Tulsa, Oklahoma, A History of Hate.

National Guard and wounded during 1921 Tulsa race riots (Tulsa World/Wikimedia Commons).

National Guard and wounded during 1921 Tulsa race riots (Tulsa World/Wikimedia Commons).

A brief look at Tulsa’s history, and it’s not at all a good one.

The black neighborhood in Tulsa was known as “Greenwood” because Greenwood Avenue ran through it. Approximately 10,000 African Americans lived there. While there were large numbers of black people who lived in poverty in the area, the business district was its own complete city. There were dozens of black-owned businesses. Every kind of small business — grocery stores, beauty shops, jewelry stores, photography studios, tailor shops, and much more — a large number of restaurants, and a 750-seat theatre, the Dreamland Theater “that offered live musical and theatrical revues as well as silent movies accompanied by a piano player.” There were two black-owned newspapers. There were 15 African American physicians’ offices. A hospital. A large number of churches. A library. And a 54-room hotel, the Stradford Hotel.

[…]

During the night and the following day, the white mob invaded Greenwood. They pulled residents out of their homes and beat and killed them, including old people and children. They torched every building. Black people escaping Greenwood were arrested by the Oklahoma National Guard, who locked masses of them up in holding centers and only released them when white people stepped forward and vouched for individual black people.

The best estimates are that 300 people died during the riot, and 1256 structures were torched. While the Red Cross provided relief efforts for those thousands of people who had been burnt out of their homes, for which the city and county paid into the Red Cross relief fund, no compensation was paid to the victims of the violence. In addition, not a single white person was held accountable for any of the crimes committed May 31-June 1.

I had never heard of this before, and it’s unconscionable that to this day, it’s barely acknowledged, and no restitution or compensation was ever offered. Tulsa’s history with people of colour is a dark and shameful one. It’s time to bring it all out into the light in the spirit of change, and one of those should be a vow to stop murdering people of colour. It’s been going on much too long, as the recent murder of Terence Crutcher demonstrates all too well.

Full Story.

Cops Demand An Apology from 49ers.

Colin Kaepernick -- via Facebook.

Colin Kaepernick — via Facebook.

What a way to start a morning, with yet another cop union red-faced and screaming, insisting that all and sundry get on their knees, you must worship at the altar of cop!

he union representing more than 2,000 police officers in San Francisco complained to the National Football League and the San Francisco 49ers over Colin Kaepernick’s protest against overaggressive policing, KNBR-AM reported.

“Not only does he show an incredible lack of knowledge regarding our profession and ‘officer involved’ shootings, but also shows a naivety and total lack of sensitivity toward police officers,” San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) president Martin Halloran said in the letter, which was sent to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and team president Jed York.

[Read more…]

Darnell Wicker.

Darnell Wicker (Photo: Family of Darnell Wicker).

Darnell Wicker (Photo: Family of Darnell Wicker).

Darnell Wicker was pronounced dead around 2 a.m. from multiple shots to his torso, upper right extremity and lower extremities after police officers opened fire on him. The Jefferson County Coroner’s office in Louisville, KY admitted that they don’t know exactly how many times the 57-year-old man was shot.

Police officers Taylor Banks and Beau Gadegaard were responding to a domestic violence call when Wicker came outside holding a knife and a tree saw, according to WDRB.

“He came outside — he came out the door and was holding a knife in his hand, he started kind of swinging it around a little bit and he kind of came at us and so we shot,” an officer explains on the video.

Two women who witnessed the event tell a different story, however. Anita Jones, Wicker’s girlfriend and Denita Jones blame the police.

“They just ran up past him — around him — and just said, ‘Drop your weapon!’ Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!” Anita Jones described police not waiting for Wicker to drop the items. “He had no chance to drop the weapon.”

“The officers jumped out, came around, pushed her out of the way,” said Denita Jones. “I was far enough over here that he ran beside me, pushed her out of the way, said, ‘Ma’am move!’ ran up, the other one went that way. ‘Put it down!’ Pop! Pop! Pop!”

The officers also didn’t perform any kind of first aid on Wicker and the EMTs arrived nine minutes after he was shot.

“I was the person who actually had called them, and I didn’t want that to actually happen,” Denita Jones said. “That was my thing. I just wanted the situation to be okay.”

Once again, you have cops shooting someone, and once again, you have cops who refuse to render aid, even the simple act of calling for an ambulance. This has happened time and time again. Michael Brown. Paul O’Neal. And so many more. Pretty much all the people shot by cops. This is a demonstration of ingrained callousness, the dehumanization of bigotry. Body cam footage is below the fold, and it is graphic, so all the warnings.

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Lethal Incompetence.

Mary Knowlton.

Mary Knowlton.

A 73 year old librarian was shot to death by a cop in what I suppose you could call friendly fire, but is a clear case of lethal incompetence. It is quite clear that cops cannot be trusted with guns, anymore than they can be trusted with cameras, or trusted to tell the truth.

Mary Knowlton arrived at the Punta Gorda, Fla., police station Tuesday night to learn how to be a community steward.

The 73-year-old was there as a student in the citizen police academy, a two-hour course intended to give an intimate look at what makes the department in the quaint Florida town work. On this night, the group of 35 would tour the station and talk with officers, an essential part of academy curriculum that has gained popularity across the country amid a heated national debate about police violence.

When it came time to get involved, Knowlton volunteered.

The hosting officers chose two students to role-play in a lethal force simulation, a scenario intended to demonstrate how and when officers decide to pull the trigger. Knowlton played the victim, Charlotte Sun photographer Sue Paquin told the newspaper, and a Punta Gorda police officer played a “bad guy.” These scenarios are usually safe, acted out with either fake or empty weapons.

But when the officer’s gun was fired, Knowlton — a mother, wife and career librarian — was hit with live ammunition.

She was rushed to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

The article goes on, much “deeply shocked, prayers”, along with a remarkable use of the passive voice, as if this just sort of happened, without any cop involved. It’s also noteworthy just how protective the statements are of the shooter. Cops and guns, a seriously bad combination.

Via the Washington Post. UPDATED.

Emoji: Goodbye, Gun.

The new water pistol emoji and the old gun emoji by Apple. Photograph: Apple.

The new water pistol emoji and the old gun emoji by Apple. Photograph: Apple.

Apple has replaced its hand gun emoji with a water pistol – reflecting growing despair in America and worldwide over gun crime.

The change comes in the wake of continuing gun violence in the US, including the killing of two black men by police and the resulting spate of deadly attacks against officers.

The new green and orange emoji, with white plastic trigger, looks distinctly like a harmless toy and will replace the black and silver revolver.

The change, which comes into effect from September, was announced as Apple released 100 new emoji, including a rainbow flag, female athletes, police officers and construction workers and single-parent families.

[…]

Apple has previously pushed back against violent emojis. Earlier this year Apple and Microsoft successfully argued against the addition of a rifle emoji.

Via The Guardian. A longer, more thoughtful look at this change is on Upworthy.

I don’t use emoticons, I find them annoying, but I’m in favour of this change, and I wish all the weapon emoticons would also be disappeared.

Imagine.

London police brawl with men during traffic stop (YouTube).

London police brawl with men during traffic stop (YouTube).

A video showing British police officers brawling with a group of unruly men shows how violent attacks can be stopped without gunfire or even serious injury.

The video shows officers arguing with a group of increasingly aggressive men during a traffic stop in London, reported the Independent.

The men surround the officers as they try to remove two friends from police custody, and then a fight breaks out.

One officer is pulled to the ground during the fracas, and police use chemical irritant spray to subdue the men until backup arrives.

Online commenters at Reddit noticed how the officers were able to take the assailants into custody without shooting or seriously harming anyone.

“Imagine how differently this would have been if this happened in America,” said one Reddit user.

Another commenter pointed out that police even warned the men they would use chemical irritant despite the lengthy scuffle.

“Top of Form British police officers making American police officers look unprofessional, as usual – after 5 minutes of scuffle, the police STILL warns the guy ‘One more step and I will spray you.’ Nobody got seriously hurt that day,” the Reddit user said.

Two of the police constables were treated for minor injuries, and four of the men were arrested on a variety of charges, including assault on police.

[Read more…]