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History > 2016 > USA > Police (I)

 

 

 

 

Footage from a police dashboard camera

captured the moment when officers shot Terence Crutcher,

who was unarmed.

NYT        By TULSA POLICE DEPARTMENT

on Publish Date September 19, 2016.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/20/us/
video-released-in-terence-crutchers-killing-by-tulsa-police.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protests Erupt in Charlotte

After Police Kill a Black Man

 

SEPT. 20, 2016

The New York Times

By ALAN BLINDER

 

Demonstrators clashed with police officers in riot gear overnight in Charlotte, N.C., after the police shot and killed a black man while trying to serve a warrant on another person at an apartment complex.

The shooting, which occurred just before 4 p.m., and the subsequent protest in the University City neighborhood in northeast Charlotte, near the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, revived scrutiny of a police department that last drew substantial national attention about three years ago, when a white officer was quickly charged with voluntary manslaughter after he killed an unarmed black man.

The circumstances of Tuesday’s shooting were, according to the police, far different, with department officials saying that an officer had opened fire because the black man, Keith L. Scott, 43, who they said was armed with a gun, “posed an imminent deadly threat.”

Although their accounts sometimes diverged, members of Mr. Scott’s family generally told local news outlets that he had not had a weapon. Instead, they said, he had been clutching a book while waiting to pick up a child after school.

Protesters are burning stuff from the trucks now. This is all happening on I-85 @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/82fdCyfCkX
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) Sept. 21, 2016

Early Wednesday, protesters blocked a stretch of Interstate 85, with a livestream from local television showing some demonstrators looting trucks that had been stopped on the highway and setting fire to the cargo.

A reporter for WSOC-TV spoke to a truck driver who said people took cargo from her trailer.
 


She tells me... "I understand they want to make a statement but they are hurting innocent people trying to make a living."
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) Sept. 21, 2016



After about two hours, police warned the protesters to leave the interstate, and local news outlets reported that the police had begun moving demonstrators off the road.



Traffic up and moving on I-85 as CMPD moves protestors off highway to exit ramp. Still heavy scene. Drivers honking at protestors. pic.twitter.com/100CaTDuVR
— David Sentendrey (@DavidFox46) Sept. 21, 2016



Earlier, the police had said that “agitators” were “destroying marked police units” and that officers were working “to restore order and protect our community.” About a dozen officers had been injured; one officer was hit in the face with a rock. The police did not say whether any protesters had been arrested.



Crowds now throwing more rocks and destroying police cruisers. #KeithLamontScott @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/vIGq0pOjAk
— WBTV Ben Williamson (@benlwilliamson) Sept. 21, 2016



Amid a handful of social media posts, Mayor Jennifer Roberts urged calm in her city of about 827,000 residents, 35 percent of whom are black.

“The community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue,” Ms. Roberts said on her Twitter account after police officers deployed what witnesses said they believed was tear gas or smoke. “Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together.”

The shooting in Charlotte was the latest in a long string of deaths of black people at the hands of the police that have stoked outrage around the country. It came just a few days after a white police officer in Tulsa, Okla., fatally shot an unarmed black man who could be seen on video raising his hands above his head. The encounters, many of them at least partly caught on video, have led to intense debate about race relations and law enforcement.

In Charlotte, dozens of chanting demonstrators, some of them holding signs, began gathering near the site of the shooting on Tuesday evening. Around 10 p.m., the Police Department said on Twitter that it had sent its civil emergency unit to the scene “to safely remove our officers.”

“Demonstrators surrounded our officers who were attempting to leave scene,” the department said. It identified the officer who fired his weapon as Brentley Vinson, an employee since July 2014. Officer Vinson is black, according to local reports.

According to the department, officers saw Mr. Scott leave a vehicle with a weapon soon after they arrived at the apartment complex.

“Officers observed the subject get back into the vehicle, at which time they began to approach the subject,” the department said in its first statement about the shooting. “The subject got back out of the vehicle armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers, who subsequently fired their weapon, striking the subject.”

A police spokesman did not respond to an after-hours inquiry about whether a dashboard or body camera had recorded the shooting. The police chief, Kerr Putney, acknowledged at a news conference that Mr. Scott had not been the subject of the outstanding warrant.

On Facebook, a woman who identified herself as Mr. Scott’s daughter said that the police had fired without provocation.

“The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” the woman said moments into a Facebook Live broadcast that lasted about an hour. Later in the broadcast, she learned that her father had died and speculated that the police were planting evidence. (The police said that investigators had recovered a weapon.)

In September 2013, officials charged a Charlotte police officer with voluntary manslaughter after he fired a dozen rounds at an unarmed black man, killing him. The criminal case against the officer, Randall Kerrick, ended in a mistrial, and the authorities did not seek to try him again.

The department, which said on Tuesday that Officer Vinson had been placed on administrative leave, said it was conducting “an active and ongoing investigation” into the killing of Mr. Scott.

 

Correction: September 21, 2016

An earlier version of this article misstated the day protesters remained on I-85. It was Wednesday, not Thursday.

Protests Erupt in Charlotte After Police Kill a Black Man,
NYT,
Sept. 20, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/us/
protests-erupt-in-charlotte-after-police-kill-a-black-man.html

 

 

 

 

 

Video Released

in Terence Crutcher’s Killing

by Tulsa Police

 

SEPT. 19, 2016

The New York Times

By LIAM STACK

 

The Police Department in Tulsa, Okla., released video on Monday of an encounter during which, the authorities said, a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man who could be seen raising his hands above his head.

The department opened a criminal investigation into the shooting and said the Tulsa County district attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, would review its findings. The federal Justice Department opened a separate civil rights investigation.

During the encounter, which took place around 7:40 p.m. Friday, Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot once and killed by Betty Shelby, a Tulsa police officer since 2011, after the police received reports of an abandoned vehicle blocking a road, the department said.

Video recorded by a police helicopter and a patrol car’s dashboard camera shows Mr. Crutcher raising his hands, walking toward a car and leaning against it. He was then Tasered by one officer, Tyler Turnbough, and fatally shot by Officer Shelby, the department said, though the view from both cameras is obstructed in the moments before those actions.

Tulsa’s police chief, Chuck Jordan, said at a news conference Monday that Mr. Crutcher was unarmed and did not have a weapon in his vehicle. Shane Tuell, a police spokesman, said Officer Shelby gave a statement to homicide detectives on Monday morning. She is on paid administrative leave, the department said.

In an interview, Officer Shelby’s lawyer, Scott Wood, said the officer had thought that Mr. Crutcher had a weapon. Mr. Wood said Mr. Crutcher had acted erratically, refused to comply with several orders, tried to put his hand in his pocket and reached inside his car window before he was shot.

Chief Jordan said Officer Shelby had encountered Mr. Crutcher and his vehicle while en route to another call and requested backup because she was “not having cooperation” from him. Officer Turnbough and his partner responded to Officer Shelby’s request for backup. It was the dashboard camera in their patrol car that recorded the shooting.

According to that video, when the second police car arrived, Mr. Crutcher had his hands raised and was walking away from Officer Shelby, who walked behind him with her gun pointed at his back. She was soon joined by three more officers. Mr. Crutcher was shot less than 30 seconds after the second car arrived.

The helicopter video shows the same scene from above. “He’s got his hands up there for her now,” one officer aboard the helicopter can be heard saying. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”

“Time for a Taser, I think,” a second officer in the helicopter can be heard saying.

“I got a feeling that’s about to happen,” said the first officer, identifed by Mr. Wood as Officer Shelby’s husband, Dave Shelby.

“That looks like a bad dude, too,” the second officer said. Mr. Crutcher was shot moments later, and the helicopter camera captured footage of him sprawled on the pavement, his shirt stained with blood. A woman’s voice can be heard yelling over the radio, “Shots fired!”

Members of Mr. Crutcher’s family watched both videos on Sunday, the Police Department said. At a separate news conference on Monday, they called for a thorough investigation and urged protesters to remain peaceful.

Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the family, placed Mr. Crutcher’s death in the context of police shootings of African-Americans across the country and the conviction last year of Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City police officer, for sexually assaulting 13 black women while he was on duty.

“This is an issue that is not unique to Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Mr. Crump said. “This is an issue that seems to be an epidemic happening all around America. What are we as an American society going to do about it?”

The Police Department released the video out of a commitment to “full transparency and disclosure,” Officer Tuell, the spokesman, said. The mayor, Dewey F. Bartlett Jr., urged city residents to come together to help Mr. Crutcher’s family grieve and promised a fair investigation.

“This city will be transparent, this city will not cover up, this city will do exactly what is necessary to make sure that all rights are protected and to make sure that all rights shall be done,” Mr. Bartlett said.

 

Jack Begg contributed research.

A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2016, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: Video Shown After Officer Kills a Black Man in Tulsa.

Video Released in Terence Crutcher’s Killing by Tulsa Police,
NYT, Sept. 19, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/20/us/
video-released-in-terence-crutchers-killing-by-tulsa-police.html

 

 

 

 

 

Racial Violence in Milwaukee

Was Decades in the Making,

Residents Say

 

AUG. 14, 2016

The New York Times

By JOHN ELIGON

 

The burning buildings, smashed police cars and scuffles between police officers and angry protesters on Milwaukee’s north side over the weekend might have seemed like a spontaneous eruption.

But for many in the city’s marginalized black community, it was an explosive release decades in the making.

Milwaukee is one of the United States’ most segregated cities, where black men are incarcerated or unemployed at some of the highest rates in the country, and where the difference in poverty between black and white residents is about one and a half times the national average. There are barren lots and worn-down homes all over the predominantly black north side, while mostly white crowds traffic through the restaurants and boutiques downtown, or inhabit the glossy lakefront high rises.

Add to that the disrespect that many black people say the police show them, and many of Milwaukee’s African-American residents are unsurprised by the volatile response after a police officer fatally shot a black man on Saturday — even though, as it turns out, the officer also was black.

“This isn’t just, ‘Oh, my gosh, all of a sudden this happened,’” said Sharlen Moore, 39, who lives in Sherman Park, the mostly African-American neighborhood where the shooting and unrest occurred. “It’s a series of things that has happened over a period of time. And right now you shake a soda bottle and you open the top and it explodes, and this is what it is.”

Milwaukee, a city of nearly 600,000, joins other embattled parts of the country like Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., where police killings did not so much draw outrage for the deaths alone, but for the systemic problems that have so many black people feeling hopeless.

In some ways, city officials had been bracing for, if not expecting, a surge of unrest.

After federal prosecutors declined last year to charge a former Milwaukee police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, the city’s police chief, Edward A. Flynn, asked the Justice Department to work with his department to examine its patterns and practices. The review, Chief Flynn has insisted, would show that his department was doing things right and committed to transparency.

In that shooting from 2014, the victim, Dontre Hamilton, had a history of mental illness and had been sleeping in a park when the officer, Christopher Manney, approached him. Mr. Manney, who was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, said that Mr. Hamilton, 31, had grabbed his baton and hit him, though some witnesses disputed that account.

Chief Flynn received praise from some black people for firing Mr. Manney, but some criticized the chief because he refused to say that the shooting itself was unjustified.

“At the end of the day, he’s going to support his officers, even when wrong is wrong,” Ms. Moore said.

The authorities are still investigating whether the officer in Saturday’s shooting did anything wrong. The police have so far said that two men ran from a car, one of them was armed and when he refused orders to drop his gun, an officer fatally shot him.

In his two and a half decades as a Milwaukee police officer, Cedric Jackson said he did not feel that supervisors appropriately addressed concerns of wrongdoing within the department. One common practice, he said, was that after catching suspects who ran, officers would rough them up.

“If they caught you in a backyard or alleyway, they’d want to beat you up,” said Mr. Jackson, who is black and retired in 2011.

His complaints about that custom to colleagues and supervisors were ignored, he said. As was the dismay he expressed about how officers policed communities that were predominantly black. White officers, he said, “really viewed blacks as less than them or animals or not deserving of respect.”

That is how Noble Durrah, 17, said he felt he was treated one day when he was walking home from school with his 4-year-old niece. The police appeared to be chasing someone and they ran through an alley and stopped him. A white officer grabbed him, he said, shoved him down and swore at him as he told him not to move.

The officer continued his chase and then returned to ask him questions, Mr. Durrah said. “I was like, ‘You just pushed me down and was roughing on me, and you expect me to tell you stuff,’” Mr. Durrah recalled.

Timothy Durrah, 53, Noble’s great-uncle, added that “Milwaukee is one of the most prejudiced cities there is.”

That problem, some residents say, began from the time black people started migrating to Milwaukee in large numbers in the second half of the 20th century.

They settled there as the city’s manufacturing economy began to dwindle, when jobs disappeared or moved to the suburbs. Many black people found themselves trapped in substandard living conditions on the north side without stable jobs to help them reach a better life.

For a time, efforts to tear down the racially discriminatory housing barriers went unheeded, if not ignored. Vel Phillips, the first black woman elected to the City Council, saw her colleagues repeatedly vote against a fair housing ordinance she proposed in the 1960s. As the Council failed to act, riots broke out in July 1967 that led to the deployment of the National Guard. That unrest left at least three dead, 100 injured and 1,740 arrested, according to the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

While historians do not point to a single inciting event for that riot, it came at a time of growing resentment over housing segregation, poor schools and the construction of highways that wiped out many black businesses and households in Bronzeville, which was the economic heart of black Milwaukee.

“Unless something is done about the uninhabitable conditions that the black man has to live in, Milwaukee could become a holocaust,” the Rev. James E. Groppi, a leading civil rights activist at the time, told the City Council five days before the 1967 riot started, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Father Groppi, who died in 1985, eventually would lead 200 straight days of protests, and the city finally passed its fair housing law after Congress passed its landmark federal legislation in 1968.

But while many formal discriminatory barriers have fallen, many black residents of Milwaukee today see a persistent racial divide that they say has created an urgency similar to what Father Groppi expressed decades ago.

“The people have been calm,” Dontre Hamilton’s brother, Nate, told reporters two years ago after local prosecutors declined to file charges. “The people have not stood up. So when will we stand up?”

Imbalances in mortgage lending continue to stifle homeownership and devalue predominantly black areas. A study released last month by National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that while black people made up 16 percent of the metro population in 2014, they received only 4 percent of the loans.

While court-ordered and voluntary desegregation programs had helped to usher in school integration by 1987, those programs have since faded and schools in the metropolitan area are as segregated now as they were in 1965. Nearly three in four black students attend schools where at least 90 percent of the students are not white, according to Marc V. Levine, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Only 15.7 percent of Milwaukee Public School students tested proficient in reading in 2013-14, and 20.3 percent in math.

And even those people fortunate enough to graduate from these highly segregated schools have a grim outlook. Nearly one out of every eight black men in Milwaukee County has served time behind bars, according to a 2013 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study. The black unemployment rate in Milwaukee County is 20 percent, nearly three times greater than for white people.

These social ills foster a grim cycle, said Reggie Moore, who is the director of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention and is married to Ms. Moore. They create transient communities with a lot of poverty, he said, where residents are less likely to be invested and engaged in what is going on, which allows crime to fester more easily.

Tackling the root causes of crime would be the most effective way to make the community safer and calm tensions, he said.

“I think it’s a matter of having a dual conversation about what justice needs to look like in this particular situation, but also the broader conversation of what a just community looks like,” Mr. Moore said. “What are the systemic issues that need to be addressed around poverty, racism, segregation and inequity to reduce the likelihood of this happening again?”

 

Kay Nolan contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on August 15, 2016,
on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline:
Violence in Milwaukee Was No Shock to Some.

Racial Violence in Milwaukee Was Decades in the Making, Residents Say,
NYT, Aug. 14, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/us/
racial-violence-in-milwaukee-was-decades-in-the-making-residents-say.html

 

 

 

 

 

Baton Rouge Shooting

Jolts a Nation on Edge

 

JULY 17, 2016

The New York Times

By JULIE BLOOM,

RICHARD FAUSSET

and MIKE McPHATE

 

BATON ROUGE, La. — A gunman fatally shot three law enforcement officers and wounded three others here on Sunday before being killed in a shootout with the police. The attack’s motive was unclear as of Sunday evening, leaving an anxious nation to wonder whether the anger over recent police shootings had prompted another act of retaliation against officers.

What was clearer were the waves of worry that rushed across the United States as sketchy details emerged of a bloody melee Sunday morning on a workaday stretch of highway in Louisiana’s capital — a city that had already been rocked by the police shooting on July 5 of a black man, a purported murder plot against the police that was apparently foiled and many racially charged nights of protest and rage.

State and local officials speaking at a news conference here on Sunday afternoon did not address whether the law enforcement officers who were killed and wounded — three members of the Baton Rouge Police Department and three deputies from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office — had been lured to the scene. Police officials said the officers had responded to a call about a man carrying a gun.

Officials initially believed that other people might have been involved in the attack, but the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, Col. Michael D. Edmonson, said at a news conference that it was the act of a lone gunman.

Some details about the gunman began to emerge late Sunday: Officials identified him as Gavin Long, an African-American military veteran. According to military records released by the Marine Corps, Mr. Long served as a data network specialist and was a sergeant when he left the Marines in 2010. He enlisted in his hometown, Kansas City, Mo., in 2005, and was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009, his records show. They also show a number of commendations, including the Good Conduct Medal.

On a social media site registered under the name Gavin Long, a young African-American man who refers to himself as “Cosmo” posted videos and podcasts and shared biographical and personal information that aligned with the information that the authorities had released, so far, about the gunman.

In one YouTube video, titled, “Protesting, Oppression and How to Deal with Bullies,” the man discusses the killings of African-American men at the hands of police officers, including the July 5 death here of Alton B. Sterling, and he advocates a bloody response instead of the protests that the deaths sparked.

“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors,” he said, “have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed. Zero have been successful just over simply protesting. It doesn’t — it has never worked and it never will. You got to fight back. That’s the only way that a bully knows to quit.”

“You’ve got to stand on your rights, just like George Washington did, just like the other white rebels they celebrate and salute did,” he added. “That’s what Nat Turner did. That’s what Malcolm did. You got to stand, man. You got to sacrifice.”
Photo
East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola. Credit East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, via Associated Press

In one of a string of podcasts the man posted, titled, “My Story,” he expounded on the recurrence of the number seven in his life. “My father was born in 1947. My mother was born in 1957. And I took physical form on 7/17/87.”

Sunday was the man’s 29th birthday.

Around the country, political leaders, police officers and activists focused their attention, and their mourning, on the slain officers. They also sought to calm the tensions that welled up this month over the killings of black men by the police and the retaliatory violence directed at officers, including the July 7 killings of five officers in Dallas, carried out by a black man who said he wanted to kill white police officers.

Just last week, President Obama was in Dallas for a memorial service, and on Sunday afternoon, he was at the White House, again addressing the nation after an assault on police officers. He said the killings were “an attack on all of us.”

“We have our divisions, and they are not new,” he said, noting that the country was probably in store for some heated political speech during the Republican National Convention this week in Cleveland.

“Everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further,” the president said. “We need to temper our words and open our hearts, all of us.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said, “The violence, the hatred just has to stop.”

Colonel Edmonson said a call came in to police dispatch early Sunday reporting “a guy carrying a weapon” in the vicinity of the Hammond Aire Plaza shopping center on Airline Highway — a commercial thoroughfare dotted with carwashes, car dealerships and chain stores that cuts through a leafy residential neighborhood. It is also about a mile from the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters, where protesters had held numerous rallies since July 5, when the police here fatally shot Mr. Sterling, after a confrontation in front of a convenience store.

On Sunday, around 8:40 a.m., law enforcement officers observed the man, wearing all black and holding a rifle, outside a beauty supply store, the colonel said. In the next four minutes, there were reports of shots fired and officers struck, said Colonel Edmonson, whose agency will take the lead on the investigation, helped by local and federal investigators.

Mark Clements, who lives near the shopping center, said in a telephone interview that he was in his backyard when he heard shots ring out. “I heard probably 10 to 12 gunshots go off,” he said. “We heard a bunch of sirens and choppers and everything since then.”

Avery Hall, 17, who works at a nearby carwash, said he was on his way to work when the gunfire erupted. “I was about to pull in at about 8:45, and we got caught in the crossfire,” he said. “I heard a lot of gunshots — a lot. I saw police ducking and shooting. I stopped and pulled into the Dodge dealership. I got out and heard more gunshots. We ducked.”

On the police dispatch radio, a voice could be heard shouting: “Shots fired! Officer down! Shots fired. Officer down! Got a city officer down.”

Around 8:48 a.m., officers fired at the suspect, killing him, Colonel Edmonson said.

On Sunday afternoon, officials said that two of the slain officers were Baton Rouge city police officers, and that the third was from the Sheriff’s Office. One city police officer and two sheriff’s deputies were wounded, including one who was in critical condition.

The shooting was the latest episode in a month of violence and extraordinary racial tension in the country. The night after the police shooting of Mr. Sterling, who was selling CDs outside a convenience store here, a black man was killed by the police during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb. The next night, five police officers were killed by a gunman in Dallas.

Violence against the police, Mr. Edwards said, “doesn’t address any injustice, perceived or real.”

He continued, “It is just an injustice in and of itself.”

Speaking at the news conference, the police chief here, Carl Dabadie Jr., called the shooting “senseless” and asked people to pray for the officers and their families.

“We are going to get through this as a family,” he said, “and we’re going to get through this together.”

The police in Baton Rouge had in recent days announced that they were investigating a plot by four people to target police officers, and they cited the threat to explain why their presence at local protests, which had been light at first, had grown heavy.

The police said a 17-year-old was arrested this month after running from a burglary of the Cash American Pawn Shop in Baton Rouge. He and three others, including a 12-year-old arrested on Friday, were believed to have broken into the pawnshop through the roof. It was unclear whether the burglary was connected to Sunday’s shooting.

Chief Dabadie told reporters at the time that the 17-year-old had told the police “that the reason the burglary was being done was to harm police officers.”

The explanation, however, was met with skepticism on social media sites, where many people believed the report was concocted by the police to justify their militarized response to the protests after the death of Mr. Sterling.

“That was bull — it was a scare tactic to calm things down,” Arthur Reed of Stop the Killing, the group that first released the video of Mr. Sterling’s shooting, said on Sunday. “And it worked. I ain’t going out there if people are going to be out there trying to kill police.”

The intense protests had started to lose steam. Sima Atri, a lawyer who represented some of the protesters who were arrested last weekend, said recently that many protesters were afraid to hit the streets after the authorities’ aggressive approach last weekend, which included nearly 200 arrests. (Nearly 100 charges were dropped on Friday.)

A protest on Saturday afternoon attracted fewer than a dozen people, who huddled on the side of the road under a tent to escape the blazing sun and flashed signs at passing cars. They were mostly white; the protesters at large demonstrations shortly after Mr. Sterling’s death had been nearly all black.

Louisiana has lately taken a harder line to defend its police officers, who this year will become a protected class under the state’s hate crimes law.

The killing of the officers on Sunday occurred as hundreds of police officers trained in crowd-control tactics braced for protests outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Cat Brooks, the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, cautioned against criticizing activists after the attack on Sunday in Baton Rouge.

“I think anytime that there’s a loss of life — black, white, police officer, otherwise — it’s cause for us to take a moment and be sad about that life,” she said. “And I think we have to be really careful about where these shootings of police officers steer the conversation. I think it’s absurd to insinuate that a movement that is doing nothing more than demanding that the war on black life come to an end is in any way responsible for these police officers getting shot.”

Stephen Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, has urged people not to bring their guns anywhere near Cleveland’s downtown during the convention because officers are in a “heightened state.”

In Cleveland on Sunday, Steve Thacker, 57, of Westlake, Ohio, stood in the city’s Public Square holding a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle — allowed under the state’s open-carry law — as news broke that several officers had been killed in Baton Rouge. When asked about Mr. Loomis’s comments and the Baton Rouge shooting, Mr. Thacker said that despite the attack, he wanted to make a statement and show that people could continue to openly carry their weapons.

“I pose no threat to anyone. I’m an American citizen. I’ve never been in trouble for anything,” said Mr. Thacker, an information technology engineer. “This is my time to come out and put my two cents’ worth in, albeit that it is a very strong statement.”

 

Correction: July 17, 2016

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated a part of the service record of Gavin Long. He served six months in Iraq, not a year.

Julie Bloom and Richard Fausset reported from Baton Rouge, and Mike McPhate from New York. Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder from Dallas; Rick Rojas, Katie Rogers, Mike McIntire and Frances Robles from New York; Yamiche Alcindor from Cleveland; and Christiaan Mader from Baton Rouge.

A version of this article appears in print on July 18, 2016,
on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline:
Attack on Officers Jolts a Nation on Edge.

Baton Rouge Shooting Jolts a Nation on Edge,
NYT, July 17, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/18/us/
baton-rouge-shooting.html

 

 

 

 

 

Baton Rouge Shooting

Jolts a Nation on Edge

 

JULY 17, 2016

The New York Times

By JULIE BLOOM,

RICHARD FAUSSET

and MIKE McPHATE

 

BATON ROUGE, La. — A gunman fatally shot three law enforcement officers and wounded three others here on Sunday before being killed in a shootout with the police. The attack’s motive was unclear as of Sunday evening, leaving an anxious nation to wonder whether the anger over recent police shootings had prompted another act of retaliation against officers.

What was clearer were the waves of worry that rushed across the United States as sketchy details emerged of a bloody melee Sunday morning on a workaday stretch of highway in Louisiana’s capital — a city that had already been rocked by the police shooting on July 5 of a black man, a purported murder plot against the police that was apparently foiled and many racially charged nights of protest and rage.

State and local officials speaking at a news conference here on Sunday afternoon did not address whether the law enforcement officers who were killed and wounded — three members of the Baton Rouge Police Department and three deputies from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office — had been lured to the scene. Police officials said the officers had responded to a call about a man carrying a gun.

Officials initially believed that other people might have been involved in the attack, but the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, Col. Michael D. Edmonson, said at a news conference that it was the act of a lone gunman.

Some details about the gunman began to emerge late Sunday: Officials identified him as Gavin Long, an African-American military veteran. According to military records released by the Marine Corps, Mr. Long served as a data network specialist and was a sergeant when he left the Marines in 2010. He enlisted in his hometown, Kansas City, Mo., in 2005, and was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009, his records show. They also show a number of commendations, including the Good Conduct Medal.

On a social media site registered under the name Gavin Long, a young African-American man who refers to himself as “Cosmo” posted videos and podcasts and shared biographical and personal information that aligned with the information that the authorities had released, so far, about the gunman.

In one YouTube video, titled, “Protesting, Oppression and How to Deal with Bullies,” the man discusses the killings of African-American men at the hands of police officers, including the July 5 death here of Alton B. Sterling, and he advocates a bloody response instead of the protests that the deaths sparked.

“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors,” he said, “have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed. Zero have been successful just over simply protesting. It doesn’t — it has never worked and it never will. You got to fight back. That’s the only way that a bully knows to quit.”

“You’ve got to stand on your rights, just like George Washington did, just like the other white rebels they celebrate and salute did,” he added. “That’s what Nat Turner did. That’s what Malcolm did. You got to stand, man. You got to sacrifice.”
Photo
East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola. Credit East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, via Associated Press

In one of a string of podcasts the man posted, titled, “My Story,” he expounded on the recurrence of the number seven in his life. “My father was born in 1947. My mother was born in 1957. And I took physical form on 7/17/87.”

Sunday was the man’s 29th birthday.

Around the country, political leaders, police officers and activists focused their attention, and their mourning, on the slain officers. They also sought to calm the tensions that welled up this month over the killings of black men by the police and the retaliatory violence directed at officers, including the July 7 killings of five officers in Dallas, carried out by a black man who said he wanted to kill white police officers.

Just last week, President Obama was in Dallas for a memorial service, and on Sunday afternoon, he was at the White House, again addressing the nation after an assault on police officers. He said the killings were “an attack on all of us.”

“We have our divisions, and they are not new,” he said, noting that the country was probably in store for some heated political speech during the Republican National Convention this week in Cleveland.

“Everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further,” the president said. “We need to temper our words and open our hearts, all of us.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said, “The violence, the hatred just has to stop.”

Colonel Edmonson said a call came in to police dispatch early Sunday reporting “a guy carrying a weapon” in the vicinity of the Hammond Aire Plaza shopping center on Airline Highway — a commercial thoroughfare dotted with carwashes, car dealerships and chain stores that cuts through a leafy residential neighborhood. It is also about a mile from the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters, where protesters had held numerous rallies since July 5, when the police here fatally shot Mr. Sterling, after a confrontation in front of a convenience store.

On Sunday, around 8:40 a.m., law enforcement officers observed the man, wearing all black and holding a rifle, outside a beauty supply store, the colonel said. In the next four minutes, there were reports of shots fired and officers struck, said Colonel Edmonson, whose agency will take the lead on the investigation, helped by local and federal investigators.

Mark Clements, who lives near the shopping center, said in a telephone interview that he was in his backyard when he heard shots ring out. “I heard probably 10 to 12 gunshots go off,” he said. “We heard a bunch of sirens and choppers and everything since then.”

Avery Hall, 17, who works at a nearby carwash, said he was on his way to work when the gunfire erupted. “I was about to pull in at about 8:45, and we got caught in the crossfire,” he said. “I heard a lot of gunshots — a lot. I saw police ducking and shooting. I stopped and pulled into the Dodge dealership. I got out and heard more gunshots. We ducked.”

On the police dispatch radio, a voice could be heard shouting: “Shots fired! Officer down! Shots fired. Officer down! Got a city officer down.”

Around 8:48 a.m., officers fired at the suspect, killing him, Colonel Edmonson said.

On Sunday afternoon, officials said that two of the slain officers were Baton Rouge city police officers, and that the third was from the Sheriff’s Office. One city police officer and two sheriff’s deputies were wounded, including one who was in critical condition.

The shooting was the latest episode in a month of violence and extraordinary racial tension in the country. The night after the police shooting of Mr. Sterling, who was selling CDs outside a convenience store here, a black man was killed by the police during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb. The next night, five police officers were killed by a gunman in Dallas.

Violence against the police, Mr. Edwards said, “doesn’t address any injustice, perceived or real.”

He continued, “It is just an injustice in and of itself.”

Speaking at the news conference, the police chief here, Carl Dabadie Jr., called the shooting “senseless” and asked people to pray for the officers and their families.

“We are going to get through this as a family,” he said, “and we’re going to get through this together.”

The police in Baton Rouge had in recent days announced that they were investigating a plot by four people to target police officers, and they cited the threat to explain why their presence at local protests, which had been light at first, had grown heavy.

The police said a 17-year-old was arrested this month after running from a burglary of the Cash American Pawn Shop in Baton Rouge. He and three others, including a 12-year-old arrested on Friday, were believed to have broken into the pawnshop through the roof. It was unclear whether the burglary was connected to Sunday’s shooting.

Chief Dabadie told reporters at the time that the 17-year-old had told the police “that the reason the burglary was being done was to harm police officers.”

The explanation, however, was met with skepticism on social media sites, where many people believed the report was concocted by the police to justify their militarized response to the protests after the death of Mr. Sterling.

“That was bull — it was a scare tactic to calm things down,” Arthur Reed of Stop the Killing, the group that first released the video of Mr. Sterling’s shooting, said on Sunday. “And it worked. I ain’t going out there if people are going to be out there trying to kill police.”

The intense protests had started to lose steam. Sima Atri, a lawyer who represented some of the protesters who were arrested last weekend, said recently that many protesters were afraid to hit the streets after the authorities’ aggressive approach last weekend, which included nearly 200 arrests. (Nearly 100 charges were dropped on Friday.)

A protest on Saturday afternoon attracted fewer than a dozen people, who huddled on the side of the road under a tent to escape the blazing sun and flashed signs at passing cars. They were mostly white; the protesters at large demonstrations shortly after Mr. Sterling’s death had been nearly all black.

Louisiana has lately taken a harder line to defend its police officers, who this year will become a protected class under the state’s hate crimes law.

The killing of the officers on Sunday occurred as hundreds of police officers trained in crowd-control tactics braced for protests outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Cat Brooks, the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, cautioned against criticizing activists after the attack on Sunday in Baton Rouge.

“I think anytime that there’s a loss of life — black, white, police officer, otherwise — it’s cause for us to take a moment and be sad about that life,” she said. “And I think we have to be really careful about where these shootings of police officers steer the conversation. I think it’s absurd to insinuate that a movement that is doing nothing more than demanding that the war on black life come to an end is in any way responsible for these police officers getting shot.”

Stephen Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, has urged people not to bring their guns anywhere near Cleveland’s downtown during the convention because officers are in a “heightened state.”

In Cleveland on Sunday, Steve Thacker, 57, of Westlake, Ohio, stood in the city’s Public Square holding a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle — allowed under the state’s open-carry law — as news broke that several officers had been killed in Baton Rouge. When asked about Mr. Loomis’s comments and the Baton Rouge shooting, Mr. Thacker said that despite the attack, he wanted to make a statement and show that people could continue to openly carry their weapons.

“I pose no threat to anyone. I’m an American citizen. I’ve never been in trouble for anything,” said Mr. Thacker, an information technology engineer. “This is my time to come out and put my two cents’ worth in, albeit that it is a very strong statement.”

 

Correction: July 17, 2016

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated a part of the service record of Gavin Long. He served six months in Iraq, not a year.

Julie Bloom and Richard Fausset reported from Baton Rouge, and Mike McPhate from New York. Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder from Dallas; Rick Rojas, Katie Rogers, Mike McIntire and Frances Robles from New York; Yamiche Alcindor from Cleveland; and Christiaan Mader from Baton Rouge.

A version of this article appears in print on July 18, 2016,
on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline:
Attack on Officers Jolts a Nation on Edge.

Baton Rouge Shooting Jolts a Nation on Edge,
NYT, July 17, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/18/us/
baton-rouge-shooting.html

 

 

 

 

 

Obama Tells Mourning Dallas,

‘We Are Not as Divided as We Seem’

 

JULY 11, 2016

The New York Times

By GARDINER HARRIS

and MARK LANDLER

 

DALLAS — President Obama said on Tuesday that the nation mourned with Dallas for five police officers gunned down by a black Army veteran, but he implored Americans not to give in to despair or the fear that “the center might not hold.”

“I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem,” Mr. Obama said at a memorial service for the officers in Dallas, where he quoted Scripture, alluded to Yeats and at times expressed a sense of powerlessness to stop the racial violence that has marked his presidency. But Mr. Obama also spoke hard truths to both sides.

Addressing a crowd of 2,000 at a concert hall, the president chided the police for not understanding what he called the legitimate grievances of African-Americans, who he said were victims of systemic racial bias.

“We cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid,” Mr. Obama said to applause. “We can’t simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and co-workers and fellow church members again and again and again — it hurts.”

But the president also turned to the protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement and said they were too quick to condemn the police. “Protesters, you know it,” Mr. Obama said. “You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are, and you pretend as if there’s no context. These things we know to be true.”

It was the poignant speech of a man near the end of his patience about a scourge of violence that he said his own words had not been enough to stop. Mr. Obama spoke after a week in which the police killed two black men, in Minnesota and Louisiana, and Micah Johnson, the Army veteran, killed the five officers in Dallas.

“I’ve spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency,” Mr. Obama said. “I’ve hugged too many families. I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been.”

He acknowledged that the Dallas killings — “an act not just of demented violence but of racial hatred” — had exposed a “fault line” in American democracy. He said he understood if Americans questioned whether the racial divide would ever be bridged.

“It’s as if the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened,” Mr. Obama said. “And although we know that such divisions are not new, though they have surely been worse in even the recent past, that offers us little comfort.”

Americans, he said, “can turn on the TV or surf the internet, and we can watch positions harden and lines drawn, and people retreat to their respective corners, and politicians calculate how to grab attention or avoid the fallout. We see all this, and it’s hard not to think sometimes that the center won’t hold and that things might get worse.”

But Mr. Obama insisted on holding out hope.

“Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair,” Mr. Obama said, adding that he knew that because of “what I’ve experienced in my own life, what I’ve seen of this country and its people — their goodness and decency — as president of the United States.”

He cited both the Dallas police and protesters as part of that decency. “When the bullets started flying, the men and women of the Dallas police, they did not flinch and they did not react recklessly,” Mr. Obama said. “They showed incredible restraint. Helped in some cases by protesters, they evacuated the injured, isolated the shooter and saved more lives than we will ever know. We mourn fewer people today because of your brave actions. ‘Everyone was helping each other,’ one witness said. ‘It wasn’t about black or white. Everyone was picking each other up and moving them away.’”

Mr. Obama concluded: “See, that’s the America I know.”

A row of police officers behind Mr. Obama in the concert hall did not clap when Mr. Obama spoke of racial bias in the criminal justice system, saying that “when all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid.”

But when Mr. Obama added, “We ask the police to do too much, and we ask too little of ourselves,” the officers behind him applauded.

Law enforcement officials who attended the service broadly welcomed Mr. Obama’s remarks.

“To me, this is one of his best speeches I’ve ever heard,” said Chief Warren Asmus of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who saw the speech as a milestone in the acrimonious national debate about policing and race.

“He started to build that bridge that I think hasn’t been built for a long time,” Mr. Asmus said. “From what I heard today, I see it as a turning point.”

But Chief Terrence M. Cunningham of the Wellesley, Mass., police said that while he liked much of Mr. Obama’s speech, he was concerned about the president’s discussion of the shootings by the police in Louisiana and Minnesota, which remain under investigation.

“It’s almost like he’s put his thumb on the scale a little bit,” he said. “Let’s let the facts come in.”

Some protesters responded positively to Mr. Obama’s remarks.

“I liked his speech,” said Dominique Alexander, the founder of Next Generation Action Network, an activist group in Dallas that organized the protest the night of the shooting. The president, he said, “did a good job” in a situation where “both sides are mourning, both sides are hurting.”

Many conservatives were angry about a reference Mr. Obama made in his remarks to gun control, when he said that “we flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”

Three others spoke at the memorial, including former President George W. Bush, a Dallas resident who said his city was not prepared for the evil visited upon it on Thursday, nor could it have been. “Today the nation grieves, but those of us who love Dallas and call it home have had five deaths in the family,” Mr. Bush said. He said the forces pulling the country apart sometimes seemed greater than the ones bringing it together.

“Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions,” Mr. Bush said to applause. “And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.”

The memorial was held in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, a cavernous concert hall with a massive 4,535-pipe organ dominating the back of the stage. Nearly all of the auditorium’s seats were filled, many with men and women wearing blue police uniforms from places like Massachusetts and South Carolina, and from towns throughout Texas, like League City, Huntsville, Robinson and La Marque. They walked into the hall under a giant American flag strung from fire trucks.

On one side of the stage, five seats sat empty except for uniform hats and folded American flags to memorialize the five dead.

 

Gardiner Harris reported from Dallas, and Mark Landler from Washington. Alan Blinder and John Eligon contributed reporting from Dallas.

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A version of this article appears in print on July 13, 2016,
on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline:
Obama Consoles and Challenges a Shaken Nation.

Obama Tells Mourning Dallas, ‘We Are Not as Divided as We Seem’,
NYT, July 11, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/13/us/
politics/obama-dallas-attacks-speech.html

 

 

 

 

 

A Week From Hell

 

JULY 8, 2016

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

Op-Ed Columnist

Charles M. Blow

 

This was yet another week that tore at the very fiber of our nation.

After two videos emerged showing the gruesome killings of two black men by police officers, one in Baton Rouge, La., and the other in Falcon Heights, Minn., a black man shot and killed five officers in a cowardly ambush at an otherwise peaceful protest and wounded nine more people. The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said, “He was upset about Black Lives Matter” and “about the recent police shootings” and “was upset at white people” and “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

We seem caught in a cycle of escalating atrocities without an easy way out, without enough clear voices of calm, without tools for reduction, without resolutions that will satisfy.

There is so much loss and pain. There are so many families whose hearts hurt for a loved one needlessly taken, never to be embraced again.

There is so much disintegrating trust, so much animosity stirring.

So many — too many — Americans now seem to be living with an ambient terror that someone is somehow targeting them.

Friday morning, after the Dallas shootings, my college student daughter entered my room before heading out to her summer job. She hugged me and said: “Dad, I’m scared. Are you scared?” We talked about what had happened in the preceding days, and I tried to allay her fears and soothe her anxiety.

How does a father answer such a question? I’m still not sure I got it precisely right.

Truth is, I am afraid. Not so much for my own safety, which is what my daughter was fretting about, but more for the country I love.

This is not a level of stress and strain that a civil society can long endure.

I feel numb, and anguished and heartbroken, and I fear that I am far from alone.

And yet, I also fear that time is a requirement for remedy. We didn’t arrive at this place overnight and we won’t move on from it overnight.

Centuries of American policy, culture and tribalism are simply being revealed as the frothy tide of hagiographic history recedes.

Our American “ghettos” were created by policy and design. These areas of concentrated poverty became fertile ground for crime and violence. Municipalities used heavy police forces to try to cap that violence. Too often, aggressive policing began to feel like oppressive policing. Relationships between communities and cops became strained. A small number of criminals poisoned police beliefs about whole communities, and a small number of dishonorable officers poisoned communities’ beliefs about entire police forces. And then, too often the unimaginable happened and someone ended up dead at the hands of the police.

Since people have camera phones, we are actually seeing these deaths, live and in living color. Now a terrorist with a racist worldview has taken it upon himself to co-opt a cause and mow down innocent officers.

This is a time when communities, institutions, movements and even nations are tested. Will the people of moral clarity, good character and righteous cause be able to drown out the chorus of voices that seek to use each dead body as a societal wedge?

Will the people who can see clearly that there is no such thing as selective, discriminatory, exclusionary outrage and grieving when lives are taken, be heard above those who see every tragedy as a plus or minus for a cumulative argument?

Will the people who see both the protests over police killings and the killings of police officers as fundamentally about the value of life rise above those who see political opportunity in this arms race of atrocities?

These are very serious questions — soul-of-a-nation questions — that we dare not ignore.

We must see all unwarranted violence for what it is: A corrosion of culture.

I know well that when people speak of love and empathy and honor in the face of violence, it can feel like meeting hard power with soft, like there is inherent weakness in an approach that leans so heavily on things so ephemeral and even clichéd.

But that is simply an illusion fostered by those of little faith.

Anger and vengeance and violence are exceedingly easy to access and almost effortlessly unleashed.

The higher calling — the harder trial — is the belief in the ultimate moral justice and the inevitable victory of righteousness over wrong.

This requires an almost religious faith in fate, and that can be hard for some to accept, but accept it we must.

The moment any person comes to accept as justifiable an act of violence upon another — whether physical, spiritual or otherwise — that person has already lost the moral battle, even if he is currently winning the somatic one.

When we all can see clearly that the ultimate goal is harmony and not hate, rectification and not retribution, we have a chance to see our way forward. But we all need to start here and now, by doing this simple thing: Seeing every person as fully human, deserving every day to make it home to the people he loves.

 

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter (@CharlesMBlow), or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.

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A Week From Hell,
NYT, July 8, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/11/
opinion/a-week-from-hell.html

 

 

 

 

 

The Horror in Dallas,

a Country Drowning in Grief

 

JULY 8, 2016

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

Editorial

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

 

Instantly, shockingly, the murder of five police officers on duty at a peaceful protest in Dallas has compounded the nation’s continuing agony. The devastating attack wounded seven other officers and two civilians. In mere hours, the carnage left the country with a wrenching shift: from grieving the latest black victims of police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana to grieving for the police officers slain so viciously in Dallas.

“It looked like an execution, honestly,” Ismael Dejesus said after witnessing the assassination of a policeman, captured on video. “He stood over him after he was already down and shot him three or four more times in the back.” Addressing horrifying violence for a second time in two days, President Obama called the murders “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”

In the aftermath, possible motives will be ticked off for the killer and any accomplices. But the police and protesters alike could only wonder what might truly account for such a level of atrocity. The police quoted the main suspect — Micah Johnson, a black Army veteran with service in Afghanistan, who was killed after being cornered — as intent on killing white people and avenging the innocent deaths of black citizens in police encounters elsewhere. “This must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” said Dallas’s police chief, David Brown, who is black.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch touched on the sense of contagion that at times seemed to be driving the deadly encounters. Speaking at the Justice Department, she urged Americans “not to allow the events of this week to precipitate a ‘new normal’ in our country.” Her plea was basic: “Turn to each other, not against each other.”

A Dallas minister and organizer of the street protest, Dominique Alexander, said the demonstration was entirely about peaceful change, not revenge. It was a local protest, he noted, praising a police sergeant he saw running to assist a civilian injured in the melee. The Thursday night march, one of multiple protests across the nation, offered no early hint of violence. Police officers wore summer shirts, not the SWAT team military gear that can antagonize protesters. There was no warning that a sniper lurked nearby until shots rang out and officers fell.

The streaming videos this time caught police officers, suddenly the prime targets, instinctively heading toward the gunfire and shepherding panicked crowds toward safety.

“The officers who were killed were probably walking with us to keep us safe,” said DeKanni Smith, who was among the demonstrators. “I’m disgusted.”

Disgust may well summarize the nation’s reaction to such an appalling twist in what seems to be a nonstop cycle of violence. As with the lives lost in Louisiana and Minnesota, the murdered officers in Dallas now cry out to us for something better, for a fresh and far stronger resolve to repair relations in the cause of law enforcement and to stem the nation’s bleeding.

 

This editorial has been updated to reflect news developments.

A version of this editorial appears in print on July 9, 2016,
on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline:
A Country Drowning in Grief.

The Horror in Dallas, a Country Drowning in Grief,
NYT, July 8, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/09/
opinion/the-horror-in-dallas-a-country-drowning-in-grief.html

 

 

 

 

 

My Protests and Prayers in Dallas

 

JULY 8, 2016

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

Op-Ed Contributor

By SANDERIA FAYE

 

Dallas — On Friday, the city of Dallas was in mourning, and so was I.

We lost five police officers. They were gunned down at a peaceful protest on Thursday night that took place just a few blocks from where I live. I was at that protest too.

So was my friend Angela. She stayed longer than I did, leaving right before the shots rang out. “Peaceful crowd. Sprits lifted and prepped for action. Sad to see it turn out like this,” she later wrote on Facebook.

Everyone is sad to see it turn out like this. The city planned a prayer vigil for noon on Friday and I decided to go and maybe to stay until the end this time.

I walked to Thanks-Giving Square, where the vigil was held, down a street lined with police officers in their dress blue uniforms. They were pleasant to everyone who greeted them. Some people took pictures. I took a photo of some people posing with the police too.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I said, and others in the crowd expressed condolences as well.

I imagine it feels, for the Dallas police, as if a member of their family has died.

That’s how it felt for me, watching the terrible news earlier in the week, hearing about Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile. And how it felt after we lost Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and the long list of others.

I walked to the center of the square and stood on the steps next to a man dressed in a business suit. It was hot — 96 degrees. I drank a bottle of water but he didn’t open his. The speakers, seemingly every dignitary and politician from the area, were lined up under a circular plaque that read: “Come into his courts with praise. Psalm 100.” We bowed our heads in prayer.

“Were you there last night?” I whispered to the man in the suit.

“Yeah, I am one of the organizers. I’m James.”

We whispered back and forth to each other between and during the speeches.

“The crowd is different today,” he said.

I nodded. There were many more people, maybe 1,000. It appeared as if the majority of them were white. The atmosphere was different. The voice of Black Lives Matter had become a silent whisper between James and me.

“They’re blaming us,” he said.

At one point, a speaker said the answer was to love one another. The speaker said, I want everybody here to find someone in the crowd who is different from you and shake his hand and give him a hug.

James and I exchanged glances. Several white people were lined up against the wall to my left. They hugged each other as they clasped hands. A few of them looked at me, and I awkwardly shook their hands and hugged them. I didn’t see James hug anyone, and I wished that I hadn’t either. My Southern politeness kicked in, even though I always find a forced hug uncomfortable.

During the vigil, a parade of dignitaries spoke: preachers of every faith, City Council members, the police chief. Friday belonged to the city officials and the necessary public mourning. But Thursday night, before the shooting, the Black Lives Matter protests belonged to us, the people who were mourning two senseless deaths at the hands of the police in Louisiana and Minnesota.

The police chief, David Brown, took his turn speaking. He was the hero of the hour. He had captured the villain who killed his officers. He was proud of his accomplishments and the audience was moved by his speech. He told us how most of the time, wearing the police uniform in Dallas, he hears negative comments and gets complaints. But it felt good today, it gave him some measure of comfort, to hear the words: “Thank you.”

The crowd then spontaneously shouted, “Thank you.”

The chant went through the crowd, all of us who had found someone different from us to hug: “Thank you.”

The chant that resonated more with me was from Thursday night.

“Enough is enough,” the crowd chanted. “Enough is enough,” I chanted along too, with the call and response, standing on the edge of the park just a few blocks from my home.

I had gone to the protest that night not only to show respect for the deceased and their families but for myself, for my well-being. It’s similar to the reason we attend funerals. I wanted to be with the bereaved so that we could lift up each other.

People young and old, black, white, Latino, were taking a stand in Dallas on Thursday night. One little boy had a sign pinned to his back with a quotation from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on it. Police officers and citizens talked and took selfies. The speakers stepped to the microphone, one by one, to speak about the horrific deaths in Louisiana and Minnesota. Their volume rose as they spoke about hope, and they finished with chants — “Enough is enough”; “No more 404,” the police code when something like this happens; “Black lives matter.” I clapped and I chanted too. But whatever I had gone to the protest for, I was feeling the opposite effect.

I decided to leave early, around 8, so I wouldn’t have to walk home in the dark. Also my phone had died.

When I was home and plugged it back in, I saw a text from my friend Angela. She told me to turn on the news.

I watched the cameras broadcasting images of the park where I had just been standing, the police officers who had been posing for selfies now under attack.

How could the peaceful demonstration I had been a part of turned to this?

I live two blocks from Baylor Hospital and I heard sirens going back and forth all night.

I was at the protest Thursday night to be lifted up out of my sadness. “Enough is enough,” we chanted. I added my voice. But it was not enough because within a couple of hours five more people were dead.

 

Sanderia Faye is the author of the novel “Mourner’s Bench.”

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My Protests and Prayers in Dallas,
NYT, July 8, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/09/
opinion/my-protests-and-prayers-in-dallas.html

 

 

 

 

 

Divided by Race, United by Pain

 

JULY 8, 2016

The New York Times

 SundayReview

Op-Ed Columnist

Frank Bruni

 

THERE aren’t any ready answers for how to end this cycle of bloodshed, these heart-rending images from Louisiana and Minnesota and Texas of a country in desperate trouble, with so much pain to soothe, rage to exorcise and injustice to confront.

But we have choices about how we absorb what’s happened, about the rashness with which we point fingers. Making the right ones is crucial, and leaves us with real hope for figuring this out. Making the wrong ones puts that possibility ever further from reach.

So does a public debate that assigns us different tribes and warring interests, when almost all of us want the same thing: for the killing to cease and for every American to feel respected and safe.

We have disagreements about how to get there, but they don’t warrant the inflammatory headlines that appeared on the front of The New York Post (“Civil War”) or at the top of The Drudge Report (“Black Lives Kill”). They needn’t become hardened battle lines.

“We have devolved into some separatism and we’ve taken our corners,” Malik Aziz, the deputy chief of police in Dallas, said in an interview with CNN on Friday. “Days like yesterday or the day before — they shouldn’t happen. But when they do, let’s be human beings. Let’s be honorable men and women and sit down at a table and say, ‘How can we not let this happen again?’ and be sincere in our hearts.”

“We’re failing at that on all sides,” he concluded, expressing a sentiment uttered by public officials black and white, Democrat and Republican, in laments that drew on the same vocabulary.

Separate, divided: I kept hearing those words and their variants, a report card for America as damning as it was inarguable.

Separate, divided: I kept seeing that in pundits who talked past and over one another, in a din that’s becoming harder and harder to bear.

Separate, divided: I kept thinking of Donald Trump and how he in particular preys on our estrangement and deepens it.

On Friday he didn’t, putting out sorrowful, thoughtful messages on Twitter and Facebook and announcing his postponement of a speech on economic opportunity that he had been scheduled to deliver. He was otherwise silent, and while that was entirely out of character, it was wholly in line with the shock and confusion that Americans were feeling.
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Hillary Clinton wrestled with that confusion in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, stressing, “We can’t be engaging in hateful rhetoric.” Asked if and why she’d be better at dealing with race relations than Donald Trump would, she declined to disparage him. This wasn’t the moment for that.

We can’t keep falling into the same old traps. We can’t keep making hasty conclusions, faulty connections. Predictably, there was a recurrence of talk after the killings of five police officers in Dallas late Thursday night that this was the fruit and fault of the Black Lives Matter movement and that cries of police misconduct equal a bounty on police lives.

That was a willfully selective interpretation of events. It ignored an emerging profile of the suspected gunman as someone who acted alone, not as the emissary of any aggrieved group.

It ignored how peacefully the protest in Dallas began and how calmly it proceeded up until shots rang out. Black and white stood together. Civilians and cops stood together. Those cops were there precisely because they’d been briefed on the demonstration and brought into its planning. They were a collaborative presence, not an enemy one.

“We had police officers taking pictures with protesters, protecting them, guarding them, making sure they was getting from one point to another,” Aziz recalled.

And their instincts amid the gunfire weren’t to flee for cover but to run toward its source and to hurry demonstrators out of the way. If we don’t pay full tribute to that, we’ll never get the full accountability from police officers that we also need, and we’ll never be able to address the urgent, legitimate demands at the heart of the Dallas demonstration and others like it.

“We’re hurting,” Dallas’s police chief, David Brown, said during a news conference on Friday morning. “Our profession is hurting.”

He’s black. So are many other officers on the Dallas force, a diverse one with a good record. And he implored everyone to remember that these men and women, in Dallas and elsewhere, “literally risk their lives to protect our democracy.”

“We don’t feel much support most days,” he continued. “Let’s not make today most days.”

That appeal was all the more poignant for how it united police and protesters in a desire that no sweeping, damning judgments be made about a whole class of people; that such prejudice be resisted; that such cynicism be renounced.

We must be openhearted and coolheaded that way.

But we have to be honest, too, and not shrink from the ugliness laid bare by technology and social media — by the footage of the police pumping bullets into Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday and of Philando Castile bleeding and dying beside his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, on Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minn. Over and over, Reynolds says “sir” to the police officer who shot Castile and whose gun is still visibly pointed toward the interior of the car where both she and her 4-year-old daughter, Dae’Anna, sit. It’s a shockingly intimate portrait of disbelief and helplessness.

On Friday morning, Reynolds appeared on CNN and insisted that her story not be seen in isolation. “It’s about all of the families that have lost people,” she said.

“This thing that has happened in Dallas, it was not because of something that transpired in Minnesota,” she continued. “This is bigger than Philando. This is bigger than Trayvon Martin. This is bigger than Sandra Bland. This is bigger than all of us.”

She added that Friday was Dae’Anna’s graduation from preschool, that Castile was supposed to be there, and that his absence would be hard on the little girl.

Reflecting on Castile’s death, Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota asked: “Would this have happened if those passengers would have been white? I don’t think it would have.”

It’s an important question, a defensible guess, and we need to be able to hear and express both without the instant commencement of political warfare, without superimposing particular causes and constituencies over the narrative, as if every new development and every next death were a bludgeon to be wielded.

There’s only one cause here: taking the appropriate steps — in criminal justice, in police training, in schools, in public discourse — so that each of us goes about our days in as much peace as possible. And the constituency for that is all of America.

Among the important choices we’re making is whom to listen to. There are voices out there — too many of them — that seek to inflame. There are others that don’t. Three from Dallas stood out.

One was that of Mayor Mike Rawlings, who lamented how racial issues “continue to divide us.”

“This is on my generation of leaders,” said the mayor, who is white. “It is on our watch that we have allowed this to continue to fester, that we have led the next generation down a vicious path of rhetoric and actions that pit one against the other.”

Another voice was that of Erik Wilson, the deputy mayor pro tem of the city, who is black. “No conflict has ever been solved with violence,” he told CNN. “It’s always been solved with conversation. And that is something that we need to focus on.”

And then there was Deputy Police Chief Aziz, who is also black. Referring to nationwide instances of excessive police force, he said, “We should be held accountable, and that is what we have a criminal justice system for.”

But of equal importance, he said, was “a real dialogue with the community that we can no longer be separate. We can’t divide ourselves.”

Separate, divided: those words again. They’re our curse right now. Must they be our fate?

 

I invite you to follow me on Twitter (@FrankBruni) and join me on Facebook.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 10, 2016,
on page SR1 of the New York edition with the headline: Divided by Race, United by Pain.

Divided by Race, United by Pain,
NYT, July 8, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/
opinion/how-america-heals-after-dallas.html

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Guys Win

if the Police Reject Protests

 

JULY 8, 2016

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

Op-Ed Contributor

By NICK SELBY

 

THURSDAY night in Dallas, a calm and peaceful protest was shattered by a brutal precision attack against officers at the scene. Just moments before, some of those same officers had been amiably chatting with young families and others in the diverse group of demonstrators.

As the news spread that five officers had been slain and seven others, along with two civilians, wounded, my colleagues in departments around Dallas responded as if family members had been shot.

“My neighbor asked me, ‘Why are you crying? You said you didn’t know any of those guys,’” one friend who recently retired said to me. “I don’t even know how to explain to him how hard this hits me.”

Along with palpable grief, the most common reaction I heard was pride. Those of us who couldn’t be there were glued to the television, watching officers charge toward the gunfire, engage the gunman and protect civilians. We heard a radio call for plainclothes officers to suit up in their body armor — many didn’t want to waste the time.

For me, though, the pride was over more than just those acts of bravery; it was over the commitment to professionalism, trust and respect by the Dallas police that will allow the department to be as levelheaded in the aftermath of the massacre as it was in the midst of it.

Friday morning, after our brothers were assassinated for being white and for being officers, the word was sent out: more protests are expected, and we must not interfere with them. And that is the way it should be.

Some might ask why there are no tanks or National Guard troops in the streets of Dallas. One reason is the relationship that Chief David O. Brown has built with the community. Since taking over the department in 2010, Chief Brown has worked to get officers to reduce the tension when they confront suspects or other civilians. Even as budget cuts have trimmed the ranks and increased stress on the police, complaints about officers’ use of force have gone down, along with assaults on officers and the crime rate.
Photo
A Dallas police officer responding to the shooting on Thursday night. Credit Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News

The department has also been more open. Even as his officers fought terror in the streets — the worst loss of life for law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001 — Chief Brown maintained his commitment to transparency, briefing reporters while the bullets were still flying.

Last year, when a rifle-wielding gunman in an armored vehicle attacked the Dallas Police Headquarters, officers live-tweeted the attack.

The department has also thoroughly reported all shootings involving its officers and detailed how its officers have used force.

Such a ready release of information is an important way for police agencies to make a deposit in the bank of community good will.

Demonstrators on Thursday night were protesting shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Much is made of the body count of police shootings. Far fewer people follow through to learn that, by the count of The Washington Post, 90 percent of the times when police officers shot someone, that person had had a gun or knife, or had posed another threat.

Police officers and protesters are less far apart in their goals than we might think, watching the local news.

The Dallas police and other departments in the area are being clear in our internal conversations: We’re here to protect and serve. When we make mistakes, we try to fix them. When we explain what we do to the public, the public rewards us with trust.

And while Chief Brown has called for an end to “this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” let’s let the protesters have their say; let’s hear it all. And maybe, if both sides listen, we can get somewhere.

 

Nick Selby is a police detective in the Dallas area and an author of “In Context: Understanding Police Killings of Unarmed Civilians.”

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 9, 2016,
on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline:
Police and Protesters Can Co-Exist.

Bad Guys Win if the Police Reject Protests,
NYT, July 8, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/09/
opinion/bad-guys-win-if-the-police-reject-protests.html

 

 

 

 

 

Study Supports Suspicion

That Police Are More Likely

to Use Force on Blacks

 

JULY 7, 2016

The New York Times

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS

 

The vast majority of interactions between police officers and civilians end routinely, with no one injured, no one aggrieved and no one making the headlines. But when force is used, a new study has found, the race of the person being stopped by officers is significant.

The study of thousands of use-of-force episodes from police departments across the nation has concluded what many people have long thought, but which could not be proved because of a lack of data: African-Americans are far more likely than whites and other groups to be the victims of use of force by the police, even when racial disparities in crime are taken into account.

The report, to be released Friday by the Center for Policing Equity, a New York-based think tank, took three years to assemble and largely refutes explanations from some police officials that blacks are more likely to be subjected to police force because they are more frequently involved in criminal activity.

The researchers said they did not gather enough data specifically related to police shootings to draw conclusions on whether there were racial disparities when it came to the fatal confrontations between officers and civilians so in the news.

The study’s release comes at a particularly volatile time in the relationship between the police and minority communities after high-profile fatal police shootings of African-American men this week in Louisiana and Minnesota prompted widespread outrage.

Portions of the episodes, both captured on video and released publicly, have intensified calls for police reform as many departments across the nation have been slow to deploy body cameras or to mandate changes in officer training standards after the high-profile deaths of a number of African-Americans at the hands of police officers in the past two years.

African-American activists who have demanded greater police accountability since the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., set off days of rioting, said Thursday that the study was critical to the conversation, but far from surprising.

“It’s kind of like, ‘Is water wet?’” said Aislinn Sol, organizer of the Chicago chapter of Black Lives Matter. “But what we gain with each study, each new piece of information is that we are able to win people over who are on the fence. The evidence is becoming overwhelming and incontrovertible that it is a systemic problem, rather than an isolated one.”

The organization compiled more than 19,000 use-of-force incidents by police officers representing 11 large and midsize cities and one large urban county from 2010 to 2015. It is the sort of data the Obama administration and the Justice Department have been seeking from police departments for nearly two years, in many cases, unsuccessfully.

The report found that although officers employ force in less than 2 percent of all police-civilian interactions, the use of police force is disproportionately high for African-Americans — more than three times greater than for whites.

The study, “The Science of Justice: Race, Arrests, and Police Use of Force,” did not seek to determine whether the employment of force in any particular instance was justified, but the center’s researchers found that the disparity in which African-Americans were subjected to police force remained consistent across what law enforcement officers call the use-of-force continuum — from relatively mild physical force, through baton strikes, canine bites, pepper spray, Tasers and gunshots.

“The dominant narrative has been that this happens to African-Americans because they are arrested in disproportionate numbers,” said Phillip Atiba Goff, a founder and president of the Center for Policing Equity, based at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “But the data really makes it difficult to say that crime is the primary driver of this. In every single category, the anti-black disparity persists.”

The study found that the overall mean use-of-force rate for all black residents was 273 per 100,000, which is 3.6 times higher than the rate for white residents (76 per 100,000) and 2.5 times higher than the overall rate of 108 per 100,000 for all residents.

For those who were arrested, the mean rate of use of force against blacks was 46 for every 1,000 arrests, compared with 36 per 1,000 for whites.

The Obama administration has been nudging police departments to adapt de-escalation tactics and to fix broken relationships with poor and minority communities across the nation, which typically experience far more intensive policing because of what are frequently higher crime rates.

But because police departments often refuse to release use-of-force data that would illustrate such trends, the federal government has had a difficult time in determining whether police departments are employing force less often.

The federal government cannot generally compel police departments to hand over such material, and many local agencies say they do not require officers to submit use-of-force reports.

Other departments say they lack the resources to collect such information, and others acknowledge privately that they fear that the release of their data would subject them to unwanted scrutiny from the public and the federal government.

But when the Justice Department has had the ability to review use-of-force records, it has found evidence of abuse.

In Seattle, federal investigators found that one out of every five use-of-force episodes had been excessive.

In Albuquerque, the Justice Department determined that most police shootings from 2009 to 2012 had been unjustified.

Researchers for the center said Thursday that the compilation of the use-of-force material after years of failed efforts to determine whether racial bias was present represented a significant success. The data is so closely held by police departments that the agencies that cooperated with the project did so anonymously.

Though the 12 municipalities that provided data were not named, they represented a large urban county in California and 11 cities spanning the nation with populations that range from less than 100,000 to several million, with an average population of 600,000.

The center said that given the diversity of the municipalities — six are predominantly white, one is predominantly black or Latino, and five have populations in which no single racial or ethnic group represents 50 percent or more of the population — that the findings are likely to hold true for most other cities.

Cameron McLay, the police chief of Pittsburgh, said his agency had been among those to share its use-of-force data. He said use of force by his officers had decreased in recent years, but acknowledged that there remained concerns about disparities in use of force when it came to African-Americans.

“We are responsible for not just bringing down the crime rate, but for making people feel safe in their communities,” he said.

 

A version of this article appears in print on July 8, 2016,
on page A16 of the New York edition with the headline:
Study Supports Suspicion That Police Use of Force Is
More Likely on Blacks.

Study Supports Suspicion That Police Are More Likely to Use Force on Blacks,
NYT, July 7, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/
study-supports-suspicion-that-police-use-of-force-is-more-likely-for-blacks.html

 

 

 

 

 

Death in Black and White

 

JULY 7, 2016

The New York Times

Sunday Review

Contributing Op-Ed Writer

Michael Eric Dyson

 

This essay has been updated to reflect news developments.

We, black America, are a nation of nearly 40 million souls inside a nation of more than 320 million people. And I fear now that it is clearer than ever that you, white America, will always struggle to understand us.

Like you, we don’t all think the same, feel the same, love, learn, live or even die the same.

But there’s one thing most of us agree on: We don’t want cops to be executed at a peaceful protest. We also don’t want cops to kill us without fear that they will ever face a jury, much less go to jail, even as the world watches our death on a homemade video recording. This is a difficult point to make as a racial crisis flares around us.

We close a week of violence that witnessed the tragic deaths of two black men — Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile — at the hands of the police with a terrible attack in Dallas against police officers, whose names we’re just beginning to learn. It feels as though it has been death leading to more death, nothing anyone would ever hope for.

A nonviolent protest was hijacked by violence and so, too, was the debate about the legitimate grievances that black Americans face. The acts of the gunman in Dallas must be condemned. However, he has nothing to do with the difficult truths we must address if we are to make real racial progress, and the reckoning includes being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed or discounted.

In the wake of these deaths and the protests surrounding them, you, white America, say that black folks kill each other every day without a mumbling word while we thunderously protest a few cops, usually but not always white, who shoot to death black people who you deem to be mostly “thugs.”

That such an accusation is nonsense is nearly beside the point. Black people protest, to one another, to a world that largely refuses to listen, that what goes on in black communities across this nation is horrid, as it would be in any neighborhood depleted of dollars and hope — emptied of good schools, and deprived of social and economic buffers against brutality. People usually murder where they nest; they aim their rage at easy targets.

It is not best understood as black-on-black crime; rather, it is neighbor-to-neighbor carnage. If their neighbors were white, they’d get no exemption from the crime that plagues human beings who happen to be black. If you want interracial killing, you have to have interracial communities.

We all can see the same videos. But you insist that the camera doesn’t tell the whole story. Of course you’re right, but you don’t really want to see or hear that story.

At birth, you are given a pair of binoculars that see black life from a distance, never with the texture of intimacy. Those binoculars are privilege; they are status, regardless of your class. In fact the greatest privilege that exists is for white folk to get stopped by a cop and not end up dead when the encounter is over.

Those binoculars are also stories, bad stories, biased stories, harmful stories, about how black people are lazy, or dumb, or slick, or immoral, people who can’t be helped by the best schools or even God himself. These beliefs don’t make it into contemporary books, or into most classrooms. But they are passed down, informally, from one white mind to the next.

The problem is you do not want to know anything different from what you think you know. Your knowledge of black life, of the hardships we face, yes, those we sometimes create, those we most often endure, don’t concern you much. You think we have been handed everything because we have fought your selfish insistence that the world, all of it — all its resources, all its riches, all its bounty, all its grace — should be yours first, and foremost, and if there’s anything left, why then we can have some, but only if we ask politely and behave gratefully.

So you demand the Supreme Court give you back what was taken from you: more space in college classrooms that you dominate; better access to jobs in fire departments and police forces that you control. All the while your resentment builds, and your slow hate gathers steam. Your whiteness has become a burden too heavy for you to carry, so you outsource it to a vile political figure who amplifies your most detestable private thoughts.

Whiteness is blindness. It is the wish not to see what it will not know.

If you do not know us, you also refuse to hear us because you do not believe what we say. You have decided that enough is enough. If the cops must kill us for no good reason, then so be it because most of us are guilty anyway. If the black person that they kill turns out to be innocent, it is an acceptable death, a sacrificial one.

Terror was visited on Dallas Thursday night. Unspeakable terror. We are not strangers to terror. You make us afraid to walk the streets, for at any moment, a blue-clad officer with a gun could swoop down on us to snatch our lives from us and say that it was because we were selling cigarettes, or compact discs, or breathing too much for your comfort, or speaking too abrasively for your taste. Or running, or standing still, or talking back, or being silent, or doing as you say, or not doing as you say fast enough.

You hold an entire population of Muslims accountable for the evil acts of a few. Yet you rarely muster the courage to put down your binoculars, and with them, your corrosive self-pity, and see what we see. You say religions and cultures breed violence stoked by the complicity of silence because peoples will not denounce the villains who act in their names.

Yet you do the same. In the aftermath of these deaths, you do not all condemn these cops; to do so, you would have to condemn the culture that produced them — the same culture that produced you. Condemning a culture is not inciting hate. That is very important. Yet black people will continue to die at the hands of cops as long as we deny that whiteness can be more important in explaining those cops’ behavior than anything else.

You cannot know how we secretly curse the cowardice of whites who know what I write is true, but dare not say it. Neither will your smug insistence that you are different — not like that ocean of unenlightened whites — satisfy us any longer. It makes the killings worse to know that your disapproval of them has spared your reputations and not our lives.

You do not know that after we get angry with you, we get even angrier with ourselves, because we don’t know how to make you stop, or how to make you care enough to stop those who pull the triggers. We do not know what to do now that sadness is compounded by more sadness.

The nation as a whole feels powerless now. A peaceful protest turned into the scene of a sniper attack. Day in and day out, we feel powerless to make our black lives matter. We feel powerless to make you believe that our black lives should matter. We feel powerless to keep you from killing black people in front of their loved ones. We feel powerless to keep you from shooting hate inside our muscles with well-choreographed white rage.

But we have rage, too. Most of us keep our rage inside. We are afraid that when the tears begin to flow we cannot stop them. Instead we damage our bodies with high blood pressure, sicken our souls with depression.

We cannot hate you, not really, not most of us; that is our gift to you. We cannot halt you; that is our curse.

 

Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown, is the author of “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” and a contributing opinion writer.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 10, 2016,
on page SR2 of the New York edition with the headline:
Death in Black and White.

Death in Black and White,
NYT, July 7, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/
opinion/sunday/what-white-america-fails-to-see.html

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Brown’s Mom,

on Alton Sterling

and Philando Castile

 

JULY 7, 2016

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

Op-Ed Contributor

By LEZLEY MCSPADDEN

 

St. Louis — I CRIED on Wednesday as I watched, like much of the country, the horrifying video images from Baton Rouge, La., showing a black man being shot to death, in the back and chest, after being wrestled into submission by two white police officers. On Thursday, I woke up to the news of a black man in Minnesota, shot by the police during a traffic stop. I am devastated and infuriated.

Alton Sterling is dead. Philando Castile is dead. My son, Michael Brown, has been dead for almost two years now.

Death isn’t pretty for anyone, but what these families now face is the horror of seeing their loved one die over and over, in public, in such a violent way. They face the helplessness of having strangers judge their loved one not on who he was or what he meant to his family but on a few seconds of video. Mr. Sterling died in a very lonely way, surrounded by his killers. Can you imagine a lonelier death? Mr. Castile died with his girlfriend and her young daughter watching as he was gunned down.

Sometimes it seems like the only thing we can do in response to the police brutality that my son and so many other black boys and men have suffered is to pray for black lives. Yes, they matter, but is that changing anything? What is going to be different this time?

There is again an uproar, and people are going to once again do a lot of talking about black-on-black crime versus white-on-black crime. Truth is, black on black crime is perpetuated by systemic injustice and social ills. But, real talk, this debate is meaningless so long as we still live in a world where a black man can get killed for selling cigarettes on the street, where a black boy can get killed for waving a toy gun.

It’s a problem when you look to the law as a protector and it comes into your community and shoots people dead with no remorse or consequences. It is a problem that you have some law officers trying to do the right thing, and then others who bring shame on the badge.

Someone asked me what I would say to Mr. Sterling’s family, if I had the chance. To tell the truth, I wouldn’t know what to say. When Michael was killed, people tried to talk to me, but I was in shock; I didn’t know how to respond. I know enough now to advise well-meaning people to pause before offering kind words. So many told me, “I am so sorry for your loss.” After a while, all the “sorrys” bled together, and at the end of it, nothing changed. Let Mr. Sterling’s family members grieve with the people in their lives who knew him before everyone else saw these shocking images and felt they had to put their two cents in.

The mothers I’ve met along the way — Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother; Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grant III’s mother — we’ve helped one another cope, and we’ll try to do the same for Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile’s families. I’ll never forget meeting Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice. I looked at this strong woman and was amazed to think that she was just starting a horrible journey, one that will never end, one that I am still on.

When their children are killed, mothers are expected to say something. To help keep the peace. To help make change. But what can I possibly say? I just know we need to do something. We are taught to be peaceful, but we aren’t at peace. I have to wake up and go to sleep with this pain everyday. Ain’t no peace. If we mothers can’t change where this is heading for these families — to public hearings, protests, un-asked-for martyrdom, or worse, to nothing at all — what can we do?

Since I lost my son to a police shooting, I’ve done a lot of thinking. I’ve gone to therapy, as have my other children. I’ve started a foundation in Michael’s honor. I’ve campaigned in St. Louis to mandate body cameras on police officers at all times. We cannot assume that justice will be done. So I will never stop talking about my son or fighting for justice for him.

People will try to twist the words of Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile’s families and turn them into something ugly. These men will be called “thugs” and much, much worse. It’s already happening. Click on the comments section of any article you read about their deaths, and you will be shocked by the racist comments of people who insist — insist — that they obviously deserved to die.

So what would I say to their families? When you’re ready, and if you need me, I’ll be there for you. But the people I would really like to say something to are the ones who claim that justice will prevail. Whose justice? When justice comes to the one who didn’t pull the trigger, that’s when I’ll believe you.

 

Lezley McSpadden is the author of “Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy and Love of My Son Michael Brown.”

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 8, 2016,
on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline:
The Mothers of Dead Black Men.

Michael Brown’s Mom, on Alton Sterling and Philando Castile,
NYT, July 7, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/
opinion/michael-browns-mom-on-alton-sterling-and-philando-castile.html

 

 

 

 

 

When Will the Killing Stop?

 

JULY 7, 2016

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

Editorial

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

 

Updated: July 8, 2016

Videos of two fatal shootings of African-American men have again documented what appear to be almost casual killing by the police. They prompt the deepest shock at what the nation has witnessed over and over again: a chance encounter with the police and an innocent black life ended.

On Thursday night, a peaceful march in Dallas against the shootings ended in violence when snipers on rooftops killed five officers and wounded seven others. One suspect, who was killed in a stand-off with police, said he wanted to kill whites, according to the Dallas police chief. This horrendous attack on the police and the two killings this week demand sober reflection by the nation’s political and law enforcement leadership.

Of the two videos, the first showed Alton Sterling on Tuesday pinned to the ground outside a store in Baton Rouge, La., when he was shot in the chest and back at close range by police officers.

The second showed the death of Philando Castile, who was stopped for an alleged traffic infraction in a St. Paul suburb and was shot several times by a police officer. The video, which was taken by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was sitting next to him in the car, starts seconds after Mr. Castile was shot. “He was just getting his license and registration, sir,” Ms. Reynolds calmly tells the officer. She says to the camera that he was not reaching for the gun he was licensed to carry.

“Would this have happened if the passengers, the drivers were white? I don’t think it would have,” Gov. Mark Dayton said at a news conference on Thursday. “All of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists.”

Mr. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said she told her son: “If you get stopped by the police, comply. Comply, comply, comply.” She added, “I think he was just black in the wrong place.”

The Justice Department has been called on to investigate the two shootings. It speaks volumes that local law enforcement is not to be trusted to carry out investigations, as communities take to the streets to demand justice.

The shootings seem part of some gruesome loop of episodes of law enforcement gone amok. For African-Americans, the threat of police abuse — in the form of random stops, assaults and violations of civil rights — has long been part of life. Yet this grievous reality became a national issue only with the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in an encounter with a white officer in Ferguson, Mo.

After a year and a half of racial upheaval in Ferguson, the local government there agreed to reforms of a law enforcement system that Department of Justice investigators found regularly violated constitutional rights. Minority citizens were routinely harassed by police officers and shuttled through a court system that further exploited and victimized local residents.

Unfortunately, after Ferguson, police shootings of black citizens have continued, with the police too often maintaining their wall of resistance with the help of local prosecutors. Until ordered to do so by a judge, Chicago officials fought release of a dashboard video of the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was shot 16 times by a police officer later indicted on charges of first-degree murder.

The killing in Minnesota on Wednesday was the 123rd killing of a black person by law enforcement in America so far this year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Fortunately, the rise of social media and smartphones in the hands of witnesses has delivered video evidence to much of the nation of what black communities have known all too well.

The latest killings are grim reminders that far more reforms are needed to make law enforcement officers more professional and respectful of the citizens they have a duty to protect. Intensive training, stricter use-of-force standards and prosecutions of officers who kill innocent people are necessary to begin to repair systems that have tolerated this bloodshed.

And beyond that, with killings happening in cities, suburbs and rural communities, there needs to be leadership in every police department in the country that insists on cultural and attitudinal change. Credible civilian oversight of the police has to be a factor if community trust is ever to be restored. The latest ghastly images show how much has not been done, two years after Ferguson.

When Will the Killing Stop?,
NYT, July 7, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/
opinion/when-will-the-killing-stop.html

 

 

 

 

 

Five Dallas Officers Were Killed

as Payback, Police Chief Says

 

JULY 8, 2016

The New York Times

By MANNY FERNANDEZ,

RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

and JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

 

DALLAS — The heavily armed sniper who gunned down police officers in downtown Dallas, leaving five of them dead, specifically set out to kill as many white officers as he could, officials said Friday. He was a military veteran who had served in Afghanistan, and he kept an arsenal in his home that included bomb-making materials.

The gunman turned a demonstration against fatal police shootings this week of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana from a peaceful march focused on violence committed by officers into a scene of chaos and bloodshed aimed against them.

The shooting was the kind of retaliatory violence that people have feared through two years of protests around the country against deaths in police custody, forcing yet another wrenching shift in debates over race and criminal justice that had already deeply divided the nation.

Demonstrations continued Friday in cities across the country, with one of the largest taking place on the streets of Atlanta, where thousands of people protesting police abuse brought traffic to a standstill.

Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security secretary, said in New York that there was apparently just one sniper, though there were so many gunshots and so many victims that officials at first speculated about multiple shooters.

Officials said they had found no evidence that the gunman, Micah Johnson, 25, had direct ties to any protest or political group, either peaceful or violent, but his Facebook page showed that he supported the New Black Panther Party, a group that has advocated violence against whites, and Jews in particular.

Searching the killer’s home on Friday, “detectives found bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics,” the Dallas Police Department said in a statement.

Three other people were arrested in connection with the shooting, but the police would not name them or say why they were being held.

In addition to the five officers who died, seven officers and two civilians were wounded. The Police Department said that 12 officers had returned fire during a wild series of gun battles that stretched for blocks.

After the shooting subsided, Mr. Johnson, wielding an assault rifle and a handgun, held the police off for hours in a parking garage, claiming — apparently falsely — to have planted explosives in the area, and threatening to kill more officers. In the end, the police killed him Friday morning with an explosive delivered by a remote-controlled robot, the Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said.

During the standoff, Mr. Johnson, who was black, told police negotiators that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter,” Chief Brown said. “He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

He refused to rule out the possibility that more people were involved, saying, “We’re not satisfied that we’ve exhausted every lead.”

Mr. Johnson, who lived in the Dallas area, served as a private in the Army Reserve from March 2009 to April 2015, according to records released by the Pentagon. He was listed as a carpentry and masonry specialist, and served in Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014.

The sequence of events this week provoked anger and despair, dealing blows both to law enforcement and to peaceful critics of the police, who have fended off claims that the outcry over police shootings foments violence and puts officers’ lives in danger.

“All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” Chief Brown said.

Just hours after President Obama, reacting to video recordings of the shootings in Baton Rouge, La., and Falcon Heights, Minn., spoke in anguished terms about the disparate treatment of the races by the criminal justice system, he felt compelled to speak again, this time about the people who attacked officers.

“We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear: There are no possible justifications for these attacks or any violence towards law enforcement,” he told reporters Friday morning in Warsaw, where he was attending a NATO summit meeting, after speaking by phone with Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas.

The White House said Mr. Obama would travel to Dallas early next week, at the invitation of the city’s mayor. Later in the week, the president will host a discussion between the police and community leaders to help find solutions to racial disparities and ways to better support police, aides said.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who was in Washington, said that the week’s violence had left many people with a justifiable “sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear,” but that “the answer must not be violence.”

“To our brothers and sisters who wear the badge, I want you to know that I am deeply grateful for the difficult and dangerous work that you do every day to keep our streets safe and our nation secure,” she said. To the protesters, she said, “Do not be discouraged by those who would use your lawful actions as a cover for their heinous violence.”

But William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, appearing on Fox News, said that there was “a war on cops,” and that the Obama administration was to blame for appeasement of those who attack the police.

The attack appeared to be the deadliest for law enforcement officers in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Our profession is hurting,” Chief Brown said, calling the actions of his officers nothing short of heroic. “Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are not words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”

The shooting erupted just before 9 p.m., only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. It cut short an emotional but peaceful demonstration, unleashing chaos as terrified marchers, including families with children, ran for cover, while police officers ran toward the shooting, guns drawn and firing back.

“I grabbed my shirt because I was close enough, I thought I might have been shot,” said Jeff Hood, a minister who took part in the march. “I was screaming, ‘Run, run!’”

Bystanders captured extraordinary video of the shootout on downtown streets, with officers taking shelter behind patrol cars and pillars, and tending to their fallen comrades, amid the boom of gunfire and the flash and glare of squad cars’ emergency lights.

The violence struck near one of the city’s busiest districts, filled with hotels and restaurants as well as county government buildings, and hundreds of people spent much of the night trapped in buildings that were placed on lockdown.

The dead included four officers of the Dallas city police, and one from Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Jane E. Bishkin, a Dallas lawyer who represents five of the wounded officers, said that they were expected to recover, but that one of them, a woman, had suffered a serious injury to her left arm and might be disabled as a result.

After Mr. Johnson was cornered on the second floor of a parking garage, negotiators spent hours trying to get him to surrender, Chief Brown said, but he “told our negotiators that the end is coming and he’s going to hurt and kill more of us, meaning law enforcement, and that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and downtown.”

“The negotiations broke down, and we had an exchange of gunfire with the suspect,” the chief said. “We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was.”

The three other suspects were a woman who was taken from the garage and two others who were taken in for questioning after a traffic stop, but they were not providing much information, the chief said.

On Friday, a large part of downtown remained off limits to civilians as detectives, and agents from the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, combed through the sprawling crime scene.

Chief Brown suggested that the gunman had some knowledge of the march route.

“How would you know to post up there?” he said. “We have yet to determine whether or not there was some complicity with the planning of this, but we will be pursuing that.”

But Dominique R. Alexander, a minister and head of the Next Generation Action Network, who said he had planned the march, said his group did not condone any violence.

“I was right there when the shooting happened,” he said. “They could have shot me.”

 

Manny Fernandez reported from Dallas, and Richard Pérez-Peña and Jonah Engel Bromwich from New York. Reporting was contributed by Michael S. Schmidt from Washington, Alan Blinder and Patrick McGee from Dallas, Mark Landler from Warsaw, Julie Turkewitz from Colorado Springs, and Sewell Chan from London.

A version of this article appears in print on July 9, 2016,
on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline:
Five Officers Killed as Payback, Chief Says.

Five Dallas Officers Were Killed as Payback, Police Chief Says,
NYT, July 8, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/09/us/dallas-
police-shooting.html

 

 

 

 

 

What White America Fails to See

 

JULY 7, 2016

The New York Times

Michael Eric Dyson

 

IT is clear that you, white America, will never understand us. We are a nation of nearly 40 million black souls inside a nation of more than 320 million people. We don’t all think the same, feel the same, love, learn, live or even die the same.

But there’s one thing most of us agree on: We don’t want the cops to kill us without fear that they will ever face a jury, much less go to jail, even as the world watches our death on a homemade video recording.

You will never understand the helplessness we feel in watching these events unfold, violently, time and again, as shaky images tell a story more sobering than your eyes are willing to believe: that black life can mean so little. That Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile, black men whose deaths were captured on film this past week, could be gone as we watch, as a police officer fires a gun. That the police are part of an undeclared war against blackness.

You can never admit that this is true. In fact, you deem the idea so preposterous and insulting that you call the black people who believe it racists themselves. In that case the best-armed man will always win.

You say that black folks kill each other every day without a mumbling word while we thunderously protest a few cops, usually but not always white, who shoot to death black people who you deem to be mostly “thugs.”

That such an accusation is nonsense is nearly beside the point. Black people protest, to one another, to a world that largely refuses to listen, that what goes on in black communities across this nation is horrid, as it would be in any neighborhood depleted of dollars and hope — emptied of good schools, and deprived of social and economic buffers against brutality. People usually murder where they nest; they aim their rage at easy targets.

It is not best understood as black-on-black crime; rather, it is neighbor-to-neighbor carnage. If their neighbors were white, they’d get no exemption from the crime that plagues human beings who happen to be black. If you want interracial killing, you have to have interracial communities.

We all can see the same videos. But you insist that the camera doesn’t tell the whole story. Of course you’re right, but you don’t really want to see or hear that story.

At birth, you are given a pair of binoculars that see black life from a distance, never with the texture of intimacy. Those binoculars are privilege; they are status, regardless of your class. In fact the greatest privilege that exists is for white folk to get stopped by a cop and not end up dead when the encounter is over.

Those binoculars are also stories, bad stories, biased stories, harmful stories, about how black people are lazy, or dumb, or slick, or immoral, people who can’t be helped by the best schools or even God himself. These beliefs don’t make it into contemporary books, or into most classrooms. But they are passed down, informally, from one white mind to the next.

The problem is you do not want to know anything different from what you think you know. Your knowledge of black life, of the hardships we face, yes, those we sometimes create, those we most often endure, don’t concern you much. You think we have been handed everything because we have fought your selfish insistence that the world, all of it — all its resources, all its riches, all its bounty, all its grace — should be yours first, and foremost, and if there’s anything left, why then we can have some, but only if we ask politely and behave gratefully.

So you demand the Supreme Court give you back what was taken from you: more space in college classrooms that you dominate; better access to jobs in fire departments and police forces that you control. All the while your resentment builds, and your slow hate gathers steam. Your whiteness has become a burden too heavy for you to carry, so you outsource it to a vile political figure who amplifies your most detestable private thoughts.

Whiteness is blindness. It is the wish not to see what it will not know.

If you do not know us, you also refuse to hear us because you do not believe what we say. You have decided that enough is enough. If the cops must kill us for no good reason, then so be it because most of us are guilty anyway. If the black person that they kill turns out to be innocent, it is an acceptable death, a sacrificial one.

You cannot know what terror we live in. You make us afraid to walk the streets, for at any moment, a blue-clad officer with a gun could swoop down on us to snatch our lives from us and say that it was because we were selling cigarettes, or compact discs, or breathing too much for your comfort, or speaking too abrasively for your taste. Or running, or standing still, or talking back, or being silent, or doing as you say, or not doing as you say fast enough.

You hold an entire population of Muslims accountable for the evil acts of a few. Yet you rarely muster the courage to put down your binoculars, and with them, your corrosive self-pity, and see what we see. You say religions and cultures breed violence stoked by the complicity of silence because peoples will not denounce the villains who act in their names.

Yet you do the same. You do not condemn these cops; to do so, you would have to condemn the culture that produced them — the same culture that produced you. Black people will continue to die at the hands of cops as long as we deny that whiteness can be more important in explaining those cops’ behavior than the dangerous circumstances they face.

You cannot know how we secretly curse the cowardice of whites who know what I write is true, but dare not say it. Neither will your smug insistence that you are different — not like that ocean of unenlightened whites — satisfy us any longer. It makes the killings worse to know that your disapproval of them has spared your reputations and not our lives.

You do not know that after we get angry with you, we get even angrier with ourselves, because we don’t know how to make you stop, or how to make you care enough to stop those who pull the triggers. What else could explain the white silence that usually greets these events? Sure, there is often an official response, sometimes even government apologies, but from the rest of the country, what? We see the wringing of white hands in frustration at just how complex the problem is and how hard it is to tell from the angles of the video just what went down.

We feel powerless to make our black lives matter. We feel powerless to make you believe that our black lives should matter. We feel powerless to keep you from killing black people in front of their loved ones. We feel powerless to keep you from shooting hate inside our muscles with well-choreographed white rage.

But we have rage, too. Most of us keep our rage inside. We are afraid that when the tears begin to flow we cannot stop them. Instead we damage our bodies with high blood pressure, sicken our souls with depression.

We cannot hate you, not really, not most of us; that is our gift to you. We cannot halt you; that is our curse.

 

Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown, is the author of “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” and a contributing opinion writer.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

What White America Fails to See,
NYT, July 7, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/
opinion/sunday/what-white-america-fails-to-see.html

 

 

 

 

 

After Philando Castile’s Killing,

Obama Calls Police Shootings

‘an American Issue’

 

JULY 7, 2016

The New York Times

By MATT FURBER

and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

 

ST. PAUL — President Obama, reacting with the same horror as many Americans to a grisly video of a bloody, dying man in Minnesota who was shot by the police, begged the nation to confront the racial disparities in law enforcement while acknowledging the dangers that officers face.

“When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same, and that hurts, and that should trouble all of us,” Mr. Obama said in a statement on Thursday after arriving in Warsaw for a NATO summit. “This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we all should care about.”

A few hours earlier, Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, who seemed shaken by the video showing the man, Philando Castile, as he died, also pointed to the role of race. “Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white?” he asked. “I don’t think it would have.”

The statements capped a wrenching day that started with widespread replays of the extraordinary video of Mr. Castile’s final moments and the aftermath of the shooting, which his girlfriend had narrated as they occurred live on Facebook. There were demonstrations and a vigil for Mr. Castile, with appearances by members of his family, in St. Paul.

But the shooting reverberated far beyond the state. In Dallas, gunfire broke out Thursday evening at a demonstration, turning a vocal but peaceful rally into chaos as two snipers shot at police officers, killing five of them, the police said.

Mr. Dayton and members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation asked for the Justice Department to investigate the death of Mr. Castile, 32, who died hours after the department took over the investigation into the fatal police shooting, also captured on video, in Baton Rouge, La. The governor said he had spoken with White House and Justice Department officials.

But the department responded that for now, it would leave the investigation to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and would offer assistance.

The shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota follow a long string of deaths of black people at the hands of the police — in Staten Island; Cleveland; Baltimore; Ferguson, Mo.; and North Charleston, S.C., among others — that have stoked outrage around the country. The encounters, many of them at least partly caught on video, have led to intense debate about race relations and law enforcement.

Mr. Obama, in Warsaw, said he felt compelled to follow up a Facebook message with a personal statement about the killings, though he said he could not comment directly on them. “But what I can say is that all of us, as Americans, should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents,” he said. “They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”

The president cited the nation’s tortured racial history and current statistics on unequal treatment of the races. Sounding wistful, he said, “maybe in my children’s lifetimes, all the vestiges of that past will have been cured.”

Mr. Castile’s deadly encounter with the police occurred Wednesday night at 9 p.m., in the small city of Falcon Heights, just northwest of St. Paul. The graphic video showed Mr. Castile, who had been shot several times, slumping toward the woman who was recording the scene. As she did so, her 4-year-old daughter sat in the back seat and an officer stood just outside the driver’s side window, still aiming his gun at the mortally wounded man at point-blank range.

The video is all the more shocking for the calm, clear narration of the woman, Diamond Reynolds, and the fact that she was streaming it live on Facebook. On the video, Ms. Reynolds, who said Mr. Castile was her boyfriend, gives her account of what happened, saying again and again that he had informed the officer that he was carrying a gun, and that he was just reaching for his driver’s license and registration — as the officer had requested — when the officer opened fire. She estimated, at various times, that three, four or five shots were fired.

“Please, Officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him,” she said. “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

Ms. Reynolds’s daughter appears several times in the video. Near the end of the 10-minute clip, as the two are sitting in the back of a police car and Ms. Reynolds becomes increasingly distraught, the girl comforts her mother. “It’s O.K., Mommy,” she says. “It’s O.K. I’m right here with you.”

Late Thursday night, Minnesota authorities identified the officer who fired as Jeronimo Yanez. They said he is on administrative leave as the investigation continues. Another officer who did not shoot but was on the scene is also on leave.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office ruled Mr. Castile’s manner of death to be a homicide, meaning he was killed by another person.

In a short statement, the medical examiner said Mr. Castile sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died at 9:37 p.m. in a hospital emergency room, about 20 minutes after he was shot.

Mr. Castile had worked in the nutrition services department of St. Paul Public Schools since 2002, and became a supervisor two years ago, the district said in a statement. In recent years, he worked at J. J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, which is part of the district.

“He was one of the softest-spoken people you’ve ever met,” said Antonio Johnson, a first cousin of Mr. Castile’s. “This kid has never been in an argument. You could try to argue with him, and he was so nonconfrontational that he’d just laugh.”

Danny Givens, a nondemoninational pastor who said he was a friend of Mr. Castile’s, said, “Philando was a very even-keeled man, good-hearted, personable, smile would light up a room, eyes that just speak volumes of love.”

In its statement, the school district said: “He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former co-workers with a smile and hug.”

In the day after the shooting, Ms. Reynolds and her video supplied the only public accounts of the lethal encounter. Officials said they could not offer any details, though they did confirm that a gun — presumably Mr. Castile’s — was recovered from the scene.

Mona Dohman, the state commissioner of public safety, who oversees the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, declined to say whether Mr. Castile had a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

Mr. Dayton said he was struck by the fact that the video did not show officers making any attempt to render first aid to the dying man, but that they handcuffed Ms. Reynolds and placed her and her daughter in the back of a police car. “The stark treatment I find just absolutely appalling at all levels,” he said.

The video of the shooting passed rapidly among Twitter, Facebook and YouTube users, becoming significant news online. The terms #FalconHeightsShooting and #PhilandoCastile were trending on Twitter as news of the encounter spread.

Another day, another hashtag. You didn't deserve this, brother. You didn't deserve this. #PhilandoCastile
— NE-YO (@NeYoCompound) July 7, 2016

Hillary Clinton wrote on Twitter: “America woke up to yet another tragedy of a life cut down too soon. Black Lives Matter.”

Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Ms. Reynolds said that Mr. Castile, had just come from having his hair done for his birthday when they were pulled over on Larpenteur Avenue, a major thoroughfare through Falcon Heights, a predominantly white and middle-class city of 5,500 residents. The two officers who stopped them were from the nearby city of St. Anthony, which provides police services under contract to Falcon Heights, One officer approached Mr. Castile, who was driving, and said he had a broken taillight, Ms. Reynolds said.

“He tells us to put our hands in the air, we have our hands in the air,” she said. “At the time as our hands is in the air, he asked for license and registration,” which Mr. Castile carried in a wallet in his back pocket.

As he is reaching for his back pocket wallet, to produce his license and registration, “he lets the officer know, ‘Officer, I have a firearm on me,’ ” she said. “I began to yell, ‘But he’s licensed to carry.’ After that, he began to take off shots — bah, bah, bah, bah, ‘Don’t move! Don’t move!’ But how can you not move when you’re asking for license and registration? It’s either you want my hands in the air or you want my identification.”

The video, some versions of which were reversed, making it appear that Mr. Castile was in the passenger seat, begins with images of Mr. Castile, who appears to be moaning and moving slightly, his left arm and left side bloody. Ms. Reynolds, who uses the name Lavish Reynolds on Facebook, then pans the camera to her face and says matter-of-factly, “They killed my boyfriend.” In the background, one of the officers can be heard shouting: “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hands up.”

Mr. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, told CNN that she had taught her son to be extremely cautious when encountering members of law enforcement. “If you get stopped by the police, comply,” Ms. Castile said. “Comply, comply, comply.”

“My son was a law-abiding citizen, and he did nothing wrong,” she said. “He’s no thug.”

She added, “I think he was just black in the wrong place.”

 

Correction: July 7, 2016

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the beginning of the video shot in Falcon Heights, Minn. It shows the aftermath of the shooting; it does not show the shooting itself.

Matt Furber reported from St. Paul, and Richard Pérez-Peña from New York. Reporting was contributed by Christina Capecchi from St. Paul, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Michael McPhate from New York, Gardiner Harris from Washington and Mitch Smith from Minnesota.

A version of this article appears in print on July 8, 2016,
on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline:
11 Officers Shot, 4 Fatally, at Rally Against Violence.

After Philando Castile’s Killing,
Obama Calls Police Shootings ‘an American Issue’,
NYT, July 7, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/
philando-castile-falcon-heights-shooting.html

 

 

 

 

 

Alton Sterling Shooting in Baton Rouge

Prompts Justice Dept. Investigation

 

JULY 6, 2016

The New York Times

By RICHARD FAUSSET,

RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

and CAMPBELL ROBERTSON

 

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation on Wednesday into the fatal shooting of a black man by the Baton Rouge, La., police after a searing video of the encounter, aired repeatedly on television and social media, reignited contentious issues surrounding police killings of African-Americans.

Officials from Gov. John Bel Edwards to the local police and elected officials vowed a complete and transparent investigation and appealed to the city — after a numbing series of high-profile, racially charged incidents elsewhere — to remain calm.

“I have full confidence that this matter will be investigated thoroughly, impartially and professionally,” Mr. Edwards said in announcing the federal takeover of the case. “I have very serious concerns. The video is disturbing, to say the least.”

Urging patience while the investigation takes place, the governor said: “I know that that may be tough for some, but it’s essential that we do that. I know that there are protests going on, but it’s urgent that they remain peaceful.”

Two white officers were arresting Alton B. Sterling, 37, early Tuesday after responding to a call about an armed man. The officers had Mr. Sterling pinned to the ground when at least one of them shot him.

The video of the shooting propelled the case to national attention, like a string of recorded police shootings before it. The shooting has prompted protests here in the Louisiana capital, including a vigil with prayers and gospel music that drew hundreds of people Wednesday night to the storefront where it happened.

C. Denise Marcelle, a state representative who recently announced that she would run for mayor, made impassioned pleas that the crowd remain calm.

“This is not Ferguson,” Ms. Marcelle said. “This is Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”

Sandra Sterling, an aunt who said she had raised Mr. Sterling, also called for peace. “I’m mad,” she said, but added, “I’m not angry enough to hurt nobody.”

LaMont O. Cole, a city councilman, had some of the harshest words for the two police officers. “Those two officers who perpetrated this brutal attack, and then murdered this young man, are cowards,” he said.

The decision to have the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the F.B.I. and the United States attorney’s office in Baton Rouge conduct the investigation was welcomed by a lawyer for Mr. Sterling’s family.

“We’re confident that it won’t be swept under the rug,” said the lawyer, Edmond Jordan, who is also a state representative. “I think people are confident that justice will be pursued.”

Officials identified the officers as Blane Salamoni, who has been with the force for four years, and Howie Lake II, with three years’ experience. Both were placed on administrative leave.

A call to a phone number for Mr. Salamoni was answered by a man who said he was not the officer, but who would not identify himself. “When all the facts come out, they did what they had to do,” the man said, and then hung up.

Mr. Salamoni is the son of Noel Salamoni, a captain in the department who is in charge of special operations.

Local and state officials endorsed the federal takeover of the case. “We feel it is in the best interest of the Baton Rouge Police Department, the city of Baton Rouge and this community for this to happen,” the police chief, Carl Dabadie Jr., said.

In other cities with high-profile deaths of people in police custody, when local law enforcement agencies have kept control of the investigations and prosecution, they have often drawn intense criticism for their handling of the cases.

There are multiple videos that may show the conflict with Mr. Sterling, in addition to the one recorded by a bystander that has been made public, said Lt. Jonny Dunnam, a police spokesman, at a news conference. Mr. Jordan, the family lawyer, called on the police to release the videos, but Lieutenant Dunnam said that for now, the department was providing them only to the federal authorities.

“We have in-car camera video footage, we have body camera video footage and there is video at the store,” Lieutenant Dunnam said. Of the recordings from the body cameras the officers wore, he said: “That footage may not be as good as we hoped for. During the altercation those body cameras came dislodged.”

Chants of "Hands up, Dont shoot", outside of the Triple S store in #BatonRouge #AltonSterling pic.twitter.com/hVCH02idbs
— WWL-TV (@WWLTV) July 6, 2016

At an earlier news conference on Wednesday, family members, elected officials and civic leaders demanded to know why Mr. Sterling had been killed. Some of them, including the local N.A.A.C.P. president, Mike McClanahan, called on Chief Dabadie to resign.

Cameron Sterling, Mr. Sterling’s 15-year-old son, wept uncontrollably as his mother, Quinyetta McMillon, delivered a statement.

“The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis,” Ms. McMillon said, adding, “As a mother I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father.”

On Tuesday, a person called the police to report that a black man in a red shirt selling music CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart had threatened him with a gun, the Police Department said. Two officers confronted Mr. Sterling about 12:35 a.m.

Mr. Sterling had a long criminal history, including convictions for battery and illegal possession of a gun, but it is not clear whether the officers knew any of that as they tried to arrest him.

The graphic cellphone video shot by a bystander, which was released later in the day, shows an officer pushing Mr. Sterling onto the hood of the car and then tackling him to the ground. He is held to the pavement by two officers, and one appears to hold a gun above Mr. Sterling’s chest.

At one point someone on the video can be heard saying, “He’s got a gun! Gun!” and one officer can be seen pulling his weapon. After some shouting, what sound like gunshots can be heard and the camera shifts away, and then there are more apparent gunshots.

A second video of the shooting, filmed by the owner of the store and first posted by the local newspaper, The Advocate, on Wednesday afternoon, showed the shooting from a different angle. It also shows one of the officers taking something out of Mr. Sterling’s pocket after he was shot and was lying on the ground.

Witnesses have said they saw a handgun on the ground next to him. Mr. Jordan, the lawyer, said Mr. Sterling’s relatives were not aware of him owning a gun.

Arthur Reed, the founder of Stop the Killing, the group that released the cellphone video, said he saw a gun only after Mr. Sterling had been fatally shot. The group, a mentoring program for youths, had heard reports on a police scanner about an arrest at the store, and showed up to gather video for potential use in a documentary about urban violence.

Mr. Reed said the group decided to release its video after he heard that the police had accused Mr. Sterling of reaching for a gun.

“He never reached in the video,” Mr. Reed said. “He never did anything.”

William Clark, the coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish, said that Mr. Sterling had died at the scene from gunshot wounds to the chest and back. Lieutenant Dunnam declined to say whether both officers fired their guns, or if either of them used an electric stun device on Mr. Sterling.

Mr. Sterling’s name began trending on Twitter Tuesday night. In a statement on the killing, Hillary Clinton said, ”Something is profoundly wrong when so many Americans have reason to believe that our country doesn’t consider them as precious as others because of the color of their skin.”

By Wednesday evening, the parking lot of the Triple S was jammed with protesters and TV cameras. The protesters, young and old and nearly all African-American, waved signs declaring that black lives matter.

Anthony Anderson, 62, a tour bus driver, and his cousin, David Jones, 60, who is self-employed, said they had had enough.

“I just think it looked like there could have been another way to handle that situation,” Mr. Anderson said of the video. He said that it seemed to him that the police here had long been harassing black people.

The videos made just as little sense to Leroy Tackno, 60, the manager of the Living Waters Outreach Ministry transitional housing center where Mr. Sterling kept a small bedroom for $90 a week. He said that Mr. Sterling had never been any trouble.

“I’m just trying to figure out what did he do,” Mr. Tackno said. “All he did was sell CDs.”

 

Richard Fausset reported from Baton Rouge, Richard Perez-Pena from New York and Campbell Robertson from New Orleans. Reporting was contributed by Mike McPhate and Jonah Engel Bromwich from New York, Allen Johnson from Baton Rouge and Timothy Williams from Washington. Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

A version of this article appears in print on July 7, 2016,
on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline:
U.S. Examines Police Killing in Louisiana.

Alton Sterling Shooting in Baton Rouge Prompts Justice Dept. Investigation,
NYT, July 6, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/us/
alton-sterling-baton-rouge-shooting.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Leaders Unveil Principles

Intended to Shift Policing Practices

Nationwide

 

JAN. 29, 2016

The New York Times

By AL BAKER

 

WASHINGTON — Police officers should aid anyone they hurt immediately. They should abandon a so-called 21-foot rule, which in some encounters with emotionally volatile people can result in fatal shootings. And they should follow standards higher than those set by the United States Supreme Court for using force.

This week, a group of law enforcement leaders made these recommendations and others to inspire a shift in policing practices after two years of questions being raised about the American criminal justice system.

About 200 of those leaders gathered here on Thursday and Friday to unveil principles they want to spread to the country’s more than 18,000 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They include ways to defuse volatile encounters and avoid violence, document and track the use of force, train officers in more effective communication and, ultimately, repair trust in communities.

“You’re slowly starting to see a change in the direction of the ship,” said Thomas J. Wilson, an official with the Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement policy group that wrote the principles with help from officers across the country.

“We’ve got to get to the point where the average American cop thinks a little bit more,” Mr. Wilson added. “That’s the bottom line.”

The principles, 30 in all, come after nearly two years of research by the policy group, said its executive director, Chuck Wexler.

He surveyed 280 agencies last spring about training to de-escalate volatile situations. He brought a group of police leaders to Scotland in November to see how crime fighting is done by a mostly unarmed police force. And in December, he observed the tactics of New York Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit. Pushing the principles across the country is an acknowledgment that “we can do better,” said Allwyn Brown, the interim police chief in Richmond, Calif., who was on the Scotland trip.

No one knows precisely how often officers fire their weapons because that data is not kept uniformly. In New York City last year, there were 67 officer-involved shootings, a record low, with 33 of them considered “adversarial,” said Inspector John J. Sprague, who commands the New York Police Department’s Force Investigation Division. But policing has endured widespread condemnation and calls for reform since a series of deadly police encounters with unarmed black men and women, including the death of Eric Garner during an arrest on Staten Island, the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore and new revelations about the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in Chicago.

Mr. Wexler on Friday showed photos and played videos of some of the most high-profile killings by police officers, which he warned were “hard to watch.”

Collectively, they showed leaders the need for officers to “slow things down,” Chief Brown said, and use levels of force more proportional to the threats they face.

“My experience in Scotland sort of changed my lens, in terms of how I look at force incidents today,” he said. “Our cadence, leading up to the moment of truth, when force is used, seems like it can be a little fast.”

Some principles are rooted in common sense. But putting them in writing was necessary, many leaders said.

Principle No. 7, “respect the sanctity of life by promptly rendering first aid,” for instance, may seem routine for officers tending to someone injured as a result of their use of force — a baton blow, takedown or shooting. But it is not, as shown by a video of the fatal shooting last year of Walter L. Scott, an unarmed black man who was wounded and left unattended in North Charleston, S.C.

“Law enforcement doesn’t look like we’re trying to help people,” said Jeff Cotner, a deputy chief of the Dallas Police Department. “Your soul tells you, ‘I need to go up and help this person,’ but your training says, ‘No, you need to step back and preserve the crime scene.’ We’ve got to change that, and we know that.”

Other ideas are progressive. Principle No. 2 calls for use-of-force policies exceeding the legal standard of “objective reasonableness” outlined in the Supreme Court decision Graham v. Connor. Under the ruling, fatal shootings can be considered legal even if they are unnecessary or disproportional.

Asked by Mr. Wexler during a presentation on Friday about the push to go beyond the ruling, Vanita Gupta, the federal Justice Department’s top civil rights prosecutor, told the leaders, “I think it is quite revolutionary or transformative to put that out there.”

For decades, department guides have called for officers to create a “buffer zone” of 21 feet in the handling of emotionally disturbed persons armed with knives. But that concept, allowing for officers to use force if someone breaches that distance, can have fatal consequences.

“In many situations, a better outcome can result if officers can buy more time to assess the situation and their options, bring additional resources to the scene and develop a plan for resolving the incident without use of force,” principle No. 16 says.

Many leaders said some of the new principles — like one borrowed from Britain’s method of quickly analyzing and responding to volatile episodes — are already enmeshed in some ways in American policing.

“They talk about ‘spinning the model,’ ” said Brian Johnson, the deputy chief of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, referring to the step-by-step process that Scottish officers use to assess situations. “Our guys are already doing that, but they just didn’t know what to call it.”

Lt. Sean Patterson, of New York’s Emergency Service Unit, said that as he recently watched a video of Scottish constables managing a disorderly man, he turned to one of them, who was in the room with him, and mouthed the words, “It’s the exact same thing.”

“Now,” he said, “we have to see how we can have our patrol officers nationwide adopt the same practices.” His unit is an elite cadre, a small part of New York’s 35,000-member force.

Many departments, including the one in St. Paul, and federal agencies are already weaving the ideas into their policies, said Mr. Wexler.

George T. Buenik, the executive assistant chief of the Houston Police Department, said one of his department’s 24 police districts was poised to adopt the principles wholly, as part of a project to test them. Chief Brown said his entire force in Richmond, 185 officers, would give them a try.

Despite a familiarity with the ideas, and the enthusiasm of the leaders embracing them, there is bound to be resistance. Several officials said they expected police unions to fight the recommendations. Some of that reluctance would be born of the skepticism of national standards of any sort, whether in health care, education or policing, said Deputy Chief Johnson.

Next week, he is set to address the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police on what he has learned. Already, “the emails have come in to the executive director of the organization saying, ‘We can’t do this,’ ” he said. “And they haven’t even heard what I have to say.”

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A version of this article appears in print on January 30, 2016, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Police Leaders Urge New Set of Standards.

Police Leaders Unveil Principles Intended to Shift Policing Practices Nationwide,
NYT, JAN. 29, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/30/nyregion/
police-leaders-unveil-principles-intended-to-shift-policing-practices-nationwide.html

 

 

 

 

 

Six Cleveland Officers

Fired for Role

in Killing of Couple

 

JAN. 26, 2016

The New York Times

By MITCH SMITH

 

Cleveland officials fired six police officers on Tuesday for their roles in a fatal 2012 pursuit in which 137 rounds were shot at a car with two unarmed black people.

The discipline against the officers ended a lengthy series of investigations into the police chase and gunfire, which killed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, prompted large protests and raised broad questions about Cleveland’s police tactics and training.

Officer Michael Brelo, who was acquitted of manslaughter in the shooting in which he climbed onto the hood of a car driven by Mr. Russell and repeatedly fired his gun, was among the six officers fired. Of the more than 100 officers involved in the pursuit, Officer Brelo fired the most shots and faced the most serious charges.

In addition to Officer Brelo, Detectives Christopher Ereg and Erin O’Donnell as well as Officers Wilfredo Diaz, Michael Farley and Brian Sabolik were fired. The city suspended Officers Paul Box, Cynthia Moore, Scott Sistek and Randy Patrick, and Detectives Michael Rinkus and William Salupo. All 12 of the disciplined officers and another who retired before the investigation ended fired their weapons.

Steve Loomis, the president of the union representing rank-and-file officers, criticized the discipline as “absolutely politically motivated,” and said the union was already filing grievances and beginning the appeals process.

“At the end of the day, folks, this discipline is not going to be supported by fact,” Mr. Loomis said.

Since the car chase and shooting on Nov. 29, 2012, the Cleveland police have entered into a consent decree with the Justice Department and officers have been retrained under a new set of pursuit rules.

Cleveland’s police chief, Calvin D. Williams, said, “I think we’ve learned that there are certain things that we can and can’t do in our service to this city.” He added, “There are certain things that we are required to do as police officers.”

In a news conference on Tuesday that lasted more than an hour, Cleveland officials narrated the chase and killings, from the initial request to check the license plate of a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu, to word that the car had fled, to officers’ reports that shots had been fired at them.

No gun was recovered from Mr. Russell or Ms. Williams, his passenger. It is believed that the sounds officers thought were gunfire might have been the car backfiring as it led officers through Cleveland and into a school parking lot in the suburb of East Cleveland, where the shooting occurred.

City officials detailed a number of instances of wrongdoing by the officers they disciplined. Several failed to request permission to join the pursuit, left city limits without requesting permission and committed firearm safety violations, investigators found.

“We did not go through the motions on this,” said Michael McGrath, Cleveland’s director of public safety. “We spent many hours reviewing hundreds and hundreds of pages of transcripts” and other evidence.

The Cleveland police have been involved in a series of high-profile incidents involving African-Americans in recent years. In 2014, Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old black woman who was said to be bipolar, lost consciousness and died in police custody after being placed face down on the pavement. That same year, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was carrying a pellet gun, was fatally shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann outside a recreation center. A grand jury last month declined to indict Officer Loehmann and his partner.

 

A version of this article appears in print on January 27, 2016, on page A12 of the New York edition with the headline:
6 Officers Fired for Role in Killing of Couple.

Six Cleveland Officers Fired for Role in Killing of Couple,
NYT, JAN. 26, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/us/
six-cleveland-officers-fired-for-role-in-2012-fatal-shooting-of-couple.html

 

 

 

 

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