do the symbols they carry stop everything, put down roots, cleanse themselves of everything but clarity — though here eye might be asking a little too much of any poet’s head, full as it were with double-entendres
Alive Soul Note: Learn more about Quincy Troupe here
“A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.”—Pam Brown
I awoke this morning to the story of Malik Williams of Garfield, NJ. Malik was wanted by Garfield, NJ police on an aggravated assault warrant and turned himself in. While he was being processed he, for some reason, changed his mind, escaped out of a rear door, ran to a garage of a private residence and barricaded himself in. He was eventually tracked by police who allegedly found him armed with tools from the garage. The two officers “felt threatened” and shot Malik numerous times killing him. Malik was 19.
For part of my life, I lived in the relatively small town of Teaneck, New Jersey. I grew up with a young man named Phillip Pannell. Phil was a bully, plain and simple. He’d take your Starter cap, he’d take your lunch money, but you’d see him later and he’d somehow have you playing him in basketball and laughing about your losses. That was Phil.
This is from WikiPedia….
On the evening of April 10, 1990, the Teaneck Police Department responded to a call from a resident complaining about a group of teenagers, one of whom was reported to have a gun. After an initial confrontation near the Bryant School and a subsequent chase, Pannell was shot and killed by Spath, a white Teaneck police officer. Spath said he thought Pannell had a gun and was turning to shoot him. Many witnesses said Pannell was unarmed and had been shot in the back. A fully loaded .22 caliber pistol was recovered from the jacket pocket of suspect Pannell. The weapon had once been a starter’s pistol that had been modified into a fully operable gun.
I was a sophomore in Teaneck High School when this happened and this incident has not left me since. In the days following, there were protests and even a full out riot. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton showed up at the high school trying to calm things down. Teaneck Police officers wore t-shirts in support of Spath, as if somehow he was justified in shooting and killing Pannell. There were town hall meetings and sensitivity meetings and such. Teaneck Police Officer, Gary Spath, a name I will never forget, was eventually found innocent of manslaughter and set free. If you went back to Teaneck, NJ today, and I have, you’d never know this happened.
Right now, many are justifiably outraged at the senseless shooting of 17 year old Treyvon Martin. Treyvon’s story has made national headlines and has even attention of DOJ. Eventually, the outrage will quell, and the headlines will die and Treyvon’s story will be another incident, in the long, tired, sordid history of young black men dying by the hands of police officers in this country simply for being young, black, and male.
All across this country, young black men are being antagonized by police, beaten by police, arrested by police and killed by police. And it has been that way for as long as I can remember. This is a REAL issue for us. I’ve heard some folks say…Well, ‘When you dress the part of a criminal….” That’s bullshit. I’ve been dressed like I just walked out of boardroom, and I’ve been harassed by police in my neighborhood. It doesn’t matter. When you are black and male in this country you can expect to be accosted by law enforcement for no reason at all and sometimes at your peril.
Our esteemed First Lady, Michelle Obama, has made a national issue of obesity. To show her commitment, she went so far as to do the “Dougie” (a dance created by young black men if memory serves me right), to get you to stop eating Twinkies. Recently, President Obama added his name to an effort to curb bullying which will appear on the Cartoon Network. These are most worthy causes and I applaud the POTUS and the First Lady for their efforts. I guess I just wonder, do I have to wait for the next administration before the mistreatment of young black men by law enforcement gets this kind of attention from the highest levels of government?
Because within months there will be another Malik Williams, more time will pass and there will be another Philip Pannell, and yes, soon, very soon, there will be another Treyvon Martin but what will change is the response from black men. At some point, we’re going to get tired of this, real tired. We’re going to stop asking for help. We’re going to stop writing long ass blog posts expressing out outrage We’re going to stop talking about it on talk shows and CNN
And that will be very, very a sad time for everyone.
RIP Timothy Stansbury, Yusef Hawkins, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Philip Pannell, Treyvon Martin, Malik Williams….
My brother’s story bears repeating: Cops once took him to jail for being in his own (predominately white) neighborhood when he walking home from his part-time job one summer. He told them that our parents were at home (just around the corner) and could verify that he lived there, but they took him to jail instead … where he was not allowed to make a phone call for hours. A neighbor, who had apparently not received the memo that black folks had moved in around the corner, had called the police because she saw a young, black man walking down the street.
And that is really all it takes to get your black ass killed in the “greatest country on earth”.
Okay, compared with Trayvon Martin, I suppose you could say my brother was “lucky”—he is, after all, still alive—but that’s setting the bar a bit too fucking low for my tastes.
This whole thing is so upsetting. It’s upsetting because we know it too well, just like the situation with your brother. Just the existence of blackness is enough to cause alarm. I’ll never forget the day my sister called to have their chandelier fixed. The repairman came to the house and started questioning my sister, asking if she lived there, demanding to see the owner of the house. The fucker couldn’t believe a black person lived in Bernardsville, NJ. I guess she broke in, and hung up pictures of herself and assorted black people all over the house. That’s what burglars do. Of course she told him off. The audacity of that man.
The more I think about it, the more my blood boils. This burden of suspicion. It’s a heavy burden to always carry. It’s always there, and you’re always deemed guilty first. I even get pissed at terminology like “unarmed black male” whenever the narratives of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and the countless others who were murdered are told, as if the default black male is armed with deadly weapons. They were murdered.