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
Ironically, since the death of Mr. Randolph Holder, the police officer who was killed on October 20, 2015, New York City has become charged with tension generated by, of all people, the police. They reacted to what they claimed were the actions and words by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rev. Al Sharpton, Mr. Howard Edelman, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and Mr. Quentin Tarantino. They complained that they were/are being attacked, belittled, and unappreciated. What did the above-mentioned persons do or say to warrant such angry responses from the police?
Mayor de Blasio has been on the hot seat from the remarks he made when Mr. Eric Garner was killed. His statements were not untrue or inaccurate. In times of tension, truth becomes a casualty. In addition, he had a series of meetings with Rev. Al Sharpton and those who the police considered undesirable.
Rev. Sharpton, for whatever reason, seems to be in the police bull’s-eye, even when he has tried to extend a hand of unity. He still remains the man they love to hate. I was present at a meeting we had at City Hall. Rev. Sharpton said, and I’m paraphrasing, “If Dante was not your son, he would be subjected to police harassment and maybe even death.” When Mayor de Blasio attended the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos, many of the police officers turned their backs on him. When Rev. Sharpton was invited to the funeral of Officer Holder, he was threatened with the Mayor de Blasio treatment.
I was with Rev. Sharpton when he, and others, including Mrs. Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, visited the precinct in the service area to which Officer Holder was assigned. Rev. Sharpton carried a wreath and spoke of his sorrow for the death of Officer Holder, and made an appeal for unity. After leaving the memorial, he received a call to visit the family. While conversing with the family, he was invited by Officer Holder’s father to speak at the funeral. When the police leadership learned of it, they immediately denounced Rev. Sharpton, pressured the father to renege on the promise, persuaded Officer Holder’s fiancé to criticize Rev. Sharpton, and threatened to give him the Mayor de Blasio treatment.
One of the police leaders said that Rev. Sharpton would find a more fitting welcome in hell than in heaven. Rev. Sharpton, to his credit, took the high ground and decided not to attend. He said, “I do not want to make a circus of the funeral.”
In our community, the police behavior seriously violated funeral protocol. We always believed that the family’s wishes are to be respected at a funeral, and hatchets would be buried until after the funeral, and maybe, forever.
I remember when Nicholas Heyward, Jr.’s funeral was held at my church. Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, who was the mayor at the time and deeply resented in the Black communities, sent word to me, asking if it would be alright if he attended the funeral.
After conferring with Mr. Heyward, Sr., I responded that Mr. Giuliani would not only be welcomed but also allowed to speak. When Mr. Giuliani arrived at the church, he was given a cordial welcome. I invited him to my office. We shared a friendly time together. I remember when he scanned the pictures on my wall in the office. The photos of former Mayor David Dinkins were everywhere.
I said to him, “You don’t have to worry. You’re not dreaming. You’re really the Mayor.” He replied, “The photo that impresses me is the one with the Pope and you.” We shared a moment of laughter. The photo to which he referred was a picture with Pope John Paul II and I at the Vatican. Rev. Jesse Jackson had invited me to accompany him and his family to an audience with the Pope.
Mr. Howard Edelman is New York State’s contract arbitrator. He recently awarded a pay increase of 1% to the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the union which represented the rank-and-file of the New York Police Department. As it turned out, it was the fault of Mr. Patrick Lynch, the President of the PBA. He elected not to negotiate with the city, but to leave the matter in the hands of the New York State Arbitration Board. Commissioner William Bratton had it right. He said, “Patrick Lynch rolled the dice, and he lost on his roll of the dice. That’s quite clear.” The facts do not bother Mr. Lynch. He led a boisterous demonstration at the office of Mr. Howard Edelman, and Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s residence.
The Black Lives Matter Movement is doing nothing more than calling attention to the injustice in the Criminal Justice System, particularly police misconduct; racism; joblessness; inequality in the economic system; etc. They have denounced police killings and brutality as others have done and/or are doing. They have criticized the “good officers” who would not step forward on behalf of the victims.
Mr. Quentin Tarantino, the award-winning film director, came to New York to participate in a rally, protesting police misconduct. He was quoted, “I am a human being with a conscious. If you believe there is murder going on, then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I am here to say that I’m on the side of the murdered.” He said he did not intend to indict all police officers.
A question ought to be asked: “Is his statement true or false?” Any unbiased observer would have to admit that Mr. Tarantino was telling the truth. Policemen have murdered unarmed citizens – children, women, and men. That is an unassailable fact.
On Saturday, November 14, 2015, we remembered Clifford Glover, who would have been 52 years old. He was shot in the back by an officer named Mr. Thomas Shea. Clifford was ten years old at the time. He was unarmed when he was shot. The officer’s sidekick, Mr. Walter Scott, according to the media, cursed young Clifford, saying, “Die you, young Black bastard!”
There were other youths: Jay Parker, Ricky Bodden (1972); Randolph Evans (1976); Claude Reese (1974); Nicholas Heyward, Jr. (1994); Ramarley Graham (2012); and, Kimani Gray (2013).
They were teenagers. Shall I go on with adults? They were Arthur Miller (1978); Louie Baez (1979); Peter Funches, a disabled veteran (1979); Anthony Baez (1994); Anthony Rosario (1995); Hilton Vega (1995); Amadou Diallo (1999); Patrick Dorismond (2000); Timothy Stansbury, Jr. (2004); Sean Bell (2006); Mohammad Bah (2012); Akai Gurley (2014); and, Eric Garner (2014).
Shall I mention women? They were Elizabeth Mangum (1979); Eleanor Bumpers (1985); Alberta Spruill (2003); and, Shantal Davis (2012).
Those are just a few of the police killings with which I have been involved during my 55 years of ministry. It doesn’t include all of the killings. There were many, many more. In some of the killings, the city had to pay enormous lawsuits. In almost all of the cases, the killer cops were exonerated.
Now, what about other cities? In recent times, the police killed Oscar Grant (2009); Tamir Rice, 12, in Cleveland, OH (2014); Spencer McCain, 41, in Baltimore, MD (2015); and, Walter Scott, 50, in North Carolina (2015).
… to be continued.
(Originally published in the Daily Challenge on November 18, 2015.)