Above The Law

Steven Segal in Above The Law
Steven Segal in Above The Law

A former Special Operations Vietnam vet works as a Chicago cop and uncovers CIA wrongdoing. -From IMDb Description

“Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) failed to indict Officer Darren Wilson for racially profiling and brutally killing Michael Brown.1 While the DOJ found Ferguson and St. Louis police guilty of widespread abuse, racial profiling, and brutal misconduct, it’s not enough.

Darren Wilson should have been indicted and made to see a day in court for his brutal action. After all, a young man was killed for being Black. The DOJ’s failure to do so highlights deep-seated structural problems that must be fixed in order to keep our families safe.2 And the reality is Ferguson is America and President Obama must be held accountable. He must do everything in his power — more than speeches and commissions — to stop unjust killings by police, increase police accountability, and expand community control over policing nationwide.”

The above quote is from an email blast from the organization Color of Change. And what the findings of the DOJ’s Civil Rights probe into policing practices in the city of Ferguson, MO bring into stark relief, unlike Hollywood’s fictional characters, for “black” folks (young men in particular), it’s the ordinary “cop on the beat,” who’s “above-the-law” mentality and worldview provides the greatest threat to life and limb.

The DOJ found that The Ferguson Police Department has a pattern and practice of:

  • Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
  • Interfering with the right to free expression in violation of the First Amendment; and
  • Using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

and of;

  • Focusing on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection requirements.
  • Court practices exacerbating the harm of Ferguson’s unconstitutional police practices and imposing particular hardship upon Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents, especially upon those living in or near poverty.Minor offenses can generate crippling debts, result in jail time because of an inability to pay and result in the loss of a driver’s license, employment, or housing.

In addition the DOJ also found racial bias in both the police department and the municipal court system:

  • The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans and that this disproportionate impact is avoidable.
  • Ferguson’s harmful court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination, as demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials.

Despite these findings Michael Brown’s killer is walking free, above the law. You don’t swim in a sewer and not get covered in shit. Atmosphere, attitude and behavior matters, particularly when it comes to the use of deadly force by an officer of the law against and unarmed citizen.

The DOJ findings demonstrate why ALL shootings by police of unarmed “black” folks need to be brought to trial and adjudicated by juries who can look at the situation and deliver justice. Laws themselves can be and are unjust in many circumstances since they are enacted within and by a corrupt political “law-making” system. In the end it is only WE THE PEOPLE who can deliver justice, “by any means necessary.”

Race Across America

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Race Across America, an intercultural journey, began with an idea back in the mid-nineties. The concept was to travel around the country in an RV ala “On The Road with Charles Kuralt,” and engage people from all walks of life on the subject of “race.” What it is? What it isn’t!

It was the goal of The Gavin Media Institute to have an on-going series of programs throughout the country that would take various forms . One such project was an “installation” hosted by the Capitol City YWCA, in Washington, DC which featured the documentary short, “People Like Me.”

Now Gavin Media NU World is reviving Race Across America as a series of webcasts available via Youtube as well as a broadcast TV series.

Why now? Well even in the age of Obama, and maybe especially now, it seems more than ever that the concept of “race” effects much of our public policy, from Healthcare to Welfare, from notions of “Makers vs. Takers,” from Prisons to Drugs, Housing, Immigration, Education, and remains a hindrance to forming that elusive “more perfect union.” We can’t get past it until we deal with both the Truth & the Consequences. The Racial agenda of privilege and power is promulgated, reinforced everywhere throughout popular culture.

This first installment is called “We The People Are Racists” and features an interview with Anthropologist Nina Jablonski, author of the book Skin, A Natural Evolution on how skin color became racialized, empowering some, while devaluing others.

Everything that America is and isn’t must be examined through its “racial prism,” if we are ever to put that past behind us and move forward. “Racism” is part of the DNA of America. It hasn’t gone anywhere and won’t until folks deal with it from that place. In this case America is guilty until proven innocent. Race-ism in America is always going to be a matter of degree, unless and until folks embrace the notion that “race” is a fiction, but “racism” is very much alive and well.

Walter Harris Gavin is the driving force behind Gavin Media NU World and the author of The Autobiography of Obsidian Dumar