US streets in minority communities are battlegrounds. The good news is more police killings make headlines though nowhere near as many warranted. Justifiable public anger is noticeably more visible.
The bad news is cops in America kill innocent (mostly Black) victims hundreds of times annually with impunity.
Activist police brutality critic Sandra Bland was lawlessly arrested after being stopped for a dubious traffic violation. Waller County, TX police lied claiming she assaulted arresting state trooper Brian Encinia. Video evidence showed him harassing, threatening and abusing her.
He opened her car door, aggressively demanded she “(s)tep out of the car.” She justifiably hesitated saying “(y)ou do not have the right to do that. Don’t touch me. I’m not under arrest.”
Encinia threatened her with his taser, saying “(g)et out of the car. I will light you up. Get out. Now. Get out of the car.” Bland was pinned to the ground, assaulted, handcuffed, arrested and jailed. She was found hanged to death in her cell.
A murder investigation is underway. Waller County criminal investigation head Captain Brian Cantrell unjustifiably calls what happened “a tragic incident, not one of criminal intent or a criminal act.”
Systematic police brutality against Blacks in America suggests otherwise. Why would an activist young Black woman commit suicide for any reason – let alone after likely short-term jailing following an abusive traffic stop, a misdemeanor at most if proved she was at fault? Videotape evidence showed otherwise.
Bland participated in rallies against police violence. Prophetically she posted a Facebook comment saying “(i)n the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.”
Was she targeted for her activism? Did State Trooper Encinia stop her for that reason – perhaps knowing he’d assault and arrest her? Was she set up for death? Was Bland assassinated to silence her?
The Texas Department of Public Safety said her arrest “violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.”
Encinio was transferred to desk duty. Expect whoever was responsible for Bland’s death to get off scot-free – like virtually always in these type cases.
Independent journalists could write multiple daily articles on horrific police abuse in America – in urban and rural communities, big cities and small, nearly always against disadvantaged people, largely ones of color.
Last Sunday, 43-year-old Black Cincinnati motorist Samuel Dubose was fatally shot in the head by a white officer – inside his car after being stopped for an alleged traffic violation.
On July 19, Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters said “(w)e are investigating what occurred between University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing and Samuel Dubose and we expect to have our assessment complete before the end of next week.”
Dubose was allegedly stopped for missing his front license plate. Authorities notoriously lie. Prosecutor Deters claimed the incident resulted from him struggling with University of Cincinnati officer Tensing.
Unexplained is how (let alone why) with him seated in his car and Tensing outside – unless the officer opened his door and forcibly tried removing him, an act violating police procedure virtually everywhere except perhaps under extraordinary circumstances.
The police account sounded implausible at best. Instead of showing his driver’s license and registration when asked, he allegedly “produced a bottle of alcohol from inside the car, handing it to officer Tensing,” according to university police chief Jason Goodrich.
After an alleged brief struggle, the car rolled forward, knocking Tensing to the ground, he added. He killed Dubose in response.
Whether any of this happened as claimed is dubious at best. Goodrich didn’t say Dubose was drunk – a possible explanation for acting foolishly.
If not, why would he or anyone stopped for an alleged traffic violation hand a police officer a bottle of alcohol instead of his or her license and registration as asked?
Tensing was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation virtually assured to exonerate him.
Another Black man died because killer cops in America have license to kill – including university ones operating by the same anything goes standard as city, state and federal authorities.
Friends and relatives explained Dubose wasn’t a violent man. He was the father of 13, engaged to be remarried. Neighbor Hadassah Thomas said “(e)verybody in the community loved Sam…He didn’t carry a gun, so why did he get shot” for a routine traffic stop?
Police records show Dubose had prior arrests -whether legitimate or not isn’t clear. Black males in America are ruthlessly harassed, falsely arrested, irresponsibly charged and unjustly imprisoned when innocent of any crimes – or very often minor offenses too insignificant to warrant incarceration, like illicit drug possession.
America’s criminal justice system is maliciously unfair. Three convictions for possessing a few grams of cocaine or a single marijuana joint for personal use in three-strikes-and-out states like Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania and many others means life imprisonment.
Loot national treasuries and/or steal billions of dollars from duped investors and get off scot-free – or at most receive minor wrist slap fines compared enormous amounts of money stolen not required to give back.
Unknown numbers of mostly people of color wrongfully fester in America’s gulag longterm for capital or other crimes they didn’t commit. Justice is usually available only for those able to afford it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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