Kadiatou Diallo will never forget the day she lost her son, Amadou Diallo, nor the police officers who killed him, one of whom received a promotion this week.
By Jay Dodd
News broke over the weekend of a Dallas suburb police officer terrorizing a group of Black and Brown kids attending a swimming party in an affluent neighborhood’s community pool. The graphic video depicts Corporal Eric Casebolt dragging a Black girl across a yard, shoving her to the ground and waving his gun at several unarmed teens. The community pool was the location for an end-of-year celebration, of which many had guest passes. In other words, they were invited to this space to celebrate with their friends and ended up face to face with state terror because, Black.
While pundits and racists muse whether the officer had probable cause; all of those opinions are trash. In what universe does an police officer need to press both his knees into the back of an unarmed child wearing a bikini? Moreover, why were the police called in the first place?
“The initial call came in as a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave. McKinney Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting.”
However, teens shared that the fight began between adults slinging racial slurs at the Black teens enjoying the pool; dismissing them back to “Section 8 [public] housing”. So when the cops arrive panic ensued.
Hmm, you call police on a bunch of unarmed Black teens and they freak out and run away? Go figure.
While many of the White teens present at the time attempted to advocate for the Black kids and themselves, this incident is a wake up call for any “white ally” who thinks simply having Black friends is enough. Black kids aren’t afforded childhoods. Our boys will never just be boys. Our girls aren’t allowed to be carefree. Black kids are read as terror. Even the white boy who filmed it is quoted saying “[The cop] didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.”
We have seen state violence take children before. We have mourned Aiyana Jones and Tamir Rice. We have mourned Cameron Tillman and VonDerrit Myers Jr. Anti-black state terror doesn’t see age; it doesn’t afford Black children their youth.
And seemingly for the first time ever, no Black lives were lost in this instance of state violence.
An investigation by The Guardian has found that Black and Latino people killed by police are more than twice as likely to be unarmed than white people.
From The Guardian:
Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people, according to a Guardian investigation which found 102 of 464 people killed so far this year in incidents with law enforcement officers were not carrying weapons.
The findings emerged from a database filled by a five-month study of police fatalities in the US, which calculated that local and state police and federal law enforcement agencies are killing people at twice the rate calculated by the US government’s official public record of police homicides. The database names five people whose names have not been publicly released.
The Guardian’s statistics include deaths after the police use of a Taser, deaths caused by police vehicles and deaths following altercations in police custody, as well as those killed when officers open fire. They reveal that 29% of those killed by police, or 135 people, were black. Sixty-seven, or 14%, were Hispanic/Latino, and 234, or 50%, were white. In total, 102 people who died during encounters with law enforcement in 2015 were unarmed.
Read more at The Guardian.
Photo: The Guardian
A Georgia police department has fired nine sheriffs over the Jan. 1st death of Matthew Ajibade.
Ajibade, 22, was found dead in his Chatham County, Ga. cell after being arrested during a bipolar episode. During his arrest, he was handcuffed to a chair and tasered by officers.
The firings come after a probe led by Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The Chatham County District Attorney’s Office is still determining whether charges will be brought.
Read more at Huffington Post.
North Charleston, S.C. police officer, Michael T. Slager, has been charged with murder. Slager claimed that during a traffic stop, Walter L. Scott took his stun gun and that he shot Scott in self-defense. The story would have stopped there if a video of the incident had not been recorded by an on-looker.
The video shows Scott running away as Slager fired eight shots into his back. After shooting Scott, Slager can be seen dropping an object near Scott’s body. He then radioed that he shot Scott for taking his taser.
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong and if you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision,” Mayor Keith Summey told the press.
*Update*: The Justice Department has announced that the FBI will investigate the shooting, reports the Washington Post.
Read more at the New York Times.
Photo: New York Times/Screenshot
In total, 290 people have been killed during police encounters since the beginning of 2015. The tally kept by the website Killed By Police is much higher than the vastly incomplete FBI statistics. For comparison, the UK has only seen 52 police killings since 1900, reports Shaun King. Yes, since 1900.
— No Justice No Peace (@drumbeats4peace) April 1, 2015
Photo: Ferguson, Missouri/Wikimedia Commons
Chamblee, Ga. police shot and killed Anthony Hill Monday night. Hill, who was unarmed and naked, suffered from bipolar disorder.
According to the New York Times, police were called with reports “about a man acting deranged, knocking on doors and running naked.”
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) March 10, 2015
The police department claims that Hill was shot after attempting to charge at the officer and ignoring requests to stop. The officer has been placed on administrative leave and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining the shooting. The officer did have the option of using a taser but Cedric L. Alexander, the DeKalb County deputy chief operating officer for public safety, said that he did not know whether the officer used the taser or not.
Hill was very active on social media and often discussed his struggles with the disorder. He was also a musician and an Air Force veteran.
I am thankful to be something other than normal. I don’t fight my circumstance, I embrace it. I love myself. Always #IAmBipolar
— Lanta (@AntHeezie) March 5, 2015
— Patrick J. (@PatNasty24) March 10, 2015
His death highlights the intersections between race, mental health and police brutality. Alexander told the public that officers do receive training in dealing with mentally ill citizens but it is clear that training didn’t prevent the death of Anthony Hill.
Read more at the New York Times.
Photo: Anthony Hill/Facebook
Nineteen year-old Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. was shot by Madison, Wisconsin police officer Matt Kenny on Friday, March 6th. Since Friday night, demonstrations have swelled in Madison, with Robinson’s family and community members demanding answers.
Robinson’s death comes just after the DOJ released a scathing report on the city of Ferguson’s racist policies. The DOJ also announced that they would not pursue charges against Darren Wilson, the officer responsible for Mike Brown’s death. The DOJ outcome seems to be representative of Duke University sociologist, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, findings that we have moved into an era of there being “racism without racists.”
1. Who was Tony Terrell Robinson, Jr?:
Tony was a recent high school graduate. It has been reported that Robinson suffered from anxiety, depression, ADHD. There’s a larger conversation to be had about policing and the intersections of race and mental health.
2. Robinson appears to have been shot in his own home:
Police claim that Kenny was responding to a domestic disturbance report when he shot and killed Robinson. Kenny is said to have forced his way inside of Robinson’s home after hearing a disturbance and fired shots after Robinson attempted to attack him.
3. The officer responsible was cited for the shooting of a Black man in 2007:
Matt Kenny shot and killed Ronald Brandon in 2007. Kenny was eventually exonerated from any wrong doing.
4. Wisconsin is the worst place for Black Americans in the county:
No, that is not an hyperbole. A study determined that Black Americans fair worse in the state of Wisconsin than any other state in the Union. Milwaukee also has the distinction of incarcerating the highest amounts of Black men in the country.
5. What’s happening in response:
Young, Gifted and Black, a youth organization, has led the organizing surrounding Robinson’s death. Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration at Madison’s capitol building today.
— Nico Savidge (@NSavidge) March 9, 2015
6. Why is this important?
Because Black lives matter.
For roughly 40 years, the Chicago Police have run a ‘black site‘. The off-the-books Homan Square facility has been a place of torture and where prisoners were “disappeared.”
From the Guardian:
The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
- Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
- Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
- Shackling for prolonged periods.
- Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
- Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
Read more at the Guardian
Stewart Ferrin, a 25-year-old Arizona State University police officer, resigned Monday after a lengthy controversy following his violent arrest of ASU professor Ersula Ore last May, the Arizona Republic reported. And he did so in dramatic fashion.
In a letter he wrote to ASU police chief Mike Thompson, Stewart wrote that the 7 1/2 months he spent on paid administrative leave from his job, “caused great financial stress and emotional anguish,” by preventing “lateral opportunities” with other prospective employers, and possibilities for more training and promotions within the agency he currently served.
Last May, Ferrin stopped Ore, who’s a professor in the university’s English department, for jaywalking. Video eventually showed that Ferrin and other officers strongarmed Ore, and eventually threw her to the ground.
What started as a volatile incident between the professor and the police officer soon became a lengthy legal and political drama. While ASU initially backed Ferrin, and said he hadn’t violated any policies that evening, Ore meanwhile was charged with resisting arrest and other crimes. She pleaded guilty to charges of resisting arrest, and is currently serving a nine-month probation sentence, the Phoenix New Times reported. Investigators with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office also all subsequenty concluded that Ferrin was guilty of no wrongdoing, the Phoenix New Times reported.
Read more at Colorlines