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Department of Justice to clear Darren Wilson of Civil Rights Charges

It’s almost the perfectly written script, right?

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., who killed an unarmed black teenager in August, law enforcement officials said.

That would close the politically charged case in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The investigation by the F.B.I., which is complete, found no evidence to support civil rights charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, the officials said.

A broader civil rights investigation into allegations of discriminatory traffic stops and excessive force by the Ferguson Police Department remains open, however. That investigation could lead to significant changes at the department, which is overwhelmingly white despite serving a city that is mostly black.

The state authorities concluded their investigation into Mr. Brown’s death in November and similarly recommended no charges.

There is a high legal bar for bringing federal civil rights charges, and federal investigators had for months signaled that they were unlikely to do so. The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision, though it is not clear when.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., has said that he plans to have it done before leaving office, probably in the next month or two if his successor is confirmed.

{New York Times}

Zero consequences for Darren Wilson. None.  And to be honest, I’m less concerned with the lack of these charges (I think we all could see that coming) than with the grand jury’s decision to not indict.

All of this is a sickening mishandling of justice. It’s both heartbreaking and enraging at the same time.

Hopefully, something (ANYTHING) good will come out of the investigation of the department. A blind man can see something isn’t right there.

North Miami Beach Police Officers use mugshots of black men for target practice.

You read it right. I don’t even know how to lead into this mess, other than to say these people are SICK.

It was an ordinary Saturday morning last month when Sgt. Valerie Deant arrived at the shooting range in Medley, or so she thought.

Deant, who plays clarinet with the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, and her fellow soldiers were at the shooting range for their annual weapons qualifications training.

What the soldiers discovered when they entered the range made them angry: mug shots of African American men apparently used as targets by North Miami Beach Police snipers, who had used the range before the Guardsmen.

Even more startling for Deant, one of the images was her brother. It was Woody Deant’s mug shot that taken 15 years ago, after he was arrested in connection to a drag race in 2000 that left two people dead. His mug shot was among the pictures of five minorities used as targets by North Miami Beach police, all of them riddled by bullets.

“I was like why is my brother being used for target practice?” Deant asked.

Deant’s fellow guardsmen were angry too, but they tried to console Deant, who was devastated.

“There were like gunshots there,” Deant said. “And I cried a couple of times.”

She immediately called her brother, Woody Deant, who was 18-years old when the picture was taken.

“The picture actually has like bullet holes,” Woody Deant said. “One in my forehead and one in my eye. …I was speechless,” she added.

{NBC}

I can’t really explain how I’m feeling, to be honest. Tired of saying I’m heartbroken and angry…but a mix of that is probably still accurate. With a bit of hopelessness in there too. I honestly don’t even know why I’m shocked anymore.

And to make matters worse, the police chief calls this a lack of judgment, however, denies it’s racial profiling.

North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis admitted that his officers could have used better judgment, but denies any racial profiling.

He noted that that the sniper team includes minority officers. Dennis defended the department’s use of actual photographs and says the technique is widely used and the pictures are vital for facial recognition drills. But the Deant family questions why officers were firing targets with images of real people, in this case African-Americans, especially at a time when relations between minority communities and law enforcement are so tense.

“Our policies were not violated,” Dennis said. “There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.”

An insult to the intelligence of ANYBODY who can see what’s really going on here. Blatant lies.

And if you agree with this police chief then you are willfully ignorant and blind and there’s no country for you.

I’m serious.

“The use of those targets doesn’t seem correct,” Alex Vasquez, a retired FBI agent, said. “The police have different options for targets. I think the police have to be extra careful and sensitive to some issues that might be raised.”

Dennis said the police department uses an array of pictures including that of whites, and Hispanic males. What concerns his police department, he said, is that the picture was from someone that happened to be arrested by his agency.

“That individual would be someone that was on the streets of North Miami Beach,” Dennis said.

The police chief said his department will resume use of human image targets after it expands the number of images in its inventory. His officers, Dennis said, will not use any booking photos from suspects they have arrested and he’ll direct his officers to remove the targets after they use the shooting range.

But Woody Deant, who did four years in prison after his 2000 arrest, expressed outrage.

“Now I’m being used as a target?” said Woody Deant. “I’m not even living that life according to how they portrayed me as. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work 9-to-5.”

Now let’s say one of those officers just so happened to see Woody Deant out and about. They already have an image in their heads of shooting this man. Their perception of him is already seen as being dangerous and a criminal, even though that was over 10 years ago.

It’s not okay. And telling people, “Oh well we’ll start using pictures of whites and Hispanicstoo, okay?” doesn’t mean a damn thing.  You know why? Because had you not been caught, you’d still be doing this same thing.

Embedded image permalink

via Twitter (@WillardNBC6)

These are the people who are “trained” to protect. This is how they are “trained.”  This is how they are sent out into the world to do “police work.”

It’s disturbing and disgusting.

But police officers don’t have a predisposed negative image of black men, right?

Ok.

Does Oprah Winfrey deserve the backlash for her comments about black leadership?

In promoting “Selma,” Oprah made a statement to People about leadership with the protests that are happening around the nation against police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men:

Oprah Winfrey has been watching the protests in Ferguson and New York like everyone else.

“I think it’s wonderful to march and to protest and it’s wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

But it’s not enough to march, says Winfrey.

“What I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it.’ “

Protesters are not happy. They feel as if Oprah has disrespected those who have risen to be leaders throughout this movement.

I know this is just one person, however, he articulates how many are feeling about Oprah’s comments.

Here’s more.

I completely understand his position, as well as the position of other protesters and those who have emerged as leaders.  I empathize with them feeling disrespected, ignored, and being frustrated with Oprah’s words.  Furthermore, I get not really wanting to hear anything but words of support from those who aren’t on the ground, especially those who have resources like Oprah does.

But then there’s the other side. The movement that is taking place today is a new one.  It is a young one, a growing one.  Those who are leaders are under 30 years old (for the most part, I think). This young movement is connecting and appealing to those of use who are young.  And I am pretty sure any of them could tell you that A LOT can be attributed to Twitter.  Personally, that is how I get my information and how I keep up with everything. I then try to put it on here to keep people up to date, however, the movement is very fluid and is constantly changing and evolving.

Everybody doesn’t have Twitter. My parents are over 60 years old. Most of us who are connected to the current movement have parents who are around that age. While our struggle is something they dealt with as well, I think we all have to admit that it looked differently back then.  They had national leaders. That is how the movement looked back then. That is how things got done. National communication. And I believe that is what some are desiring now.

Does my mom know who those leaders are that are mentioned in the above tweets? No, she doesn’t. But if there were some on the national stage, no, not politicians….no, not rich individuals who are looking out for themselves, but leaders who have no other interest than to further the movement and connect EVERYBODY, no matter the age, then that would be helpful (in my opinion).

I am in complete awe of those leaders who have emerged during this movement. I feel nothing less than admiration toward them and am grateful for their efforts and sacrifice. And yes, I also desire a way to connect people to this movement who aren’t on Twitter. One who is sincere and unapologetically voices the desires of the people.  And that is not to say that this person or these people won’t emerge out of the leaders who are already leading! They deserve a national stage and resources to get the job done. Those leaders have put their lives on hold for this movement. They are to be acknowledged.

While I believe that Oprah should’ve given credit to those who ARE leading, I don’t find her comments to be those that were intended to slander and disrespect the current leaders. Poor choice of words? Absolutely. But disrespectful, harmful, divisive, etc.? I don’t see it that way. Yes, Oprah is rich. Yes, she has resources that most of us can only dream about. But she is also a 60 year old woman who grew up seeing the movement manifest itself in a completely different way (and she wasn’t always the billionaire that we see before us today). I don’t think we should hold that against her. Maybe she should be educated about what the leaders are doing. Maybe she needs to be more connected to what’s going on. I just don’t think that jumping all down her throat for these particular comments is helping anything either (I’m not necessarily talking about the above comments from Charles Wade).

Her saying that marches alone aren’t going to get the job done is accurate. And that is something that we all know. Protests, boycotts, making those who support police brutality and the injustice of the justice system feel a financial hit? That’s what has to happen. And it has to happen nationally. Not to put words in Oprah’s mouth, but I think THAT is what she was saying. She’s looking for mass organization. Again, not taking away from what has already been done, but just a desire to see MORE and on a BIGGER platform.

What do you all think? Are you offended by Oprah’s thoughts?

Updated: January 3, 2014 @ 2:20pm

Just wanted to come back and show this:

In other words, demands HAVE been made and articulated.

And this last tweet? I completely agree with it. The young leaders don’t have the platform and resources needed, but those of you who do, why not give them said platform?

Yes.

 

 

 

“The New York Times” calls out the NYPD…and tells nothing but truth.

In the recent weeks, the NYPD has been nothing short of petty and disrespectful in their treatment of Mayor Bill de Blasio.  At Officer Ramos’ funeral, officers turned their backs to him. The day before, a banner was flying:

JERSEY SHORE AERIAL ADVERTISING

And then, when Mayor de Blasio spoke at a police academy graduation ceremony, he was booed and heckled.

Petty, disrespectful, and highly insubordinate.

 

It had to be said, and The New York Times said it:

Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.

These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday.

The New York Police Department is going through a terrible time, and the assassinations of those officers only underscore the dreadful dangers that rank-and-file cops face every day. And, in truth, there is some thanklessness to being a cop. Officers often feel beleaguered, jerked around by supervisors and politicians, obligated to follow rules and policies that can be misguided, held responsible for their mistakes in ways that the public is not, exposed to frequent ridicule and hostility from the people they are sworn to serve. It has always been that way with cops.

But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence. This is the view peddled by union officials like Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — that cops are an ethically impeccable force with their own priorities and codes of behavior, accountable only to themselves, and whose reflexive defiance in the face of valid criticism is somehow normal.

They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture.

Yes. That is absolutely what they did. And they should be ashamed. It’s disgusting.  That funeral wasn’t about the fallen officer at all. It was a selfish act and one that validates the already negative views of police officers.

And this part:

But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence.

I just want to SCREAM.  They get it.  These petty officers are acting as if they are NEVER wrong! As if they sit on some high horse never to be questioned or reprimanded.  To be honest, all they are really doing to affirming what others feel to be major problems with the mentality of police officers.  And the fact that those officers WHO HAVE JUST GRADUATED had the NERVE to disrespect the mayor??? Y’ALL JUST GOT HERE! But again, we get a glimpse of the types of officers the NYPD is employing and training.

Thank you, NYT Editorial Board.  This NEEDED to be said.  Even though I doubt it will make any impact, still, it needed to be said.

P.S. It seems as if the NYPD is refusing to work and make arrests unless they absolutely have to. The results?

Hmmm (you can click here for the full article from the tweet).

 

NYPD shoves man to the ground while filming “Ellen (DeGeneres) Dance Dare”

Again, the NYPD out here protecting citizens from harm from dangerous criminals (via TMZ):

The NYPD is looking into why an officer got physical with a guy who was filming a viral video for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

The dancer is Alexander BOK, and he bills himself as “your favorite prankster” … that is unless you’re one of the cops he attempted to bust a move on in the middle of a NYC street.

On Christmas Eve, Alexander tried to film an Ellen Dance Dare video — entrants are supposed to dance behind people who don’t know they’re doing it. Alexander decided to try it on some unwitting officers.

Watch the video … the officers start out questioning what the hell Alexander’s doing — and it sounds like they hurl a few insults at him too. Eventually, it looks like the cops dismiss him … and, as he’s walking away, one throws him to the ground.

TMZ has learned NYPD has opened an investigation into the incident. What’s unclear is why Alexander chose to pull this stunt four days after two NYPD officers were assassinated. Not a bright move.

Alexander tells TMZ he submitted his video to the show, but has yet to hear back.

And here’s the video:

Now. I’m going to be honest.

I don’t understand why ANYBODY, ESPECIALLY a person of color, would joke around with ANY police officer at this point. I don’t. That is in no way saying that he deserved any type of mistreatment, but…why? And in NEW YORK?

Anyway, yeah. This isn’t okay.  Instead of just letting that man walk away, he had to shove him. And the entire van came out for that one guy? I guess, man.