Alton Sterling’s death proves routine police killings of blacks won’t stop unless we make them

Opinion

 

by Rev. Jarrett B. Maupin, Jr. | July 6, 2016 at 8:13 AM Filed in: News, Opinion
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The Rev. Jarrett B. Maupin, Jr. is a Baptist minister, civil rights leader, and political activist. Follow him on Twitter @ReverendMaupin


It happened again. This time, outside a slummy Baton Rouge liquor store in the early morning hours on the day after America celebrated it’s freedom from oppression and tyranny. Police officers tasered, tackled, and fatally shot a black man – 37 year old Alton Sterling – several times in the chest and in the back.

-Baton Rouge Police Fatally Shoots Black Man Outside Of Convenience Store

The only fortunate thing was that bystanders recorded this startling example of “Southern Justice” on video:

WARNING: This footage contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.

There have been calls, and rightly so, from Civil Rights advocates (including myself, for full disclosure) for the FBI and DOJ to immediately investigate this latest example police brutality. In a matter of seconds, all who watch the video will witness “peace” officers become the judge, jury, and executioners of a young Black man who wasn’t robbing a store, peddling dope, or assaulting anybody.

Most troubling of all was that the killing appeared almost routine. Stop, drop, and shoot. A cavalier and methodical slaying, performed by individuals who should be immediately identified and subsequently relieved of any community policing duties and all weapons they have access to.

The culture of the acceptable murdering of black citizens by police is not new. But I fear, and a even a cursory review of similar incidents and their outcomes will prove, that law enforcement officers nation-wide have been emboldened to continue to commit such heinous acts because the recourse of the afflicted has been circumvented by the racist inner-workings of a failed American justice system.

The effects of acquittals and technical or “policy” exonerations in the cases of Freddie Gray, Michelle Cusseaux, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and a myriad of others are playing out in vivid and painful cellphone footage as police continue to violate the civil rights and extinguish the lives of Black people going about their routine activities.

For cops, there is no fear of investigations. There is no pause for concern of incurring any disciplinary measures. There is nothing in place, with respect to state laws or federal response, to stay the hands of patrolmen from grasping prematurely and unashamedly at their side-arms. It is open season on the Black buck and his female counterpart. An officer need only, “fear for his or her life”, and the wanton killing can begin.

-Police Chief Offers “Four Simple Rules” For Residents Not To Get Shot

The videoed shooting death of Alton Sterling leaves no question about the validity of concerns about the continued use of lethal force by lawmen in black communities in every jurisdiction in the land. Overkill is not a fitting word to describe what occurred onTuesday, July 5th, 2016 in Baton Rouge. Though there are several others that apply: Thuggery, Barbarianism, Callousness, Dehumanization, and on and on.

Protests are in order and have already begun. What happens next should be the application of appropriate levels of political pressure on the Louisiana and federal powers that be. That is what must be different about the situation. Organization, a clear articulation of demands, and unity of mainstream black leadership must appear in Baton Rouge where it has failed to appear elsewhere. Justice, with respect to criminal charges, can be brought about. This is a battle on two fronts. The local crime – a murder committed by municipal police – and the national civil rights issues of inexcusably stalled reforms of policing and the reversal of related weaponized trends.

Only successful action on both matters will result in any meaningful verdicts and change. That means a return for the black community to what has always been our most powerful weapon of revolution: a non-violent, civil disobedience focused, church supported campaign. Like Birmingham and Selma before, the civil rights movement is uniquely positioned to achieve a victory against police brutality and misconduct that has remained illusive in the north and other parts of the country: substantive convictions of the officers involved and the vigorous enforcement, expansion, and protection of our civil rights (with respect to policing) by the federal government.

-Baltimore Police Tries To Explain Shooting 14-Year-Old To Victim’s Brother

This time, after our experiences of falling into and climbing out of the pitfalls of our democracy in Baltimore, Cincinnati, New York, Ferguson, Phoenix, Chicago, the Bay Area, and beyond – we need to be ready. The moral and social stakes could not be higher. The emerging legacy of Alton Sterling’s martyrdom must be about changing hearts, minds, and policy. There is an attitude amongst police that must be addressed head on. The shocking recording of his unjustifiable death at the hands of police must be used to combat entrenched law enforcement leadership around the country who feel that the outcome of situations like this are acceptable.

Black activists must challenge the assertion that Black Lives Don’t Matter. We must challenge the institutional and system racism that defines the killing of non-dangerous Black citizens as some sort of sick right of passage or a “hazard of the job” that is a normal part of what being a 21st Century cop is all about. The video of Sterling’s shooting will be described in coming days as “normal” or “acceptable” and it is incumbent upon all people of good conscience and character to decry and denounce this racial violence abnormal and unacceptable. This fight, the struggle to regain power in our communities and over our very lives from morally bankrupt policing agencies, will play out in marches, rallies, and in the courtroom. But it cannot stop there. The fight must be elevated to include civic engagement/empowerment and direct dialogue with non-Blacks about the realities of racism in modern America. We must vote our way out of and protest against what has become a comfortable dilemma for white Americans.

What happens to the officers involved in Alton Sterling’s murder and what reforms result from it has a direct correlation to black voter’s participation in elections at every level. Our votes can and must determine who the prosecutors and judges will be that decide what Justice will look like in this and other cases throughout the Union. Police respond to their leadership and the responsibility for the climate of hate that protects the nature of the type of murder that claimed the life Alton Sterling can rightfully and righteously be laid at the feet of elected officials in Louisiana. As it can and should also be laid at the feet of elected public servants from the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters and everywhere in between.

-White Officer’s Firing Over “He’s A Black Guy” Comment Upheld

Unjustified Black deaths at the hands of police will continue. They are far from over because the political, social, and cultural forces that promote them have yet to be disturbed. Passion cannot blind us to this truth. Don’t get mad, get organized. The blood of Alton Sterling and the innumerable list of his fellow victims of present day American policing scream out to us from the gutters, stairwells, fields, streets and backs of patty wagons where they were cut down or left to die. We must take it upon ourselves to adjust the attitudes of the police and the atmosphere of state sanctioned violence if we are going to stop the trend and end the culture of casualness and flippancy that pervades police departments in every Black community with respect to the questioned or blatantly ignored value of our lives and the ease in committing and consequence-free reaction to police brutality, excessive force, and resulting executions.




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"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

Hillary Clinton: Alton Sterling’s Death Shows ‘Something Is Profoundly Wrong’

“So many Americans have reason to believe that our country doesn’t consider them as precious as others because of the color of their skin.”

07/06/2016 10:05 pm ET | Updated 38 minutes ago
 
Marina Fang Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post
XPresumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday spoke out against the shooting death of Alton Sterling at the hands of police, calling Sterling’s death a “tragedy” and reiterating her calls for “common sense reforms” for policing and criminal justice.

“From Staten Island to Baltimore, Ferguson to Baton Rouge, too many African American families mourn the loss of a loved one from a police-involved incident,” Clinton said in a statement. “Something is profoundly wrong when so many Americans have reason to believe that our country doesn’t consider them as precious as others because of the color of their skin.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the police killing of Alton Sterling show policing reforms are needed in the U.S.

Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot and killed by police officers early Tuesday morning while selling CDs outside of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, convenience store.

Video of the incident shows police officers pummeling Sterling to the ground and then firing several bullets into his chest. They were responding to reports of Sterling carrying a gun and threatening others in front of the store, but the store owner said Sterling wasn’t holding a weapon.

In her statement on Wednesday, Clinton praised the Department of Justice for opening a civil rights investigation into the shooting and reiterated the need for reforming police forces.

“Incidents like this one have undermined the trust between police departments and the communities they serve. We need to rebuild that trust. We need to ensure justice is served,” she said. “That begins with common sense reforms like ending racial profiling, providing better training on de-escalation and implicit bias, and supporting municipalities that refer the investigation and prosecution of police-involved deaths to independent bodies. All over America, there are police officers demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force. We need to learn from and build on those examples.”

According to The Counted, a database from The Guardian, Sterling was the 558th person to be killed by police in the U.S. this year.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has made criminal justice reform and combatting racial inequality a central part of her campaign, and has been increasingly vocal about issues facing the black community, such as police misconduct. In November, she similarly called for justice in the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer.

Throughout the Democratic primaries, Clinton campaigned with and received endorsements from several loved ones of black men and women who died following police encounters, such as the mothers of Eric Garner and Sandra Bland. Contrasting herself with her primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), she emphasized her commitment to passing stricter gun laws and addressing racism in addition to poverty.

“We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality,” Clinton said last year. “Black people across America still experience racism every day.”

The First Black president's wife is going to be president we have nothing to worry about. We will accept anybody that throws us a crumb because as a people we are so desperate for validation and respect. 

Momentum posted:

The First Black president's wife is going to be president we have nothing to worry about. We will accept anybody that throws us a crumb because as a people we are so desperate for validation and respect. 

I don't see Black people as being "so desperate for validation and respect", though, of course that fits the description of some Black people, even many, if you want to take into consideration the entire Black race, and it specifically fits the description of Black people that are supporting Trump.

But that is not how I see the average African American at all.  

If Bernie Sanders had become the nominee, he would have gotten the Black Vote.  

But, what it boils down to now, Hillary or Trump; Black people would be fools to not vote for Hillary at this point, those being their only choices.

African Americans are not stupid, they know that African Americans cannot afford to waste a vote, so the vote has to be cast for the candidate that is most likely to address concerns of African America, and when that is not an option, must vote for the candidate least likely to do even more harm to African America and that can actually win.  

Last edited by sunnubian

I don't see Black people as being "so desperate for validation and respect"

I most certainly do, why in the hell we support Hillary Clinton?

CBC LOVES Hillary. old confused black voters love Hillary.

Why? Because Alice Walker called Bill Clinton the first Black president, we are either desperate or brainwashed. 

We get Sanders talking about the very things we are concerned about and we go Hillary. 

These shootings will never stop until we support the right people and dump those who never gave a fuck about us in the first place. 

I'm still pissed about us supporting Hillary and not Sanders. 

Last edited by Momentum
Momentum posted:

I don't see Black people as being "so desperate for validation and respect"

I most certainly do, why in the hell we support Hillary Clinton?

CBC LOVES Hillary. old confused black voters love Hillary.

Why? Because Alice Walker called Bill Clinton the first Black president, we are either desperate or brainwashed. 

We get Sanders talking about the very things we are concerned about and we go Hillary. 

These shootings will never stop until we support the right people and dump those who never gave a fuck about us in the first place. 

I'm still pissed about us supporting Hillary and not Sanders. 

Plenty of Black people were supporting Sanders, but he's not the nominee, so, what would you suggest African American voters do at this point? Not vote at all or vote for Trump.  

Also, other than African Americans already politicians, many African Americans, just like most Americans, just don't get the full spectrum of America's politics and how it relates to their everyday lives, but I wouldn't say  that makes the average African American, "desperate for validation and respect".

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‘Someone Else Was Killed By The Police On My Timeline. What Can I Do?’

07/06/2016 09:40 pm ET | Updated 3 hours ago
 
Derecka Purnell law student, writer, and Quan hitter. St. Louis raised, Cambridge based.
CBS NEWS
15-year-old son of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed by white police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, weeping at his family’s press conference

Today, social media introduced me to Alton Sterling during his brutal, involuntary final moments with Baton Rouge police officers.

More times than I can count since Trayvon Martin’s murder, friends, family, and colleagues have reached out to me through a helpless, angry, inspirational, curious, loving, or hopeless “what can I do?” message or phone call. 

Hours after watching Sterling’s death, I read a law school friend’s post on how we can process police and vigilante killings that are widely publicized. He inspired me to pull this list together. This list is in no way comprehensive or exhaustive, but rather entry steps to further connect people to each other in tangible ways.

1. Love, study, struggle.

With a partner or a group of people, study issues that you care about and want to change. Read a book and discuss it once a month. Create a WhatsApp group or GroupMe to drop articles or music that are related to the topic. Attend an event where you and your group can listen to a speaker on the issue. Learn all sides of the debate. Over the course of the month or year, you and others will become more empowered to challenge problems with what you will learn together. If you do not know where to start, there are some reading and art lists on the internet that are really good, such as theBlack Lives Matter Syllabus (Frank Roberts), Lemonade Syllabus (Candice Benbow),Radical Political Action Reading List (compiled by Rekia Jibrin; additions by #ReclaimHarvardLaw students) and the Black Radical Tradition Reader (various authors).

2. Locate your local prosecutors.

Who is your local district attorney? Have they held police accountable for their illegal actions? Are they making efforts to reduce and eliminate mass incarceration? Research how organizations have held prosecutors accountable. For example, Black Lives Matter Cleveland stopped the reelection of the prosecutor who did not charge the police officer who killed Tamir Rice. BYP100 and Assata’s Daughters ousted Prosecutor Anita Alvarez through their #ByeAnita campaign after she covered up Laquan McDonald’s killing by Chicago police officers. 

3. Raise Hell.

Protest matters. Hellas. Social media is great for sharing and spreading information, but attending street protests, vigils, and demonstrations can help bring greater awareness to an issue and connect you with other people who are concerned about the issues you care about.

4. Film the police.

Try to find local “Cop-Watch” organizations to give you tips on how to legally and safely film the police when you are stopped or when you see someone else being arrested or harassed. Remember Walter Scott. Eric Garner. Now, Alton Sterling.  

5. Consider joining an organization.

A group of people who are regularly committed to taking on social justice issues has more power than one individual trying to work alone. These groups can also provide a healing, learning, and protective space after people witness traumatic experiences. Research different groups, talk to members, and learn about the track records of the organizations that you might be interested in before joining.

6. Challenge narratives.

Do not feel obligated to respond to every (or any) comment or statement that you hear or see that attacks victims of police brutality, especially following police or vigilante killings. Think about different ways to communicate your response. For example, sometimes a phone call or lunch with a friend is better than a Facebook argument that leaves issues unresolved. Consider creating a space and inviting people with different viewpoints to discuss a topic and problem-solve. Brainstorm ideas. Or, just feel free to vent. Main point: there are many ways to have dialogue if you feel comfortable talking about a topic, but do not feel obligated.

7. Connect with movement lawyers.

What lawyers are showing up to help out the movement? Learn about the type of work that they are doing, and how they can support some of the work that you are interested in. Have you heard of the National Lawyer’s Guild? The Black Movement Law Project? Law For Black Lives? The Advancement Project? These are a few organizations that have been working across the country with organizers and protestors on police brutality issues.

8. Take care of yourself.

So many great people have already shared why those most vulnerable to police and vigilante violence do not have to watch videos of police officers or vigilantes killing our people if we don’t want to, and that we should include trigger warnings if we are going to share them. Consider what you can personally handle and make the decision that is right for you. Share at your discretion.

  So.  What do we do?  Continue to be pissed off?  Can't walk in your own neighborhood let alone massa's without being harassed by the po po and your OWN people.  So what is the solution?  Wear a gun, not wear one?  Film every time you're stopped by the po po.  Don't go anywhere by yourself?  Is that realistic?  Will we have to restructure a form of underground railroad type system to protect our people?  And just who are our people?  The thug you don't trust standing next to you....or the rude heifer at the check stand.  Who?  .  But! 

sunnubian posted:
Momentum posted:

I don't see Black people as being "so desperate for validation and respect"

I most certainly do, why in the hell we support Hillary Clinton?

CBC LOVES Hillary. old confused black voters love Hillary.

Why? Because Alice Walker called Bill Clinton the first Black president, we are either desperate or brainwashed. 

We get Sanders talking about the very things we are concerned about and we go Hillary. 

These shootings will never stop until we support the right people and dump those who never gave a fuck about us in the first place. 

I'm still pissed about us supporting Hillary and not Sanders. 

Plenty of Black people were supporting Sanders, but he's not the nominee, so, what would you suggest African American voters do at this point? Not vote at all or vote for Trump.  

Also, other than African Americans already politicians, many African Americans, just like most Americans, just don't get the full spectrum of America's politics and how it relates to their everyday lives, but I wouldn't say  that makes the average African American, "desperate for validation and respect".

Perhaps if old NYC blacks was not stooping and scratching for the Clinton's, Sanders would be the Nominee. Hell, OKLAHOMA voted Sanders ahead of Hillary. Wtf?!? Yes we are DESPERATE for validation and celebrate anytime a crumb of validation falls off a crackas table. 

I'm so damn sick of this brainwashed behavior. 

Hillary says "something's profoundly wrong." There's been "something profoundly wrong" ever since your funky asses have been on these shores. Columbus, before Columbus, after Columbus, the Mayflower, wherever you've been, there's been "something profoundly wrong" happening to the people that didn't look like corpses such as yourselves.

Didn't Europe kick your relatives of the Fathers' Founding out of Europe? Is it possible for all the world's people of color, especially us, to kick your asses back? You've MORE than worn out the welcome you never received in the first damn place.


Issa Rae Raises $325K in Less Than 24 Hours to Send Alton Sterling’s Children to College: ‘This is So Powerful’

July 7, 2016 | Posted by Kiersten Willis
Tagged With: alton sterling children, black man killed by police, college scholarship, insecure actress, issa rae 

Twitter/Facebook

gofundme

Twitter/Facebook

Actress and writer Issa Rae was profoundly impacted by Alton Sterling’s murder by police on July 5. It led her to set up a campaign to raise college funds for the five children the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native left behind. The #AltonSterlingFamily Scholarship was created Wednesday, and $325,000 was raised in just 21 hours.

Rae has no formal relationship with the family, writing on the GoFundMe campaign page she is “just sympathetic and empathetic” to the situation. The Huffington Post reports the Insecure star initially set out to raise $40,000 for the Sterling children. She revealed plans for the scholarship Wednesday afternoon, sharing the link several minutes later.

Actress and writer Issa Rae was profoundly impacted by Alton Sterling’s murder by police on July 5. It led her to set up a campaign to raise college funds for the five children the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native left behind. The #AltonSterlingFamily Scholarship was created Wednesday, and $325,000 was raised in just 21 hours.

Rae has no formal relationship with the family, writing on the GoFundMe campaign page she is “just sympathetic and empathetic” to the situation. The Huffington Post reports the Insecure star initially set out to raise $40,000 for the Sterling children. She revealed plans for the scholarship Wednesday afternoon, sharing the link several minutes later.

Can we got a scholarship fund going 4 's son/kids? Some of us feel helpless when these things happen, but that's a small step.

@IssaRae Here it is: Donate to the Family Scholarship Fund. *ALL* proceeds will go to his fam:http://gofundme.com/2d3eze7g 

 

 

“Thank you for helping us raise the goal!” she wrote Wednesday evening. “I just got off the phone with the Sterling family attorney who is aware of the GoFundMe and has asked me to call back tomorrow, as the family is (naturally) overwhelmed at this time. Will keep you all posted. In the meantime, keep spreading the word!”

She later shared an update about increasing the goal to $200,000.

“Wow! $100k in 6 hours. This is so powerful,” she wrote. “Can we get to $200k? I’m doubling my pledge. That would be $40k for each of his 5 kids to go to college. Thank you all for uniting through the pain.”

The campaign has since passed its $200,000 goal by over $125,000 in less than 24 hours from 11,000 donors. It has been shared 31,000 times on Facebook and Twitter.

Many have voiced their support for the fundraiser.

“Damn. Thank you so much, Issa for using your platform and doin’ this,” wrote Hope Freeman on the GoFundMe page. “Bless you, sis.”

Shyne Coldchain also praised the campaign on Twitter.

issa rae started that gofundme today for the college fund and got 20 stacks already. that's love.

 

 

MTD called it the “coolest thing” he’s seen all day.

coolest thing I've seen all day is this gofundme scholarship fund that @IssaRae started for Alston Sterling's kids

 

 

But it was also met with some skepticism. Several commenters have questioned the validity of the campaign. They wondered if all the funds raised would go toward the children’s higher education and if remaining amounts would be donated for funeral costs.

“I love seeing how the community is pulling together to assist the Sterling family,” wrote Nesta Howell. “I was wondering since the donations exceeded the goal amount, will the remainder go to funeral expenses or will all of it go towards the children’s college fund?”

“I was wondering the same thing,” Fiona Davis responded. “And I hope she is free to use this money however she needs to. I’ve been looking for a way to donate that goes to her directly so she can just focus on taking care of her family.”

A financial adviser from Texas encouraged Rae to set up a tax-advantaged college savings plan to help the family retain as much of the funds as possible.

“I’m sure you’ve considered a number of options for the funds that you raise and, I’m not sure what your plans are for the funds once you’ve reached your goal,” wrote Fred Reynolds. “However, I would encourage you to look into opening a 529 College Savings plan. I hope this money truly helps this family.”

6 bullets in Mr. Sterling's chest; a bullet a piece in 5 white men's chests, a black man splattered to death by bomb, another black man shot dead while sitting in his car with his woman and a child. All are equally DEAD.

How crazy we've become and there's more lurking in the wings.

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