FERGUSON, THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN RACE, AND DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA: THE DATA THAT MATTERS

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There is no dearth of data that African-American men and youths are indiscriminately stopped, brutalized, jailed, and many of the times, especially in recent times, killed by the American society and its judicial system. The data abounds. From Amadou Diallo in New York in 1999, Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, and just in this 2014, we have Eric Garner in Staten Island: July 17; Michael Brown in Ferguson: August 9; Akai Gurley in Brooklyn: November 20, and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio in November 22. The list continues.

Call it accidental killing or whatever cliché authorities across America may come up with to euphemize the forceful taking of an innocent life, African-American men and teens are killed like flies all over the country without any form of justice for the dead or consequences for their killers. Everybody knows, from the George Zimmerman trial charade in Florida, the grand jury travesty in Ferguson, and in the word of Fox News panelist Charles Krauthammer, the ‘totally incomprehensible’ grand jury decision in Staten Island, that America is saying unequivocally to the world that the life of an African-American man means shit (forgive my French) to them.

Have you ever watched television and seen some white kid get shot by accident?

Charles J. Johnson, digital news editor at the Chicago Tribune, has detailed his firsthand experience of how the police, during presumed hostile situations alters their rules of engagement, depending on the race of the presumed criminal involved. If the situation involves an African-American man, the default reaction would be to kill him on sight. The very reason officer Timothy Loehmann of the Cleveland Police killed 12-year old Tamir Rice within split seconds of arriving at the scene where the child was playing with his toy gun. Conversely, when the situation involves a white man, the rules changes and the default police training of negotiating a peaceful surrender of the criminal comes to play. And no situation demonstrates this better than the arrest of 31-year old Eric Frein – a white man. Despite killing a state of Pennsylvania trooper and injuring another, and despite being one of the FBI’s 10-most-wanted fugitives, when he (Frein) was reportedly cornered by U.S. Marshalls at his hideout on October 30, 2014, after 48-days of manhunt following his killing of the trooper, he was given a chance to surrender. A known killer. A grown man who has used firearm to kill and was reportedly armed, according to USA Today, at the time of his “surrender.” But a 12-year old child with a toy guy wouldn’t even be spared a 1 minute window to respond to police.

An analysis by ProPublica, a non-profit news company shows that young African-American men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than young white men. These data are in public domain for all to see. They are irrefutable, they are not subject to argument, political manipulation, or any leap of intellectual faith. They are a national embarrassment, a threat to national cohesion, and renders ludicrous the U.S. international posture on justice anytime injustice is carried out against the citizenry of other nations by their own government.

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