Week 10 NYPD Officer used choked hold in the death of Eric Garner
A Staten Island grand jury voted December 3, 3014, not to bring criminal charges in the death of
Eric Garner, a black man placed in an illegal chokehold by a white police officer for selling loose
cigarettes and not charging taxes on them. The confrontation was recorded and viewed by
millions of Americans. In my opinion the video revealed that excessive force was us to
apprehend Garner. The incident took place in August when police confronted Garner about
selling loose cigarettes and not charging taxes.
This decision came in light of months of testimony including testimony from the officer
responsible, Daniel Pantaleo. New York's grand jury reached its decision less than two weeks
after a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., neglected to bring charges against a white officer who
fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. Bill de Blasio the N.Y. Mayor who is
married to an African American woman with a son named Dante' said, "It's a very painful day:
This is a National Moment of Grief says this is an issue in American that people of Color have
faced for centuries with regards to human rights.
Sunny Hostin a former Federal Prosecutor and current CNN Legal Analyst felt that police have
displayed "a pattern and practice of policing that targets African Americans and Minorities
especially Black Males and the world had a chance to see these practices play out in Staten
Island, New York." The President of National Urban League Marc Morial, compared this
tragedy to Rodney King when the Federal Prosecution had to step in when the state failed to
prosecute and expects that the Federal Prosecution is already investigating the death of Eric
The President & CEO of the NAACP said he felt very sad and protesters took to the streets of
NYC in light of the Tree Lighting Ceremony to express their dissatisfaction with our American
Judicial system. CNN news showed citizens of all races filling New York City's Time Square.
The President Barack Obama announced that he is personally invested in taking positive steps to
influence public policy and shedding light on a profound problem. Reflect high standard in the
pursuit for justice. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/03/nyregion/
Week 9 Florida State University Alumni open fires on campus library
On Nov. 20, 2014 an African American Alumni from Florida State University walked into the
Strozier Library on campus and open fired in a place where hundreds of students were studying
before police killed him. "This person just for whatever reason produced a handgun and then
began shooting students in the library," FSU Police Chief David Perry said. The attack started
soon after midnight. Students said they heard half a dozen gunshots.
According to CBS news, students ran for their lives. "I ran right out the backdoor. My laptop
and everything is still in there. It was shock. It was just instinct. You don't think about anything
else, you just go," said Allison Kope, a freshman from Cocoa Beach, who was on the library's
first floor. FSU officials say one victim was in critical condition, the second victim had
improved from stable to good condition and the third student was only grazed by a bullet and
was treated at the scene. The gunman was a FSU alumni and current lawyer in practice.
Myron May, a 2005 Florida State University graduate had recently moved back into the area in
recent weeks. Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said May had written documents and
made videos that discuss "being targeted" by the government. DeLeo goes on to say, "May was
in a state of crisis...struggling either psychologically or emotionally." May was a Prosecutor and
it is my personal belief that there is more to learn as police continue to investigate for a motive.
Reports state that he also sent packages to eight of his friends on the same date the shooting
occurred, but no update on what those packages enclosed.
This incident prompted my daughter, a student at FSU to withdraw. She was mostly troubled
that a Black Alumni would comment such an act of violence at his alma mater. Aaliyah
expressed feeling that she has not received an adequate education for the price her and I are
paying for her education. "I study at that library sometimes but this day I decided to just relax
and avoid the stress of late night cramming. I was most upset at the fact that the library was
reopened like nothing ever happened." She's expressed feeling that some professors where
biased and feeling unsafe in a place where incidents of rape, violence and racism are swept under
the rug because of a million-dollar athletes program that the university will do anything to
Week 8 President Obama signs Executive Order on Immigration
President Barack Obama signed executive orders on immigration the week before Thanksgiving,
which could protect as many as five million people from deportation. The president expressed
that he had no choice because of nothing being done by Congress on this issue. While this
decision provides long waited relief for millions of undocumented immigrants living in fear, the
Republicans strongly oppose the president's order saying it's an overreach of power. This
historic event parallel to the Amnesty will now play out in the media as Republican scramble to
retaliate by exploring options that would allow them to sue the president. Below is President
Obama stating in his own words why he decided to proceed with his Executive Order on
Immigration in America.
"There are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions
taken by Democratic and Republican president before me – that will help make our immigration
system more fair and more just. For more than 200 years, that heritage has given America a big
advantage over other countries. It has kept us young, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. But today,
our immigration system is broken. When I took office, I committed to fixing our broken
immigration system. I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more
agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history.
Over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this
summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the
number of such children is now actually lower than it's been in nearly two years. Overall, the
number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s.
We are only here because this country welcomed our forebears, and taught them that being
American is about more than what we look like or where we come from. What makes us
Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal and all of us
have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That's the country we inherited, and it's the
one we have to leave for future generations.
Week 7 Boycott Black Friday
In light of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting
death of Michael Brown on Nov. 24, 2014, Activist took to the streets and social media to call
for a commercial boycott of Black Friday. Protesters across the country were urged to boycott
the high-traffic shopping day in response to a grand jury's decision Monday not to indict white
police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed an 18-year-old black teen, Michael Brown, in
After nights of peaceful protests mixed with violence and looting in Ferguson and surrounding
areas, the Black Friday die-in demonstrations in Missouri were relatively calm. Roughly two
dozen people gathered at a Wal-Mart in the St. Louis suburb of Manchester hymning "no justice,
no peace, no racist police" and "no more Black Friday," but promptly retreated from the entrance
of the store when police threatened arrest, according to The Associated Press.
The scene was more disorderly in West Oakland, California, where about 20 people reportedly
tapped themselves together by the arms, through the doors of a Bay Area Rapid Transit train
(BART), at a station with high traffic Black Friday shoppers. The station had to shut down for
two hours. Media outlets have reported on similar incidents across the country in major cities
like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
I personally took to social media to express that my learned knowledge of African American
History shows that if we all stand together and practice unity in letting our voice be heard by
removing our financial wealth from the majority society than we could see the kind of change
that took place with the Montgomery, Ala. Bus Boycott in the 1960s. I remain hopeful in the
journey for equality for all humans.
Week 6 A 12 year old Black Teen from Cleveland gunned down for playing with a toy gun.
Tamir Rice was gunned down on Nov. 22, 2014 when police responded a 911 call stating that "a
black man had a gun and was pointing it at people in the park." The caller did tell dispatch that
the gun may be fake but advised that he was scaring people. The dispatcher did not relay the
message to police that the gun could be fake. When the people confronted the teen, the video
surveillance shows no verbal interaction between Rice and the officer. Police did not ask the
teen to freeze, holt, drop your weapon, or attempt to interact with him in anyway. The video
shows the police pulling up to the teen and then within a few seconds the teen is gunned down.
Tamir Rice in fact did have a toy air gun and was a tender age of years old. The residents of
Cleveland, OH are outraged by what has been playing out in their black communities with police
making them targets of scrupulous conviction and violating their civil liberties. Protest are
stirring around the country as the deaths of African Americans males Michael Brown (Aug. 9.
2014), Eric Garner (Jul. 17, 2014), Jordan Davis (Nov. 23, 2012), Trayvon Martin (Feb. 26,
2012), and Emmett Till (Aug. 28, 1955) are remembered as being killed by racist White men and
members of a justice system that prospers from Blacks and Minorities demise.
According to CNN, two years ago, the officer who shot Tamir Rice, Cleveland Police Officer
Timothy Loehmann, resigned from another police job after a supervisor described him as
"distracted, weepy and emotionally immature." It is disturbing to report that records from the
Independence Police Department obtained by CNN shows comments from Independence Deputy
Chief Jim Polak that reads, "a pattern of lack of maturity, indiscretion and not following
instructions, a dangerous loss of composure during live range training and an inability to manage
personal stress." "I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these
deficiencies," documented November 2012.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said that during a background check before hiring Loehmann in
March 2014, his department didn't review the officer's personnel file from Independence, a
suburb south of the city. They did however, speak with Independence human resources director
who advised that Loehmann did not have any disciplinary action or incidents that Cleveland
Police should be aware of and the reason for departure was resignation for personal reasons.
Week 5 Janay Rice in her own words. "This is the first time we everstruck each other!"
On Nov. 28, 2014 Janay Rice speaks out about the National Football League's decision to cancel
her husband, Ray Rice's indefinite suspension from the league and reinstate the former Baltimore
Ravens. Mrs. Rice says,
Looking out over the media, I became angry, seeing all the people who had been covering this
and adding to the story. I wanted to tell everyone what was really on my mind. When it was my
turn to speak, I said I regretted my role in the incident. I know some people disagreed with me
publicly apologizing. I'm not saying that what Ray did wasn't wrong. He and I both know it was
wrong. It's been made clear to him that it was wrong. But at the same time, who am I to put my
hands on somebody? I had already apologized to Ray, and I felt that I should take responsibility
for what I did. Even though this followed the Ravens' suggested script, I owned my words.
Janay Rice's account of the incident and details of what took place after was written by ESPN's
Jemele Hill and Janay was given "approval over its content and release date." Rice said that her
apology "followed the Ravens' suggested script. Janay also said that Ray told Goodell and
his colleagues "everything that happened," according to the story. Rice continues,
They told us they would try to move the process along, so we would find out about Ray's
suspension soon. We felt like a weight had been lifted. Mr. Goodell seemed to be a really
reasonable and caring guy and wanted to make sure other people would learn from our mistake.
He wanted to confirm that alcohol was a factor. He actually seemed to care about the facts and
wanted to make sure that we would help other people learn from this experience.
Janay Rice and her husband have said that they would use this experience to educate others
about Domestic Violence and stated in an exclusive television interview that the fight in March
was the first time that her and her then fiancée' have ever fought or struck each other. She
refuses to watch the footage inside the elevator and wants everyone to know that she supports her
We got into the elevator and what happened inside is still foggy to me. The only thing I know --
and I can't even say I "remember" because I only know from what Ray has told me -- is that I
slapped him again and then he hit me. I remember nothing else from inside the elevator.
Week 4 Teenage Exotic Dancers Found Hogtied in Blood
In Jacksonville, Florida the bodies of two Tampa women were discovered in an open and visible
area of Jacksonville's Northside early Thursday morning Sept. 18, 2014, according to the
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. The bodies were spotted by two people driving alongside the 9800
block of Sisson Drive just after 1 a.m. and called 911, said Sergeant T.K. Waters.
One of the witnesses told WTLV First Coast News she found the women, " naked and hogtied
together, surrounded by a pool of blood in the grass." Authorities could not confirm or deny
these details because of the ongoing investigation and as of December 2014 no arrest have been
made in this case. Investigators say the victims were 19-year-old Angelia Ella Mangum and 18-
year-old Tjhisha Monique Ball. They had previously attended Freedom High School and their
last known addresses are in Tampa. Tjhisha Ball's family is devastated. The family got a knock
on their door telling them the heartbreaking news: She's gone, along with her friend.
Ball's family says the teens had dropped out of high school and headed to Jacksonville earlier
this year. Ball's mom was aware of the young ladies working as escorts and exotic dancers and
expressed her concern her their safety. Ball's family wants the murder behind bars. The family
told 10 News that Ball's friend, Angie Magnum, grew up in the foster care system. But
throughout their troubled youths remained the closest of friends even till death. There is a
message on her "sister's" Facebook page that says she called the last number that Mangum called
from and a man answered and hung up.
Authorities have not released how the victims were killed, but said foul play is suspected. As of
yet, the cause of death has not been determined. There is a possible reward up to $3,000.
Anyone with information is instructed to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-
0500 or email them at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous contact Crime
Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
Week 3 Michael Brown's friend speaks out to KSDK-TV
FERGUSON, Mo. — Minutes before teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by a local police
officer, a friend he was walking with said the pair was a short distance from home.
Dorian Johnson said he was standing inches from Brown when the shooting occurred around
1:40 p.m. Saturday. He gave his account of the shooting to KSDK-TV.
"The officer is approaching us and as he pulled up on the side of us, he didn't say freeze, halt or
anything like we were committing a crime. He said, 'Get the F on the sidewalk.'
After Johnson said the officer thrust open the door of his patrol car, hitting the pair, Johnson
said the officer grabbed Brown around the neck and tried to pull him through the window. He
said Brown never tried to reach for the officer's weapon.
"The second time he says, 'I'll shoot,' a second later the gun went off and he let go," Johnson
said. "That's how we were able to run at the same time. The first car I see, I ducked behind for
because I fear for my life. I'm scared. I don't know what's going on. I don't understand why this
officer is shooting his weapon at us."
According to Johnson, the officer pursued Brown and fired another shot. which struck Brown in
the back. He said Brown turned and faced the officer with his hands raised.
"My friend started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and that he could stop shooting (him),"
Johnson said. "Before he could get his second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots
into his head and chest area. He fell dramatically into the fatal position. I did not hear once he
yell freeze, stop or halt. it was just horrible to watch."
Johnson said he could tell Brown was in pain after the shooting. "It hurt him a lot," he said. "I
could see it in his eyes. It was definitely like being shot like an animal. I definitely think (the
officer) is guilty of murder."
As a person of color with a young adult son that I can honestly say may not always represent the
morals and values with which he was raised as he grows into an adult, it is painful to read the
account of a witness so close to the incident and believe in a judicial system that would allow for
such injustice nonetheless. We have failed as a united community. The growing violence
against African American males compels me to continue my journey of being educated to in
turn educate the rest of America about the real epidemic that's occurring in our United States and
that's the destruction of the Black and Latino Middle-Class as a culture.
Week 2 The Racial Make-up of America
Many Americans have multiple identities that reflect complex ancestral origins, tribal and
communal associations, and varied ideological outlooks on race and culture. In general, people
do not change their ethnicities as a matter of fashion, but they may emphasize different aspects
depending on the circumstances. For instance, a person who identifies as Mexican among
relatives might identify as Hispanic at work and as American when overseas. A person of mixed
heritage might be Native American in one context, but white in another. These possibilities exist
in census data, just as they do in informal conversations and settings, because of the
opportunities for varied responses to different census questions about race and ethnicity.(Perez,
With a society so complex as ours, the burning question is, "how do you change what's engrave
in a person's heart a part of their tradition, morals and ideologies?" Candy Crowley from CNN's
State of the Union did an in-depth interview with former president George W. Bush and he had
this to say about the race relations in America.
On race relations in the United States and protest in New York. "I thought how sad. This
verdict was hard to understand, but I hadn't seen all the details. But it's sad that race continues
to play such a, you know, kind of emotional, divisive part of life. I remember back in when I was
a kid, in the '70s, and there was race riots with cities being burned. And I just think we've
improved. I had dinner with Condi the other night and we talked about this subject and, yes, she
just said you got to understand that there are a lot of, you know, black folks around that are just
incredibly more and more distrusting of law enforcement. Which is a shame, because law
enforcement's job is to protect everybody.
I spoke to a white lady and she personally told me, "you can't change what's in their hearts. You
can legislate laws to protect human rights but you can't force racist to follow it. And as long as
they can hide behind the very laws that they themselves elect to protect themselves at the
exploitation of minority races, things are only going to get worse. I say GOD bless 'em cause
they're going to need it when they get to heaven's gate to be judged."
The exert below was taken from the LA Times Newspaper article archives. I think it speak
volumes on the issue with race and ethnicity identifying issues we now face in 2014. I think the
authors vantage point of the African American verses Black self identifying term resonates with
many Blacks today.
Commentary: A Vote Against Use of 'African-American'
I'm a black American, I teach a course on American race and ethnic relations at San Diego State
University, and, after giving the matter very serious thought, I've finally decided that I disagree
with those who propose that I and other black Americans henceforth be known as "African-
Americans." Those in favor of the name change argue that the term "African-American" provides
a greater sense of cultural roots, cultural heritage and historical homeland, as well as a greater
sense of definition. I disagree, first of all, because I don't believe, nor have I seen evidence, that
black Americans--any more than any other group of Americans--lack a sense of their cultural
roots. Black American culture is, by definition, rooted in the life situations and experiences of
black people in America.
All but a relatively few contemporary black Americans descend from persons brought to this
country roughly between the years 1619 and 1850, by force, uprooted from their ancestral
homelands and placed in an entirely new and vastly different cultural milieu--to which they had
to adapt rapidly. And, in adapting to the impoverished conditions of slavery and second-class
citizenship, they created a black American culture, consisting of, among other things: a distinctly
black American cuisine of low-cost edibles more indigenous to Europe and the New World than
to Africa, a distinctly black American patois firmly rooted in the English language, relatively
distinct black American patterns of familial organization and distinctly black American religious
practices grounded in Christianity, a non-African religion. The truth of the matter, then, is that
the overwhelming majority of black Americans are, at the very least, six or seven generations
culturally removed from Africa. They speak no African language. Their religious beliefs and
practices are non-African. Their daily cuisine is non-African. Their marital and family structures
are typically non-African. They have no relatives in Africa, and they have never themselves been
(April 2, 1989|PHILLIP T. GAY | Phillip T. Gay is an associate professor of sociology at San Diego State
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