Another Month of Unchecked Police Terror…

prosHardly a week goes by without new reports and videos emerging of police officers terrorizing people in the United States, but with an entire week left to go in the month of November there’s already been too many instances this month to keep track of. From the racist harassment common to Detroit’s suburbs to the horrendous violations of the most basic citizen rights in Miami Gardens, Florida, police all over the nation are doing little to dispel concerns that they are absolutely out of control. Perhaps the real question is, why should they? After all, it’s painfully obvious that the system that supposedly exists to hold them responsible and keep them in check has absolutely no interest in holding them to account for their actions. As Mumia Abu Jamal once wrote, “The police, tools of white state power, are a force creating chaos in the community, not peace. They have created more crime, more disruption, more loss of property, life, and peace than any group of criminals in the nation.” [1]

Police-Stop-and-Search-illegalWe begin in an incredibly wealthy and overwhelmingly white Detroit suburb, aptly titled Grosse Pointe Park, a place where Black people are accustomed to gross mistreatment from the nearly all-white police force. Police here apparently feel it is their sworn duty to harass and intimidate Black people to such an extent as a means of ensuring that the community remains predominately white. It’s gotten so bad that one Detroit resident, a man named Anthony Baker, refuses to travel to or through Grosse Pointe any more do to the fact he’s been profiled and pulled over the last three times he’s been there. What’s even more infuriating is that similar instances have been recorded by police officers and sent to their friends and family, boasting about what they’ve done. The Detroit-based Motor City Muck Raker has gotten hold of some of these videos and images sent out by police in text and multimedia messages, and the content of is truly horrifying. Some of these include Black men who are, in some cases, handcuffed and being ordered by Grosse Pointe officers to sing songs, or worse, to “dance like a chimp.” One photograph made public was of an African American man riding in the back of a trailer with a caption that read “Got to love the coloreds.” The picture, which was forwarded numerous times, was taken and sent by Grosse Pointe Officer Mike Najm. The Motor City Muck Raker‘s source notified the Grosse Pointe Police Department which says it will open an “internal investigation.” The Department has also agreed to meet with the paper’s source and review all of the videos they are in possession of. The Raker and its source would be well-advised, however, to make additional copies of the materiel before meeting with police. Otherwise, whatever materiel they have may end up confiscated or simply made to “disappear”.

Marissa Sargeant's 14 year old after being in police custody for hours.
Marissa Sargeant’s 14 year old after being in police custody for hours.

A mother in the tiny town of Tullytown, Pennsylvania was disappointed when she learned that her 14-year old son had been caught shop-lifting at the local Wal-Mart, but nothing could have prepared her for the extreme measures the Tullytown police took in response. For it appears that while in police custody, Marissa Sargeant’s son was not only brutally assaulted, but tasered in the face. When she first saw him after the arrest, he’d been hospitalized with a broken nose and had two large puffy eyes. Sargeant doesn’t believe for a moment that this was caused by her son simply tripping and falling face-forward on the concrete, as police claim. Instead, she believes the cops first roughed him up and threatened him to remain silent about what happened before they dropped him off at the hospital. District Attorney David Heckler, however, believes there is no reason to think that Tullytown police acted “inappropriately.” In fact he had no plans to file charges until a formal request was made, making it quite clear he finds no discomfort with police officers beating teenagers to a bloody pulp.

A New Mexico State Trooper tussles with a mother from Tennessee allegedly pulled over for speeding.
A New Mexico State Trooper tussles with a mother from Tennessee whom he allegedly pulled over for speeding.

In the Southwest part of the country, a Tennessean family was vacationing from their home in Memphis and was en route to Rio Grande, New Mexico for what was to be an educational trip when they were stopped by New Mexico State Troopers for allegedly speeding too quickly down the highway outside the town of Taos. It was at 1:39 P.M. on the afternoon of October 28th when the first of what would become three State Troopers approached the pulled-over vehicle and informed the driver, Oriana Ferrell, and her five children, who range in age from 6-18 years, were informed that they had been clocked in their minivan speeding at 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. After somewhat lecturing Ferrell, the officer is heard on his dash-cam video instructing her to “go ahead and turn the vehicle off for me.” Why it would be necessary for her to do so is not known. But as the officer returns to his police car, Ferrell slowly begins pulling away. At 1:45 P.M. the same officer pulls her over a second time and is now visibly angry, walking right over to the driver’s door, ripping it open by the handle, and demanding Ferrell to “get out of the vehicle!” As the mother tries to offer an explanation, the officer puts his hands on her and tries forcibly removing her from the vehicle as her children scream, “Leave my mother alone!” As they struggle, Oriana Ferrell’s 14-year old son gets out of the passenger’s side of the vehicle to defend his mother, but is quickly driven back when the officer charges at the young man with a taser.

New Mexico State Trooper appears to fire his taser at a 14 year old child in the passenger's seat of a minivan
A New Mexico State Trooper appears to fire his taser at a 14 year old child in the passenger’s seat of a minivan.

“I didn’t run away,” cries the mother. “I’m not trying to do anything wrong. I’m just trying to get to Rio Grande.” The State Trooper pretends that he will now try and be more understanding, persuading Ms. Ferrell to get out of the vehicle voluntarily. But it was a trick. When she meets him behind the minivan, he orders her to “turn around and face your vehicle” so that he can put her in handcuffs. Black mothers are certainly no strangers to the terror that police are capable of bringing upon them and their children, so it is understandable why after hearing these instructions she would not want to leave her children unprotected while she is restrained. When Ferrell quickly darts back to her vehicle, the cop peruses her and begins wrestling with her until her 14 year old son once again emerges from the car to protect and defend his mother. Once the mother gets back into the car the son retreats as well, but the officer is hot on his tail and appears to fire off his taser at him but thankfully misses. Now all the doors in the vehicle are locked and the family screams as the officer tries to force his way in. Finally a second state trooper arrives on the scene and together the two officers begin breaking the minivan’s windows in with the blunt force of their nightsticks and batons. As glass shatters and falls around her and her terrified family, Oriana Ferrell can think of nothing else to do but to drive off, as any mother would do when faced with a similar situation. Suddenly a third officer emerges at that moment and he and the second officer shoot bullets at the minivan full carrying a mother and her young children! A short 4-minute police-chase ensues before Ferrell decides it’s best for her to turn herself in in at a nearby public gas station. There she and her 14 year-old son were handcuffed and arrested, charged with “child abuse” and “fleeing from a police officer” and her son ridiculously charged with “battery of a police officer.”

And please, whatever you do, PLEASE don’t call the cops on your children hoping the cops will “teach them a lesson.” This sort of thing happens far too often because many parents, like much of American society in general, have been exposed to endless propaganda that touts police officers as a noble and trustworthy force. That was nothing noble about what police did, however, when responding to a call from a father named James Comstock, who called the police on his 19-year old son Tyler on November 4th. The Comstocks had gotten into a heated argument over money for cigarettes when Tyler, angry at his dad, drove off in his father’s work truck. The elder Comstock called the police. According to the officers who were in pursuit of Tyler, the young man initially refused to yield for them as he was instructed. Eventually, he led them to Iowa State University where he put his vehicle into park. In spite of the fact that he was unarmed and no longer leading the cops on a chase, Tyler was gunned down in his father’s work vehicle after being struck with a total of six bullets according to witnesses. Now a father is heartbroken and without a son. This horrible tragedy, it should be noted, was by no means the fault of James Comstock or even his son. It is solely on the police who shot an unarmed man in a vehicle regardless of what the circumstances were.

15-year Sheriff Deputy Chad Palmer decided to celebrate Halloween by putting his ignorance and belief in white supremacy on full display.
15-year Sheriff Deputy Chad Palmer decided to celebrate Halloween by putting his ignorance and belief in white supremacy on full display.

And what compilation of vile police racism would be complete without something transpiring in the former Confederate States? Halloween might have ended nearly a month ago, but images of people parading around wearing racist costumes apparently have not finished making their way onto the internet, sometimes to the shock of those involved. Such was the case with 15-year veteran Sheriff Deputy Chad Palmer of the Camden Country Police in Georgia. And although Palmer was attending a privately-held Halloween party, there was nothing private about his apparent racism that night as evidenced by this picture of him with his entire body painted in black. The disgusting image of this sick, fat, racist pig was said to represent a “Camden County inmate… picking cotton.” Apparently this cruel, oppressive imagery is still fashionable among more than a few Southern whites a full 100+ years after the post-Reconstruction era! Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor is quite baffled by how the costume could possibly be interpreted as racist. Of Sheriff Palmer he says, “He thought it was funny. It was a costume party.” Palmer has been put on temporary pay suspension, however, as he undergoes “sensitivity training.” Proctor continued his defense of Palmer by pointing out that in the past ten years Palmer “issued 187 charges against blacks and 356 against whites.” This statement does not take into account the many different forms of harassment people are subjected to, however. It also doesn’t take into account that Camden County is over 76% white and just 19% black. Regardless, how can anyone with in their right mind view this image and deem Palmer capable of enforcing laws without letting his racial animosity cloud his judgement?

And in one last heart-wrenching story from a town in Missouri called Louisiana, a man named Ryan Miller awoke in the middle of the night one night to find himself surrounded by flames in the second floor of his house. After he managed to make it to safety, he realized his 3-year old stepson Riley was still in the house which was engulfed in flames. He attempted to make his way back into the house to save the young child, but before he could the police officers who arrived on the scene assaulted him and shot him with their taser-guns, handcuffed him, and forced him into the back of a cop car. All the while he was forced to watch in agony as his house went down in flames and with it 3-year old Riley’s life.

Source note :

1. Mumia Abu Jamal quoted from his 1995 publication titled Live from Death Row, page 142.

5 thoughts

  1. Did Mumia Abu Jamal write about a community like Miami Gardens where the Mayor and Police Chief were black, or are they tools of white power as well?

    1. He’s addressed this long ago if you are really interested in hearing his opinion.

      “It doesn’t matter… if we’ve learned anything it is that ideas and ways of looking at the world cross racial, linguistic and gender barriers.Members of institutions adopt ways of looking at those deemed ‘others'”.

  2. Reblogged this on The Angriest Black Man in America and commented:
    Good work, my friend. Don’t ever stop documenting and posting these instances. We have to bombard the people with the this evidence of truth in hopes that they will be discomforted and upset enough to join together and stand against these menaces to society that we call law enforcement. RESPECT.

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