Posts Tagged ‘Justice’

Tensions in Baltimore run amok; the naked truth is the only solution; what really happened?

April 28, 2015
We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit:  www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit: http://www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

Try an experiment when you get a chance. Or maybe you’ve tried this one numerous times as a kid. Plop a pebble into a lake and it is fascinating to see the ripple effect outward as far as the eye can see. It is often easy to forget that incidents of stone, dropped into the sea called life can have an almost unimaginably far-reaching effect.

A young man named Freddie Gray was buried in Baltimore, MD, on Monday, April 28, 2015. Freddie was arrested recently, and it was determined that he died in the process of being transported in a police vehicle. Police authorities have admitted that Gray asked for medical attention at some point during the trip, however this request was denied. As of yet, no reason has been given for the denial. Maybe they were in a hurry? Could be, but it seems they had time to stop, remove Gray from the paddy wagon and put shackles on his feet, and then continue on with their journey.

Something severed his spine, and he died in police custody. What could it have been? A particularly deep pot hole in the street? A policeman’s heavy rifle accidentally fell on his back? The police have said they will issue a statement once they have completed the investigation. Behind those two heavy van doors, there is only a limited square footage of area to examine, and a limited number of people who were in that tiny space to question. Let’s hope they don’t drag it out. If the department has any investigative skills at all, it shouldn’t take that long to figure it out.

There are some people who have had quite enough of the slaying of blacks while in the custody of those sworn to protect and serve. And these people went about venting their highly understandable frustrations entirely the wrong way. Peaceful protests are needed, but looting and foolishness just invites more trouble and widens the gulf between civilians and law enforcement personnel.

But the majority of people are willing to wait on the Baltimore PD’s report before taking sides. The country, nay even the world is waiting to hear the what happened that led to most people waking up, seeing the broadcasts and wondering what country we were invading. Instead, it was the National Guard, 5000 strong, putting boots on the ground in Baltimore. Scary stuff. But just the tip of the iceberg if the official report, scheduled to be released May 1st, has some concocted fable of how they lay Gray on the bench in the police van, and there was a single pea under the mattress and it broke his spine. Leave the fairy tales to Hans Christian Andersen. Let’s keep it real, keep it honest, and put the perpetrators in jail.

Only when the truth comes out, will the city quiet down. Cover-ups are like continuously scratching a scab. The wounds ooze ugly festering pus, but never completely heal. I thank you.

Our prayers go out to the family of Mr. Freddie Gray, the policemen and firemen that have been injured in the melees, the innocent business owners whose life’s work has been reduced to ashes, and the families all over Baltimore who are just trying to live their lives in peace.

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Open season in America; the hunt is on

December 7, 2014
Sad state of affairs.  (photo credit:  Southern Poverty Law Center)

Sad state of affairs. (photo credit: Southern Poverty Law Center)

Someone posted a statement on Facebook that is as heartbreaking as it is true. The person stated that every dog killed in the dog-fighting ring associated with Mike Vick got more justice than Michael Brown and Eric Garner. This is sadly telling of the state of race relations in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Vick can’t make a touchdown pass without someone saying that he shouldn’t be playing in the NFL after what happened to those dogs.  Well the difference is Vick was wrong, he was convicted, and he paid his debt to society by doing cold hard jail time.  The killers of Brown and Garner were not indicted by their respective grand juries, not even of negligence, even though they snuffed out human lives. And even worse, their killers were those sworn to protect and serve.

And then we have the ongoing investigation in Ohio of the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was brandishing a toy gun. The police normally would have sat in the car, yelled through the bull horn for the child to drop the weapon, and then shoot him if he refused to comply. The video shows that the police sped to the scene, jumped out the car, and unloaded a hail of bullets without saying a word to the boy.

The police officer responsible in this case left the Independence Police Department under threat of disciplinary action. His personnel record said he showed a “dangerous loss of composure during live range training” and an “inability to manage personal stress.” The evaluator wrote in his file, “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”

Yet he waltzed right into a police job with the Cleveland Police Department, which said that they weren’t aware of his record, because they had not read his personnel file. This is indicative of the systemic racism that also is prevalent in hiring practices. A black person would have undergone an extensive background check to even get a job as the police station janitor.  And they would have been turned down for the position if it came to light that they had so much as skipped a class way back in eighth grade.

What in the Sam Hill is going on? I haven’t seen this type of behavior since people stopped wearing hooded white robes and pointed hats. There is a line from the movie “Inglorious Bastards” where Brad Pitt’s characters says, “we’re going to be doing one thing and one thing only: killing Nazis”. Unfortunately, it seems as if the killing has started up again, only this time they aren’t killing Nazis.

Police killings with no convictions.  (photo credit:  Facebook)

Police killings with no convictions. (photo credit: Facebook)

Let me say that I absolutely believe that the majority of police are honorable and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. But unless we are vigilant in instructing these misguided grand juries that even law enforcers are not above the law, the distrust between citizens and officers will continue to widen. If any good has come from these tragedies, it is that this type of behavior has come to light. It’s time for a national dialogue, and much prayer, to see what must be done to rectify these situations before any more families needlessly lose a loved one.

Death penalty case of 14-year-old child may be reopened by South Carolina judge

January 22, 2014

george-stinneyPhoto: Courtesy of Reuters/South Carolina Department of Archives

“Stinney’s trial lasted about 3 hours. According to reports, the defense presented no witnesses, no physical evidence, and did not file an appeal. It took a jury of 12 white men 10 minutes to decide Stinney’s fate.” The article on wistv.com dated 01/20/2014, uses these words to describe a 1944 South Carolina capital murder case that led to 14-year-old George Stinney’s death by electric chair. Stinney was at that time, and remains, the youngest child to receive the death penalty in South Carolina history.

Two things immediately jump out of this bone-chilling statement. The first is that George Stinney was a black child. This is at odds with the whole concept of jury of his peers. The legal definition given in The Free Dictionary for a jury of one’s peers includes the fact that “Jury selection may include no process which excludes those of a particular race or intentionally narrows the spectrum of possible jurors”. This trial was in no way a jury of George Stinney’s peers.

The second thing that is mind-boggling is that this seemingly thoughtful and thorough jury only deliberated 10 minutes. That means that they discussed the case, dissected the evidence, and carefully reached a decision to end a boy’s life in the time it takes to order a coffee and bagel at your local deli. And probably more concern would have been taken with the latter decision.

Stinney’s sister Amie was with him that day. She and the family were forced to leave town out of fear for their lives back in 1944. Now they are pushing to have the case re-opened and this time she will be able to testify. She proclaims that her brother is innocent, she was with him that day, and now she can tell the truth without fear of repercussions to herself and her family.

If Stinney, in his absence is given a fair trial and still found guilty, the verdict will stand. If he is found innocent, then at least his family and descendants deserve to have his name, as well as the family’s name cleared. But South Carolina must give this man the trial that every citizen has a right to under due process of the law. According to the Christian Post, a judge will decide this Tuesday if a new trial will be granted or no