The Niggerization of America

"Against a historical backdrop of a people who have been so terrorized, traumatized and stigmatized that we have been taught to be scared, intimidated, always afraid, distrustful of one another and disrespectful of one another.

When you niggerized you unsafe,unprotected,subject to random violence,hated for who you are and you become so scared that you defer to the powers that be and are willing to consent to your own domination"

Cornell West

Monday, December 15, 2014

Congress Just Passed A Law Requiring Police Departments To Count How Many People They Shoot

  Posted on

 This week as all eyes were on budget deal wrangling, with little attention and fanfare, Congress actually got something done to reform the police. It passed a bill that could result in complete, national data on police shootings and other deaths in law enforcement custody.
Right now, we have nothing close to that. Police departments are not required to report information about police to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Some do, others don’t, others submit it some years and not others or submit potentially incomplete numbers, making it near-impossible to know how many people police kill every year. Based on the figures that are reported to the federal government, ProPublica recently concluded that young black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than whites.
Under the bill awaiting Obama’s signature, states receiving federal funds would be required to report every quarter on deaths in law enforcement custody. This includes not those who are killed by police during a stop, arrest, or other interaction. It also includes those who die in jail or prison. And it requires details about these shootings including gender, race, as well as at least some circumstances surrounding the death.
The bill is a reauthorization of legislation that expired in 2006. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) has been trying to revive it since then without success. Scott told the Washington Post the first time the bill passed in 2000, it took years before data started to come in, because of “the way government works,” and then the bill expired. But if states don’t report information, the federal government could use its power to withhold funds to force compliance. It passed the House last year, but finally moved through the Senate this week on the momentum of post-Ferguson outrage.
The bill also “[r]equires the Attorney General to study such information and report on means by which it can be used to reduce the number of such deaths.”

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Police officers involved in shootings of unarmed individuals make claims that are either refuted by witnesses or a autopsy report

Aiyana S. Jones
Joseph Weekley
A flash bang grenade, a gun shot and within moments 7 year old Aiyana Standley's Jones lifeless bloody corpse lay on a sofa where she had been asleep. For police officer Joseph Weekley the lies and excuses for firing the fatal shot begin before the child's body can turn cold. 

Weekley gave three different accounts of his version of events which led to Aiyana's death. He first created the mythic lie of blaming the victim's grandmother for brushing up against his weapon causing it to go off. That lie was dispelled when the grandmother testified she was nowhere near Weekley when the shot was fired. She called him a," dirty lying cop ", on the stand in the first trial which resulted in a hung jury. 

It's typical of cops involved in shootings of unarmed individuals to play, "blame the victim", for contributing to their own death. Every shooting victim is flawed, defamed and eventually forgotten. The subsequent investigations are inherently a myriad of excuses or coverups by police. Their answers are rehearsed, the details are reconstructed or summarily dismissed. The truth becomes hidden. Human tragedy is neatly packaged as a, 'clean kill' and given as pity to a grieving family and a apathetic public. The explanations to justify the use of deadly force are highly subjective while individual police officer motives go unexamined. Their perceptions are protected by that familiar innocuous line, "I feared for my life." 

Skewed by their own racial bias these trigger happy killers are inebriated with power and authority. Their recollections become vague and personal accounts are often contradicted by eye witnesses or refined for the most favorable circumstances to justify a quick seamless exoneration and vindication of their crimes. Police spokesperson's often repeat the same morass of police-speak in words and phrases like: victims failures, mistakes, critical errors, mishandled weapons, dimly lit areas, cell phones, shinny objects, sudden lurching motions, fidgeting in car, hands in pockets, reaching in a waistband, holding keys, or a wallet and not seeing the victims hands. In the sanitized world of police theory and practice victims always initiate provocation even when no direct threat is present to an officer or the public's safety. 

More recently police are claiming victims are suicidal defying the laws physics and shooting themselves in the head while handcuffed in the back seat of police cars. As the incidents of shooting unarmed people increases the more irrational the explanations given by police. This is the war and the innocent deaths of unarmed people will either appall us to protest or push us deeper into our own private desensitized narcissistic reality.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Parents of Detroit shooting woman demand answers over death

'I can't imagine what that man feared from her,' says mother after Theodore Wafer is charged with murder and manslaughter.

Monica McBride and Walter Ray Simmons, parents of shooting victim Renisha McBride, speak to reporters.
Renisha McBride
 Monica McBride and Walter Ray Simmons, parents of shooting victim Renisha McBride

The parents of a 19-year-old black woman who was shot in the face on the porch of a suburban Detroit home say they find it hard to believe their daughter posed a threat to the man charged in connection with her death.
Theodore Wafer
Walter Ray Simmons and Monica McBride spoke publicly Friday after Theodore Wafer was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of Renisha McBride on his Dearborn Heights porch.

"I can't imagine what that man feared from her. I would like to know why," Monica McBride said.
Police say Renisha McBride was shot a couple of hours after being involved in a nearby car accident on 2 November. Family members say the former high school cheerleader probably approached Wafer's home for help. Wafer's lawyer, Mack Carpenter, said the pre-dawn hour and McBride's condition – a toxicology report found she had alcohol and marijuana in her system – contribute to his client's "very strong defence".

The shooting has drawn attention from civil rights groups who called for a thorough investigation and believe race was a factor in the shooting. McBride was black; prosecutors said Wafer is white. Some have drawn comparisons between the case and that of Trayvon Martin, the black, unarmed 17-year-old Florida boy shot in 2012 by a suspicious neighbour. Neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted in July of second-degree murder.

McBride's parents are relieved to see the wheels of justice turning but cannot accept any claim to self-defence. "I couldn't accept no apology because my daughter don't breathe no more," said her father, Walter Ray Simmons. "I believe this man took my daughter's life for no reason. We just want justice done."

Wafer, 54, was arraigned on Friday afternoon on the murder and manslaughter charges as well as a felony weapons charge. A probable cause hearing was set for 18 December.

What happened between when McBride crashed into a parked vehicle several blocks north of Wafer's neighbourhood and the shooting remains unclear. Police received an emergency call from Wafer about 4:42am, in which he tells the dispatcher: "I just shot somebody on my front porch with a shotgun, banging on my door." They found McBride's body on the porch.

Under a 2006 Michigan self-defence law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must show that his or her life was in danger.
Prosecutors say evidence shows McBride knocked on a locked screen door and did not try to force her way in. The interior front door was open, and Wafer fired through "the closed and locked screen door", said prosecutor Kym Worthy, who declined to discuss details about the investigation. "We do not believe he acted in lawful self-defence," she added.

A toxicology report released on Thursday showed McBride, a 2012 Southfield High School graduate, had a blood alcohol content of about 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving. Her blood also tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana.

Worthy insisted on Friday that race was not relevant in her decision to file charges and would not compare the case to Martin's death.

Wafer has worked at a local airport for 10 years and has a clean record except for having been in court for past drunken-driving cases, Carpenter said.

Wafer's brick bungalow is in north-east Dearborn Heights, a town adjacent to Detroit and a diverse area that is home to white, black and Arab-American residents. His neighbourhood consists mostly of well-kept bungalows and small ranches, and is near a community college campus and a mosque. McBride's family members were also hesitant to point to McBride's skin colour as a reason she was shot.

"We didn't want to make this a racial situation. We didn't want to inflame anybody," family attorney Gerald Thurswell said. "The family is not taking a position that this is black or white. You don't take a gun and shoot somebody because there's a noise outside."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

by D.Large

Renisha McBride
I just posted the story of 19 year old Renisha McBride, the black female shot in the back of the head with a shot gun by a white homeowner, as she was seeking assistance after her car broke down.

A home owner kills and unarmed non threatening young lady and her only mistake was thinking some good and decent homeowner would come to her aid and distress.

But she acted as any of us would have in seeking assistance.

Maybe she wasn't aware of the white neighborhood she found herself in considering the urgency of the her situation. 

Who thinks about the color of people in a neighborhood when they need help?

But, I doubt seriously if this young lady had been in a predominantly black neighborhood a homeowner would have open fire on her with a shot gun. 

Her death is a stark reminder that being black in a white community in this country can be extremely dangerous and fatal.

But what would provoke and individual to take such extreme action against a defenseless woman?

Have we reached the point in this society that a man with a shotgun against an unarmed woman feels compelled to shoot  rather ask a few questions?

Would a reasonable person in this exact situation shoot first without attempting to make an inquiry as to why the young lady was knocking on the door?

The problem with this killing is that it goes much deeper than just  a frightened fearful homeowner afraid for his safety.

Ms. McBride and other unarmed people killed by police, vigilantes and homeowners are only victims and casualties of white supremacy....the plague that can't stop killing.

The same white supremacy that has been responsible for the illegal lynchings, kidnappings and murders of black people since their arrival in U.S.

White supremacy gives the false and irrational sense of entitlement, privilege, dominance that a white person has a "natural right" to kill a black person to defend themselves not based on any perceived threat but because blacks are viewed and treated as inferior to whites. 

Ms.McBride is dead not because she posed a serious threat to a homeowner. Her black skin color dictated and signaled to her killer he had a bound "right or duty" to defend his property because McBride was black.

No need here to expand on all the negative connotations and stereotypes ingrained in the minds of whites which are associated with being black in this country.

The long held myth saturated in the minds of fearful whites that being black assumes motivations of criminality and illegal behavior is what contributed to Ms. McBride's death.

The truth is for many whites in this country when it comes to situations involving black strangers where they subjectively perceive their personal safety is in jeopardy..... without any necessary provocation......their first response will be to "shoot first" with no thought for the repercussions of their actions.  

The "Stand Your Ground" laws passed and enacted in numerous states only serve to preserve white supremacy and insulate whites from their acts of violence against people of color in this country.

Detroit Woman Killed by Homeowner While Trying to Find Help

A Detroit woman was killed early Saturday morning while presumably asking for help after her car broke down and her cell phone died. Renisha McBride, 19, was shot in the head with a shotgun on the front porch of a house in Dearborn Heights while, according to her family, seeking help after a car accident. They claim that McBride, an African-American, was a victim of racial profiling.

Police have identified the man who fired the shot but have not released his identity. On Wednesday, they asked the county prosecutor to issue a warrant for his arrest, but the prosecutor sent it back, with a spokesperson stating, "We have requested further investigation by the police that must be submitted to our office before a decision will be made."

Neighbors told a local FOX affiliate that officers on the scene said that the shooter believed someone was trying to force their way into the home and got nervous.

As Gawker notes, Michigan has self-defense legislation similar to Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law, which was frequently brought up surrounding the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin trial, and the incident bears resemblance to an incident in Charlotte, North Carolina, in mid-September, in which a man seeking assistance was shot and killed by police.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Former Phoenix officer concludes testimony at his trial for murder, animal cruelty charges

"Chrisman was on a tear the moment he got to Rodriguez's door, then pulled out his gun and pressed it to the suspect's head." ...police officer testimony against Richard Chrisman.

PHOENIX — A former Phoenix police officer charged with murder and animal cruelty acknowledged Wednesday under intense cross-examination that he was the aggressor in the early stages of a domestic violence call before he shot and killed a man and his dog, but he noted it was his job to try to restrain a resisting suspect.

Richard Chrisman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated assault and animal cruelty charges. He maintains the October 2010 shootings of Daniel Rodriguez, 29, and his pit bull, Junior, were justified because Rodriguez reached for the officer's gun during a tussle and tried to attack him with a bicycle.

Authorities say Chrisman abused his police powers by killing an unarmed man who posed no threat to officers. He was fired from the Phoenix Police Department about five months after the shooting.

On Chrisman's second day of testimony before a Phoenix jury, prosecutor Juan Martinez aggressively questioned the former officer's recollection of the shooting while accusing him of fabricating key elements of the case.

"Do you have problems with your memory about this very significant incident?" Martinez snapped.

"It was three years ago, and I don't remember everything about it," Chrisman replied.

"He never touched you, did he?" Martinez asked pointedly.

"Yes, he did," Chrisman responded.

"And when he tries to get away from you a second time, you're the one who escalates the situation when you pulled your gun?" Martinez asked.

"I pulled out my gun, yes," Chrisman said.

"I don't get to run away," the former officer later explained. "My job is not to run away from criminals who don't want to be apprehended."

Later, Martinez emphasized loudly that Chrisman's "job is not to kill people."

The prosecutor also accused Chrisman of shooting in haste instead of holstering his weapon and trying to physically stop the man from wielding the bicycle.

"You had time to holster your gun, didn't you?" Martinez said.

"No, I did not," replied Chrisman, who concluded his testimony Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Chrisman detailed for jurors how he and another officer arrived at the scene and made contact with a woman who had called authorities to report that her son, Rodriguez, had become violent.

Chrisman said he learned before arriving that Rodriguez had a criminal history of drug use and weapons offenses, which elevated his awareness of what he sensed could become a dangerous encounter.

Chrisman said he and another officer received permission from the suspect's mother to enter their trailer, but Rodriguez refused to let them in at first. Chrisman eventually entered the home, and got into an altercation with the man as he refused to come outside to speak with officers.

Meanwhile, Chrisman testified, the man's pit bull was becoming aggressive, at one point lunging toward him, leading Chrisman to shoot the dog twice.

Amid tears, Chrisman explained how pepper spray and his stun gun failed to stop the suspect's aggressive behavior and screaming as the two then struggled, and Rodriguez picked up a bicycle from the living room floor.

"He was going to smash my brains in. ... I fired two rounds, center mass," Chrisman said.

Rodriguez died at the scene.

Martinez has accused Chrisman of manipulating the scene, lying about when he arrived and not following protocol.

Chrisman's testimony has run counter to that of the other officer who was at the scene. That officer previously told jurors that Chrisman was on a tear the moment he got to Rodriguez's door, then pulled out his gun and pressed it to the suspect's head.

Chrisman has denied the allegations. The other officer also told jurors the suspect was backing away and was no longer a threat when Chrisman opened fire.

Chrisman has accused the officer of not being there to help with the struggling suspect inside the trailer, and at one point, even taking a personal call on his cellphone during the incident.

Opening statements in Chrisman's trial began in early August.

Off duty cop gets road rage shoots and kills unarmed man

By JG Vibes
reporting from San Antonio, Texas
September 7,2013

This past Saturday a San Antonio man was shot and killed by an off duty cop after both vehicles pulled to the side of the road for some unknown reason, most likely a minor traffic incident. The victim of the attack was an unarmed 29 year old man named Matthew Jackson.

According to the family Matthew was sitting in the car at the time of the shooting, but the police are denying that and refusing to show any type of evidence.

KENS5 reported that Jackson’s wife and brother said they drove by the scene separately around 7 a.m. looking for Mathew, since he never came home that night.
Both people said Mathew’s body was in the front seat of his car, with his left foot on the ground and he appeared to be shot while sitting in his own vehicle.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said that evidence gathered at the scene and the preliminary investigation indicates that is not accurate.

Jackson’s family gathered near the scene and said they waited more than two hours before getting to talk with investigators.[1]

“I want to know the truth and I gotta rely on them to find that,” said his brother Patrick, who questions why Thomas was not given a field sobriety test or why he fired shots at Mathew.

“We aren’t getting answers,” Patrick Jackson said. “And the answers we are getting are misleading.”

“His biggest fear in life was to not be a good dad,” Patrick Jackson said, referring to his brother’s 21/2-year-old son. Matthew Jackson wouldn’t have taken any risks because he was a father, his brother said.[2]

Thomas is now on a paid vacation until the investigation is complete, but unfortunately it is the police who will be investigating the case.

[1] Mathew Jackson’s family calls on sheriff to take close look at fatal deputy-involved shooting - Kens5
[2] Answers sought in man’s death – My San Antonio
JG Vibes is an investigative journalist, staff writer and editor. He is also the author of “Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance”, an 87 chapter e-book and is an artist with an established record
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DOJ denies City of Austin request to review police policies following unarmed shooting

Police Chief Art Acevedo
"Austin, Texas Police Chief Art Acevedo has been consistent in his refusal to hold APD officers that use deadly force against unarmed black men accountable for their actions."
City Manager Marc Ott
The U.S. Department of Justice denied a request Wednesday from City of Austin Manager Marc Ott asking it to review Austin Police Department policies in response to a July 26 department shooting an unarmed black man.
In a Thursday letter to Ott, Jonathan Smith, Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice, said the City of Austin has the systems in place to handle the situation, citing reccomendations made to the city by the DOJ following allegations of deadly force in 2007.

“Together, the City, the Police Department, and these entities can implement, modify, or enhance current systems to ensure that accountability is robust, and that practice does, in fact, follow police,” Smith said in the letter. “Given the systems Austin has in place, and the work it has already undertaken, this may be the most effective way of renewing community confidence in the Police Department and ensuring continued constitutional policing.”

In a statement from the City of Austin published Friday by the Austin American-Statesman, Ott said he is “grateful” for the Department of Justice’s consideration of the matter, despite its decision to deny his request.

Ott’s request was made in August in response to a July 26 police shooting of an unarmed black man named Larry Eugene Jackson Jr., who was pursued and shot in the back of the neck by Austin Police Department Detective Charles Kleinert after failing to properly identify himself and leaving the scene of an unrelated incident near West 34th Street.

After the shooting, Austin civil rights activists spoke out about the incident, publicly protesting.

According to the city statement, Ott has directed Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo to conduct an internal review to determine if APD tactics are consistent with its policies. Ott said in the article that Acevedo is “committed” to reporting his findings in 90 days.

“This is just another opportunity for us to step up to the plate and provide better service than we already do,” Hughes said.

“The DOJ has decided that APD has not engaged in practices that deprive any person rights granted by the laws of the U.S. constitution, but any time the community feels that there is racial bias concerning the actions that we take, we take these concerns very seriously,” APD Lieutenant Edmund Hughes told The Horn.

Hughes said the community is “always the top priority” and APD plans to work with the community to move forward and rebuild trust.

“Our department has always been committed to constant improvement of practices and policies to ensure that we offer the best service possible to the community,” Hughes said.

APD has had multiple open forums since the incident to address concerns from the public, and Hughes said several more are planned.

Local civil rights activist and motivational speaker Chas Moore told The Horn in a Friday statement that he is unhappy with APD’s response to the incident and sees it as a trend within the department.

”Art Acevedo, the same man who once fired an Austin police officer for lying to get a free movie ticket, has been consistent in his refusal to hold APD officers that use deadly force against unarmed black men accountable for their actions,” Moore said, citing the continued employment of officers involved in the death of Larry Jackson and Byron Carter and the department’s decision not to fire Officer Leonardo Quintana for the death of Nathaniel Sanders.

“Now the Department of Justice has essentially said that the APD may continue to pick and choose who it protects and serves,” Moore said.

Friday, August 23, 2013

10 shocking examples of police killing innocent people in the war on drugs

Credit: Trinacria Photo via Shutterstock

This article originally appeared on Alternet.

In a democratic republic, the “innocent until proven guilty” concept is supposed to be sacrosanct. Jurors, police officers, judges and prosecuting attorneys—at least in theory—are required to err on the side of caution, and if a guilty person occasionally goes free, so be it. But with the war on drugs, the concept of innocent until proven guilty has fallen by the wayside on countless occasions. The war on drugs is not only fought aggressively, it is fought carelessly and haphazardly, and a long list of innocent victims have been killed or maimed in the process.

Attorney General Eric Holder recently addressed the war on drugs during a speech for the American Bar Association’s annual meeting, calling for the United States to seriously reevaluate its harsh policy of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent, low-level drug offenses. Holder acknowledged that “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” and he pointed out that according to one report, black males convicted in drug cases typically receive sentences that are 20% longer than the sentences imposed on white males for similar offenses. It was refreshing to hear an attorney general make those statements; also encouraging is a recent Rasmussen poll finding that 82% of Americans see the war on drugs as a failure.

Many people from across the political spectrum—from the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Rev. Jesse Jackson to right-wing libertarians like Ron Paul, Walter Williams and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson—have pointed out that the war on drugs has become much deadlier than the drugs themselves. Innocent civilians have more to fear from botched drug raids and careless police work than they do from drug dealers.
Below are 10 innocent victims who became collateral damage and lost their lives in the war on drugs (there are many, many more).

1. Kathryn Johnston; Atlanta, Georgia, 2006.
Narcotics officers who kill innocent people in the war on drugs often don’t even face suspensions, let alone criminal charges. But the conduct of three Atlanta police officers in the killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was so unscrupulous that all three faced criminal charges.
On November 21, 2006, plainclothes officers Jason R. Smith, Gregg Junnier and Arthur Tesler carried out a no-knock drug raid on Johnston’s Atlanta home based on bad information from an informant/marijuana dealer named Alex White. When they broke in, Johnston (who lived alone in a high-crime area of the city and kept a gun in her house for protection) assumed she was being the victim of a home invasion and fired a shot. But a lot more shooting was done by the officers: a total of 39 shots were fired, several of which hit her. And while Johnston was lying on the floor dying, Smith handcuffed her.
An investigation revealed that after Johnston’s death, a major coverup was attempted, including planting bags of marijuana in her house and trying to bully White into lying and saying that Johnston was selling crack cocaine. Smith, Junnier and Tesler faced a variety of charges from both the federal government and the state of Georgia. Smith and Junnier both pled guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter; Smith also pled guilty to perjury and admitted he planted the marijuana in Johnston’s house. And all three of them pled guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to violate her civil rights. In a civil suit, Johnston’s family was awarded a $490,000 settlement.

2. Tarika Wilson; Lima, Ohio, 2008.
On January 4, 2008, narcotics officer Joseph Chavalia shot and killed 26-year-old Tarika Wilson in Lima, Ohio. Wilson, a single mother, had been romantically involved with a suspected drug dealer named Anthony Terry (who later pled guilty to selling drugs). When Chavalia and other narcotics officers raided the house where Wilson was living, Terry was nowhere to be found. Wilson, however, was in one of the bedrooms; when Chavalia fired shots into that bedroom, she was killed. Wilson’s one-year-old child was also shot but survived, although one of his fingers needed to be amputated.
Chavalia later said he thought shots were coming from that bedroom, but the fact that he killed an unarmed woman holding a baby was inexcusable, especially in light of the fact that Wilson, according to her sister Tania Wilson, was not involved in drug sales herself. In a democratic republic, civilians are not executed in paramilitary-like raids based on guilt by association. And using a SWAT team to go after a small-time drug dealer is bad police work. Although Chavalia was acquitted of criminal charges, Wilson’s family was awarded $2.5 million in 2010 in a civil lawsuit against the city of Lima.

3. The Rev. Accelyne Williams; Boston, 1994.
The Rev. Accelyne Williams was no drug dealer. In fact, the 75-year-old minister was a substance abuse counselor in Boston and had a long history of doing good work in that city’s African-American community. But no good deed goes unpunished, and on March 25, 1994, Williams’ efforts to help a substance abuser led to his death.
That substance abuser was a police informant who gave Boston narcotics officers the address of an alleged drug dealer who lived in the same building as Williams, but a SWAT team raided the wrong apartment—Williams’ apartment—and after being violently shoved onto the ground and handcuffed, the minister began to vomit. Williams suffered a heart attack and died.

4. Annie Rae Dixon; Tyler, Texas, 1992.
Annie Rae Dixon, an 84-year-old African-American woman, was killed by a narcotics officer in Tyler, Texas on January 29, 1992. Dixon, who was a paraplegic and was battling pneumonia, was in her bedroom when narcotics officers raided her home at 2am; an informant claimed he had bought drugs from Dixon’s granddaughter. Narcotics officer Frank Baggett, Jr. said that when he kicked down the door to Dixon’s bedroom, he stumbled—which caused his gun to go off and sent a bullet into Dixon’s chest. No drugs were found in her house.
At an inquest, a predominantly white jury decided that the shooting was accidental and that Baggett should not be charged with anything. Many African Americans in that part of Texas, including members of the local NAACP chapter and Smith County Commissioner Andrew Mellontree, were outraged that Baggett dodged both criminal and civil charges. Mellontree, in a 1992 interview, told the New York Times: “People can’t accept the idea that a 84-year-old grandmother gets shot in her bed, and it’s not even worth a negligence charge.”

5. The Rev. Jonathan Ayers; Toccoa, Georgia, 2009.
One of the most disturbing examples of “collateral damage” in the war on drugs was that of the Rev. Jonathan Ayers, a 28-year-old Baptist minister from northern Georgia. Ayers, who was white, had a reputation for being the type of Christian who didn’t spend all of his time on a soap box preaching about sin and salvation—he actually put his money where his mouth was, became active in his community, and did things to help people. Tragically, that cost Ayers his life when, on September 1, 2009, he gave a woman named Johanna Jones Barrett $23 to help her pay her rent.
Undercover narcotics officers who had been trailing Barrett suspected that she was selling crack cocaine, and when Ayers gave her $23, they began trailing Ayers. When Ayers left a gas station/convenience store after using an ATM and saw three plainclothes officers pointing their guns at him, he had no idea they were cops. Ayers, who obviously thought they were gang members or carjackers, tried to escape but was shot and killed. Not surprisingly, no drugs were found in either Ayers’ vehicle or on his dead body, although one of the officers claimed that before the killing, Barrett had sold him $50 worth of crack cocaine.

6. Rodolfo “Rudy” Cardenas; San Jose, California, 2004.
Had the narcotics officers who confronted Ayers been wearing uniforms that made them easily recognizable as cops, it’s possible that he would not have fled and would still be alive today. But Ayers had no way of knowing he wasn’t being attacked by carjackers or gang members; in fact, the officers who killed him went out of their way to look as thuggish and intimidating as possible. A similar tragedy occurred in San Jose, Calif. on February 17, 2004, when plainclothes officers were attempting to serve a warrant for a drug-related parole violation and 43-year-old Rodolfo Cardenas, a father of five, had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The officers saw Cardenas and assumed he was David Gonzales, the man they were looking for—and when they pointed their guns at Cardenas, he fled (first in a vehicle, then on foot) but was shot in the back and killed. Cardenas, clearly, found himself in the same position as Ayers: he was violently confronted by police officers he didn’t know were police; he ran for his life and was shot dead. Dorothy Duckett, a 78-year-old neighbor, told the San Jose Mercury News that when Cardenas was running away, he had his hands in the air and was yelling, “Don’t shoot.”
Michael Walker, the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement officer who fired the fatal shot, was charged with voluntary manslaughter but was acquitted by a San Jose jury in 2005.

7. Ismael Mena; Denver, Colorado, 1999.
SWAT teams can serve a valuable function in law enforcement. In hostage situations, for example, a SWAT team can save lives. But in the drug war, the combination of SWAT teams, no-knock raids and sloppy police work can have deadly consequences for innocent people. In Denver, one such person was 45-year-old Ismael Mena, who was shot and killed by a SWAT team during a no-knock raid on September 29, 1999. The raid was conducted based on bad information from an informant, but a thorough search of the house turned up no evidence of drug dealing—and an autopsy showed no evidence of drugs in Mena’s body. Apologists for the killing claimed that Mena (a Mexican immigrant) had a gun, and LeRoy Lemos (a community activist) responded: “If police hadn’t gotten the wrong house, Mena would be alive. No matter what the misconduct is, the police are always exonerated.”
ACLU members were critical of the way the raid was handled and asserted that a no-knock raid was totally uncalled for; Mark Silverstein, legal director for the Colorado ACLU, said, “If the government officials who authorized the warrant had followed the law, Ismael Mena would be alive today.”

8. Mario Paz; El Monte, California, 1999.
On August 9, 1999, 64-year-old Mario Paz was in his home in Southern California when up to 20 narcotics officers for the city of El Monte conducted a no-knock raid and used a grenade during the attack. Some of the officers claimed that Paz appeared to be going for a gun, and they fatally shot him twice in the back in front of his wife. Although Paz was a gun owner, he never shot at the officers—he didn’t live long enough. No drugs were found in the house, and Bill Ankeny (El Monte’s assistant police chief) later acknowledged that there was never any evidence of the Paz family being involved in drug dealing.
The decision to raid the Paz home, according to Ankeny, was made after narcotics officers found some bills and Department of Motor Vehicle records containing the family’s address among the possessions of a drug suspect named Marcos Beltrán. Back in the 1980s, Beltrán had lived next door to the Paz family—and at one point, they agreed to let Beltrán receive mail in their home. So in other words, El Monte officers conducted a commando-style raid on the Paz home based on the fact that a drug suspect (who was out on bail and hadn’t been convicted) had received some mail in their home during the previous decade.

9. Alberta Spruill; New York City, 2003.
In many cases, politicians (both Democrats and Republicans) are so afraid of being considered soft on drugs that they are reluctant to say anything critical of narcotics officers no matter how badly they screw up. But in the case of 57-year-old Harlem resident Alberta Spruill, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg admitted: “Clearly, the police made a mistake.”
Around 6:10am on May 16, 2003, officers executed a no-knock drug raid on Spruill’s apartment based on bad information they had received from an informant/alleged drug dealer. A concussion grenade was thrown into the apartment; Spruill, a city employee who was getting ready to leave for work, suffered a heart attack and died. After causing Spruill’s death, the officers realized that they had just killed an innocent person. Attorneys for the city of New York agreed to pay $1.6 million to Spruill’s family.

10. Pedro Oregon Navarro; Houston, Texas, 1998.
Drug raids are often conducted based on information from informants (many of them drug users and/or low-level drug dealers), but all too often, the information is unreliable and costs innocent victims their lives. One such victim was 22-year-old Pedro Oregon Navarro. On July 12, 1998, Houston officers raided Navarro’s home based on an alleged drug user’s claim that drugs were being sold there. A total of 30 bullets were fired, and Navarro was shot 12 times. Officers claimed Navarro had a gun and fired at them, but ballistics tests proved that all 30 shots were fired by the officers.
In 1999, Al Robison (president of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas), denounced the killing of Navarro as a “very clear illustration of the insanity of our current drug policy.” The officers who raided Navarro’s home violated department policy by failing to obtain a search warrant. No illegal drugs were found in Navarro’s home, and blood tests conducted after his death showed no traces of any illegal drugs in his system.
Posthumously, Navarro was proven innocent, and his senseless death underscored the need for the United States to seriously reform its misguided drug laws. Had war on drugs supporters learned a lesson from Navarro’s death, it is quite possible that the killings of the Rev. Jonathan Ayers, Rodolfo “Rudy” Cardenas, Alberta Spruill, Mario Paz, Kathryn Johnston and others could have been prevented.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

by D.Large

" We have a right and owe it to our families to defend them to the death if we are facing an enemy that can kill us without feeling....without passion...and without judgement."

Tarika Wilson
On the morning of Jan 4, 2008 a team of police raided the home of 26 year old Tarika Wilson and within moments she was shot dead and her 14 month-old son, named Sincere lay wounded.  

We will never know if Ms. Wilson died with the knowledge her child was injured. Sincere survived but lost an amputated finger.

We will never know the horror of the moment for this young woman and her child as police stormed into her home.

I am reminded of the dialogue in the war movie 'Apocalypse Now' where Marlon Brando playing a rogue American General named 'Kurtz' comments on a return visit to a camp where children had been previously inoculated for polio by U.S medical personnel.

Kurtz:  "We went back there and they Viet Cong had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget."

I wonder if the police officer directly responsible for the death of Tarika Wilson and her wounded child felt any horror witnessing the spectacle of death from his own actions.

I wonder if the officer that killed Tarika Wilson, like Kurtz, has shed any tears or stayed up restless nights replaying the early morning horror of that moment.

We will never know.

In the movie Kurtz had an epiphany concerning the brutality of the enemy, he added,...........

"These were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that.  If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly.  You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment.  Because it's judgment that defeats us"

I often wonder in all the unarmed killings of people of color are we confronting the same enemy in the police that murder and take the lives of minorities without feeling, without passion and without judgment.

If we have arrived at this point then I hope 'our' judgment does not defeat us in our response to these senseless killings. 
We have a right to defend our families to the death if we are indeed facing an enemy that can kill us without feeling....without passion...and without judgement.

Every time we think of the tragedy of Tarika Wilson's death we should imagine the horror she felt that frightful morning. 
For Tarika and her baby....... horror had a face.

The death of Ms. Wilson and wounding of her baby should stay in our memories. 

We should never want to forget.

The Death of Kenneth Chamberlain

By D. Large

One thing we know, Kenneth Chamberlain loved and believed in Mr. Obama and his presidency. In his terror and last moments of life he had the presence of mind to call on the one man he believed could save him.

"Mr. President help".

Kenneth Chamberlain
A terrorized, frail and aging voice crying out,"Mr. President help".

I did not know Kenneth Chamberlain personally but we shared one thing in common, we both served this country as U.S. Marines and that is our bond. He gave his life for this nation. But his death did not happen fighting on some battle field thousands of miles away. He was murdered by a brutal cop named Anthony Carelli. A cop who called a 'Hero' a "nigger" before he shot him to death.

This is how we reward those we call "Heroes" who give their lives for this nation.

A racial slur then a bullet.

The vast majority of whites see no inhumanity in Chamberlain's death. Racism has so broken their souls and damaged their abilities beyond reasonable faculties to have any compassion. Their allegiance is with the police. White, right or wrong.

The death of Kenneth Chamberlain proves we are still misguided by own racial prejudices and bias.

If this type of cruelty and violence would have been perpetuated by a black police officer on a elderly ailing white war veteran the public outcry would be demanding prosecution of the officer or a public lynching.

Prosecutors in this case said the cop was justified in using force. 

Case closed. 

A cop walks free to continue his life. 

Mr. Chamberlain takes his place among the dead.

Nearly five years ago the nation was euphoric because the country showed the world a black man could be elected president. We thought a new day had dawned, A day where race relations would take a step forward and the common good would exalt over the past prejudices and racial hatred.

We wanted to believe, but we were wrong.

Update: Detroit officer accused in death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones faces December retrial

The Detroit police officer accused in death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones will stand trial for the second time on Dec. 4.

The date for Officer Joseph Weekley’s trial was set during a hearing Wednesday before Wayne County Circuit Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway.

Weekley, whose gun went off killing Aiyana during a raid targeting a murder suspect in May 2010, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony, and careless discharge of a firearm causing death, a misdemeanor.

A mistrial was declared in June when the jury told a judge they were hung after nearly three days of deliberations.

Prosecutors argued that Weekley’s failure to use ordinary care caused Aiyana’s death, but the defense has said the girl died in a tragic accident and Weekley was not grossly negligent when he entered the flat.

A television station’s cameras may not be allowed in Hathaway’s courtroom for the second trial after two jurors were inadvertently shown in video shot by WJBK-TV, also referred to as Fox 2, during the first trial.

Hathaway said unless the station pays a $10,000 sanction she previously handed down, their cameras are prohibited from filming any proceedings in her courtroom.

The station’s attorney, James Stewart, addressed the court and apologized on behalf of the station Wednesday.

“It was a mistake. It was a very regrettable mistake,” he said.

Stewart said the photographer didn’t realize his shot included jurors because they weren’t in the view he saw on his video camera.

“We’ve got a violation of the law,” Hathaway said. “There may be an excuse, but it’s not justified. … It’s not accepted.”

She said the violation disrespected all the people involved who tried to put a fair and just trial together.

The station’s news director, along with the photographer who was shooting the day the jurors were shown, were both in the courtroom for the hearing.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guilty plea by New Orleans officer in 2012 drug raid death; apologizes to slain man's family

A measure of justice for the family of unarmed shooting victim Wendell Allen

August 16, 2013 - 3:54 pm EDT

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans police officer apologized in court Friday to the family of the unarmed man he shot to death during a 2012 drug raid, then was led off in handcuffs to begin a four-year sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Joshua Colclough entered the plea before state Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson as family members of 20-year-old Wendell Allen looked on. Colclough apologized to the family for the second time in as many days. Attorneys said he met with Allen's family members at their lawyers' offices on Thursday — the same day he formally resigned from the New Orleans Police Department.

Natasha Allen, the victim's mother, said the shooting devastated her family. However, she said she forgave the officer.

"What I'm doing for you Mr. Colclaugh, is what my son would have done for you," she said.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in court that Allen was shot when police raided a home in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood in March 2012. Authorities at the time said the investigation involved marijuana.

Allen was at the top of the stairway when he was shot in the chest.

"Wendell Allen was only wearing a pair of pants when he appeared to the officers," Cannizzaro told the judge.

Defense attorney Claude Kelly said the shooting resulted from a split-second decision by the 29-year-old Colclaugh.

"Josh will live with this as will the Allen family, until the day he dies," Kelly said in court.
Friday's plea hearing came a day after Colclaugh met with Allen family members and tearfully apologized. WVUE-TV was present and recorded it.

"I wanted to tell you for a very long time how sorry I am. I am so very sorry," he said during that meeting.

"I prayed for you. I prayed God have mercy on your soul, but what took you so long?" Natasha Allen said at one point, also crying.

"I am so sorry it took so long. I'm very sorry for what I've put your family through," Colclough said.

In August 2012, an Allen family attorney said Colclough had been expected to sign a plea agreement to negligent homicide but that deal fell apart.

Kelly said Friday that Colclough wasn't psychologically ready to accept a plea deal a year ago but is genuinely remorseful.

The Oppression of Black people and the Crimes of this system

“The young man was shot 41 times while reaching for his wallet”…“the 13-year-old was shot dead in mid-afternoon when police mistook his toy gun for a pistol”… “the unarmed young man, shot by police 50 times, died on the morning of his wedding day”… “the young woman, unconscious from having suffered a seizure, was shot 12 times by police standing around her locked car”… “the victim, arrested for disorderly conduct, was tortured and raped with a stick in the back of the station-house by the arresting officers.”

Does it surprise you to know that in each of the above cases the victim was Black?

If you live in the USA, it almost certainly doesn’t.

Think what that means: that without even being told, you knew these victims of police murder and brutality were Black. Those cases—and the thousands more like them that have occurred just in the past few decades—add rivers of tears to an ocean of pain. And they are symptoms of a larger, still deeper problem.

But some today claim that America is a “post-racial society.” They say the “barriers to Black advancement” have been largely overcome. Many go so far as to put the main blame for the severe problems faced by Black people today on…Black people themselves. Others claim that better education, or more traditional families, or religion, or elections will solve things.


2012: A Brave New Dystopia

by Chris Hedges

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled.

Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement.

Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse.

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake,” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.

The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.

Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:

“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” he asks.

“I don’t know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”

He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.

The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

The Police Murder of Tarika Wilson

On January 4, a police SWAT squad broke into the home of Tarika Wilson in Lima Ohio. They shot Tarika dead and wounded her 14 month old son Sincere. The vocal outrage among Lima’s Black community has revealed a long and bitter history of police racism and brutalization.

LIMA, Ohio — The air of Southside is foul-smelling and thick, filled with fumes from an oil refinery and diesel smoke from a train yard, with talk of riot and recrimination, and with angry questions: Why is Tarika Wilson dead? Why did the police shoot her baby?

“This thing just stinks to high heaven, and the police know it,” said Jason Upthegrove, president of the Lima chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. “We’re not asking for answers anymore. We’re demanding them.”

Some facts are known. A SWAT team arrived at Ms. Wilson’s rented house in the Southside neighborhood early in the evening of Jan. 4 to arrest her companion, Anthony Terry, on suspicion of drug dealing, said Greg Garlock, Lima’s police chief. Officers bashed in the front door and entered with guns drawn, said neighbors who saw the raid.

Moments later, the police opened fire, killing Ms. Wilson, 26, and wounding her 14-month-old son, Sincere, Chief Garlock said. One officer involved in the raid, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, a 31-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Beyond these scant certainties, there is mostly rumor and rage. The police refuse to give any account of the raid, pending an investigation by the Ohio attorney general.

Black people in Lima, from the poorest citizens to religious and business leaders, complain that rogue police officers regularly stop them without cause, point guns in their faces, curse them and physically abuse them. They say the shooting of Ms. Wilson is only the latest example of a long-running pattern of a few white police officers treating African-Americans as people to be feared.

“There is an evil in this town,” said C. M. Manley, 68, pastor of New Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. “The police harass me. They harass my family. But they know that if something happens to me, people will burn down this town.”

Internal investigations have uncovered no evidence of police misconduct, Chief Garlock said. Still, local officials recognize that the perception of systemic racism has opened a wide chasm.

Surrounded by farm country known for its German Catholic roots and conservative politics, Lima is the only city in the immediate area with a significant African-American population. Black families, including Mr. Manley’s, came to Lima in the 1940s and ’50s for jobs at what is now the Husky Energy Lima Refinery and other factories along the city’s southern border. Blacks make up 27 percent of the city’s 38,000 people, Mr. Berger said.

Many blacks still live downwind from the refinery. Many whites on the police force commute from nearby farm towns, where a black face is about as common as a twisty road. Of Lima’s 77 police officers, two are African-American.

If I have any frustration when I retire, it’ll be that I wasn’t able to bring more racial balance to the police force,” said Chief Garlock, who joined the force in 1971 and has been chief for 11 years.

Tarika Wilson had six children, ages 8 to 1. They were fathered by five men, all of whom dealt drugs, said Darla Jennings, Ms. Wilson’s mother. But Ms. Wilson never took drugs nor allowed them to be sold from her house, said Tania Wilson, her sister.

“She took great care of those kids, without much help from the fathers, and the community respected her for that,” said Ms. Wilson’s uncle, John Austin.

Tarika Wilson’s companion, Mr. Terry, was the subject of a long-term drug investigation, Chief Garlock said, but Ms. Wilson was never a suspect.

During the raid, Ms. Wilson’s youngest son, Sincere, was shot in the left shoulder and hand. Three weeks after the shooting, he remains in fair condition, said a spokeswoman at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Within minutes of the shooting, at around 8 p.m., 50 people gathered outside Ms. Wilson’s home and shouted obscenities at the police, neighbors said. The next day, 300 people gathered at the house and marched two miles to City Hall.
“The police can say whatever they want,” Tania Wilson said. “Even before they shot my sister, I didn’t trust them.”

More Than Half of ‘Armed’ Suspects Shot by LA Sheriff Were Not Armed

A new study has found that in most shootings in which Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies fired at suspects who appeared to be reaching for a weapon, the suspect turned out to be unarmed. And in the last six years, all but two of those people shot were black and Latino, according to the study by the Police Assessment Resource Center for LA County Supervisors.
Over the past six years, approximately 61 percent of all suspects shot because an officer believed they were armed were confirmed to be unarmed at the time of the shooting. A little more than half of those suspects were holding an object such as a cell phone or sunglasses that was believed by deputies to be a possible firearm.
The analysis also found that 61 percent of those shot at by deputies were Latino, 29 percent black and 10 percent white. The LA Times provides some more context: “Waistband shootings” are particularly controversial because the justification for the shootings can conceivably be fabricated after the fact, according to the county monitor’s report. The monitor was careful to point out that the report wasn’t making the case deputies were being dishonest, simply that the spike in those shootings left the department vulnerable to criticism.
Merrick Bobb, special counsel to the county Board of Supervisors, also found a rise in shootings in which deputies didn’t see an actual gun before firing. In those cases, the person may have had a weapon on them, but never brandished it.
Those shootings spiked by 50% last year, according to the report. Last year also had the highest proportion of people shot by deputies who turned out to be unarmed altogether.
The sheriff’s department says these figures are not surprising because deputies patrol areas in south and east Los Angeles County that are home to “a plethora of black and Latino gangs,” the San Jose Mercury News reported.
But Bobb, the special council to county supervisors and the author of the report says training and time on the job has a lot to do with how officers react when suspects hands move. “Knowing that black and Latino men are more likely to be shot or shot at … the sheriff’s department should be doing a better job to reduce as far as possible mistaken shootings,” Bobb wrote.
His report found that in almost a third of shootings deputies had received no relevant training in the past two years.