This nation has transformed African Americans into their battered and abused spouse. No matter how frequently the assaults or how brutal their nature, in more somber aftermath the attackers feign contrition vowing never, ever to do it again. And like two companions desperate for love and acceptance – Blacks forgive and forget.
If something serious and sustainable isn’t done in a timely manner, the chasm separating Blacks and the country they so dearly love may become irreversible, the difference irreconcilable.
One would be hard-pressed to find a year in recent memory that comes close to comparing to the woe of 2015. When it is over, most will say good riddance. But unless there is definitive action to shift the entire national paradigm on race, there is little convincing evidence that 2016 will be any different.
As a matter of fact, in a nation that gives credibility to a racist political hack like Donald Trump and lends a platform of massive influence to a race-baiting media mogul like Rupert Murdock (FOX), all should be afraid – very afraid – that the worst is yet to come; particularly when those seeking public office waver between conspicuous silence and blaming the victims.
Long before this, some cynics contended that the mercurial murder rate in the Windy City is not exclusively a result of gang riffs, the drug culture, growing criminal aggression, availability of firearms, and domestic violence. Some point fingers at those sworn to protect and serve the Black community as being responsible for a portion of that body count.
Reality of a conspiracy theory, the fact that there seems to be no end in sight to the rogue cop quandary.
Only a week after the shocking video of a Chicago police officer shooting teen Laquan McDonald went viral, city officials were confronted with a challenge about their fight to keep secret another dash-cam video depicting a police shooting that lawyers for the victim say went down in strikingly similar fashion.
At press time, the city’s Law Department admitted that it was “currently re-examining” when the video of the police shooting death of Ronald Johnson III should be released. The incident is still – a year later – under investigation by a local police review board that examines allegations of police misconduct.
That prompted a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to reveal for the first time Tuesday that the office is investigating possible criminal char-ges against the veteran officer who fatally shot Johnson in the back during a foot chase just eight days before McDonald’s killing.
Lawyers for Johnson’s family said his shooting was eerily similar to McDonald’s. The video shows an officer opening fire within seconds of arriving at the scene as Johnson was moving away from police, they said. And as with the video in the McDonald case, the audio that is supposed to accompany the footage is missing.
One major distinction between the two cases is a dispute in Johnson’s shooting over whether he was armed. Police, who described Johnson as a known gang member, said they recovered a gun at the scene, but the attorney for the victim contend police planted the weapon after shooting an unarmed Johnson.
The details about Johnson’s kill-ing have emerged amid continued fallout over the handling of the McDonald case. After the shocking dash-cam video of McDonald being shot 16 times was made public last week, daily protests have captured national attention and put increasing political pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make wholesale changes to the Police Department.
Yes, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been fired. Later in the same day, Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the U.S. Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation of Chicago police tactics. Clearly, many more people were involved in the cover up – from the mayor’s office down – and they are beyond the capacity to police themselves. All involved should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Concealing incriminating videos is HIGHLY suspect. The city of Chicago argues that releasing such videos could inflame the public and jeopardize the officer’s right to a fair trial if he was charged later. My response is the same used in every similar discussion – we have to trust the judge and jury to do what’s right by demonstrating courage when it comes to truth. Seeing indeed is believing.
Whatever America believes it has done to confront the cancer of police brutality against Black Americans has clearly been an abysmal failure. The time for sensitivity training, studies, commissions and analysts has long past. We know the problem. We know the root. We know the answers.
Black people and those who support what’s right need to lash out – by whatever means necessary – to media, community groups, government, faith-based entities, higher education, corporate America and every place else impacted by the presence of Black Americans to relentlessly pursue accountability and justice for all who perpetuate genocide.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City.
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