Tag Archives: Police Brutality

How The Brutal Arrest of Breaion King Reveals So Much About The Austin Texas Police Department

I will tell you that life has taught me that there is a segment of people that are quite simply disagreeable to get along with. Regardless of what you try, your best attempts at getting along peacefully will never be achieved. Fortunately, it is possible on most occasions to side-step such individuals by avoiding the places that they frequent and whatnot.

I am certain that you agree with me that the vast majority of this inability to get along with such people flows from the things that they have put into their minds; unfortunately, they need no assistance in achieving this action. It goes without saying that such individuals bring all of their ill-feelings and malicious thoughts into their interactions with those that they loathe. Although it may be difficult for most to accept, one of the most frequent perpetrators in such matters are law enforcement officers, particularly those who are not working in either their community of origin or patrolling citizens who do not look like them.

It is this situation that makes the brutal arrest of Austin, Texas, elementary school teacher Breaion King after a routine traffic stop in June 2015 predictable. King was stopped by an officer for traveling fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit; those facts are not being disputed. However, once King’s interactions with Officer Bryan Richter began, it became obvious that the so-called public servant had no patience at all for this diminutive Black school teacher whose major offense was not putting her feet back into her car fast enough for the officer. Within moments, Richter violently extricated King from her vehicle and slammed her to the pavement twice in an outrageous attempt to subdue her.

As if things could not get any worse, once Officer Patrick Spradlin arrived on the scene, things took a most interesting turn. According to a video recording, Spradlin enters into the following monologue regarding race relations and the stigmas that he attached to African-Americans.

 “Why are so many people afraid of black people?”

“I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way, violent tendencies.”

“I don’t blame (white people)…because of their (African-Americans) appearance and whatnot, some of them are very intimidating.”

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo quickly condemned his officers’ for their rhetoric and discriminatory worldviews. To his credit, Acevedo related the following to those who doubt that there is a significant problem between officers’ and persons of color. “For those that think life is perfect for people of color, I want you to listen to that conversation and tell me we don’t have social issues in this nation. Issues of bias. Issues of racism. Issues of people being looked at different because of their color.”

Predictably, Chief Acevedo entered into a mode of protecting his job and the Austin Police Department by calling officer Spradlin’s comments“wrong and not reflective of the values and beliefs of the men and women who serve this community.”

Although I understand the idea of an internal police review and due process, however, I fervently believe that if the victim in this attack were a white woman, these officers would have been relieved of all duties, meaning summarily fired. Predictably, the offending officers have been taken off of the street; however, they are sitting behind a desk still collecting taxpayer dollars.

I guess that my primary issue is with law enforcement leaders such as Acevedo who publicly state that the attitudes and actions of rogue officers is not reflective of their agency, yet they still allow this unscrupulous element to continue to exist and fester among them. There is quite possibly no more definitive action that could come from law enforcement leadership than the immediate dismissal of officers for misconduct toward a citizen as it would send a message to both the community and the officers who have been entrusted to serve, not terrorize, that community. Unfortunately, that is not the world that we live within and I doubt that we ever will.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

The Murder of Philando Castile: The Hunt for African-Americans Continues

I thought that I had made a grievous error when I awoke this morning to reports that Philando Castile had been murdered by a Philando Castile 3‘law enforcement officer’ in Minnesota while sitting inside of his vehicle with his girlfriend and his child. My mind was a bit confused because I had just written about this story, however, the deceased name was Alton Sterling; I mused to myself, how could I have made such an error? Not only did I get the name wrong, but I also apparently got the entire context around the murder incorrect.

I now realize that I was confused, however, not for the reasons that I was thinking. My commentary yesterday was correct, Alton Sterling had been murdered by two so-called ‘law enforcement officers’ who pinned him down and then pumped numerous bullets into his body in front of a crowd of African-American on-lookers who were apparently paralyzed by fear as they did nothing to aid the brother. My aforementioned statement regarding confusion flows from the fact that I apparently refused to believe that so-called ‘law enforcement officers’ would kill yet another brother so quickly.

As I am certain that you have heard Philando Castile was riding in a vehicle with his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and what appears to be their child when he was stopped for some reason by officers.

Reynolds can be heard saying on video that the officer “asked him for license and registration. He told him that it was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he’s licensed to carry. The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times.”

A distraught Reynolds is heard on video saying “Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him! You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

The video also shows a uniformed police officer holding a pistol on the couple from outside the car. The officer can be heard saying, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out.”

I have repeatedly heard that “we are at war” with law enforcement officers from many of my revolutionary minded brethren and sisters. Philando Castile 1I vehemently disagree with that contention. I definitively state that “we are NOT at war.” We are being hunted and killed by a hyper-aggressive enemy whose bloodthirst apparently will never be satisfied. It is beyond time for ALL African-Americans to arm themselves, as is their Constitutional Right, and be prepared to use those weapons to protect themselves and their loved ones. In the words of O’Shea Jackson, aka Ice Cube, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.”

Stop looking for this daily slaughter to subside, it never will; at least not until you do something definitive about it. Continue to pray about it if you so choose, however, keep in mind that faith without works is dead. Stop being meek lamb and allowing these wolves to issue unbridled attacks without any consequences attached to their actions. It is time that we revert back to the old-school admonishment that “you gotta bring some to get some.”

Dan Freeman

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

The Gaze: What the Loss of Innocence Looks Like

One of the primary reasons that I hate the voluminous amounts of ‘technology’ that I am forced to interact with is that it is quite simply unreliable. I am certain that you agree that when the alluded to technology is broken, there really is not a quick way of fixing it. Just yesterday my entire day was disrupted by a computer glitch that forced me to leave the comforts of my home as grades were due at a local college that I teach on a part-time basis at. As look would have it, on my way to manually turn in grades, I was pulled over by the police.

Now I want you to understand that this is not a story regarding ‘police brutality’ or some type of violence or disrespect that I received at the hands of this or any other officer. I will admit to something that is certainly unfashionable in today’s contemptuous climate between Black men and white officers, “I was in the wrong.” The inspection sticker for my car was expired. However, I do still think that the stopping of a law-abiding citizen such as myself for such a mundane reason is unjust, yet, I digress. However, the routine traffic stop merely frames this post, it is actually about something that I term “the gaze.”

The definition of gaze is as follows: To look steadily, intently, and with fixed attention.

Anyone who has ever been under the gaze of another can definitively tell you that a gaze isblack boys 3 markedly different from a look or stare. As the aforementioned definition highlights, an integral aspect of a gaze is the fixation that one puts toward another. While I sat in my car, I became aware that I was under the gaze of a complete stranger. The “gazer” was a young African-American male child approximately 7 or 8 years old who doggedly refused to break his gaze from my plight.

It was purely happenstance that when the officer pulled me over, I was alongside a private elementary school in a relatively wealthy part of town, only a few blocks away from Houston’s vaunted cathedral of materialistic consumption and idolatry, The Galleria. The elementary school on my right was apparently letting black boystheir younger children out for recess, these kids looked no older than third-grade. All of them, except one, the one with the gaze, were white. I initially thought it humorous to see all of these children emerge wearing the traditional flags that denote a game of flag football, and then I saw him; a lone African-American child who had emerged with all of the exuberance that his counterparts had for recess, abruptly stop in the midst of his peers and begin gazing at me. During the twenty-minutes that I sat in my vehicle waiting for the officer to complete this relatively routine stop, the gaze never ceased. Not even the vibrant game of flag football occurring around him caused the gaze to stop.

Now I would love to be able to state that I definitively knew from whence this particular gaze emerged, however, that is impossible for me to know. However, it did make my mind run regarding its genesis. Did I resemble a family member? Was he frightened by the entire scene and anticipating that he would see another African-American male brutalized or even killed by a white officer? Had he been instructed by a parent to watch out for other African-Americans when he witnessed the police detaining them? Who knows? Only the possessor of the gaze can answer that question. However, I must admit that the gaze provided as much comfort to me at that particular moment as when I travel to lecture, debate, or participate in some academic exercise at a foreign campus and have my slight ‘what’s up?’ head nod returned by anonymous African-Americans.

After reflecting on this event, I realize that we all possess the gaze. However, it is only used for things that we deem truly black boys 1important. For African-American men and women, this gaze is more frequently being used to monitor those, most notably the police, that we feel are a danger to those we care about.

Although I would like to trace the genesis of my gaze to a specific event or instruction from my father, the truth of the matter is that the gaze, particularly when it is used to monitor external threats, is not bestowed upon anyone, rather it flows from years of personal experience and observation of others. One thing is certain; I know that neither I, nor my peers, possessed the gaze prior to our high school years. We were incubated within a Black community that protected our childhood from hostile external forces ‘by any means necessary.’ Apparently, those days are long gone as African-American elementary school age children now possess the gaze. And for that reason, each of us should be ashamed as the appearance of the gaze only occurs after childhood expires.

James Thomas Jones

#ManhoodRaceCulture

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

COPS Fail to Curtail Beyonce and Her ‘Beyhive’

In the days before ‘Queen Bey’, Houston’s own Beyoncé Knowles Carter descended upon NRG Stadium for her Formation World Tour and worked her legion of ‘Beyhive’ warriors into frenzy that only she could achieve, I learned through a private message that the event was already pre-loaded with racial discord.

I intuitively knew that the alluded to long-standing racial discord primarily flows from several sources: (a) a Super Bowl performance Black 2rife with imagery that reminded one of not only the Black Power Era, but also the era’s Vanguard group, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, (b) Beyoncé Knowles Carter’s opposition to police brutality via her public support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, (c) whites juvenile attempt to co-opt the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ into both ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and ‘All Lives Matter’, (d) law enforcement leaders and personnel woeful lack of historical and cultural literacy in regards to anything ‘Black’.

As the ‘Beyhive’ prepared for a night of brilliant entertainment, The Nation of Islam’s paramilitary wing, The Fruit of Islam, assembled on Kirby and Murworth at 6:30 (as they promised they would in their earlier communication) prepared to defend ‘Queen Bey’ against a group known by the acronym of COPS (The Coalition of Police and Sheriffs). COPS had apparently worked itself into a frenzy that would remind one of the ‘Beyhive’ over their belief that Beyoncé had taken a posture that could be comfortably called anti-police.

According to Roy D. Malonson, “I love the fact that the Nation of Islam chose to stand up for ‘Queen Bey’. We have to stand strong against these white groups who wait for the opportunity to single-out our artists who are speaking on our behalf and doing positive in the community. The message needs to be sent to those artists who support the community; you had our back, so we have your back. It’s important that we never leave them out there alone, think of what that message would be for other artists who want to speak up for us.”

To the chagrin of most stable minded people, The Coalition of Police and Sheriffs (COPS) are not alone in their erroneous belief that ‘Queen Bey’ has turned against this nation’s law enforcement officers as they have been joined in their ‘group think’ by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation in assuming an antagonistic position against Knowles-Carter; in fact, they have manufactured antagonism where none exist.

One of the most frightening aspects of law enforcement leaders’ attacks upon ‘Queen Bey’ flows from the fact that she has forthrightly addressed both her Super Bowl performance as well as the other issues surrounding police brutality. During a recent edition of Elle Magazine, ‘Queen Bey’ touched upon the very issue that has so many law enforcement officers in a fury. According to Knowles-Carter,

“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police Black Power Fist 3is completely mistaken…I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before…I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”

It appears that the bulk of the ill-feelings that law enforcement agencies are directing toward ‘Queen Bey’ flows from her incorporation of images of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, a group that was created nearly 50 years ago on October 15, 1966 by two Oakland Community College (Merritt College) students named Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale (Dallas, Texas). Newton, a native of Monroe, Louisiana, was ironically named in honor of a white man, legendary Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long.

In many ways, the strong reaction of white citizens in general and white law enforcement officers in particular, to

Knowles-Carter’s Super Bowl performance drives home the irrationality that their mental state rests upon when it comes to pro-Black images.

It seems impossible for American whites to understand that pro-Black does not translate into either anti-white or anti-American. Such a realization is as foreign to American whites as an understanding that a strong Black America helps make the entire nation stronger.

Instead of such logical thought ruling the day, whites rest upon a fear that this nation continues to teeter upon the verge of unbridled racial revenge where African-Americans pick up guns, channel the spirits of HueyHuey P. Newton, Robert F. Williams, Eldridge Cleaver, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, and Denmark Vesey, and follow former Nation of Islam leader and native Houstonian Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s advice and proceed killing “every white who ain’t right who is in sight.” Law enforcement leaders across the nation fear that it will be ‘Queen Bey’ who gives permission for the feared carnage to begin.

It should be embarrassing for the leadership of any law enforcement agency to be so moved by Black Power images that are nearly a half-century old. In fact, it exposes so much about the rampant and unabashed absence of historical literacy that afflicts so many of the politicians and law enforcement officials who unfortunately hold significant power within both our government and our law enforcement agencies.

Reporter Dan Freeman commented upon this matter with the following litany, “You know when I first received a text regarding this show down between the Nation of Islam and COPS, I found it difficult to believe. Really, really, really difficult to believe. With as much crime that is going on in this city, we have law enforcement officers who were going to take the time to make signs, stand on a street corner, and make an absolute spectacle of themselves. The entire idea appeared to be childish.”

Such behavior reeks of an irrationality that can only be derived by a total lack of either a relevant education or an understanding regarding not only Black Popular Culture, but also African-American History regarding the true identity of not only the Black Panther Party, but also the father of the Black Power Era, Malcolm X.

Were I permitted an opportunity to address this nation’s law enforcement personnel in regards to this matter, I would offer them Beyonce 4reassurance that ‘Queen Bey’ has a right to her own opinions and there is no one, except a rogue officer, who should be offended when an African-American man or woman expresses their discontent with an issue such as police brutality. Let’s face facts; Knowles-Carter has stated nothing beyond a rational opposition to police brutality that at any moment could affect her husband, mother, father, child, sister, or herself. ‘Queen Bey’ understands very well that not even fame makes any African-American immune from police brutality.

Additionally, I would advise law enforcement agencies to purchase a copy of my book, Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Historical Narrative of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, for each of their officers. I am certain that if they actually learned about the origins and daily operations of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense that they would be shocked to learn that the group was created to serve the needs of their indigenous community by providing educational opportunities, groceries, free breakfast and lunch programs for local children (regardless of race), and stopping police brutality by rogue white officers patrolling the African-American community seeking whom they could victimize.

Officers would additionally learn that the raising of the right hand into a fist is an outward expression and show of solidarity amongst African-American people that predated the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Maybe most important of all, and this is a lesson that today’s copy-cat Black Panther Party groups could learn from as well, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was far from a group of racists seeking to kill and/or intimidate white folk. Most would be startled to learn that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense entered into alliances with white activist groups who were also working against tyranny and exploitation.

There is no other explanation other than unadulterated ignorance and historical illiteracy that leads law enforcement groups such asfoi COPS to attempt to take a global icon such as Beyoncé Knowles Carter to task for using her art and voice to oppose the daily degradation and abuse that her fellow African-Americans, as well as poor whites, are exposed to on a daily basis by a select few marauding law enforcement officers; officers I might add that have historically behaved as if they were above the law. And why shouldn’t they harbor such a belief? They have rarely been taken to task for the evil that they do.

It is clear that COPS came for ‘Queen Bey’ and they missed, I am absolutely certain that those who follow will experience similar frustrations because truth and righteousness is a powerful thing that should never be discounted. This small ruckus that COPS attempted to create is so far beneath ‘Queen Bey’ that it is hilarious. Law enforcement officers would be wise to cease-and-desist with their attacks, because the ‘Beyhive’ is always buzzing and never resists an opportunity to handle Beyoncé’s light work.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.

#ManhoodRaceCulture

 

 

CHRISTMAS IN APRIL: WHY I AM MAILING OUT THE ‘PERFECT GIFT’ THIS WEEK

It is only by living life that we truly understand the phenomenal influence that our loved ones who have gone onto glory have had upon us; an influence that undoubtedly continues until our transition into another life. The influence that I am referring to in this piece is undoubtedly my beloved mother, Kathryn V. Jones. I am continually amazed at how she has influenced me in every aspect of my life from my worldview to my commitment of ‘paying forward’ countless opportunities and acts of kindness. Oftentimes, my mother’s influence appears in some of the most unexpected ways; such as my shopping for Christmas gifts throughout the year for those that I consider worthy of a gift; and believe me, that list changes on a moment-by-moment basis. One misstep and your name will be removed from the list.

Experience has taught me that finding the perfect gift is an arduous task as everyone has different wants, needs, desires, etc. I have also learned that when an idea for the ‘perfect gift’ appears I should act swiftly and decisively. Strangely the inspiration for the ‘perfect gift’ often comes from unexpected places. For example, this year I have been inspired for the first time ever to purchase all of my loved ones the exact same gift; and if you are so lucky to be on that list this is your notification that I will be mailing these gifts out ASAP. Not because I am seeking to break any longstanding traditions, rather, I have very real concerns that this gift could very well prove to be lifesaving.

Now I hope that your interest is piqued regarding what the gift is. However, I would first like to reveal the inspiration for this ‘perfect gift’. The inspiration for the gift is none other than the roguish law enforcement agencies and officers that patrol America’s streets in a manner that is eerily similar to an out of control street gang. So with that in mind, this year’s ‘perfect gift’ for all of the men, women, teenagers, children, and infants that I love, will be a bullet proof vest and two body cameras, one for the front and one for the rear.

Although I was on the fence regarding what this year’s ‘perfect gift’ would be, the murder of Walter Scott Jr., a 50-year-old South Carolinian, as he tried to escape Police Officer Fatal Shootingwhat he appropriately deemed certain death at the hands of officer Michael Slager. Slager alleges that he stopped Scott because of a broken brake light. By the time this minor traffic stop concluded, Slager was seen discharging his weapon at the fleeing Scott. Slager alleges that he feared that the fleeing Scott, who had taken his stun gun away from him, would somehow manage to kill him. However, one of the two videos that have surfaced of the incident show Scott fleeing for his life, Slager aiming and firing his weapon eight times, than handcuffing the fallen victim before returning to retrieve what appears to be a stun gun and throwing it next to the murder victim. Had it not been for the video tape, Slager’s account, the only account as Scott was killed during the incident, would have undoubtedly led to his being cleared by Internal Affairs.

I hope that all of those who will soon receive their ‘perfect gift’ of bullet proof vests and two body cameras in the mail from me as early Christmas gifts will understand my thinking. Put simply, I am sending this early Christmas gift immediately because if you are Black in America you need these things with you at all times. Otherwise, you may not be around to celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, or any other religious/cultural celebration. And I would hate to have that occur, because I do love you.

James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race & Culture, 2015