Truth No One Wants to Talk About


 

America has a lot to be ashamed about in our history. The are four huge things I am going to mention. There are others, and though we like to think of ourselves as the standard that all countries should strive for, we are not. The first is our indigenous population, the many tribes of Native Americans who lived here for centuries before white Europeans came to these shores.  I am sure it was unnerving to have the strange colored and strangely dressed people arrive at their shores, yet they welcomed these new people.

 

Despite the myth of Thanksgiving, we came and brought disease and began to take their land. They had been the caretakers of all of this beautiful land that comprises America for centuries. The land was lush and fertile. It was full of wild animals, including buffalo. There was more than enough bounty to go around. The indigenous people did not pollute the water or the air. They proudly took care of their land. White people came in an took the land and killed the “American Indians” or fought them in bloody battles. White people would not give up so they killed thousands of braves, the women and children. We “gave” them little patches of worthless land (that they already owned) and made treaties that weren’t worth the paper they were written on. Still to this day, they care for Mother Earth as best as they can.

 

Our second shame is the issue of slavery. The first black men were brought to Jamestown in chains in the 1600’s. They were brought to sell to people who wanted them to do work their new owners didn’t want to do. The south became the biggest owner of slaves because of the plantations and crops such as tobacco, cotton and sugar cane. There were some slaves early on in the north but the practice didn’t last long. The 1840 census showed that New Hampshire had one slave.

 

Today slavery is long gone, thanks to a war. Even after the Civil War, the South enacted segregation and an organization called the Klu Klux Klan was formed. It was made up of cowardly southern men who rode at night under white sheets lynching Black people, beating them up. Setting themselves up as judge, jury and executioner for the helpless black people.

 

We now have our first black president and I voted for him twice. His Presidency has brought out the racism that is still alive and well in America. Which brings me to the group Black Lives Matter. I believe in Black Lives Matter. There is no need for White Lives Matter because here in America White lives are the only lives that matter in the eyes of too many people, and often in the eyes of the law.

 

In 1947, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and much of our Navy Fleet was lost. We lost many sailors and navy nurses. The attack was a terrible shock to America. My father kept a file about the attack that I found in 1984 when he died. Japan had woken the sleeping Tiger that was the U.S., and they payed the ultimate price, unfortunately. After the Pearl Harbor attack, came our third great shame, when we rounded up all Japanese people and some who looked oriental and put them in internment camps. We even included the Japanese who were born here and had lived in America their entire lives. Why? The were different. They were a different color, and LOOKED like the enemy, so they were judged to BE the enemy.

 

In 2001, we were attacked again by religious Jihadists. The hit us in three locations: The Pentagon, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and a hijacked plane that was brought down by the passengers rather than let it fly to Washington DC. This attack was allegedly done “in the name of Islam” (although Islam is a peaceful religion) and over 3000 people were directly killed and many first responders have died since. Our fourth shame comes in because many here in America blame every Muslim. The vast majority of Muslims had no more idea of what was going to happen on September 11 than any non-Muslim, and are just as hurt, angered and appalled. But, because we are scared, we want to make all Muslims responsible. It’s easier for us to blame them because they often are a different color and dress differently, but this is not fair. Some want to keep all Muslims out of America. This is not right, and goes against everything America stands for, particularly the 1st Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion. There are many Muslims who are as peaceful and loving in their religious beliefs as anyone else, and should be able to come here and live.

 

Despite all the wrongs we have done to the Native Americans, they are now finally using their right to protest. They are protesting the continuation of the pipeline through their lands in the Dakotas. Whites should care as much about this land as do the descents of those from whom it was stolen. Native Americans are still taking of Mother Earth. Please listen to the important video below. Listen and take a stand. One you can be proud of.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

” I, too, am America.” – Langston Hughes


 

I have been thinking about Black Lives Matter.

 

First of all, I am totally behind this movement. In fact, I hope it grows by leaps and bounds. I also wish it started a couple of hundred years ago. This is not realistic, I know, but I wish it were.

 

I have been writing at different times about Black Americans  who, through luck or circumstance, have made a difference in the world;  enough of a difference that history records their deeds and contributions to civilizations. Inventors, freedom fighters, writers, fighters for freedom, poets, doctors and others.

 

Because every black life matters, I want to take the time to honor every black person who survived every day of their life in slavery. They all matter. Every black person who lived through segregation matters; From the domestics who worked for white people, to those who drank at the black water fountain to those who rode at the back of buses. Black men who were referred to as “boy”;  any black person who was referred to as “nigger”: You all shine to me. Your courage and strength of character is amazing. You were brave and tread where angels feared to go.

 

Since there has been integration — at the cost of hundreds of black lives and Martin Luther King Jr. , JFK and Bobby Kennedy — there have been some improvements. My children and grandchildren went to school with and are friends with black people and other minorities, including Native Americans.

 

Today, there should be no more racism. In America alone, there are millions of black people who have so much to give. What they need is for us white, Caucasian, people to let go of racism and give them a chance at educations equal to what our children receive.

 

Black parents need to tell your children that they are wonderful and smart and will be successful in life. However to do this, they need to be able to stop spending time teaching their children what to do when the inevitable cop stops them because of the color of their skin. How to answer their questions, where their hands should be, the tone of voice they should use: the type of training white children never receive because no cop will stop and frisk them for being white.

 

In another life, I marched and picketed in many cities in different states including Washington DC. I never got arrested. I believe my whiteness had a lot to do with that. I can have a sarcastic voice, so I doubt it was because I was so sweet.

 

American society has pushed the black portion of our society about as far as they are willing to go. I don’t blame them. Would your white friends take what black people are expected to swallow? Mine wouldn’t and neither would I.

 

America has come to yet another fork in the road that makes up our society. There have been enough black lives taken, like Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown and so many others. What could they have accomplished had they not been treated as “other” all of their lives? What if they had been told how well they were doing in school, if college had been talked about as a natural step in their growing up? What if their teachers had told them to keep working, they were going to make it? What if one or two had graduated as Valedictorian?

 

What if every child in America, no matter what color they were, or what disabilities they had, would have an equal chance in their life?

 

Well, I am going to say it to any one who wants to hear it:

You, too, are America.

You are a unique child of God/Goddess and you can accomplish whatever you want to.

You are good, smart, strong and people believe in you.

You can ignore those around you who don’t want you to succeed.

You were made to accomplish big things and you can.

Believe in yourself,

I believe in you. I believe in every black person in America.

 

Black Lives Do Indeed Matter.

 

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

 

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Some of the great black Back Americans who have made America stronger.

Some of the great  Back Americans who have made America stronger.

Enough is Enough


Hundreds in Canada protest death of black man, dem

and change

More than 500 people rallied in Canada’s capital on Saturday to protest the death of a mentally ill black man following an arrest, marching against what they see as race-based police brutality in a country that prides itself for being tolerant.

Abdirahman Abdi, 37, died on Monday. Witnesses told local media he was beaten by Ottawa police officers who responded to calls of a disturbance.

His death echoed events in the United States, where a string of killings of black men by police and allegations of brutality and racial bias have sparked protests.

Protesters chanted “Black lives matter!” as they started marching, a reference to the U.S.-founded anti-police brutality movement, which has an official chapter in Canada.

“They murdered him! Enough is enough!” the protesters chanted as they approached the Ottawa police headquarters, where the march ended in the late afternoon.

Organizers had said they would respect the wishes of Abdi’s family for the event to be peaceful, and while some protesters were so angry that others had to calm them down, none crossed the police barricade.

Police said there had been no arrests.

Abdi’s family spoke briefly before the march, thanking supporters, although organizers have said they do not want to be interviewed.

The family held Abdi’s funeral on Friday, which was attended by at least 600 people, including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and other local politicians.

The province of Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is looking into the circumstances surrounding Abdi’s arrest. Some advocates have called for criminal charges to be filed.

There have also been calls for a probe into whether race was a factor as advocacy groups voiced concerns over police violence against minorities.

In a statement, organizers of Saturday’s rally called for the officers involved in Abdi’s arrest to be put on unpaid leave, for all officers to wear body cameras, and for a review into how they deal with minorities and people in distress.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported one of the officers had been taken off patrol and that the other has been on leave. It was unclear whether that leave was paid or unpaid.

Ottawa police referred questions on the officers’ status to the Special Investigations Unit and questions on the organizers’ demands to the media relations team. Neither was immediately available.

(Reporting by Patrick Doyle in Ottawa; Writing and additional reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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The Reality of Black LIves Matter


 

Many are speaking ill of the organization Black Lives Matter. Many untruths are being said but these people are members of the organization and are speaking truth. I hope this will clarify issues for some people. Ultimately, I believe all lives matter. However. I do believe for America it must start with Black Lives Matter. We have been a racist country since our founding. The issue of slavery has been the ghost rattling keys in our closets.

 

I wish the Founding Fathers had succeeded in their attempts. They did try long and hard. They decided it would be a less emotional issue for Americans to handle after we had been a country for a while. They meant well. But it is still here and it is now an abyss which divides America.

 

I want this to be healed. I want an end to racism and soon. I don’t want more people to die.

 

Let today be the day you look inside your heart of hearts and find the racism that is still lingering and hiding. Pull it out, vow to look at all people as your brothers and sisters. They truly are. We are equal. Murdering each other, lynching, hating will not change the fact that all color of people are equal. We are all children of the Universe, made from the same matter as the stars. Let us accomplish what the Founding Fathers weren’t able to do: make America truly, now and forever equal. equal for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

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Off-duty cop shoots teen for suspicion of pot


Cop Shoots Teen In the Back SEVEN TIMES Because He ‘Thought He Had Marijuana’

The parents of the dead youth must be totally heart broken. The young girl and her parents must be besides themselves with worry and grief. Officers of the law are an important part of our society. In Nazi Germany, the police became all powerful and corrupt and committed outrageous acts of thievery, rape, murder and other acts I can not go into here.
Police are supposed to protect the good citizens from those who would run amok and destroy people’s lives and our society.
Many officers are not doing that today. There seem to be a certain type of officer that is racist and bigoted and uses fear as an excuse to shoot first, glean information later.
Now let me say here, that I know that there are many good, ethical and moral cops in America. It is the bad ones that get the attention and make all officers suspect in people’s eyes.
The only remedy I see is for all officers who push the line, react in a racist manner, shoot a child or a young person in the back, to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The law needs to be color blind. Shooting someone who is not Caucasian — shooting anyone — is not allowed unless the officer has done all that is legally required, to warn the person that they will now shoot them if they do not cease and desist immediately. A shot in the leg or knee or hip would be understandable. Seven rounds in the back is not.
I know some people are offended by the slogan, Black Lives Matter. Being a Caucasian woman who is aging gives me some perspective. My perspective is that Stop and Frisk is being aimed at people of color. Being a person of color does not make you bad or a gang member. Yes, there are many kids of color in gangs. There are many Caucasians in gangs also. Gangs provide the acceptance and sense of family, many people who come to America or who are born here can not find. I think gangs are bad and hurt our American society but I must emphasize that Lives of Color Matter, Black Lives Matter, and in fact, All Lives Matter. Rich or poor, straight or not, Lives Matter.
Having studied abnormal psychology, I know that there are many people out there who can kill without feeling anything. They often start as serial rapists and move on to being serial murderers. They are still human beings and they do have human rights even though they do not give them to other people.
In Cleveland, last year two officers killed Tamir Rice; a child playing in a park with a play gun. Someone called in a suspicious person. Tamir was dead within seconds of the officers arriving. I cried and ranted and then I prayed. The officers did not do time but the city of Cleveland now must pay the Rice family $6 million dollars. It won’t bring their child back or close the black hole left inside them. It won’t let them ever hear Tamir’s laugh, or watch him open his birthday presents again, but I hope it will make the city train their officers better and to punish them whenever they commit a crime such as taking the life of a child.
May Johnathan Santellanna rest in peace. 

Video finally released of Cedrick Chapman’s shooting


Chicago (CNN)The police shooting of a 17-year-old on a South Side street corner nearly three years ago was captured on five cameras and was unjustified, according to a former investigator who has seen the videos.

Cedrick LaMont Chatman died just feet from the bus stop where his mother caught the bus to work every day. The city’s Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates all police-involved shootings, concluded the shooting was justified.

But Lorenzo Davis, the original IPRA supervising investigator on the case, came to the opposite conclusion and says he was fired in July when he refused to change his report.

The video “shows a shooting that should not have occurred,” Davis says. “In my point of view, if you do not have to kill a person, then why would you?”

Davis examined the shooting for months and determined it was not justified.

IPRA assigned another investigator and in a new report called Davis “glaringly biased,” saying there was a “significant discrepancy” between Davis’ findings and “what the facts of the investigation actually show.”

Cedrick Chatman, 17, was unarmed and running from police when he was shot.

Five cameras captured all or part of the January 7, 2013, shooting of Chatman: one at a school across the street, two at a food market and two placed atop light poles by police. The school video captured the entire incident, according to court documents.

A federal judge said Wednesday he will rule January 14 whether the videos should be released to the public.

“I know there’s a lot of public interest in this, and for good reason,” U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman said during a brief hearing. “It certainly informs. … It’s definitely relevant.”

The city has fought release of the videos, just as it did in the now-infamous police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times.

That officer was charged with first-degree murder late last month, the first time since 1968 an on-duty Chicago officer has been charged with murder in a police shooting. The officer’s attorney has said his client feared for his life because McDonald resisted arrest and had a knife in his hand.

Facing mounting pressure on police shootings, the city on Monday released video showing another officer shooting 25-year-old Ronald Johnson on October 12, 2014, just eight days before the killing of McDonald. The prosecutor decided not to pursue charges in that case, saying Johnson was armed with a loaded gun and that the officer was not in the wrong to shoot.

The death of Cedrick Chatman occurred more than 20 months before those two killings and raises troubling questions.

 In the police account of the shooting, Chatman ditched a stolen car and ran from two officers. As the officers pursued on foot, the 5-foot-7, 133-pound Chatman turned toward them. Officer Kevin Fry told investigators he feared for his partner’s life and fired four shots.

Fry said he believed Chatman was armed.

It turned out he was carrying a box containing an iPhone.

“The video supports Officer Fry’s observation that (Chatman) was pointing a firearm at Officer Toth,” the final IPRA report said, adding that the “use of deadly force was in compliance with Chicago Police Department policy.”

Davis said the videos provide a much different account from the police version of the shooting: Chatman was running for his life and never turned toward the officers.

Davis grew up on the gritty South Side and spent two decades as a police officer. He trained future officers on the use of deadly force at the city’s police academy. He began working at IPRA in 2008, eventually becoming a supervising investigator in 2010.

“If Officer Fry believed his life was in danger, then his fear was unreasonable,” Davis says. “(He) should not have taken this young man’s life.”

IPRA found Fry justified in the shooting; he remains on the force. He has had 30 complaints lodged against him over the years, including 10 allegations of excessive use of force. The police department found every complaint against Fry to be unwarranted.

Chicago police under pressure as protests continue

Chicago police under pressure as protests continue 02:48

In one case in 2007, Fry and his partner shot a 16-year-old black male in a school alcove after seeing a shiny object around his waist and fearing for their lives. The object wasn’t a weapon, but a “shiny belt buckle,” according to the IPRA report from the time. The shooting was deemed justifiable, but CNN has learned the city settled with the teen and his family for $99,000. There was no admission of guilt as part of the settlement.

In the case of Chatman, there is one final twist: One of his friends and another acquaintance were charged with his murder. The two weren’t even at the scene of the shooting when Fry opened fire.

CNN sought comment from police, IPRA and the prosecutor’s office about the Chatman case and the allegations levied by Davis. None of the offices has responded.

A storm brews

The city remains in crisis. Protesters continue to demand justice forLaquan McDonald. Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces questions about his handling of police matters and his leadership.

The accusations of a cover-up grow louder daily.

The mayor fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy last week in the fallout from the release of the McDonald video. Emanuel also formed a task force to examine the police department. And on Sunday, he sacked the chief administrator of IPRA.

In Washington, the Justice Department said it is launching its own investigation into the Chicago Police Department to scrutinize the entire force and determine whether police policies play a role in civil rights violations.

CNN analyzed IPRA’s officer-involved shooting data and found that 409 people have been shot by police since 2007, a third of them — 127 — fatally.

That averages to about one person shot by a police officer every week for the past eight years and a person killed by an officer nearly every three weeks. More than 73% of the people shot were black, the data reveals. Just under 9% of the victims were white and 14% were Hispanic.

Rarely is a police officer found to have used excessive force.

The city has sought to keep allegations of police misconduct out of the public eye. Over the past decade, the city has spent more than half a billion dollars in civil damages and fees in litigation against officers, according to the watchdog Better Government Association.

University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman fought the city for more than a decade to release tens of thousands of police misconduct complaints and recently won. The city provided him with 56,000 complaints from 2001 to 2008 and from 2011 to 2015; Futterman is still fighting for all complaints dating back to 1968.

The data the city provided showed that the majority of officers each had five or fewer complaints against them. And 10% of officers accounted for nearly 30% of all complaints.

The data also showed only 4% of the complaints were deemed credible; just 2% led to a suspension or firing of an officer.

The data showed that blacks filed 61% of the complaints and whites filed 20%. Of the 4% of complaints deemed valid, 57% are from whites compared with just 24% from blacks.

“If you look at the Chicago Police Department’s findings about police brutality and you looked at where they found brutality to exist, it would look like it’s a problem with middle-class white people,” says Futterman, who played an instrumental role in getting the McDonald video released.

“When the reality is the social status of a victim matters. Blacks are most likely to be abused and the least likely to be believed.”

How does that play out in the streets of Chicago?

The neighborhoods with the highest crime rates, Futterman says, are the areas where crimes are least likely to be solved. The trust erodes in those communities while the code of silence among police builds.

And that, he says, is toxic: “The code of silence isn’t just about not speaking, it’s about controlling the narrative.”

Attorney Brian Coffman says that is exactly what happened in the Chatman case; police believed he was another poor black kid on the South Side “whose life is worth nothing.”

In addition to seeking release of the videos, Coffman has filed a wrongful death suit against the two officers in federal court. The officers have maintained they followed police protocol in use of deadly force against Chatman.

Coffman disagrees. “He was murdered by police officers,” he says. “It raises concerns of safety in Chicago and people that we trust.”

A mom at wits’ end: ‘Doing the best I can’

CNN examined hundreds of pages of court records, deposition transcripts, investigative documents and the autopsy report on the Chatman case for this story. CNN has not yet seen the videos of the shooting.

The documents reveal details of Chatman’s young life and the varying accounts of what happened the day he died.

No charges against Chicago police officer who shot Ronald Johnson

Chatman’s father was absent from his life. His mother scraped by, working for $8.25 an hour helping disabled passengers navigate on and off planes at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Cedrick was the youngest of four children. He went by the nickname Cello.

He bore the scars of a rough life on the violent South Side. He was shot in the leg walking home from a park swimming pool when he was about 15. He limped for months afterward.

Tattooed across his neck were the names Arianna and Clarence. Arianna was a young girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting while she slept at the Chatman home. Clarence was a cousin killed when he was ejected from a car during a crash.

“You only live once so live it up,” said a tattoo on his upper left arm.

His mother, Linda Chatman, tried to make do as best she could. Every Wednesday was movie night and pizza for the single mom and her four children, according to her deposition in the civil case.

She talked with her son about staying out of trouble and keeping away from gangbangers, according to her deposition.

“Be on time, go to school, clean your room and do the household chores” was his mother’s motto.

“Don’t join the gang,” she told him.

“I’m not, Mom,” he responded.

He earned $25 every two weeks for doing his household chores. He mowed lawns and did yard work to bring in extra cash. He kept the money in a glass jar.

The high school junior made B’s and C’s. He participated in ROTC after school. He had a curfew of 9 p.m. on school nights.

His mother tried to get him to go to other after-school programs, but he wouldn’t attend. She often worked 12-hour shifts. She worried about the hours away, because it left plenty of time for a teen to get up to no good.

“I’m a single mom. I’m raising him by myself,” she said, according to deposition transcripts. “You know, he’s a boy. I’m a female. I’m just doing the best I can do with him.”

He got picked up multiple times by police and sent to a juvenile detention center for an array of misdemeanors, including alleged burglary, criminal damage to property and trespassing. His longest stay in a juvenile facility was two months, his mother said. She said he was accused of stealing from a neighbor, but the charges were eventually dropped.

“Why was you doing this?” she said she told him while he was locked up. “I got to constantly keep coming up here.”

Cedrick responded: “Mom, I’m going to stop.”

Killed at the intersection

Officers Kevin Fry and Lou Toth had a fairly unremarkable day on January 7, 2013, until shortly after 1:30 p.m.

The two veterans were part of the tactical team, a group of plainclothes officers in unmarked cars who focus on crime hot spots.

Toth had been with the unit about three months. He’d spent almost 13 years on the force, almost all of it in gang units. Fry had begun his career as an officer in April 2004 after stints in photography and helping set up lights for a film studio. He spent his first five years on the force with a tactical response unit that gets deployed in marked cars.

Toth and Fry typically had other partners but were paired together this day.

Toth drove the unmarked gray Crown Victoria while Fry monitored the radio and ran checks on the vehicle’s computer.

Two 911 calls came into police dispatch at 1:42 p.m. and 1:43 p.m. that a group of teens had attacked the driver of a silver Dodge Charger and that the car’s driver fled on foot.

A minute later, the driver of the car called 911 to say he’d been beaten up and “had his car, shoes and wallet stolen.” The Dodge Charger had Wisconsin plates, he reported.

Officers Toth and Fry were in the area. They’d seen a vehicle matching that description shortly before hearing of the carjacking. Fry had even run a records check on the vehicle.

 

But soon, there was a police radio transmission of a battery in progress; then another call of a robbery in progress, “which then was broadcast as a carjacking,” Fry said during his deposition.

Toth asked whether the carjacked vehicle had Wisconsin plates.

Yes, he was told.

Toth and Fry sped off in search of the car. They soon spotted it and pulled up next to it.

“This was a felony stop, as we both believed that this car was just taken in a vehicular hijacking,” Fry said.

Toth was the first out of the police vehicle, drawing his service weapon and ordering the car’s driver to show his hands.

“I ordered the individual in the car to put (his) hands up,” Toth told investigators.

Fry got out on the passenger side of the police car, drew his weapon and went around the rear of the police vehicle. He said he heard Toth yell at least three times, “Police, show me your hands.”

Toth said Chatman, who was in the driver’s seat, reached for something in the car before darting across 75th Street and between two parked cars on the other side of the road. Toth was right on his tail, an estimated 4 feet behind.

Chatman sprinted down a sidewalk. Toth still gave chase, but the teen was getting away as they approached an intersection, according to the officers’ account.

Fry pursued from the middle of the street, his Sig Sauer .45-caliber handgun drawn.

“As Mr. Chatman approaches the corner, he makes a slight turn, a subtle turn to the right with his upper body. I see in his right hand a dark gray or black object,” Fry said.

“It was a small black object, which I believed to be a handgun.”

Asked during his deposition whether the object was ever pointed at the two officers, Fry said, “No.”

When Chatman made the slight move to his right with his torso, Fry said he immediately planted both his feet and took a firing position. He did not say anything or give any orders before opening fire.

“I felt his threat was as such that I didn’t have time to say anything.”

When shots rang out, Toth was still trying to close in on Chatman. “I slowed my pursuit ’cause I didn’t know where (the shots) were coming from.”

The teenager started to round the corner but had been struck and he crumpled onto the pavement, running into a car as he fell.

Toth said he moved in to handcuff the suspect while he was on the ground. He noticed there wasn’t an object in his hands.

Toth told investigators he didn’t fire a shot because “I thought I could actually catch him, you know.”

Rahm Emanuel rejects calls for resignation from mayor job

But he stood by his partner’s actions. “I truly believe,” Toth said, “Officer Fry felt as though this individual was armed. … With his actions of running and began to turn I believe that he was in fear of my life and that’s why he just discharged the weapon.”

Fry fired a total of four shots. Two struck Chatman, one in his right forearm and the other in the lower right side of his abdomen.

Under further question in his deposition, Fry was asked again, “But he never pointed anything at you or Officer Toth on January 7, 2013, correct?”

Fry: “Correct.”

Asked why he fired his weapon, he said, “I was in fear of Officer Toth’s life. I was in fear of my own life. And any pedestrians in the area, I was in fear of their life as well.”

“And why was that?”

Fry: “Because I believed that the object that he held in his hand was a handgun.”

No gun was found at the crime scene.

Chatman had a box containing a new iPhone. It was discovered near his body.

Two men blocks away charged with murder

While her son lay dead in the street, Linda Chatman rode the bus home from work. It took a slight detour because of all the police cars. Chatter on the bus was ominous: “Some boy just got shot! The police just killed a little boy!”

“I’m like, ‘That’s crazy,'” she said in her deposition. She cussed to herself, thinking, “Somebody is always getting killed around here.”

She arrived home to an empty house. She didn’t think too much of it at first. But soon a neighbor knocked on the door, asking whether her son was home.

“I’m like, ‘No, you know where he is? I’ve been looking for him.'”

“And she say, ‘Oh my God.'”

The neighbor paused, before adding, “I think your son is dead.”

Moments later, one of her daughters called from Minnesota. “She said, ‘I saw on Facebook, Cedrick dead.'”

The day after her son was killed, she went to police headquarters to try to get a copy of the police report. “They told us they couldn’t tell us nothing,” she said.

Asked what was her reaction to that, “I can’t recall, but I know I was going off.”

She went to the coroner’s office and identified her son’s body. “Just broke down and started crying, like it’s true.”

She cried for nearly two months. On her arm, she got a tattoo: “Cedrick.”

Neither officer was charged in the case. “Insufficient evidence of criminal intent by the officers; complainant had just committed forcible felonies and was fleeing,” Lynn McCarthy, the assistant state’s attorney, said in deciding not to prosecute.

But two men were charged with first-degree murder in Chatman’s killing: his 23-year-old friend Martel Odom and a 22-year-old neighbor, Akeem Clarke.

The two ended up pleading guilty to lesser counts, robbery and unlawful vehicular invasion, and were sentenced to 10 years in prison. In exchange, the murder charges were dropped against both men. The two had each been looking at a minimum of 20 years in prison.

“I do not have the backing of my office to talk about the case,” Caroline Glennon, the public defender for Odom, told CNN.

She declined further comment.

Odom and Clarke were accused of participating in the carjacking with Chatman, about 10 blocks away from where the police shooting took place. Fry and Toth told investigators that Chatman was by himself when they came across the Dodge Charger.

The law in Illinois allows for anyone who sets in motion a chain of events that results in the death of another individual to be charged with murder. According to the original charging sheet, prosecutors said Odom and Clarke “without lawful justification committed the offense of robbery … and during the commission of the offense, they set in motion a chain of events that caused the death of Cedrick Chatman.”

Coffman, the attorney representing Chatman’s family, says welcome to justice, Chicago-style: “It’s almost like a John Grisham movie here.”

Davis, who lost his job as a supervising investigator, maintains his belief that the shooting was unjustified and that the videos, if ever released, will prove him correct.

“Deadly force is the last-resort measure. You only use that after you have exhausted all other means of putting somebody in custody,” Davis said. “In this particular case, Officer Fry who fired the shots, he did not chase Mr. Chatman. He did not shout a warning. He did not use his radio to give direction of flight. He simply pointed his gun until he had a clear shot. “

The final IPRA report said, “It is not reasonable to suggest what an officer ‘should’ have done from a reversionary standpoint.”

Davis acknowledges Chatman wasn’t a saint. But snubbing out his life, he said, isn’t justice.

Cleveland to Overhaul Police Department


I saw this at TheRoot.com, and felt that I should share, as this is my town at least for now. This problem is everywhere and must be fixed. Protests have been peaceful so far and I hope that continues but the investigation into Tamir Rice’s death is ongoing. He was twelve and playing with a toy gun and the police shot and killed him.

Cleveland to Overhaul Police Department in Agreement With Justice Department

An 18-month investigation by the Justice Department concluded that the Cleveland Police Department exhibited a pattern of “unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force.”

Posted: May 26 2015 7:18 AM
474532988-people-march-in-protest-to-the-cuddell-recreation

People march in protest May 23, 2015, to the Cuddell Recreation Center in Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police. The march was in reaction to Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo’s acquittal on manslaughter charges in a separate case in which he shot two people in a fatal 2012 incident during which police officers fired some 137 shots at the pair.RICKY RHODES/GETTY IMAGES

Updated Tuesday, May 26, 5:45 p.m. EDT: Specifics of the agreement between the Department of Justice and the city of Cleveland over abusive and excessive use of force by police have been released, according to Yahoo News, and they include a substantial overhaul of police procedures and policies.

An independent monitor will oversee changes in the Cleveland Police Department, which include community policing and getting officers more involved in their neighborhoods; modernizing technology; training to avoid racial stereotyping; and implementing new procedures to investigate misconduct allegations.

According to the website, Mayor Frank Johnson says that he hopes the agreement will be a model for other cities. Groups, including the NAACP and the police union, are still reviewing its details.

Earlier:

The Justice Department has reached a settlement with the city of Cleveland after an 18-month investigation into the city’s Police Department found “a pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force,” the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, specifics of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the investigation, which ended in December 2013, was prompted after a 2012 shooting involving several officers who fired more than 130 shots at two unarmed people—Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams—inside a vehicle.

News of the settlement comes just days after Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo was acquitted for his role in the 2012 shooting. The Times notes that while several officers fired some 137 shots into the vehicle after a high-speed car chase, Brelo was charged with manslaughter for reportedly waiting until the car came to a stop and then jumping onto the hood and firing another 15 shots into the car’s windshield. Both Russell and Williams died from gunshot wounds.

Some 71 demonstrators were arrested after hundreds of people gathered Saturday to protest the officer’s acquittal.

According to the Times, the most damning portion of the Justice Department’s investigation cited several incidents during which officers used excessive or deadly force.

“Investigators said officers unnecessarily used deadly force; used excessive force against mentally ill people; and inappropriately resorted to stun guns, chemical sprays and punches,” the Times reports.

The investigation was concluded before the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by police while he played with a toy gun in a Cleveland park near his home.

The Times notes, “The Justice Department has opened nearly two dozen investigations into police departments under the Obama administration. Federal investigators found patterns of unconstitutional policing in cities including Seattle, Newark, Albuquerque and Ferguson.” An investigation has been launched in Baltimore in the wake of the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died from injuries suffered while in police custody.

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