You wouldn’t think scoring a buzzer-beater in a community league basketball game would cost you your life but I woke one morning to find that that’s exactly what it costed one young man in Philadelphia. A lone gunman ambushed three teens, 14, 15 and 16 years old, after a game. The 14 year-old was shot in the arm, the 15 year-old in the face and the 16 year-old in the leg. The 15 year-old later died in the hospital. The others were last listed in critical condition and there have been no arrests. Continue reading
Tag Archives: police brutality
The other night as the world turned in on itself, I’m not ashamed to tell you that I was deeply affected by all that I heard. Listening to grown men stumble verbally and search for words to express what they were feeling when it’s their job to be eloquent signified the depth of what they, as well as any rational American, was experiencing at that moment.
But no words moved me more than those of President Obama. Watching this fluently, articulate man fumble for an expression, with long pauses between his speech, told me that try as anyone might, there are very few polite words in any language to characterize the profundity of everything that’s happening in America right now. In addition, he had to air the country’s dirty laundry on foreign soil. And he had to do so not once, but twice in the span of not 24 hours.
Obama spoke about contradictions. Here’s the bit I’m referring to:
There is no contradiction between us supporting law enforcement, making sure they have the equipment they need, making sure they’re collective bargaining rights are recognized, making sure they’re adequately staffed, making sure that they are respected, making sure that their families are supported. And also saying that there are problems across our criminal justice system. There are biases, some conscious and unconscious that have to be rooted out. That’s not an attack on law enforcement. That is reflective of the values that the vast majority of law enforcement bring to the job.
Contradictions, conflict; it occurred to me then that it’s not political correctness that’s the problem, it’s political contradictions. Continue reading
Anyone who either knows me or has read any of my blog pieces know how I lean when it comes to police brutality. For one thing, I’m always preaching a component of self-improvement in the black community saying that for substantive change in law enforcement, we must also turn a critical eye on ourselves. It’s a question of forestalling bad behavior with our own good behavior.
The other thing I propagandize is that blacks may appear to be the “chosen” targets at present but that doesn’t prevent law enforcement from, shall we call it branching out to other harder demographics. I always quip that this traveling cop show of death is coming to a town near you real soon. I hate it when I’m right but I got to tell you, the show touched down in South Carolina recently. Continue reading
Does it surprise anyone that around the anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, we get an interview with ex-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson; his first since the controversial shooting of the unarmed young man. I read it and came away with mixed feelings.
It bears witness to the complexity of things when you try to pigeonhole human behavior into neat and nice brackets, highlighted by racial, cultural or age differences. Things are truly not always black and white; there exists a whole lot of gray out there. Continue reading
Living in the city, you have the unfortunate occasion to witness a range of police activity; car stops, car chases, chases on foot and the resulting apprehensions. I remember one instance from a few years back. The police had been chasing the suspect, possibly for some low level drug offense. I’d seen the chase, already in progress, round a corner from a block away. The man, tired from his running, had given up, gotten on his knees with his hands up.
Now, I’m in a second floor apartment in the front bedroom which overlooked the street below; directly over the kneeling man. I watched as the police ran up behind him, kicked him in the back of the head, kneed him in the back of the neck as he went down face first into the concrete and proceeded to twist his arms behind his back, cuffing him, before pulling him up by his cuffs to stand and be led away.
I remember thinking then that, damn that has to hurt, being manhandled like that with your limbs moving at angles they weren’t necessarily intended to. Many will say it’s warranted and if you can’t do “the time” then don’t do the crime. However, in this current environment of police interventions gone horribly wrong, such a simplistic characterization is misleading; especially as any one of us at any given time could wind up in similar circumstances. Continue reading