[Their] lying have always transcended our reality; we said so all along. Thank God, technology has illuminated our truth.
By now, anyone with an interest in the news has seen another example of what Al Sharpton, a man who, just the mention of his name, makes people, including some African-Americans, cringe and pull their hair out in clumps.
That’s because about three decades ago, during a spate of police shootings of Black men in New York City and elsewhere, the then young, robust and reviled social activist (some of his detractors still call him a “race baiter” cum political commentator) referred to the series of shootings as “hunting season.” For that he was vocally and silently criticized, crucified, excoriated, pilloried…
But Al Sharpton was on to something when he made that remark; it has stood the test of time. In subsequent years, and continuing in 2015—except for a well-publicized stumble or two—there’s ample evidence that support Al’s statement. The latest is damning/damnable and irrefutable evidence of what Sharpton and other Black people have been complaining about for decades: police brutality, including recurring killings of Black men for which white police were always exonerated. We’ve suspected malfeasance all along, but the practice is now coming to light. Al Sharpton is vindicated.
So as I watched CNN’s “Breaking News” the night of Tuesday, April 7, and saw the video footage of the actual killing of another Black male, 50-year-old Walter L. Scott, by a White police officer, Michael Thomas Slager, in a place called North Charleston, South Carolina, it was easy to evoke images of Al Sharpton in his heyday being always ‘there’ on the scene as people vented and chanted: “No Justice, no peace…”
That’s how another Black male-White policeman scenario unfolded the morning of Saturday, April 4 (a day after the commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ) in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Unfortunately for Walter Scott, it would be his last Easter weekend. Who knows (and given what we now know), maybe he was out buying Easter eggs, chocolates, something… for his children (to make amends), his mother. She, like many others, said he was “a good, caring, loving man…”
We’ve now seen what happened, and why, from the police perspective, in that initial part of the drama. But the climax, an act of God, “a ram in the bush,” according to the matriarch of the Scott family, was captured by Feidin Santana, a young man on his way to work, but with the presence of mind to stop and pull out his cell phone and activate the camera to capture what many people continue to say was a veritable hunting scene, played out in broad daylight in the “most civilized society” in the world.
And images of Al Sharpton’s “hunting season” immediately came to mind. It was a scene featuring Walter Scott [prey] trying to get an extension on his life by doing the right thing, evading the hunter, Officer Michael Thomas Slager. All triggered by the victim’s driving a Mercedes with a broken taillight, and what a witness, a Black woman, said was “a scuffle.” And finally to the scene where Feidin Santana picked up and we see the prey attempting to escape the hunter, the firing of eight shots, five of which struck the victim in the “back and ear.” All because Officer Slager, according to his (dubious) report of the incident, “feared for my life.” But the traditional police line has finally run its course, trumped by increasing irrefutable video evidence.
Which is why Al Sharpton had to be in North Charleston last weekend to punctuate the truth.
It was a matter of time till all the clichéd police statements became transparent. And were it not for Feidin Santana, Slager’s report (and don’t forget the Taser “plant”) would’ve resulted in the usual: Black male killed, sham police investigation and the police officer’s exoneration. With another round of “No justice, no peace… Hands up chants…”
What’s especially grotesque is the scene where the hunter, looking very relaxed, casually walked to the dying… dead prey to check for signs of life and asked him to put his hands behind his back – so he could be handcuffed? What a sight! And I refused to avert my eyes from the TV each time the killing scene was replayed.
[So what about that other officer on the scene, Clarence Habersham, an African-American (Boyz In The Hood)? What was he thinking as he knelt over Scott’s body, “attempting to render aid to the victim by applying pressure to the gunshot wounds, and by helping to coordinate the emergency response…” as one story goes? Apparently, that’s what he wrote in a ‘two-sentence’ report filed after the shooting? Aside from being party to the obfuscation of evidence, he also has some questions to answer.]
I watched FOX NEWS SUNDAY to see how the White Conservatives and their Black ideological bedfellows would address the shooting death of Walter Scott. Given the obvious, it would be difficult for them to put a spin on the indefensible—blaming the victim for his own death. A couple of them tried to find an opening by putting a political spin on the incident, but couldn’t find any traction; Feidin Santana’s work is simply too powerful, overwhelming…
And I was also expecting to see and hear the analysis of former NYC Mayor Rudolf Giuliani (budding criminologist with a vast knowledge of Black criminal behaviour) have his say on Scott’s shooting death, whose only blemish, according to news reports, was his scofflaw behaviour. Apparently, his child support payments were in arrears, which is why he was running…
The killing of Black men has “become an epidemic in the U.S.,” a well known Attorney and panelist on CNN (each time [another] Black man is shot and killed by the police) said. “And these killings are happening with regular frequency.”
We all know what wouldn’t have happened if Feidin Santana had slept in that day; we wouldn’t have seen the conclusion of that deathly drama being played out. But we would’ve heard the police “story” –- the lying version. For that, not only was he treated like a hero when he eventually met the Scott clan, but he’s also treated as such. In that very emotional meeting he was showered with resounding “Thank yous” and effusive blessings by the Scott matriarch and members and friends of the family.
Some people are now calling Feidin Santana “a hero.” And according to an Internet article, the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable will present him with its Civic Engagement Award and a monetary grant.
Says Political analyst and Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President, Earl Ofari Hutchinson: “Given the deadly seriousness of police violence and misconduct as a national issue of deep concern, Mr. Santana, at great and continuing risk to his safety, performed an honorable act in confronting and publicly exposing a horrendous act of police violence…The award honors him for his courageous act. But the award is also given to serve as inspiration and encouragement to other citizens to responsible, proactive engagement and involvement in reporting on, disclosing, and challenging alleged wrongdoing, misconduct and citizen abuse by police, public officials and employees.”
And how about Mrs. Scott, a truly incredible woman in mourning being interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on location last week Wednesday evening, mustering the courage and strength to comment on seeing her son running for his life, which he couldn’t catch up to. The deeply religious, sobbing, and forgiving matriarch, exhibiting no anger or hatred towards the man that killed her son said, “[I saw him running…] They shot him like an animal…”
What a mother, what a woman, what another tragedy.
Friday, April 10. Video footage show a 73-year-old white reserve deputy, Robert Bates, shooting and killing Eric Harris, an unarmed Black man (he was trying to sell a gun, then running away), during an April 2 sting operation in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
April 9 aerial video footage from a NBC news helicopter showed a group of sheriff’s deputies in San Bernardino County, Ca. dispensing justice. It began as a car chase involving a suspect, one Francis Jared Pusok, and continued in the desert on a stolen horse. When the deputies eventually caught up to him he was given (a taste of) the Rodney King treatment – kicked, Tased, punched, ‘batoned,’ which his lawyer wrongly suggested was “worse than Rodney King’s.” Aside from the helicopter news crew, the only witness (on the ground) was the horse, just watching the incident unfold. Too bad the animal didn’t have a video cam or cell phone. But for Francis Jared Pusok, statistics and truism played out and prevailed in his favour that day. The only reason why his body is not lying in a morgue, showcased in a funeral home, or planted six feet down is because he was born and blessed with skin privileges: he’s a white male.