NBCNews.com just published an editorial by Bernice A. King about her thoughts this year on Martin Luther King Day, the day we honor her father’s work. She reminds us that we mustn’t just honor him passively, however. She says:
“The national theme for the 2015 MLK holiday, “Remember! Celebrate! Act!: King’s Legacy of Courage for Our World” calls on people everywhere to do something courageous — make a commitment to nonviolence as a way of life which we, at The King Center, refer to as Nonviolence 365.
A New York City grand jury has decided not to indict the New York Police Department officer accused of killing the 43-year-old unarmed Eric Garner by putting him in a prohibited chokehold. The NYPD is now preparing for more protests stemming from the decision. RT’s Ameera David and Alexey Yaroshevsky have the latest details.
Despite the conservative media narrative that racism against minorities is a thing of the past, race, racism, and inherent biases on all sides are a part of what’s happening in Ferguson and communities across America — as are systemic and institutional factors spanning several generations, from the Watts riots in 1965 to the riots in various cities in 1967 and ’68, to Los Angeles in 1992. While an inciting incident — usually involving the police and communities of color — sparked the violence, a tinderbox of underlying frustrations awaited that spark.
After each of these incidents, reports issued by government commissions seeking answers cited hauntingly identical findings. Police brutality, poor relations between the police and the community, a sense of hopelessness fueled by a lack of jobs, economic inequality, inadequate schools, discriminatory housing practices, an unresponsive political system many felt shut out of, along with policies that created segregated neighborhoods which further isolate communities of color were highlighted again and again. Again and again the recommendations included expanding community policing strategies and social programs, making them more consistent with the extent of the problems.
The man who was with Michael Brown the day he was murdered is Dorian Johnson. His testimony to the Grand Jury is posted on scribd.com, and you can read it (and download it) here.
Just from reading the testimony, I think any fair-minded person would say that Johnson is a truthful and open witness. He was so treated by the prosecutors. He was something of a role model to the younger men in the community who came up to him and asked about how he was able to transition out of poverty and violence to be able to hold a job and have an apartment of his own. (Consider that fact, reader. Having a job and apartment are considered difficult feats requiring guidance to young men in certain parts of this country!) He had lived in the neighborhood about eight months and had a girlfriend and daughter.
I was appalled by Jeffrey Toobin’s analysis of the decision of the grand jury in the Darren Wilson indictment hearings. Toobin, a legal analyst for CNN is a former prosecutor as well as defense attorney. The reason the DA, Robert McCulloch, did not prosecute Darren Wilson during the hearings was because, Toobin says, he could not have convinced a trial jury that Wilson was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, even of involuntary manslaughter, the least of the possible charges. What good is an indictment—which is based on probable cause—Toobin would have us believe if there is no or little chance of winning at a trial?
So for Toobin, and who knows how many other extraordinary legal minds, it’s win or don’t bother. The legal proceedings in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death were all a game, to be won or lost…
Here are the major developments that have occurred over the past day regarding the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent violent confrontations between local law enforcement and civilian protesters in that beleaguered town:
Tanya’s Comment: The scene takes place in Ferguson, Missouri. As can be seen in the video, the crowd is peacefully gathered in protest over the killing of unarmed 18-year-old black youth Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. They were simply chanting and singing when Ferguson police, after issuing a warning, commenced an attack. The attack consisted of non-lethal, but still painful, weapons including rubber bullets, smoke grenades, tear gas, and sonic crowd control devices (extremely loud, high pitched beeps that hurt the ear). It’s important to note that even as the attack began, members of the crowd held their hands up to communicate that they meant no harm to the officers.
This is a shameful chapter of American history.
Note: If the video doesn’t play from this blog, go to the “view original” link below the video.
The police ordered all TV crews to leave the scene—quite obviously because the police did not want a record of what they were about to do. But KARG Argus Radio stayed with a camera and recorded what looks very much like a police attack on angry but peaceful protesters. This is amazing footage, taken in Ferguson MO last night:
After reading about Eric Garner and seeing the video on Time.com of him being attacked by members of the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), the official ruling of his death as homicide brings mixed emotions. I’m sad that it has been confirmed by a medical examiner that he was indeed killed by the rough treatment he received by police, including a choke hold. But I’m glad, too- glad that the NYPD can no longer try to feed the Black community lies about how Garner really died. The homicide ruling leaves no room for the police’s previous excuses, which include that they believed he was not in any distress during or after several officers roughly subdued and took Garner down with a chokehold, pushing his head into the pavement and practically piling on top of him.