Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri 2014 started many decades ago

A cop wrestles a U. S. flag out of the hands of a struggling, determined elementary aged kid at a protest rally. The fully grown cop had already taken the kids sign that said: "No More Police Brutality" in Mississippi, 1965. A female teacher or stranger walks the crying youngster away from the group of White police officers, all of whom observed one of their own go after the child like he was an adult. They appear to be very relaxed with his actions.

Recently,  Bill de Balsio, mayor of  New York, said he's had "that talk" with his teenage son. Police associations and cops went ballistics, accusing him of calling them racist. But the Mayor knows what time it is, and his biracial son (and daughter) are subject to abuse  or death at the hands of some over zealous police officer or officers when he is out of  their sight.

At a press conference Blasio said: "I had to worry over the years, Chirlane had to worry if  Dante is safe each night.  There are so many families in this city who feel that way each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities--crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods--but are they safe from the very people that they want to have faith in as their protectors.".

Having “those survival talks” with their sons is a common ritual in the homes of African American parents. The talks are necessary. They are supposed to help their sons survive when they are stopped by a cop.  You would think that “those talks” would be about the birds and the bees, but Black parents have to put that discussion on the back burner. Surviving the threat of death by a cop is more important than talks about sex.   

Several years ago while researching police brutality in the U. S., I read horror stories of Black mothers and fathers talking about the deaths of their sons [and daughters] at the hands of police officers. Mothers said they were sorry they had given birth to sons. Each time their sons stepped out the door to go anywhere, they wondered if they would see them again. Alive. The hearts of parents should never be wrapped in terror 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.

"Hands Up, Don't Shoot", LA riot in Watts, 1965
In instances where their sons, husbands, boyfriends, dads, grandfathers, uncles were killed by police, none of the cops were brought to trial. There was no justice, but somehow they had to find peace of mind. Cops were no billed by grand juries. They were backed by their respective police chiefs and police associations. In 2014 it is impossible to get a grand jury to indict a policeman, no matter what the physical evidence shows, or what witnesses say.

From the day Black slaves were emancipated, little value has been placed on their lives and well-being. The more things change for African Americans, the more the stay the same.

"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" in Ferguson, Missouri, 2014
Every 1o to 20 years there is a case of police brutality, or a shooting death by police that arouses the ire of African Americans. Anger and frustration forces them to protest the legalized killing of their sons by police. August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, Michael Brown, 18, became that source of anger and frustration. He was shot and killed by a local White policeman, Darren Wilson, who was recently no billed by a grand jury.

Riots, looting and protests hit the ground running within days after Brown was killed. His death sparked nationwide protests, that includes young people, children, senior citizens. The protesters, which are ongoing, are representative of America’s melting pot.  ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ has become a symbolic gesture of support to stop police brutality.  Adding the chokehold death of Eric Garner, another symbolic chant emerged: "I Can't Breathe",  the final words uttered by Garner as he  was held down by  police.

Michael Brown, 18

Witnesses to the shooting said Brown had his hands up when he was shot by Wilson.  After the grand  jury failed to indict Darren Wilson, testimony from some witnesses clashed with those who said Brown's hands were not up. It was learned earlier this week (12/16) that witness #40, Sandra McElroy, a 45-year-old White woman, testified to the grand jury that she witnessed Michael Brown charging towards officer Wilson before he was shot. She said his hands were not up. The problem is, McElroy, an admitted racist, did not witness the shooting. Her testimony was straight out of newspapers.

The district attorney in charge of the case, Bob McCulloch said he knew that  McElroy was lying to the grand jury, as were other witnesses,  but he accepted the testimonies anyway. When he announced the grand jury's decision he did not mention that his main witness, McElroy, had lied. The Smoking Gun revealed that she has a record and has injected herself into two prior high profile cases. However, her version of what happened in those cases was rejected by investigators. 

 Delving into the history of police brutality, comparing it to 2014, it seems that nothing has changed. The protests and protesters look the same. People grieving the deaths of their sons and daughters look the same. The signs carry look the same. The victims were Black (and Hispanic), ranging in ages from 12 years old to adults. Some of the deaths made national news, but the majority were mere thumbnails in the media.

The purpose of this post is to show that police officers have been getting away with murdering and shooting African American men, teens and (children) is not a new phenomenon. Last week I discovered a list of Black men shot by the police, starting in 1952. Called "The Forgotten List", it briefly describes the circumstances of the deaths. Not one sheriff, White citizens or police officer was charged with their deaths, all of  which were deemed justified homicides. In some instances the deaths are still unsolved mysteries.

‘The Forgotten' List
Listed below are the names of 74 men and women who died between 1952 and 1968 under circumstances that suggests they were the victims of racially motivated violence. The information was gathered by The Southern Poverty Law Center as it planned a timeline of killings and other civil rights era events for the Civil Rights Memorial. The Memorial, dedicated in 1989, includes the names of 40 civil rights martyrs who were slain during that era. A few names were not inscribed on the Memorial because there was insufficient information about their deaths when the Memorial was created. They are, however, identified in a display at the Civil Rights Memorial Center as "The Forgotten."

**Anderson, Andrew Lee - Marion, Arkansas, 1963: Anderson was slain by a group of Whites and sheriff's deputies after a white woman said he had molested her 8-year-old daughter. A coroner's jury ruled justifiable homicide, and no arrests were made.

**Andrews, Frank - Lisman, Alabama, 1964: Andrews was shot in the back by a White sheriff's deputy. The county solicitor said the victim was attacking another deputy, and no arrests were made.

**Banks, Isadore - Marion, Arkansas, 1954: Banks' charred corpse was found chained to a tree. Black press reports speculated he was killed by Whites who wanted his land. His property was later rented by White farmers.

**Bolden, Larry - Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1958: Bolden, 15, was shot by a White policeman. No arrests were made.

**Brazier, James - Dawson, Georgia, 1958: Brazier was beaten to death in front of his wife and children by two police officers. County Sheriff Z. T. Matthews was later quoted in the Washington Post saying, "There's nothing like fear to keep niggers in line."

**Brewer, Thomas - Columbus, Georgia, 1956: Brewer was instrumental in forming a local chapter of the NAACP in 1937. He was shot seven times outside his office by White politician Lucio Flowers. A grand jury failed to indict.

**Brooks, Hilliard - Montgomery, Alabama, 1952: Brooks was shot by a police officer after initially refusing to get off a city bus when the driver claimed he had not paid his fare. A coroner said the murder was justified because Brooks resisted arrest.

**Brown, Charles - Yazoo City, Miss., 1957: A White man shot Brown, who was visiting the White man's sister. The Justice Department handed the case over to the state.

**Brown, Jessie - Winona, Mississippi, 1965: The 1965 NAACP annual report claimed White farmer R.M. Gibson killed Brown.

**Brumfield, Carrie - Franklinton, Louisiana, 1967: Brumfield was found shot to death in his car on a rural road. He was shot once in the chest with a .22-caliber revolver.

**Brumfield, Eli - McComb, Mississippi, 1961: Police officer B.F. Elmore alleged self-defense after shooting Brumfield. Police claimed Brumfield jumped from his car with a pocket knife after police pulled him over for speeding.

**Caston, Silas (Ernest) - Jackson, Miss., 1964: Caston was shot by a local police officer. CORE and NAACP filed a civil suit against Deputy Sheriff Herbert Sullivan. The result of that suit is unknown.

**Cloninger, Clarence - Gaston, N.C., 1960: Cloninger died while incarcerated. Authorities denied him medical attention after he suffered a heart attack.

**Countryman, Willie - Dawson, Georgia, 1958: Police officer W.B. Cherry was cleared of murder charges after police said he shot Countryman "in self defense in the line of duty."

**Dahmon, Vincent - Natchez, Mississippi, 1966: Dahmon, 65, was shot in the head around the time of a march in support of James Meredith.

**Daniels, Woodrow Wilson - Water Valley, Mississippi, 1958: Sheriff Buster Treloar, identified by four witnesses as the man who beat Daniels to death in a prison, was freed after 23 minutes of deliberation by an all-white jury. "By God," Treloar said after the trial. "Now I can get back to rounding up bootleggers and damn niggers."

**Dumas, Joseph Hill - Perry, Fla., 1962: Florida Governor Farris Bryant suspended constable Henry Sauls in connection with the shooting of 19-year-old Dumas. Sauls was indicted by a federal grand jury. The result of indictment is unclear.

**Evans, Pheld - Canton, Mississippi, 1964: Charles Evers, the brother of slain NAACP official Medgar Evers, identified Evans as having been killed under mysterious circumstances.

**Evanston, J.E. - Long Lake, Mississippi, 1955: Evanston's body is fished out of Long Lake in December. Evanston was a teacher in the local elementary school.

**Greene, Mattie - Ringgold, Georgia, 1960: Greene is killed when a bomb explodes under her house.

**Greenwood, Jasper - Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1964: Greenwood was found shot to death near his car on a rural road. Police said the slaying was not racially motivated.

Eric Garner, 43, was put in chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo in July on a New York street, where he was selling untaxed cigarettes. The coroner ruled his death a homicide. A grand jury has not made a decision to charge or not to charge the cop. **Update: the New York grand jury did not indict Pantaleo for Garner's death.
**Griffin, Jimmie Lee - Sturgis, Mississippi, 1965: Griffin was killed in a hit-and-run accident. A coroner's report revealed Griffin was run over at least twice.

**Hall, A.C. - Macon, Georgia, 1962: Hall was shot and killed after a White woman claimed he stole a pistol from her car. He was shot by police as he ran away.

**Hamilton, Rogers - Lowndes County, Alabama, 1957: Hamilton, 19, was taken from his home by a group of White men and shot to death. Hamilton was allegedly warned to stay away from Black girls in the town of Hayneville. No charges were brought in the case.

**Hampton, Collie - Winchester, Kentucky, 1966: Hampton was shot by police officers after allegedly threatening a police officer.

**Harris, Alphonso - Albany, Georgia, 1966: Harris, a member of SCLC, died after allegedly organizing a walkout by Black students at a school in Grenada, Mississippi. He was killed in Georgia in response to previous civil rights activity there.

**Henry, Izell - Greensburg, Louisiana, 1954: Izell was brutally beaten a day after voting. He suffered permanent brain damage and died five years later.

Newark, New Jersey, 1967, a protester is put in a chokehold
**Hill, Arthur James - Villa Rica, Georgia, 1965: Hill was shot during an argument with Whites. One suspect was held on voluntary manslaughter charge.

**Hunter, Ernest - St. Mary's, Georgia, 1958: Hunter was shot and killed while in jail following an arrest on charges he was interfering with an officer.

**Jackson, Luther - Philadelphia, Mississippi, 1959: Jackson was killed by police after he and his girlfriend were found talking in their car, which was stalled in a ditch. Police claim Jackson attacked them.

**Jells, Ernest - Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1964: Jells was accused of stealing a banana from a grocery and pointing a rifle at pursuing police officers. The officers were exonerated.

**Jeter, Joe Franklin - Atlanta, Georgia, 1958: Jeter was killed by police in front of his family, who were also arrested and convicted in connection with a gathering that police said turned into a melee. A grand jury found the slaying was justified.

**Lee, John - Goshen Springs, Mississippi, 1965: Lee's body was found beaten on a country road.

Saint Louis County, 1965, a man lies down in front of car, staging a"die in" to protest police brutality.

**Lee, Willie Henry - Rankin County, Mississippi, 1965: Lee, who was known to have attended civil rights meetings, was found beaten on a country road. An autopsy revealed he died by strangulation from gas.

**Lillard, Richard - Nashville, Tennessee, 1958: Lillard died after a beating from three White guards  at a local workhouse. All three were acquitted of murder charges.

**Love, George - Indianola, Mississippi, 1958: Love was killed in a gun battle with police who believed he was responsible for a murder and arson. He was later cleared of any connection to the murder.

**Mahone, Maybelle - Molena, Georgia, 1956: Mahone was killed by a White man for "sassing" him. The man was initially found guilty, but later found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Santa Clara University students stage a "die in" to protest police brutality in 2014.

**Maxwell, Sylvester - Canton, Mississippi, 1963: Maxwell's castrated and mutilated body was found by his brother-in-law less than 500 yards from the home of a White family.

**McNair, Robert - Pelahatchie, Mississippi, 1965: McNair was killed by a town constable.

**Melton, Clinton - Sumner, Mississippi, 1956: Elmer Otis Kimbell was cleared in Melton's death. Kimbell claimed Melton fired at him three times before he returned fire with a shotgun. No gun was found in Melton's car or on his body.

**Miller, James Andrew - Jackson, Georgia, 1964: Miller was shot by Whites a few days after being beaten. A suspect was cleared after the coroner ruled he fired in self-defense.

**Mixon, Booker T - Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1959: Mixon's body was found lying on the side of the road, completely nude. Police claimed it was a hit-and-run, though family members cited his naked body and the extensive amount of flesh torn from his body as evidence of murder.

**Montgomery, Nehemiah - Merigold, Mississippi, 1964: Montgomery, 60, was shot by police after allegedly refusing to pay for gas. Police were acquitted, and the shooting was called justifiable homicide.

14-year old Joseph Williams was Tased by police in Bucks County, Pennsylvania after he and two friends were accused of shoplifitng at a Walmart. He was caught and handcuffed. Police claimed they Tased him so he wouldn't run into traffic. The officers who arrested  Williams said he fell on his face when he was Tased, causing the facial injuries. At the police station his mother was not allowed to see him for three days. She said she talked to him through a closed door at the police stationon. Police told his mother that Williams was eating pizza and was happy. The youngster said the police Tased his face.

**Morris, Frank - Ferriday, Louisiana, 1964: Morris, who owned a shoe store, was killed when a gas stove exploded during an arson. Morris, who lived in a room adjoining the store, was ordered to return to his room by the men who started the fire. An extensive Justice Department investigation was conducted, but the outcome is unclear.

**Motley, James Earl - Wetumpka, Alabama, 1967: Elmore County Deputy Sheriff 

**Harvey Conner was cleared in the death of Motley, who died in prison after suffering three severe blows to the head.

**O'Quinn, Sam - Centreville, Mississippi, 1959: O'Quinn, derided by some local whites for being "uppity," was shot after joining the NAACP.

**Orsby, Hubert - Pickens, Mississippi, 1964: Orsby's body was found in the Black River. It was reported that he was wearing a t-shirt with "CORE," written on it, representing the Congress of Racial Equality.

**Payne, Larry - Memphis, Tennessee, 1968: Payne, 16, was killed by a shotgun blast fired by a patrolman as he emerged from a basement in a housing development.

**Pickett, C.H. - Columbus, Georgia, 1957: The part-time minister was beaten to death while in police custody.

**Pitts, Albert, Pitts, David, Johnson, Marshall

**McPharland, Ernest - Monroe, Louisiana, 1960: A White employer was arrested and then released in the shooting of five of his employees, four of whom died. The victims were accused of making threats. The employer was never charged.

**Powell, Jimmy - Brooklyn, New York, 1964: Powell, 15, was fatally shot by a Brooklyn police officer. The officer's exoneration by a grand jury sparked riots in Harlem.

**Prather, William Roy - Corinth, Mississippi, 1959: Prather, 15, was killed in an anti-black Halloween prank. One of eight youths involved was indicted on manslaughter charges.

**Queen, Johnny - Fayette, Mississippi, 1965: A White off-duty constable was named in the pistol slaying of Johnny Queen. The shooting was not connected to any arrest.

**Rasberry, Donald - Okolona, Mississippi, 1965: Rasberry was shot to death by his plantation boss.

**Robinson, Fred - Edisto Island, South Carolina, 1960: Robinson's body was found washed ashore on August 5. His eyes were reportedly gouged out and his skull crushed.

**Robinson, Johnny - Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Robinson, 16, was shot in the back by a policeman on the same day as the 16th Street Church bombing. Police said the victim had thrown stones at White youths driving through the area.

**Sanford, Willie Joe - Hawkinsville, Georgia, 1957: Sanford's naked body was raised from the bottom of a creek where it had been wired to undergrowth in the water. The result of a grand jury investigation is unknown.

**Scott Jr., Marshall - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1965: Scott was put into solitary confinement in a New Orleans jail. He died without receiving any medical attention. There were no arrests in the case.

**Shelby, Jessie James - Yazoo City, Mississippi, 1956: Shelby, 23, was fatally wounded by a police officer who claimed he shot Shelby because he resisted arrest.

**Singleton, W.G. - Shelby, N.C., 1957: Singleton died from third-degree burns suffered in an explosion and fire.
July 2013 in Orange County, Anaheim, California, hundreds of Latino protesters marked the anniversary of the death of Latino James Earl Rivera, Jr. who was shot  by Anaheim police.
**Smith, Ed - State Line, Mississippi, 1958: A grand jury refused to indict L.D. Clark in the death of Smith, who was shot in his yard in front of his wife. Clark later reportedly bragged about the killing.

**Stewart, Eddie James - Crystal Springs, Mississippi, 1966: Stewart was reportedly beaten and shot while in police custody. Police claimed he was shot while trying to escape.

**Taylor, Isaiah - Ruleville, Mississippi, 1964: Taylor was shot by a police officer after allegedly lunging at him with a knife. The shooting was ruled a justifiable homicide.

**Thomas, Freddie Lee -LeFlore County, Mississippi, 1965: Federal investigators looked into the death of Thomas, 16. Thomas' brother believed he was murdered as a warning against Black voter registration. The result of the investigation is unknown.

**Triggs, Saleam - Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 1965: The body of Mrs. Triggs was found mysteriously burned to death.

**Varner, Hubert - Atlanta, Georgia, 1966: Varner, 16, was killed when a gunman fired into a group of Black teenagers. The gunman allegedly believed the teenagers made a comment to his White companion. The result of a federal investigation is unknown.

**Walker, Clifton - Adams County, Mississippi, 1964: Walker was killed by a shotgun blast at close range. The result of a federal investigation is unknown.

Killed by police: Anthony Baez, 29, December 22, 1994, Bronx, New York was put in chokehold by police officer; Amadou Diallo, 23, was shot at 41 times by New York police two officers, 19 bullets hit their mark; Gidone Busch, 31, a mentally challenged Jew, was shot to death by police May 30, 1999 in Brooklyn Park, New York. The cop who killed Baez was finally sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 2005.
**Waymers, James - Allendale, South Carolina, 1965: A White man is acquitted in the shooting death of Waymers after entering a plea of self-defense.

**Wilder, John Wesley - Ruston, Louisiana, 1965: A White policeman was accused of Wilder's death, and a coroner's jury ruled the slaying was justifiable homicide.

**Williamson, Rodell - Camden, Alabama, 1967: Williamson's body was recovered from the Alabama River after it snagged on a fisherman's line. Williamson was active in the Wilcox Country branch of the NAACP, but local sheriff P.C. Jenkins said there were no signs of foul play.

**Wooden, Archie - Camden, Alabama, 1967: Wooden, 16, bled to death after either jumping or falling onto a sapling in a ditch. The cut sapling severed an artery. A newspaper report said the Mobile office of the FBI made a civil rights violation inquiry into the incident. The results of that inquiry are unknown

"A Stop Police Brutality" rally was held in Chicago, October 2011. January 7, 2011 police shot Darius Penix 16 times during a traffic stop; June 7 a Flint Farmer was killed by Chicago while he held a cell phone. A news report says Farmer was shot in the back three times as he lay on the grass. The policeman that shot him had already shot three people, two of them fatal, one survived. He was not indicted in any of the shootings; July 25, 13-year-old Jimmy Cannon was shot four times by Chicago police, no indictment; October 5, Amit A. Patel, 31, was chased to Lake Michigan by police. He died hours later. There was no indictment.