Blind Eye and Deaf Ear: Obama Says “Mistrust” Of Police Corroding America
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
Right now as you read this blog, there are thousands of Blacks, Whites, people from all walks of life, protesting in Ferguson, MO about the injustices faced daily at the hands of the police through harassment, brutality and even death. In Ferguson, it was the shooting of unarmed, Black teen Michael Brown that sparked the outrage, but across the country it is countless mothers’ tears and the blood of innocent victims being washed into the gutters of this country all in the name of justice.
Our own President Barack Obama, a Black man (?), stated that the mistrust of the police and justice system is having a corrosive effect on the nation, in particularly the children.
He blames the feeling of wariness on persistent racial disparities in the administration of justice which only serve to harm the communities that are most in need of effective law enforcement.
“It makes folks who are victimized by crime and need strong policing reluctant to go to the police because they may not trust them,” he said Saturday night in an address at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner.
“And the worst part of it is it scars the hearts of our children,” Obama said, adding that it leads some youngsters to unnecessarily fear people who do not look like them and others to constantly feel under suspicion no matter what they do.
“That is not the society we want,” he said. “It’s not the society that our children deserve.”
Obama also says that the August 9th shooting of Michael Brown by a White police officer and the emotion people are expressing behind it, reawakened the country to the fact that “a gulf of mistrust” exists between residents and police in too many communities.
Reawakened? Reawakened who? How can Obama talk about “mistrust” but turn a blind eye as to why? Michael Brown is not the first unarmed Black to die at the hands of police – he was not the only unarmed Black to die at the hands of police that week. Surprisingly, as they would like people to believe that Black neighborhoods are filled with the criminal element, Michael Brown was the FIRST homicide in Ferguson, MO this year! Followed by the shooting of Kajieme Powell, just a few days later.
Nowadays, it seems like too many of our so-called leaders are using and choosing their words carefully all while turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the blatant disregard and screams of help from minorities, the impoverished and the oppressed. Is it that the people causing such a stir in the “low-lands” are interrupting your half-hearted notions of a “post-racial” America?
Reports show that nearly two times a week in the US, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI. (USATODAY)
18% of the Blacks killed during those seven years were under the age of 21, compared to 8.7% of Whites. While these numbers are striking, the truth is that no one really knows how many people the police gun down in the street! The database that these numbers are based on are self-reported by law enforcement and not all the police departments participate, so these numbers are largely flawed and fundamentally under counts the actual number of deaths.
According to University of South Carolina criminologist Geoff Alpert, who has long studied police use of deadly force, says that the misinformation underscores the nation’s understanding of how often local police take a life and under what circumstances.
”There is no national database for this type of information, and that is so crazy,” said Alpert. “We’ve been trying for years, but nobody wanted to fund it and the (police) departments didn’t want it. They were concerned with their image and liability. They don’t want to bother with it.”
So right now, based on the figures available, the number stands at an admitted 400 “justifiable police homicides” each year since 2008, according to the FBI’s annual Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR).
“I’ve looked at records in hundreds of departments,” Alpert said, “and it is very rare that you find someone saying, ‘Oh, gosh, we used excessive force.’ In 98.9% of the cases, they are stamped as justified and sent along.” (USATODAY)
“Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement — guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness,” said Obama, who has spoken of enduring similar treatment as a younger man.
Yet, more often than not, we get a blind eye and a deaf ear to our pain, frustrations, our deaths .. our lives … and you think that “mistrust”, Mr. President, is tearing this country apart?
Obama says that government can not play the primary role in the lives of children, but it “can bring folks together” to make a difference for them.
Well right now the people that you are offering us for “help” is an increasingly militarized police force that is already grossly abusing their authority and not being held accountable, a prison system based on profit and even more ghastly mandatory capacity quotas and decreasing opportunities for jobs that pay a decent living wage. The prison industrial complex is what’s bringing folks together and ripping them from their families.
Mistrust? America itself is turning into insurgents on its hallowed land, but just as Columbus Day was recently celebrated, we can’t turn a blind eye and deaf ear to how this country was born.
No this is not the society we want Mr. President! A society where now with so many of these these injustices getting recorded on cell phones and plastered all over social media, and still a blind eye and deaf ear are given.
Check out the song “Prison World” by Lexington, KY rap group Tha U addressing these troubling times we are facing in the midst of mass incarceration, police brutality, judicial and social injustices from the forthcoming EP entitled “Prison World”.
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