I attended a Black Lives Matter rally at City Hall tonight, in light rain, although it was still going on when I left at about 7:15. As far as I could tell, it was primarily organized by Eric Knight who is active in Suffolk. It was peaceful and dignified. Mr. Knight and other speakers called for peace, unity across demographics, and in what might even please the “what about Black on Black crime?” crowd, said that he was tired not only of crimes committed by police, but by people in the neighborhoods.
There were no nasty insults against the police, although there were calls for rules to ensure police accountability. For their part, a few officers where parked across the street near the library at a respectful distance.
City officials who were in the crowd were invited to speak, and among those who spoke where Clerk of Court Randy Carter, who spoke about the importance of registering to vote and voting.
I was proud that a rally in my city could be so peaceful, but mindful of the fact if we want rallies to be peaceful, then peaceful rallies have to make a difference.
It’s good to know that your Second Amendment rights are protected in Waller County, according to the home page of the Waller County Sheriff’s Department. But if Sandra Bland was removed from her vehicle for a minor traffic violation, beaten for speaking out, held in jail for 3 days over trumped up charges, and finally executed in her cell, then Waller County would seem weak on protecting some of those other rights.
I did a Google news search on Waller County, restricting the date range to before July 2015. Waller seems to have more than it’s share of corruption and misconduct. It’s not a scientific study, of course, but it seems a little high. I don’t know what the results will be of the investigation into Sandra Bland’s suspicious death. I suppose it’s possible that the seemingly normal, educated, and well loved woman who was in town to start a new career was inexplicably belligerent enough during a routine traffic stop to justify her arrest, then killed herself in her cell without leaving a note while nobody noticed. But whatever the results, it might be a good idea for the Sheriff to emphasize more than just the 2nd Amendment. Maybe if the website said, “All of your rights are protected in Waller County”, it would help foster a better attitude of public service.
A day after Jonathan Capehart wrote about facing the truth about Darren Wilson’s innocence, his article in the Washington Post has over 5000 comments, much of them accusing President Obama and Eric Holder of racism for wanting to take a closer look at Brown’s death.
It’s not racist to think that the whole incident required a real investigation from someone outside of Ferguson.
Thanks to Eric Holder, we know Officer Wilson was innocent. Someone who accepted Office Wilson’s story without any confirmation is someone who feels that police should never be investigated for killing Black people.
Incredibly, on the same day the Justice Department issued their report about the entrenched racism and misconduct of the Ferguson Police, the Department also upheld Officer Darren Wilson’s version of events.
When I saw headlines announcing that the Justice Department figured out that the Ferguson, Mo. Police Department was racist, I figured, “no shit”. I assumed somebody crunched some numbers somewhere and came up with a report showing Black people get ticketed and arrested, and occasionally shot to death, more often then White people. But report is, in fact, worse than just that.
The Washington Post has an article and a link to the Justice Department’s report, which includes
a 32-year-old African-American man sat in his car cooling off after playing basketball in a Ferguson public park. An officer pulled up behind the man’s car, blocking him in, and demanded the man’s Social Security number and identification. Without any cause, the officer accused the man of being a pedophile, referring to the presence of children in the park, and ordered the man out of his car for a pat-down, although the officer had no reason to believe the man was armed. The officer also asked to search the man’s car. The man objected, citing his constitutional rights. In response, the officer arrested the man, reportedly at gunpoint, charging him with eight violations of Ferguson’s municipal code. One charge, Making a False Declaration, was for initially providing the short form of his first name (e.g., “Mike” instead of “Michael”), and an address which, although legitimate, was different from the one on his driver’s license. Another charge was for not wearing a seat belt, even though he was seated in a parked car. The officer also charged the man both with having an expired operator’s license, and with having no operator’s license in his possession. The man told us that, because of these charges, he lost his job as a contractor with the federal government that he had held for years.
It’s worth noting one paragraph which won’t make it to most of the media outlets out there
We thank the City officials and the rank-and-file officers who have cooperated with this investigation and provided us with insights into the operation of the police department, including the municipal court. Notwithstanding our findings about Ferguson’s approach to law enforcement and the policing culture it creates, we found many Ferguson police officers and other City employees to be dedicated public servants striving each day to perform their duties lawfully and with respect for all members of the Ferguson community. The importance of their often-selfless work cannot be overstated.
But other than that, the report describes a racist department who’s dirty deeds have had devastating effects on their victims.