What Do Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rev. Al Sharpton, Mr. Howard Edelman, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and Mr. Quentin Tarantino Have in Common?
November 23, 2015 by Herbert Daughtry
While I was preparing this article, I received an email from the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) of Newark, NJ. They invited me to a press conference and rally regarding a police shooting. In addition, they indicated that they were supportive of Mr. Quentin Tarantino. They mentioned the four cases of police shootings: Radazz Hearns, Abdul Kamal, Kashad Ashford, and Jerame Reid. Mr. Larry Hamm, the head of POP and the veteran Civil Rights Leader, complained that they have not been able to get a conviction in the police shootings. He has called for a federal investigation.
According to a pamphlet put out by the October 22nd Coalition, the group that sponsored the rally where Mr. Tarantino spoke, there have been 357 killings since Nicholas Heyward, Jr. and 225 since Mr. Sean Bell. The October 22nd Coalition has been organizing a “A Day of National Protest Against Police Killings and Brutality” since 1996.
In light of the aforementioned police killings (keep in mind there were many more), I don’t see how policemen or anyone can be angry if some policemen are called murderers. The evidence is indisputable. Some police officers have killed innocent citizens, and unfortunately, unless there is substantial change, some police officers will continue to be killers of innocent civilians. The police department has a long history of attempting to demonize anyone who calls attention to their misconduct. They know that they will get a lot of support, especially when the victims are African and/or Latino Americans.
Whenever an unarmed or innocent citizen is killed by police, and likewise, when policemen are killed, I go through a time of anger and sadness. I think of all the cases in which I’ve been involved in the last 55 years of my ministry. Some of which I mentioned in my last article in the Daily Challenge on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. I still have close relationships with many of the families. In addition to the killings, there have been countless instances of police physical brutality, and brutality of the spirit (i.e. disrespect, humiliation, insults). Fortunately, the victims survived. I wonder how many citizens and police officers would be alive today if the city and the nation had heeded our appeals for justice, respect, and reform of the criminal justice system.
I have made many, many proposals, suggestions, and demands to every Mayor and Commissioner, from Mr. Ed Koch and Mr. Robert McGuire to Mr. Bill de Blasio and Mr. William Bratton, the exception being Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Commissioner Howard Safir. However, when Mr. Giuliani was the U.S. Attorney, there were cases of police misconduct which I brought to him. We had a cordial relationship.
As I have mentioned, even though we tried to get President Jimmy Carter’s attention, we never succeeded. If he knew about our appeals, he never did anything about it. We even demonstrated against him and his wife, Rosalynn, in Harlem as well as City Hall. There was no response. Nor was there any response from President Ronald Reagan, obviously; or, any President until President Barack Obama. In fact, with the election of Mr. Reagan, the country became even more reactionary and racist.
Prior to President Carter, the rebellions in the 1960s forced President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint the Warren Commission on Urban Unrest in 1967. The Commission noted that all of the unrest were precipitated by police abusive acts. There was still little or no change.
However, to President Obama’s credit, he became involved in the criminal justice system, particularly mass arrests, police killings, and brutality unequal by any other president. He has recognized the Black Lives Matter Movement, and even offered supportive language: *”The reason organizers use the phrase, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s life matter, but rather what they were suggesting is that there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities, and that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address. The African-American community is not making this up…
“While far from every change that is needed to address the causes of the Black Lives Matter Movement will be done by the government. It is simply undeniable that policing, education, and housing discrimination must be addressed.”
As an aside, one of the things which concerns me about the Black Lives Matter Movement is that they seem to be concentrating on those who are inclined to be supportive. This has the potential of creating a division among allies and leave the way open for adversaries to take over the country.
This happened during the Presidential campaign in 1968. Senator Hubert Humphrey and former President Richard Nixon were the candidates. Senator Humphrey, a good man with liberal proclivities, lost the election to President Nixon, a bad man with conservative tendencies (at least when it served to promote his interest). As it turned out, Mr. Nixon was forced to leave the office to escape impeachment. The Progressive Liberal Coalition was fragmented, lukewarm, or neglected to support Mr. Humphrey. We are still feeling the negative impact of Mr. Nixon’s appointments, especially the Supreme Court. He had six appointees. Justice William Rehnquist became the Chief Justice. He was confirmed on January 7, 1972. He’s responsible for ruling in favor of Mr. Nixon in the Florida vote re-count. Former Vice President Al Gore lost the election due to what most pundits and observers said was a biased decision.
Similarly, in New York, we turned away from electing Mayor David Dinkins to a second term in 1992. We did not vote anywhere near our potential. Again, there were criticisms, questions, and discord among allies. Thus, we got Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
When we study the police complaints and criticism, it becomes clear that they are baseless. Also, what becomes obvious is their use of statements and persons to divert attention from their misconduct. As I have stated, they are trying to rally support. It is a “let us circle the wagon because they are after us” tactic. The sad, disturbing response of overwhelming numbers is that they accept the police interpretations, perceptions, and versions of what is happening. They want to believe, after all there are ties with families, religions, neighborhoods, friends, etc. To the victims, loved ones, supporters, protestors, and unbiased observers, some of the police are vicious and/or killers, and most of the other officers are guilty of silence and/or cover-up.
… to be continued.
(Originally published in the Daily Challenge on November 20, 2015.)