Most people assume, if your were stopped by the Police, you must have been doing something to draw their attention. For many years I believed that until, I found myself being detained by the police.
Some people assume, blacks and latino’s are pulled over because they live in high crime areas and its reasonable for police to be aggressive in these areas. I’ve been detained in low crime areas,from Granite Bay, to Santa Fe Springs, Ca..
Those traffic stops, have changed who I am. I am a law abiding American. When I travel to other countries, am not tense in my rental car. However, in America, I’m guarded and resigned. I know its not right, but it is what it is. I am hyper aware of the double take, the feeling the officer may make a U-turn and pull me and detain me. My insurance card and registration always near by in a plastic bag. When stopped, I know the routine. Hanging both arms out of the window, and the worry. Hoping the officer is even tempered, so I can avoid a long interrogation or worse and office who gets out of his car with his gun drawn .
On July 17, Eric Garner raised both of his arms and said don’t touch me
He was unarmed
Police suspected Garner of selling cigarettes illegally.
A few minutes later, the father of six was dead at the scene.
The New York Medical Examiner ruled Garner’ death a homicide.
The New York City Police Department prohibits choke holds.
Yesterday, a grand jury found that there was no “reasonable cause” to indict New York City Police Officer,Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. Garner, like Michael Brown was unarmed.
Echos of Rodney King-The Power of Video
Unlike, Michael Browns death, Eric Garners death was regional. Few people beyond the east coast knew the details of his death. This changed yesterday.
Unlike Michael Brown, there is a video, by noon today, 50 million people around the world will see Eric Garners death.
What they wont find is a video of him strong arming a storekeeper.
50 years ago, it was the images of police and government using dogs and sticks to attack peaceful protesters in the south.
50 years ago, it was the images of dead and wounded young solders dying that galvanized a nation to end the war.
Nearly 23 years ago, the nation witnessed Rodney King being brutally beaten by four police officers. A California jury acquitted the four officers.
For many Black and Latino’s this is just another example of their lives having little value.
Police relations are strained in many communities across the nation. While it is a national problem, it isn’t a national issue. It is a local issue.
From Ferguson to Fresno, there are issues unique to their community. The make up of the police must reflect the community at large. To make this happen those wanting change must to get involved to help draft changes in police policy .
One of the central issues too many, is the liberal use of lethal force. When there is a man with a knife, and ten officers why shoot to kill? Is shooting at his head and chest the only option?
My limited research says, this is a standard target.
Why not change the target and training to include the limbs, with a emphasis on disabling. When it is clear the person doesn’t have a gun.
We need to calmly and openly talk about race and our differences. Some understanding will follow. Rapidly changing demographics suggests flexible policing policy is needed.
Its clear, when the population in Ferguson’s changed, the polices did not. No effort made to replace outgoing police officers with who looked like the community and this happened because, few locals participated in the elections.
Assuming and Preparing for the Worst. Michael Brown and the Ferguson Police Department
The individual officers are not the enemy. Like the protesters the majority are there to peacefully support the cause. However, there are a few who tarnish the badge.
Anarchist Opportunist Tarnishes Brown-Ferguson-Oakland
The next few days will be challenging for this country. There are people who are outraged by the verdicts. There are others, who support the officers and the outcome. If we are able to talk, and make change the country wins.