Tag Archives: St. Louis

Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory

7Let us not forget that over the last year more people of color [black people] have been killed by the police indiscriminately than at anytime in recent memory. Some compare it to “lawful lynchings” only through the use of a gun. More than six months after Michael Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson, the youth-led protests in Ferguson continue to fuel a national movement against police brutality. #blacklivesmatter

“Part of the struggle for us in Ferguson is to break a four-hundred-year belief that black people are not human,” says St. Louis native and activist Rev. Osagyefo Sekou.

After the Department of Justice released a blistering report finding systematic racism and prejudice against blacks in the Ferguson Police Department, protests continued, the police chief and several Ferguson officials resigned, and two police officers were injured in a shooting.

This problem, however, is not unique to Ferguson. St. Louis County is made of around 90 municipalities, each with their own police departments and courts. Residents report similar discriminatory treatment at the hands of law enforcement. And with so many different jurisdictions, a small infraction like an expired license plate can turn into dozens of fines and eventually warrants. Those in St. Louis who live below the poverty line are faced with the reality of buying food or paying fines.

In the Fusion documentary Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory, we turn to the residents of St. Louis County to tell us what it’s like to be racially profiled and under siege.

Reporter/Narrator: Tim Pool
Director/Producer: Orlando de Guzman
Co-producer: Katina Parker
Camera: Orlando de Guzman, Katina Parker, Adam Booher, Sean Funcik and Darnell Singleton
Researcher/Field Producer: Lorien Olive

Ferguson Ground Zero: Eruption In The Heartland

007_1000As we move closer to the announcement from the Grand Jury charged with making the decision whether or not to charge police officer, Daren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson last August. Most black people and dare I say almost people realize the fix is in; meaning no charges will be filed. Hence, the nation is on the edge, and frankly at a crossroad leading the system to prepare for war. We know what the Gestapo like police tactics are and capable of because we saw the heavy-handed approach taken immediately after the killing.

A few days ago, the Governor of Missouri held a news conference beginning with “To all Missourians, to people around the country and around the world, we are going to keep this region safe.” He was flanked by officials of several local police departments that will be on guard against any potential violence he said. The way I see it, they have had time to replenish their armaments, prepare a battle plan, and mobilize resources. To that end, it appeared as if he drew a line in the sand or as he put it “rules of engagement”.

He warned: “Those who cross the line into violence will face consequences … The National Guard will be available if needed and a unified command of state, St. Louis city and St. Louis County police will provide security for protests… That ugliness (seen in August) was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated”.

It is important to remember that it was in Missouri that the Dred Scott decision became law of the land as a result of the Supreme Court ruling called the Dred Scott Decision, which said, “There are no rights a Negro has that a white man is bound to respect”. This coupled with what was written in the Constitution that a Negro is 3/5ths human. This Civil War mentality that many seem to continue to fight and the concept of White Supremacy with regard to America’s race problem. Notwithstanding, the Apartheid and Jim Crow era polices that continue – the atmosphere is ripe for an explosion.

Of course, we know for sure that America has been in this posture since the day Africans were dragged onto the shores of America. But let’s go back just a few generations the Black Panther Party was born out of this type of strife and brutality from the police against black people. With each generation since Nat Turner the pain from the abuse has built up, simmering, but this time it may have come to a boil to the point where it may erupt more vociferously than at any other time in history. The feeling is – enough is enough!

43As heartbreaking and dangerous as this is for people of color, black men in particular, at that the hands of the police/system operating under cover of law the outcome is obvious. Cops are always justified in a killing no matter how outrageous. It’s called the “I feared for my life” defense. This defense is universally invoked and accepted by prosecutors to reject any call for a prosecution.

Missouri law has gone even further and virtually codified that defense for a dubious shooting of a suspect into law. The statute states that an officer can use deadly force in cases when “he or she reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself,” “when he reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest” and when the subject “may otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.”

I am in no way a prophet but the fuse has been burning for a longtime, and this time might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I can see that, like all other cases of police brutality, the fix is in and when no charges are brought against the killer – it is going to be an eruption unlike any rebellion in history. All over the world; from Egypt to China to South America rebellions are occurring because of wicked, unjust, and corrupt government’s mistreatment of its citizens.

In the past, they have called upon the clergy or a group of handpicked, chicken picking black people paid by them to come in to quell any unrest singing “We Shall Overcome” but this strategy may not work this time. Most people of color living today and can see that Dr. King’s dream that is so heavily promoted in these situations is not a dream, rather a nightmare. Maybe the radicals of the 1960s did not go far enough. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The Shooting Of Another Black Man: Presumed Justified

10514657_10202131902970802_7641807366571926388_nA St. Louis PD officer is the latest to shot an unarmed black teenager with what appears to be with no remorse. He is on administrative leave with pay and as it has been reported [CNN] that no city official, mayor or otherwise has visited the mother of this child. One officer was caught on video calling the angry protesters last night – “F-ing ANAMIALS”! As far back as I can remember these same types of atrocities have been inflicted upon black people and their community.

At some point, you would think the government would see there is a problem with the men in blue. The relationship between the police and the black community has always been hostile, no trust, and viewed as an occupying force. This just speaks to justice that in unfairly imposed by this hostile force. And this morning another mother, family, and community grieve.

During segregation, there was the “Ministers of Defense” created to protect black people from the Klan and racists. The unchallenged brutality from the Oakland police was the reason why the Black Panthers were formed to protect the community from the police. The result of these unchecked murders, beatings, and shootings result in riots. I hope you can remember the call of the sixties “Burn Baby Burn”!

Let me say, I am personally opposed to violence and rioting. I would prefer organizing but that is like “praying”; it feels good, but nothing results from it and black people have been praying since we were dragged on to the shores of this place the slaves called “merica.” Need I remind you that “those prayers have yet to be answered.” For four hundred years, people of African descent have been brutalized in unimaginable ways at the hands of those put in place to suppress the race. Make no mistake that is the job of the police, not much different than the slave catcher.

We have seen over and over the lack of value held by agencies from the FBI to the “community watch” folks. Just imagine what it was like before there was video. The brutality was standard operating procedure. Then came Rodney King and the world got a chance to see that it was, in fact real, and the complaints from the black community were too. What did they say to us; “you did not see what you thought you saw.” In every instance, the police use the same excuse; I was afraid for my life and the murder is found to be justified!

Some say; we should march. Marching is a strategy – not a solution! I say we have been marching since Dr. King lead us, and the problem has gotten worse. It seems that each week there is another murder of an unarmed person at the hands of the law. The life of a black person has so little value that the police simply “shot first” and their gang leaders will find away to find it “justified”. This is a crisis!

What troubles me is that as soon as something like this happens. The police grab some chicken pickin so-called lead to tamper down the unrest. This is a huge problem when they run to a house Negro to say “be peaceful and that the police are your friend”. No one in the black community believes that for one minute. They are there as an occupying force, unstable and dangerous. As evidence of the weekly deaths under cover of law that must be addressed; as we said in the late sixties – unrest will ensue!

It is not the role of the police to prosecute nor execute! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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