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WHEN ENOUGH IS NOT ENOUGH…

Police Brutality, Homicide and Gun Violence Survivors Need Sustained Media Coverage, Legal, Corporate and Political Accountability as they Continue the Fight for Justice 

By:  George Addison

“The notion of the ‘Black male predator’ is so historically rooted in the American consciousness that we have come to accept the brutalization and murder of citizens by the police as an acceptable method of law enforcement. The assumption is that Black men are the bad guys, the police are the good guys, and if the police killed someone it must have been for a good reason. They must have done something.”
Jill Nelson, Police Brutality: An Anthology

According to the English Oxford Living Dictionary the word “Enough” indicates that one is unwilling to tolerate any more of something undesirable.  Yet, when it comes to the unwarranted killing and maiming of black and brown people or countless killings in schools and communities across this country, the word “Enough” seems to carry very little weight or consequence.

Thus far, as of this writing, there have been 466 people shot and killed by police.  This, according to the Mapping Police Violence database, which tracks shootings by police officers across the country.   Mapping Police Violence reports that there were only fourteen days in 2017 where police did not kill someone.  They also say that black people were 25% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.

SOURCE:  CBS NEWS

These statistics also reflect the growing number of victims whose family members continue the fight for justice on their behalf.  Add to that the deaths of individuals like Kendrick Johnson, Ambrose GG Ball, LaVena JohnsonKeith Warren, Christopher Kalonji, Darrius Stewart, Tyler Gebhard, India Kager and police brutality survivors such as Antwynette Houston and others, and you can imagine the depth in which these violent acts occur.

The FBI has even issued a report entitled: “Black Extremist Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers.”   It sounds, looks and feels like “open season’ a.k.a. “ an extended Purge” on black families, black males generally, black women specifically, and America is again accepting this trend as the norm.

The current political environment and change in the Department of Justice, as they reverse Obama era practices, brings to mind the steps an 1850 publication gave to slaveholders on how to produce the ideal slave.  According to Wikipedia the steps were as follows:

  1. Maintain strict discipline and unconditional submission.
  2. Create a sense of personal inferiority, so that slaves “know their place.”
  3. Instill fear.
  4. Teach servants to take interest in their master’s enterprise.
  5. Deprive access to education and recreation, to ensure that slaves remain uneducated, helpless, and dependent.

SOURCE:  CNN

Many freedoms face attack in this country’s effort “to be great again.”  Victims of injustice need to stop looking for mainstream national media to care about their stories after the photo ops, sensationalism and book deals pass them by.  Many journalists are motivated by greed, fame and personal power.  In 1914 Walter Williams, founding dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, created a set of standards by which this profession called journalism should operate.

It reads as follows:

“- I believe in the profession of journalism.

– I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

– I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

– I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

– I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

– I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

– I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

– I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.”

It’s unfortunate that journalist have allowed themselves to be denigrated to the status of “Fake News” by a person whom they covered from a cage a.k.a. the “Press Pen,” while he  ran for president of the United States.

Due to the assault on the First Amendment, reduced news staff, money concerns and political factors, people must now form solid information networks, consortium’s and alliances of citizen journalist to fight back against the trend to silence the calls for justice and inequity.

The narrative must be open, balanced, truthful and non-biased.  Journalistic practices and principles must be employed.  If no one wants to share your story, go for long-term amplification of your story via the internet.  Create blogs, online radio and television programs, and form alliances to report and update stories with facts and the truth.  Keep beating the drums of justice.  Democracy is fighting for its life.  Do not be silenced.

SOURCE:  ABC NEWS

Justice advocates such as Najee Ali; I Love My Wife Always 2; Renaldo Wade’s The Voice for the Voiceless on Blog Talk Radio; and Kervin Julien – World Jam Global Radio.com are just a few of the thousands of people who use their online skills to uplift, inform and enlighten people on a daily basis about the injustices in their communities and the world.

This is in keeping with the spirit in which President John F. Kennedy spoke about Democracy and the First Amendment, in the April 27, 1961 Address entitled: “The President and the Press,” Before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, New York City.

The following excerpt is from that Address, Kennedy said,

II.  “It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation–an obligation which I share. And that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people–to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well–the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.

No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I .am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.

I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers–I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for, as a wise man once said: “An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed-and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian law-maker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment–the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution–not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

This means greater coverage and analysis of international news–for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security–and we intend to do it.

III.  It was early in the Seventeenth Century that Francis Bacon remarked on three recent inventions already transforming the world: the compass, gunpowder and the printing press. Now the links between the nations’ first forged by the compass have made us all citizens of the world, the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all. In that one world’s efforts to live together, the evolution of gunpowder to its ultimate limit has warned mankind of the terrible consequences of failure.

And so it is to the printing press–to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news–that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.”

Journalists should be mindful that Pulitzer’s, Book Deals and other awards mean absolutely nothing if there is no democracy and no guardian of truth and justice.

Police Brutality is not a new phenomenon in this country.  Legal professionals know this and, except for a few big named lawyers and organizations helping, many victims are left struggling to find representation by competent, experienced lawyers.  Their pain is only heightened when they are abandoned both by the news media and the legal system.  Many times, they are reduced to begging for help or require charity to survive destitution if they decide to continue fighting for justice.  Where are the legal scholars, practicing attorneys and organizations that can organize nationally and mobilize against an unjust and prejudicial system on behalf of these victims and survivors?  Where is the coalition of principled legal representation with the financial resources and expertise to successfully and consistently bring pressure to bear?

In addition to the media and legal profession stepping up, the public must step up and demand that municipalities stop paying brutality or wrongful death settlements out of the “general budget,” which typically absolves police departments of any financial penalties and accountability for their objective reasonableness and use of force.

Politicians must be held accountable and no longer be allowed to hide behind the war on crime and foster policies that allow guilty officers to keep their jobs or resign to seek employment elsewhere.  They must stop supporting municipal contracts and deals offered by police associations that seek special treatment, and no prosecution through arbitration.

The businesses that support these political candidates and police departments with a history of abuse, must be identified and held accountable for not using their corporate influence to demand that citizens who are unjustly killed and or brutalized be treated fairly with dignity.  They must acknowledge that the issue of police brutality is a problem for the total community, not just the black, brown and poor of a community.

In the end it comes down to economics and political will.  No societal change will come about without economic and political pressure on the individuals and corporations that support injustice through their silence or lack of action.

SOURCE:  ABC NEWS

 

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Keith Warren Justice Site

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