Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

8Dec/140

#BlackLivesMatter Trinity United Chicago Protest

In light of the recent high publicity killings of Black women, men and children at the hands of police officers and other white citizens, as well as the recent series of 'no-indictment' decisions handed down by grand juries, members of church congregations across the country have carried on the legacy of activism and advocacy that has characterized the Black church tradition for over a century.

Below is a short clip featuring highlights of a series of protest actions organized by members of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois.

#BlackLivesMatter

6Dec/140

Defending Black Lives Against American Law Enforcement Terrorism: We Must Reform These Systems

As this past week ended, millions of people throughout the world continued to follow the intensifying and brutal response by law enforcement officers to African American women, men and children on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and dozens of other communities throughout the US. Much of this attention has been sparked by the recent and high-profile killings of African American men and boys at the hands of police officers, and the lack of any form of accountability for the officers in most of these cases.

Most recently this week, tens of thousands (likely more) of individuals throughout the country watched and subsequently protested the Staten Island, New York grand jury decision not to indict the officer responsible for killing Eric Garner this past summer. Demonstrators also protested the unfolding tragedy in Cleveland, Ohio, where a rookie and unfit police officer (according to the officer's prior employment records) shot and killed Tamir Rice, an unarmed 12-year-old boy, within 1-2 seconds of approaching the scene where the boy had been playing with a toy gun. All of this follows the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and multiple other killings of Black men by police officers in other cities within the last week.

Yesterday's Democracy Now broadcast further analyzed the multiple failures and unjust responses by the NYPD to Eric Garner on that summer afternoon, including the minutes before Garner's encounter with the police, the actual police killing of Garner, and the aftermath. They also explore the circumstances and poor police department track record coming to light in Cleveland.

Below are brief descriptions and the relatively short video clips from yesterday's Democracy Now broadcast (transcript available on the DN site).

Did the NYPD Let Eric Garner Die? Video Shows Police Ignored Pleas to Help Him After Chokehold

While much of the nation has seen the cellphone video showing the New York City police officer’s chokehold that led to Eric Garner’s death, a second video shows what happened after Garner last gasped, "I can’t breathe." The video shows Garner lying unresponsive on the sidewalk as police and medics do nothing to help him. A bystander can be heard saying, "Why nobody do no CPR?" Eventually they lift his body onto a stretcher. New York Daily News columnist Harry Siegel writes about the video in his latest article, "The lonesome death of Eric Garner: When men are treated like pieces of meat by cops and medics, trust erodes."

 

A Racist and Unjust System? A Discussion on Policing in Wake of Michael Brown and Eric Garner Deaths

As Rev. Al Sharpton calls for a march on Washington next Saturday to demand action from the federal government on police brutality and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio orders the retraining of the city’s police force, we host a roundtable discussion on policing and race nationwide. We’re joined by three guests: Graham Weatherspoon is a retired detective with the New York City Police Department; Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer for The Nation; and Harry Siegel is a columnist at the New York Daily News.

 

The Killing of Tamir Rice: Cleveland Police Criticized for Shooting 12-Year-Old Holding Toy Gun

More than 100 people packed a church in Cleveland, Ohio, for the memorial service of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy shot dead by police last month. Rice, who was in sixth grade, was killed after a 911 caller reported seeing the boy with what turned out to be a pellet gun, which the caller repeatedly said seemed fake. Video shows Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shooting Rice immediately after leaving his cruiser, from a distance of about 10 feet. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department has found a pattern or practice of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” by the Cleveland Police Department. We speak with Democratic Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, whose district includes Cleveland.

We are also joined by three others in our studio: Graham Weatherspoon is a retired detective with the New York City Police Department; Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer for The Nation; and Harry Siegel is a columnist at the New York Daily News.

4Dec/140

‘Hell No!’: Eric Garner’s Widow Rejects Officer’s Condolences

Protests continue around the country tonight after yesterday's grand jury decision NOT to indict the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. What separated this killing from other killings of Black women, men and children by cops is that the entire encounter was filmed, and shared with the public shortly after it happened.

So in this case, even people who are otherwise inclined to think the worst of African American women, men and children - and who are inclined to give all or most cops the benefit of the doubt - were forced to acknowledge the absolute terror experienced by Eric Garner in his relationship with the police, and what by many of us appears to be their sheer lack of regard for his life.

Following the most recent failure of this nation's justice system, the Garner family reacted to the grand jury decision, and the 'statement of condolence' issued by the officer who killed Eric Garner.

The reaction by Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, to a questioner seeking her reaction to the officer's statement is a moving example of the power of the human spirit to stand up with clarity about such an injustice, and the crisis their family was thrown into by Officer Pantaleo in particular, and the NYPD more generally.

I have tremendous admiration for the family's courage, and their steadfastness, which we all must support and model.

From a related article at Huffington Post...

The family of Eric Garner addressed the nation Wednesday after a grand jury announced its decision not to indict an NYPD officer in Garner's death.

Garner, a Staten Island man who had asthma, died on July 17 after Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in a prohibited police chokehold during an arrest. Police suspected Garner, who was black, of selling untaxed cigarettes on the sidewalk. The incident was captured on video, where Garner can be heard repeatedly telling officers "I can't breathe!" before his body goes limp.

At a press conference Wednesday at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network, the advocacy group founded by Al Sharpton, Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carr, expressed their disappointment with the grand jury's decision and their frustration that Pantaleo would not be held accountable by a court.

Esaw Garner became visibly angry when asked if she accepted the remorse Pantaleo expressed earlier that day. In a statement, Pantaleo offered his condolences to the family and said he never intended to harm Garner.

"Hell no!" Garner replied. "The time for remorse would have been when my husband was yelling to breathe."

"No, I don't accept his apology. No, I could care less about his condolences," she continued. "He's still working. He's still getting a paycheck. He's still feeding his kids, when my husband is six feet under and I'm looking for a way to feed my kids now."

"Who's going to play Santa Claus for my grandkids this year?" she said. "Who's going to play Santa Claus?"

And a video clip from the news conference, at ABCNews...

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