Posts Tagged ‘police’

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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The ugliness of arrogance; bullets crack the facade of southern charm

April 9, 2015
No mother should have to experience the pain Judy Scott felt when she saw the video of her son slaughtered in the street. (Photo Credit:  dailymail.co.uk via ABC)

No mother should have to experience the pain Judy Scott felt when she saw the video of her son slaughtered in the street. (Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk via ABC)

Arrogance is the next word, after cold-blooded murderer, which came to mind when I heard about the excessive parade of bullets that took the life of Walter Lamar Scott, 50, a North Charleston, SC resident. To learn that this was the handiwork of yet another officer of the law against an unarmed citizen was unbelievable, but even worse was the fact that this was done in the present climate of civil unrest and scrutiny of the ethics of some of the holders of the badge.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines arrogant as “showing an offensive attitude of superiority”. This officer, whom I hesitate to call an officer, not wanting to tarnish the other wonderful and dedicated law enforcement heroes, showed a remarkable unawareness of, or utter disdain for the current events commanding the news as of late. His disposition seems to be one of I’m going to do what I want regardless of the tension that is already in the air.

The judgment of this person, in retrospect, seems to have been incredibly flawed. His wife is reportedly eight months pregnant, so the last thing she needs is him getting fired right as they are about to bring a new life into the world. He may have momentarily snapped and fired twice out of fear, but eight times? In the back? He initially stated that he feared for his life due to the suspect struggling with him. Thanks to the due diligence of a passing citizen, a video has emerged showing that the only real struggle was the officer trying to catch up with Scott in a foot race, and failing that, dispatching his speedy bullets to do the job for him.

Knowing that interactions with officers and unarmed black men are already a hot topic of public conversation, this man was again arrogant enough not to give a flying pointed hood about how his actions would reflect on the national debate. More importantly he shot someone fleeing away from him down in the street, and showed a callous disregard of the taking of a human life unnecessarily. After the slaying of Mr. Scott has been thoroughly investigated, I hope that some of the previous encounters this officer has had will be re-visited to bring relief to families that may have been afraid to come forward because they had no video.

The Mayor, and the local authorizes must be commended for their swift actions in apprehending the culprit and launching a thorough investigation. Keep the standards high because the country, and even the world, are watching to see if our fine state is able to peek from beneath the Confederate flag flying on the grounds of its capitol and do the right thing. I thank you.

My prayers and condolences go out to the family of Mr. Walter Scott in their time of grief and loss. I pray that there will be safety without retaliation for his four sons in the event of future routine “traffic stops”.

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.

Who’s minding the store? Cola. PD investigated for slander, “black ops” scheme

March 7, 2014

Just as Columbians are settling down from the news of serious problems (including unaccounted for absentee ballots during the presidential election) within the Richland County Elections board, a preliminary investigation has leveled bombshell accusations against the very organization designated to protect and to serve – the Columbia Police Department (CPD).

Former Police Chief Randy Scott resigned in tears.  (photo credit:  thestate.com)

Former Police Chief Randy Scott resigned in tears.
(photo credit: thestate.com)

The CPD has been making the headlines recently almost as much as the criminals they apprehend, and for all of the wrong reasons.  This latest spate of troubles started when then Police Chief Randy Scott abruptly resigned in 2013 citing battles with posttraumatic stress.

Acting Police Chief Ruben Santiago (photo credit:  thestate.com)

Acting Police Chief Ruben Santiago
(photo credit: thestate.com)

Former Deputy Chief of Operations Ruben Santiago took over as the interim police chief.  Before the dust could clear, CPD Captain Dave Navarro was fired for allegedly recording secret conversations between him and a high ranking member of the police department.  Navarro fired back with a stunning allegation that Acting Police Chief Santiago had tried to involve Navarro in a so-called “black-ops” scheme to plant a stolen weapon and cocaine in the car of a Columbia city manager so that person would get fired and they could move someone else into that position.  Santiago promptly turned around and sued Navarro for defamation.

Former Police Captain Dave Navarro with allegations of corruption (photo credit:  wltx.com)

Former Police Captain Dave Navarro with allegations of corruption
(photo credit: wltx.com)

Things turned so ugly so quickly that the matter was turned over for investigation to both the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).   Read the main findings of the 405-page investigative report in this article published yesterday by local newspaper The State.  In the face of all of the allegations, a special prosecutor for the matter was quoted as saying “no charges would be filed as a result of the investigation and that he considered the case closed.”  It is not known just yet why the investigation is being shut down and dismissed; but it is hoped that the corruption does not reach even higher than the CPD.

Columbia Police Chief Finalists (Photo credit:  thestate.com)

Columbia Police Chief Finalists
(Photo credit: thestate.com)

In the meantime, here are the finalists in Columbia’s search for a new police chief.  According to City Manager Teresa Wilson, they hope to have the new chief in place by mid-March.