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"Black Lives Matter" matters

By       Message Barbara Stakes       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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As white person, writing about Black Lives Matter seems presumptive. But after mulling it over and over I reasoned: It's something for which I feel empathy (if that's the right word) and secondly, I'm inclined to write letters to news outlets about things I care about.

If we are to be a fair-minded public, the "Black Lives Matter" movement,

From flickr.com/photos/7278633@N04/19812314794/: 1 Year Commemoration of the Murder of Michael Brown, the Ferguson Rebellion, & the Black Lives Matter uprising.
1 Year Commemoration of the Murder of Michael Brown, the Ferguson Rebellion, & the Black Lives Matter uprising.
(Image by The All-Nite Images)
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that includes disrupting political speeches and protests in the streets in order to demand accountability and reform of police departments should be accepted and encouraged. Transgressions by police officers against Black communities have gone on for decades.

The technology of cell phone videos has served to bring into view, literally, these offenses.

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It is my sense that the outrage stems from, even when in plain sight, police departments, and prosecutors who are connected to those departments, refuse to indict and bring these officers to a trial.

Black Lives Matter is lobbying for justice - in a court of law - where the public can see and hear the entire circumstances of why unarmed people of color who are not engaged in violent acts or not possessing a viable weapon are being killed.

Three examples this year: 12-year-old Tamir Rice killed by police within seconds and non-assessment; 17-year-old Laquan McDonald shot 16 times as he walked away from police, Eric Garner killed by a choke-hold which is not even permitted under their own police rule.

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Only one in three of these cases have resulted in an officer being indicted.

Caught on cell phone video, the officer who shot and killed Walter Scott as he ran away has been charged and will go to trial. If not for the video though, would his simple and false report: 'that Scott tried to take the tazer' have been accepted as enough for that police department's "case closed"? Would there have been no more questions as to why a person was killed?

We should wonder.

Isn't it fair that Black Lives Matter is bringing to light a country's police community that seems complicit in these heinous acts? Isn't it fair to ask a public why it would accept that Mike Brown's life was worth less than cigars? (As to the claim he attacked the officer, he was 30 feet away and unarmed when shot and killed.)

How is it that 6 police officers accepted that Freddie Gray should not be offered medical aid?

At least those cases have gone to juries. But, it will not return Mr. Gray to his family.

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In, "Why do U.S. police keep killing unarmed black men?" (5/26/2015) BBC News compiled several studies that looked at various causes. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32740523)

Lorie Fridell, Associate Professor of criminology at the University of South Florida was director of research at the Police Executive Research Forum. She found what she describes as "black crime implicit bias": viewing a person of color as more likely involved in criminal acts than a white counterpart.

In August 2015, District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, held that the stop and frisk practices of the NYPD violated Constitutional rights (Floyd v. City of New York). "Unconscious bias could help explain the otherwise puzzling fact that NYPD officers stop 48% of Blacks and 45% of Hispanics, but only 40% of the stops are of Whites."

James Blake, a well-known tennis player, was violently attacked outside an airport while waiting for his ride. He was handcuffed by the officers before they realized he was "the wrong guy".

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"Black Lives Matter" matters