War on War on Black America: What’s in store for 2015
Black Americans are in the eye of the storm. Militarized cops target them nationwide.
“(S)tate-sanctioned killings.” Casualties of war. Ongoing daily against black Americans. Compounded by other systemic abuses.
Including judicial unfairness. Get tough on crime policies. Mandatory minimum sentences. Guilty unless proved innocent. Three strikes and you’re out.
Racist drug laws. Stop-and-frisk. Driving while black. Filling the world’s largest gulag. Mostly with people of color.
One in every eight black males is incarcerated on any given day. According to Law Professor Michelle Alexander:
“More black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War began.”
Mostly because of the racist war on drugs. Waged “almost exclusively in poor communities of color.”
In some inner-city ones, around 80% of Black youths can expect criminal injustice prosecutions one or more times in their lifetimes.
Around 70% return to prison within two years of release. If we returned to pre-1980 prison levels, “(m)ore than a million people working in the system would see their jobs disappear,” said Alexander.
Billions of dollars are at stake. America’s prison/industrial complex is by far the world’s largest. Bigger than China’s with four times the population.
Over 60% of black men born in 1965 or later without high school degrees have prison records. Marking them for life.
Vulnerable to re-arrest. Targeted by militarized cops. Arrested for any reason or none at all. Murdered by police unaccountably.
In big cities. Small ones. Urban areas. Rural ones. Militarized cops make their own rules. Operating extrajudicially. Killing with impunity.
On December 20, two police officers patrolling Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant community were shot and killed in their car.
NYPD deputy chief Kim Royster said Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were struck in their upper bodies.
The assailant fled to a nearby subway station. Identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo condemned “this deplorable act of violence.” Ordered flags on all state government buildings lowered to half staff. Honoring Liu and Ramos. Saying:
“I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.”
“Like all law enforcement personnel, Officers Liu and Ramos put their lives on the line in order to serve their communities, and it is with great sadness that we mourn their passing after a senseless and deplorable act of violence.”
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of these two brave men. We will remember their service with pride and endless gratitude.”
“Tonight, we all come together to mourn the loss of these brave souls.”
On Saturday, thousands from New York and elsewhere gathered in and around Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens. Attending Ramos’ funeral. Honoring the slain men.
Including police and mourners. The Washington Post reported “a sea of police officers watch(ing) on big screens set up for the ceremony.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio attended. So did Governor Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden. “At the end of the day, we are one,” said Cuomo.
“One people, one state, one community, one family. Somos uno. Somos uno. Somos uno.” We are one in Spanish.
“Our hearts ache for you,” Biden told Ramos’ family. “Your husband, and his partner, they were a part of New York’s finest, and that’s not an idle phrase.”
“When an assassin’s bullet targeted two officers, it targeted this city and it touched the soul of an entire nation.”
Mayor de Blasio called the shootings “a particularly despicable act.”
“When a police officer is murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. It is an attack on all of us.”
“It is an attack on everything we hold dear. We depend on our police to protect us against forces of criminality and evil.”
Obama issued a statement on the day of the killings, saying:
“I unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City.”
“Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification.”
The New York Times headlined “Long Line of Blue, Mourning the First of Two Slain Comrades.”
Reporting “an overwhelming display of solidarity and sorrow.” Saying “tens of thousands of police officers from across the country joined with (their New York comrades) to pay their respects…”
Who mourns for killer cop victims? For Trayvon Martin. Unarmed. Threatening no one. Murdered by Sanford, FL neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman.
A killer cop equivalent by any standard. An earlier article discussing his acquittal asked when is killing a non-threatening unarmed teenager not murder?
When civil rights don’t matter. When Jim Crow justice prevails.
When victims are black. When mostly or entirely white jurors call cold-blooded murder self-defense.
When a jury of peers representing both sides fairly is verboten. When killing black males in America is OK when whites do it.
When a culture of violence prevails. When institutionalized racism is longstanding. When conventional wisdom says black males aren’t victims. They’re prone to violence.
When equity and justice are four-letter words. When human life has no value. When society doesn’t give a damn if a black male dies. When lawlessness is part of the national culture.
Cold-blooded murders is considered self-defense when killer cops are involved.
Who mourned for 18-year-old Michael Brown. Murdered by police officer Darren Wilson. Exonerated despite killing an unarmed youth. Posing no threat. With no criminal record.
An independent autopsy revealing six bullet wounds showed Wilson wanted him to die.
Who mourned for 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Playing in a park. With his sister and friend. Gunned down by Cleveland police.
What about Eric Garner. Father of six. Called a “neighborhood peacemaker.” A generous, congenial person.
Threatening no one. Deserving to live. Murdered by police officer Daniel Pantaleo’s chokehold. “I can’t breathe” cries for help were ignored.
What about Oscar Grant. Unarmed. Threatening no one. Oakland, CA transit officer Johannes Mehserle thrust him face-down on the ground.
Claiming he resisted arrest. Despite having committed no crime. Shot in the back. Murdered in cold blood. Five bystanders witnessed it. Videotape on at least four cameras confirmed it.
Convicted of involuntary manslaughter. A rarity. Sentenced to two years in prison. Reduced to 292 days. For time served in jail. Free since June 2011.
Grant’s family, relatives and friends were outraged. Demanded first-degree murder. His mother Wanda said “Oscar was murdered and the law has not held the officer accountable.” Jurors didn’t comment.
What about Amadou Diallo. New York cops fired 41 shots. Struck him 19 times. Killing him while standing unarmed in his apartment building vestibule.
What about Sean Bell. New York cops murdered him in cold blood. Celebrating the eve of his wedding. Struck dozens of times. As he emerged from a nightclub unarmed. Unthreatening. Prosecutions didn’t follow.
NYPD cops illegally entered unarmed Ramarley Graham’s home. With no search warrant or probable cause. Murdering him in his kitchen.
Similar incidents occur often. Killer cops are absolved. Occasionally, disciplinary reprimands follow. Cops lie.
Claiming self-defense. Deadly force used only when threatened, they say. Hundreds of cases annually show indiscriminate violence.
Black lives don’t matter. Cold-blooded murder is called justifiable homicide. Nearly one black victim daily proves otherwise.
Who mourns for society’s most vulnerable? Nameless, faceless victims. Blacks most often. Justice in America remains denied.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/