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Posts Tagged ‘Black Lives Matter’

Blacks Go to Jail for Killing Dogs; Whites Stay Out of Jail for Killing Blacks

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Black-Lives

I was on Twitter last night when I found out that Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby had been acquitted for killing Terence Crutcher, an unarmed Black man.  There have been so many police killings of unarmed Blacks with so few charges brought or guilty verdicts that I have become numb.  But yesterday’s verdict of Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby struck a raw nerve.  As a former prosecutor, I respect law abiding police; I detest those officers who lack the temperament, skills and self-control to wear a police uniform.

 

Terence Crutcher is just the latest unarmed Black victim in a decades long string of Black victims killed at the hands of police without justice.  On September 16, 2016, Betty Shelby stated she fired her gun killing Terence Crutcher out of fear.  That is the standard response by police officers used in these cases.  It’s as if it’s in their police training manual of what to say when you shoot and kill a Black person.  Nine white jurors and three Blacks evidently believed her version.  Crutcher had his hands up when he was shot by Shelby, as evidenced on two videos.

 

After the trial of former police officer Michael Slager, I have come to believe that most police officers can get away with murder of blacks with impunity.  With a video and a bystander filming and watching on, a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict in Slager’s trial.  Slager was caught on tape shooting Walter Scott in the back as Scott ran away. Slager gave the same verbatim response as Shelby that he feared for his life.  How one fears for his or her own life as the perceived threat is fleeing –defies logic.  A jury trial ended in a mistrial.  Slager later plead guilty to federal civil rights charges, thereby avoiding a re- trial and a state trial. He will be sentenced later this year.

 

And then there’s the other side of the coin.  Blacks receive jail sentences for killing dogs or stupidly and accidently shooting themselves. NFL quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for harming and killing dogs.  And former NFL player Plaxico Burress received a two year sentence for accidently shooting himself while at a night club.  Due to New York’s stringent gun laws, Burress likely pled guilty.  With both being black, Vick and Burress also likely pled guilty due to the likelihood of a guilty verdict against a Black man, if tried.  A jury will more likely render a guilty verdict against a Black man for killing a dog or almost killing himself that against a white police officer for killing an unarmed Black.

 

While I am not a Black man, I fear for all Blacks who encounter a police officer under circumstances that a white police officer can assert his fear.  That’s just about any circumstance imaginable.  Racial disparities exist in the killings of unarmed blacks versus whites.  According to statistics, African Americans killed by police are more likely to be unarmed than whites.  In 2015, 40% of all unarmed persons shot and killed by police were Black men. Yet, Black men make up only 6% of the U.S. population.

 

I would like to end on a positive note. But I am outraged at the constant loss of unarmed Black lives by police officers who cower under the guise of  their own innate racism.

 

 

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal analyst and former Baltimore prosecutor.

Bill Clinton and His Black Lives Legacy

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Black-LivesOn April 7, 2016, Bill Clinton found himself in the unenviable position of being asked to address his criminal justice policies of the 1990’s to Black Lives Matters activists at a Philadelphia rally. The confrontation was not viewed favorably by many to Clinton.  Black Lives Matter activists and Bill Clinton verbally clashed for almost 15 minutes when Clinton was asked about his 1994 crime bill and its effect on African Americans and the term “super predators” used by Hillary Clinton in 1996 in referring to troubled black youth. Clinton staunchly defended the crime bill, at times being condescending in his remarks to the black activists and rambling on at other times in discussing Hillary Clinton’s role.

 

In the 1990’s charismatic President Bill Clinton was considered to be a friend and comrade to  many in the African American community. He appointed a racially diverse cabinet and appointed many minority judges to the federal bench. He survived sex scandals involving Monica Lewinsky, Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Wiley, impeachment hearings and a mysterious death of White House aide Vince Foster as many African Americans remained loyal to him- despite his flaws.  Today is a new day. In 2016, Bill Clinton is seen as almost a pariah among many young African Americans and particularly those active in the Black Lives Matter movement and to any others who understand the harms committed on blacks by Clinton’s 1994 crime policies.

 

The Black lives legacy that Clinton leaves behind robbed entire generations of African Americans their freedom and economically disadvantaged them for decades due to harsh non-violent mandatory sentencing drug laws.  It devastated families. The effect of the Clinton policies caused the mass incarceration of African Americans and Hispanics in our prisons today, where over 50% of those incarcerated are minorities.

 

No one states the effect of Clinton’s failed policies on blacks better than author and legal scholar, Michelle Alexander in her book, The New Jim Crow.  Alexander details how Clinton championed the 100- 1 racial sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine, resulting in an 80% of all drug offenders in prison being Black, although blacks and whites use drugs at the same rate.  There are African Americans serving a mandatory- minimum sentence of 20 plus years for having a minute amount of crack cocaine in their possession.  And the three strikes law placed many African Americans in jail for life—due to their drug habit and personal abuse of drugs.

 

And Hillary Clinton famously supported her husband’s crime bill.  In 1996, Hillary Clinton said on her husband’s crime bill about black youth that  “they are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”   She referred to black youth in animalistic ways that might be more understandable during slavery times that in 1996.  And on April 7, 2016 Bill Clinton defended his wife’s use of the term to describe young African Americans.

 

In speaking to strongly support his 1990’s crime bill to Black Lives Matters activists, Clinton is concerned that history will not be kind to his legacy. In reality, Clinton’s legacy is already tarnished for all the harms committed on African Americans by his failed policies.  And it is now time for Bill Clinton to “heel” and acknowledge the harms his polices inflicted on African Americans. But Bill Clinton is more concerned about his legacy among African Americans than admitting the truth. If Bill Clinton acknowledges the harm he caused to the black community, maybe, just maybe African Americans will drop their love affair with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal/political analyst and former Baltimore prosecutor. She is frequently seen on Al Jazeera, BET, CBS, CCTV, C-Span, Fox 5 DC, MSNBC, RT America, Sky News and TV One, among others.

UPDATE:  Debbie Hines appeared on the Bill Press show on Monday, April  11 @8:30 am to discuss Bill and Hillary Clinton.

 

  See Debbie Hines at the 2 hour 39 min mark