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

8Dec/140

Stevie Wonder on Ferguson & New York grand jury verdicts #BlackLivesMatter

Stevie Wonder... from a YouTube video posted on December 4, 2014.

"Can you believe that within one month, two secret grand juries declined to indict two policemen for the killing of two Black men? I just don't understand that.

Let me just say this also: I don't understand why a legal system would choose secrecy when there's so much mistrust of what they're saying. I don't understand why there could not have been a public trial where we would be able to hear all sides...I just don't understand that.

I tell you what I do understand. I heard Eric Garner say, with my own ears: 'I Can't Breathe.' And as much as he's apologized, I don't understand why he [the policeman] did not stop...I've heard politicians say, you've got all this black-on-black crime, but my feeling's that guns are too accessible to everybody.

I do understand that something is wrong, real wrong. And we as family, Americans, all of us of all colors, need to fix it with a quickness, real soon.

I really love you, you know that. This is why this song unfortunately is still relevant today....."

"Living For The City" - Stevie Wonder performing during the Seattle stop of his 2014 "Songs in the Key of Life" concert tour..

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.