Why No Charges? Hardly Ever!
No charges will be filed against the Cleveland police officer responsible for the fatal shooting of 12 year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, pill while the youth was playing with a toy pellet gun on a public playground during daylight hours. No charges were filed in the fatal police shooting of John Crawford III, for sale 22 years old, pill who was carrying a toy BB gun in a Beaverton, Ohio Wal-Mart store where the toy gun is sold in the store. Ohio is an open carry state, where individuals who have a permit are, legally, allowed to carry their rifles and handguns in plain view of the public; it should be noted. No charges were filed in the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown on a hot summer day in Ferguson, Missouri either. Neighbors and friends gathered in horror as the slain body of the 18-year-old Brown lay in the middle of the street for over four hours while police processed the “crime scene.” The crime scene, what crime, if no charges are filed?
Walter Scott was fatally shot in the back several times as he was fleeing the police after a “routine” daytime traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina last year. After an eyewitness came forward with a cellphone videotape of the shooting, Officer Michael Slager was arrested and charged with murder. The officer has since been released on a $500,000 bond and house arrest because state Circuit Judge Clifton Newman said bringing the officer to trial was taking too long. Slager’s trial is scheduled to begin October 31st, a year and a half after Walter Scott’s death. The Bill of Rights guarantees the right to a speedy trial, however it must be said that the number of black & brown citizens awaiting trail, while remaining incarcerated, in the criminal justice system is truly an indictment of the partiality with which “rights and guarantees” are rationed out to citizens who have no power, privilege or finance as compared with those who do.
Laquan McDonald, 17, was fatally shot 16 times, in the head, chest, torso, back, arms, legs and groin while walking away from police last year in Chicago. This shooting by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was captured on a police dash cam video but was held by the police department for over a year until a media request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) forced its public release a year after the incident occurred. First accounts of the fatal shooting painted the “traditional” story of justifiable homicide, a shooting in self-defense that is, historically, the story told by law enforcement, vigilante groups and community watchmen, particularly when the victim is Black. They “feel” threatened and “believe” their life is in danger and so they shoot! They shoot without a pause or a word spoken, or a question asked. Without identifying themselves or giving a command to “STOP” or “DROP the WEAPON!” In the McDonald case, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, in its initial account, claimed Officer Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald one time in the chest after the teen lunged at the officers on scene while holding a knife. That account was corroborated by at least five of the officers on the scene. Subsequently, the video evidence showed that the account touted by the police was a complete LIE. Although the officer responsible for the massacre of Laquan McDonald has been indicted for murder, where are the charges for the officers involved in the, apparent, cover-up and filing of a false report? The breech of trust between communities of color and those sworn to “protect and serve” those communities has been irreparably damaged. “Charges filed” does not mean that anyone will ever actually be convicted AND serve time for these murders. The justice system is broken, and it needs to be, completely, rebuilt. RE-FORM WILL NOT DO ENOUGH!
Up Next Week: Come Correct – Politically or Otherwise