The CFC

4 Sep 2014

Trigger Warning: Discussions of sexual violence below.

cee lo

Dear Cee Lo,

Dude, seriously? I am so disappointed in your actions that I almost don’t even know where to begin. You have just gotten off from some charges stemming from a 2012 accusation of sexual assault. And rather than quietly going off into the night as one might expect, you have proceeded to open your mouth and stuff your entire foot into in it in your rush to defend yourself. But your “righteous indignation” sounds more like the unreasonable rants of a guilty person.

First, let’s set the record straight, because your “definition” of rape not only leaves much to be desired, it’s also patently wrong. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “rape” as the following:

“Originally and chiefly: the act or crime, committed by a man, of forcing a woman to have sexual intercourse with him against her will, esp. by means of threats or violence. In later use more generally: the act of forced, non-consenting, or illegal sexual intercourse with another person; sexual violation or assault.”

It’s pretty clear. The OED has even given us historical context. But I know you don’t need this definition. You might be acting thick, but I know that you have more sense than God gave a goat. But, oh no, you want to get on the social media act a complete fool. Case in point, when you tweeted this gem of wisdom:

“If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously…People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!”

What in the entire everlasting fuck?

Rape is inextricably tied to issues of consent. You don’t have to get hit over the head or be held up at knifepoint to be sexually assaulted. You can be assaulted in your bedroom by a family member, friend, or boo. You can get assaulted while drunk at a party. You could be kicking it with someone and they can slip you some ecstasy.  Whatever the case may be there are, unfortunately, lots of ways to get raped, but it is never, ever, ever, the victim’s fault. Never. We are not entitled to other people’s bodies even if they are WITH us, as you have stated—even if they accept our rides, come to our homes, wear a short skirt, get naked, smoke that shit, hit that blunt, pop a molly, or engage in any number of other activities. Period.

Look, I’ve been a fan of your work for years—since Goodie Mob—and I don’t doubt your musical genius. That does not matter today, in this moment. What you did was defend rape and there is no excuse for that. And I know your supporters and other apologists for rape culture (I’m looking at you, dear Whoopi) will be quick to defend you. So be it. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t take you to task for what I know ain’t right. Oh, and that half-assed apology was for the birds. Try again.

Plus, now there is a woman out there being talked about, dragged through the mud, while she is trying to heal. All the while the public, myself included, have been more focused on your shenanigans. This has got to stop.

Educate yourself. Watch No! The Rape Documentary. Read Yes Means Yes. Support rape crisis centers and other organizations that support rape survivors, such as A Long Walk Home, with your coins. Think energetically about consent and what it means. Stop blaming victims and survivors. Get a therapist. Talk to your God. Whatever it takes, but get your shit together.

With a thousand side eyes,

Crunkadelic

19 Aug 2014

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.

My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

(excerpts from The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action, Audre Lorde)

As I prepare the syllabi and lesson plans for my fall classes I am dealing with uncertainty about how to teach about Ferguson and the merciless assault on black bodies and minds that is happening even as I write.  I don’t know what to say.  As I watch footage on  television, follow developments on newsfeeds, and watch news clips on social media I find myself amazed at how our foremothers and ancestors lived through the fear, anger, anguish and devastation of having their lives diminished and disrespected, their children murdered in broad daylight with no consequences, and their attempts at justice, both peaceful and passionate, met with armed guards, guard dogs, and constant threats with their own vanquished lives vanishing at a pace similar to their sons and loved ones.  I don’t know how to make sense of the possibility of Ferguson, the inevitability of Ferguson, the reality of Ferguson existing in the twenty-first century.  We are living with retrograde racism the likes of which our parents and (great-) grandparents hoped to never experience again and prayed we would never experience.   And I am struggling for words.

Every other day I learn another name I wish I didn’t know (Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford) and add it to an ever-expanding list of black victims of police and vigilante violence (Jordan Davis, Tarika Wilson, Amadou Diallo, Rekia Boyd, Sean Bell, Yvette Smith, Trayvon Martin) because “truth is, we are all one bullet away from being a hashtag” (black women included). And that reality, and fruitless attempts to try to make sense of senselessness, means that Ferguson is not necessarily unique as a crime scene holding the dead body of an unarmed black teen, but it is a breaking point.  Ferguson is our breaking point.  The death of Michael Brown, emblematic of countless others, and the collective loss, grief and justified anger of people (of color and allies) who are tired of being terrorized and victimized by injustice requires that we say something.  But I don’t know what to say.  I don’t know where to begin.

Photo from Twitter

Photo from Twitter

I do know, as (the) Audre Lorde reminds us, that our silence will not protect us.  Saying nothing is not an option or a remedy.  I will not be a bystander or silent witness to injustice, murder, discrimination, character assassination, misappropriation, unchecked privilege and what amounts to state sanctioned terrorism of poor black and brown folk.  Silence will not do, but what do you say?  Words feel inadequate and inelegant even when attached to personal accounts or lived experience.

In the five years I have been teaching as a university professor I have not had a lack of current and present examples, both far and near, that the concept of post-racialism is a myth.  Whether it was the segregation of sororities and fraternities, racial slurs being slung at black passersby, or racial epithets being chalked on sidewalks on the campus where I teach (not to mention racial slurs on social media by students), I have experienced racism ephemerally and incessantly.  I have explained that a black president is not a panacea for racism, that listening to hip hop does not an ally make, and that assumptions and stereotypes of blackness constantly put people of color at risk.

Still, every semester students question the legitimacy (and existence) of racism, the relevance of discussions about race, and whether or not is warrants class discussion at all.  Others misconstrue racism as the mere mention (acknowledgment of the existence) of race, white privilege, and/or discrimination. Some of the problem is ignorance, a refusal to wrestle with race as a factor in how folk are seen, treated and remembered in this country.  Some of the problem is with the narrative that often blames black victims and shifts the focus of unprovoked murder away from the crime and perpetrator and onto the victims, disseminating irrelevant facts intended to make them appear suspicious.  As Jesse Williams said over the weekend, it is important that we discuss the narrative and start at the beginning.  Williams said, “You’ll find that the people doing the oppressing always want to start the narrative at a convenient part, or always want to start the story in the middle.”  Word. We can’t talk about the insidiousness of racism by ignoring its history, we can’t talk about the irrationality of white fear, the policing of black bodies, the attempts to dismantle peaceful protests without acknowledging the long and storied history of racism in America, and in Ferguson.

And we can’t talk/think about Mike Brown without talking/thinking about Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant and Emmett Till.  The story about and around Ferguson is not the story of looters or riots, it’s not a story of hot-headed, irrational, felonious mobs wreaking havoc on their community, or heroic law enforcement officers protecting and serving.  The true narrative of Ferguson existed before Michael Brown walked to the store with his friend on Saturday.  It existed long before Michael Brown did.  And the narrative requires an acknowledgment that being black, poor, uneducated, intoxicated or belligerent is not an offense punishable by death–neither is being dark-skinned, big-bodied, working-class, on your way to college, sober and minding your own damn business.  But innocence doesn’t protect black people.  And racism and politics of respectability insist that black victims only deserve the benefit of the doubt under particular circumstances, wearing collar shirts and not hoodies, carrying bibles and not cigarellos, putting up peace signs and not middle fingers– but if black lives matter, and they do, then ALL black lives matter!

“The media chooses to portray black kids in the most menacing way possible in order to influence the way the world receives them. Posing and posturing has LONG been a defense mechanism used by Black people to defend ourselves, our bodies, and our communities because we don’t receive the defense or support of our government, our ‘leaders’, law enforcement, and even the law itself. #iftheygunnedmedown”                            –Terrence Merkerson

The irrationality of racism seeks to justify the death of an unarmed teenager.  Racism says that if “Mike Mike” Brown walked out of the store with a box of cigars, bucked at store owner on his way out the door, was walking in the street instead of the sidewalk, was walking in the street instead of the sidewalk with his homeboy, was walking in the street instead of the sidewalk with his homeboy (who had dreads and visible tattoos) with a handful of swisher sweets in his pocket and weed in his system and popped shit back at a cop that was popping shit at him that he deserved what he got.  Racism is a cotdamn lie!

The illogicality of respectability politics insist that black people resist rage in the face of injustice and sit quietly in the corner with their legs crossed and their pearls clutched.  Respectability says that Michael Brown (not “Mike Mike” as he was affectionately called by friends) should not have been at the store in the first place, should have shown more reverence to his elders, should have never been walking in the middle of the road, should have complied with the police officer’s demand without comment and without looking up, should have been wearing his Sunday best on Saturday, should have not been hanging around with other boys his age, who look like him, who are from where he’s from.  Respectability believes that this generation needs to have more discipline, more respect for authority, more personal accountability.  Respectability thinks rule following, wardrobe, education, class standing, “traditional families,” and political progress can save you, and that Michael’s self presentation and demeanor made him culpable in his own demise.  Respectability is wrong!

We have been force fed lies and untruths about who the victim/s are in Ferguson.  Some folk have been deceived into thinking that it was Michael Brown’s choices and not those of his murderer that led to his brutal death.  Some folk are thinking that any time a group of black folk gather together they create a mob, instead of creating a community.  Some folk have a lot to say but ain’t saying nothing (you did see/hear about the POTUS’ two press conferences, right?).  Some folk ain’t saying nothing because they don’t know what to say.

At the end of the day I don’t know if words will come as easily as tears when I stand in my classroom to talk about Michael Brown, and others like him, who look like me and have lost their lives in the last thirty days.  I don’t know what I will say when a student claims that race has nothing to do with it, when a commenter challenges Brown’s innocence or celebrates the murderer’s freedom, when a troll maintains that it is an isolated incident not worthy of discussion or media coverage, or when any one of the dozens of black men I love ask me how they can stay alive.  I may still be at a loss of words because they are caught in my throat between helplessness and hope.

I leave with another excerpt from Lorde’s essay, “What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?”

I’m still struggling for words but I am finding a way to articulate my pain, my frustration, my rage, my fear, my sadness, my emotional exhaustion and my disappointment.  Even when I can’t speak I understand that silence in the face of social injustice and inequity is always insufficient.  Sometimes it’s not about what you say (or do), but the fact that you say (or do) something!

No justice, no peace.

Know justice. Know peace.

The CFC is partnering with #BlackLivesMatter to “bring Black folks and anti-racist allies from across the country into Ferguson, Missouri, as part of a national call to end state violence against Black people.” If you are interested in joining the Black Life Matters Ride to Ferguson on Labor Day weekend, please complete this form and visit the Black Life Matters Ride Facebook page for more information.  You can also donate to the crowdfunding campaign.

14 Aug 2014

infinitycrush:

blatant racism + institutionalized racism + the concept of masculinity = united states police force

12 Aug 2014

Michael Brown

When we are young, often too young to fully understand the anxiety in their voices and the fear in their eyes, many of us listen to our parents tell us how to behave when, not if, we are stopped by the police.

Usually these cautions beseech us to be aware of our surroundings, comply and assert our compliance out loud, to polite and cooperative, not combative or defiant.  They tell us the things they think will protect us. They tell us not to be alone. They tell us to be vigilant. They know what we will face. They are black, brown, immigrant, documented and undocumented. They have survived wars. They are our mothers and fathers. Our grandparents and older siblings. Our concerned neighbors and friends. They want to keep us safe. We might not yet know how difficult it is to stay safe, because we are small and bold. Because we are tender and free. But the fear and worry seeps into their voices, because they have seen the world. The fear and worry becomes part of us, too.

Then, as we become adults, sometimes well before then, we discover the lie.

We can genuflect and comply. We can raise our arms in the air and scream that we are unarmed. We can look up at the police with our hands behind our heads and our knees on the ground. We can wait in line through checkpoints to get water and work. We can crawl through the desert in the night with our babies on our back. We will still be counted as collateral damage. That’s if we are counted at all.

We can fire a warning shot into the air to protect our children. We can follow all the rules and get all the papers. We can work 20-hour days in the field. Our compliance will not protect us. Our papers will not save us. The police are not here to protect us. In their eyes, which we see from behind riot gear, we are not human. We are not their charge.

Because we survived this long. Because we made it here. Because we never left. Because our bodies are proof.

In this country, a black man is killed every 28 hours. On Saturday, in Ferguson, Missouri a white police officer shot and killed 18 year-old Michael Brown.

Now all we are left with is a series of heartbreaking truths.

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Michael Brown is dead.  Next week he was to start college. His friend and several others witnessed his murder.  His body was left uncovered in the street for hours. The police officer that murdered Michael is on paid administrative leave.  Police showed up to the candlelight vigil held for him wearing riot gear. His mother is left to try and understand why her sweet boy is not home with her. Surely, she had a conversation with him about the police and how to try and stay safe from them. It could not protect him from the weapons they brought. We imagine that it could be us.

The town of Ferguson is burning. With tear-gas and a righteous rage.

We are left to try and make sense of these facts. This story is not new. There is no sense to be made here.

12 Aug 2014

wocinsolidarity:

mangoestho:

We want you all to know and remember that Black girls are always present despite efforts to disappear, displace, and rearrange us.

I want you to know what the members of Combahee River Collective wanted the world to know: black girls and black women are inherently valuable. To say that black women and girls are valuable to is to acknowledge the brilliance, labor, and love that proceeds from their very existence. To affirm and practice that black women and girls are inherently valuable is to negate the systems of oppression that depend on appropriating surplus value from black girls and other peoples in order to reproduce their death-dealing relations. To know that black girls are inherently valuable is to speak life in the face of death. Know that.

- SOLHOT, Know & Remember

I think about the work that my mentors at SOLHOT do and the deep immense gap there is in the representation of our stories. Black girls and women have been trying for centuries to tell the world that they are killing us. Yes, some of us live to tell those stories, but others don’t. This fight against white supremacist police brutality will not see any success if we continue to treat the violence and deaths of Black women and girls as a secondary niche cause for only feminists to deal with. Our lives are valuable. our names are worthy of remembering. SOLHOT created Know /Remember for this reason.  We need to Know/Remember these girls and women and the countless. COUNTLESS. (64,000 Black girls are gone in this country. Missing or dead) others who get swept under the radar or are relegated to misinformed/incorrect scrolling updates on our fuckshit news coverage of the war being waged over Black bodies.  There is no racial justice without gender justice and lives of Black girls and women that were taken at the hands of police are not any less valuable or worthy of mention.

Know/Remember: 

Kendra JamesKendra James, the young woman killed by Officer Scott McCollister on May 5, 2003, on the Skidmore overpass in Portland, Oregon.Despite McCollister’s claims that he “feared for his life,” the AMA Coalition presented a detailed analysis that McCollister was not in any danger, knew who the unarmed Kendra James was and could have found her even if she had driven away, and raised serious questions about whether he had collaborated with the other officers on the scene by meeting at a restaurant to get their stories straight before they talked to investigators. McCollister was given 180 days’ suspension,

but that discipline was overturned by an arbitrator after the Portland Police Association grieved the action.

Rekia Boyd:Boyd was out with a group of friends at Douglas Park on 15th and Albany, on Chicago’s west side, when off-duty Chicago detective Dante Servin drove up to them in a BMW. Sutton told the Sun-Timesthat Servin — who lives in the North Lawndale neighborhood near the park — told the group to “shut up all that motherf**king noise.”

Boyd’s friend, 39-year-old Antonio Cross, responded with an obscenity toward Servin. At that point, witnesses say that Servin pulled out a gun and opened fire on the group, hitting Cross in the left hand and Boyd — an innocent bystander — in the head.

Chicago Police initially claimed that Cross pulled a gun on Servin, which caused the officer to open fire in “fear for his life.” An independent investigation found that Cross was unarmed, yet he was still charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault.Rekia Boyd died two days after being removed from life support. Servin has yet to be charged with a crime in the shooting and Boyd’s family has already filed a civil suit against Servin and the city of Chicago.

“Rekia Boyd was shot and killed on March 21, 2012, without any legal justification,” said James Montgomery, the family’s attorney on April 6. “Her young life was snuffed out by an aggressive, intimidating police officer who provoked the confrontation and when met with a verbal rejoinder took the life of an innocent young woman. The police spokesperson publicly claimed that the officer fired in defense of his life when a man approached his vehicle and pointed a gun at him. Incidentally, no gun was ever found.”

Darian Boyd, Rekia’s older brother, told the Huffington Post that Servin had made comments prior to the shooting demanding some “respect” from the community.

“He basically said, ‘What do I have to do to get some peace, quiet and respect? Shoot someone?’” Darian Boyd said. Darian Boyd added that several witnesses thought that Servin appeared to be intoxicated when the shooting occurred.

Servin fired five shots “blindly” over his shoulder, shooting Cross in his thumb and striking Boyd in the head. The  22-year-old died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital. There were no weapons recovered at the scene.

“lt’s a sad day when charges are warranted against a police officer, but we feel very strongly that in this particular case Ms. Rekia Boyd lost her life for no reason and that this defendant’s actions were reckless in shooting in that alleyway that was occupied,” the state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez, said.

The city settled a $4.5 million wrongful death lawsuit with Boyd’s family this past March, but it’s safe to assume they would rather have had her in their lives.

Tyisha Miller: Feb 8, 1999 Miller and five girlfriends went to a nearby mall at about 4 p.m., stayed for a few hours and then headed for an amusement park. There, they went on a water ride, filled out job applications for the ride, then went to a city park, where they “talked and wrestled on the grass.” Some of the girlfriends say they had been drinking, but others deny it. An autopsy found that Miller had been drinking that dayAt about 12:30 a.m., Miller dropped off all but one of her friends, a 15-year-old girl nicknamed Bug. While heading home to Rubidoux, the car got a flat tire and they stopped at a convenience store. There, according to what friends told lawyers, a white man the young women didn’t know replaced the flat with a spare. But the air pump at the convenience store didn’t work, so they drove to a gas station, less than a mile away, followed by the man. When they realized the spare tire would not hold air, Miller began calling friends for help. Bug hitched a ride to Rubidoux with the man, while Miller waited with the car for her friends to arrive.

About an hour later, one of Miller’s cousins and a friend arrived at the gas station and found Miller locked in her car, with her seat back, music playing on the radio and a .380 semiautomatic pistol in her lap. She didn’t respond to knocks on her window. The cousin and friend thought Miller was foaming at the mouth. They called 911 and reported Tyisha was in distress, and that she had a gun. They then called her aunt’s house to get keys to the car.

Because the 911 call reported that Miller had a gun, a police car as well as an ambulance was dispatched. The police arrived approximately two minutes later. They tried to rouse Miller by banging on the windows and eventually breaking them. At this point, police accounts diverge. Two of the officers say Miller reached for her pistol; two said they weren’t sure whether she reached for it or not. The four officers — all white — fired about 27 shots, hitting Miller at least a dozen times. The Riverside police have not released tapes or transcripts of the 911 call or of the radio communication among the officers — a fact that has been singled out by critics, who point out that they had no problem releasing the autopsy report showing that Miller was legally drunk.

Shantel Davis: June 16, 2012 Unarmed 23-year-old Shantel was fatally shot by an NYPD officer in East Flatbush Thursday.

Around 5:40PM, The New York Daily News reports, plainclothes cops spotted Shantel Davis drive erratically in a Toyota Camry she’d allegedly stolen at gunpoint earlier this month.

After running a series of red lights, she crossed a double yellow line at East 38th Street where, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, she crashed into a minivan.

As cops approached Davis— who had an extensive criminal history, including 8 arrests, according to police— she attempted to open the passenger side door. A cop was hit by the door and pushed backwards. Davis then reportedly went back to the driver’s side and put the car in reverse, hitting the gas.

At the same time, another cop, Detective Phil Atkins, entered the vehicle through the driver’s side door, attempting to put the car in park. In one hand, he was carrying a gun.

"He’s attempting with the other hand to shift the gear into park,” Browne said. “When she’s hitting the gas, a single round was discharged from his firearm, striking the woman in the chest.”

Cops then asked Davis to step out of the car, which she did, dramatically stumbling onto the street, bleeding profusely as a large crowd looked on in horror. From The New York Post:

A woman from a crowd of about 100 onlookers “cradled [Davis] in her arms and rubbed her head,” said witness Nacole Daniel, 26.“She was fighting, but there was so much blood gushing out,” said the woman who comforted Davis.

Browne said it was still unclear if the the officer intentionally pulled the trigger of if it fired accidentally.

Neighborhood residents were upset Thursday at what they were concerned was another case of excessive police force. As police descended on the scene of the crime, people screamed, “Murderers!

"She did not try to put no car in reverse,” one witness said. ”They were already on her, she had nowhere to go.”

State Assemblyman Nick Perry called for an investigation. “I am seriously concerned that the police may have not acted with good judgement,” he said. “Deadly force appeared to have been unwarranted in this case.”

Miriam CareyIn the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s fatal shooting of Miriam Carey by DC police (after she rammed into barricades near the White House and led a police chase), the media instantly delivered a certain narrative: A crazy, dangerous, armed shooter was endangering the lives of prominent DC officials and needed to be taken down for safety reasons. When that story was undermined by subsequent developments, a new explanation dominated: The victim was mentally ill and had presumably done crazy things that necessitated her deadly shooting.

But while Carey’s family since corroborated that she indeed suffered from mental illness, the temptation to use this confirmation as evidence that the media (and police) handled this tragedy appropriately, is misguided. Like Alec MacGillis and several others, I am skeptical of the insistence that her shooting was necessary and inevitable.

For one thing, at least one part of the chaotic series of events was clarified: Carey wasunarmed and shot after having gotten out of her car.Several sites ran with headlines suggesting that Carey was mentally ill and a deadbeat (as if being behind on condo fees automatically makes one a National Security threat). The New York Daily News, whose history includes sensational headlines and innuendos, remained true to itself.  At that point (Thursday afternoon, as Carey had just been shot), there was no explicit connection between her post-partum story and her actions near the Capitol, but that didn’t stop the tabloid’s editors from leading with innuendo. 

It is certainly true that defense attorneys for women on trial for killing their children, such asSusan Smith or Paula Thompson, have used post-partum as the basis of insanity defenses. But defense strategies are a poor foundation for identifying post-partum depression with violent tendencies, unless substantial proof is demonstrated.

Moreover, we heard from neighbors and friends that they thought of her as a happy person, a “catch,” a great mother, and a role model. But those details weren’t in most headlines. By Friday afternoon, nearly every single media story highlighted Carey’s depression and her temper to harden the initial assumption that she was crazy and angry—if not violent.

Never for a moment, do these reporters consider that Black men and women have always been smeared with these traits, regardless of proof. Miriam Carey is subject to these terms—even though there are plenty of witnesses who describe her as upbeat, cheerful, strong, pleasant, happy. These are, in the ironic words of philosopher Charles Mills, part of “an epistemology of ignorance” features of a world made up by whites that preclude a more candid, historically aware, sympathetic understanding of social realities.

Perhaps Carey had a “chip on her shoulder” because she had to struggle twice as hard as someone who came from money to acquire the successes that she had. Perhaps she had a chip on her shoulder because she was being treated unfairly by her bosses and co-workers. But chances are, we’ll never find out.

Not only because she’s dead, but because the same reporters who have no problems casting aspersions on her personality and temper would never write a story casting aspersions on her employers’ tales about why she was fired, or casting doubt on the police’s story about why they shot her dead.

Aiyanna Jones:  Aiyana Mo’nay Stanley-Jones, slept on the couch as her grandmother watched television. A half-dozen masked officers of the Special Response Team—Detroit’s version of SWAT—were at the door, guns drawn.The SWAT team tried the steel door to the building. It was unlocked. They threw a flash-bang grenade through the window of the lower unit and kicked open its wooden door, which was also unlocked. The grenade landed so close to Aiyana that it burned her blanket. Officer Joseph Weekley, the lead commando—who’d been featured before on another A&E show, Detroit SWAT—burst into the house. His weapon fired a single shot, the bullet striking Aiyana in the head and exiting her neck. It all happened in a matter of seconds.Police first floated the story that Aiyana’s grandmother had grabbed Weekley’s gun. Then, realizing that sounded implausible, they said she’d brushed the gun as she ran past the door. But the grandmother says she was lying on the far side of the couch, away from the door.

Compounding the tragedy is the fact that the police threw the grenade into the wrong apartment. The suspect fingered for Blake’s murder, Chauncey Owens, lived in the upstairs flat, with Charles Jones’ sister.

Plus, grenades are rarely used when rounding up suspects, even murder suspects. But it was dark. And TV may have needed some pyrotechnics.

"I’m worried they went Hollywood," said a high-ranking Detroit police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigation and simmering resentment in the streets. "It is not protocol. And I’ve got to say in all my years in the department, I’ve never used a flash-bang in a case like this."

The official went on to say that the SWAT team was not briefed about the presence of children in the house, although the neighborhood informant who led homicide detectives to the Lillibridge address told them that children lived there. There were even toys on the lawn.

Tarika Wilson: A SWAT team arrived at Ms. Wilson’s rented house in the Southside neighborhood early in the evening of Jan. 4 to arrest her companion, Anthony Terry, on suspicion of drug dealing, said Greg Garlock, Lima’s police chief. Officers bashed in the front door and entered with guns drawn, said neighbors who saw the raid.

Moments later, the police opened fire, killing Ms. Wilson, 26, and wounding her 14-month-old son, Sincere, Chief Garlock said. One officer involved in the raid, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, a 31-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Beyond these scant certainties, there is mostly rumor and rage. The police refuse to give any account of the raid, pending an investigation by the Ohio attorney general.

Black people in Lima, from the poorest citizens to religious and business leaders, complain that rogue police officers regularly stop them without cause, point guns in their faces, curse them and physically abuse them. They say the shooting of Ms. Wilson is only the latest example of a long-running pattern of a few white police officers treating African-Americans as people to be feared.

Alesia Thomas: Alesia Thomas lost consciousness and died in Los Angeles police custody on July 22, 2013, after being handcuffed, placed in a hobble restraint device (leg restraints) and put into the back of a patrol vehicle.

Police went to her LA apartment to arrest the 35-year-old mother on charges of child abandonment, after she left her two children at a police station. Thomas, who reportedly had a history of mental illness and battled drug addiction, was apparently taking advantage of the city’s “safe haven” law, which allows struggling parents to surrender their children at certain locations, including police and fire stations, or hospitals. The situation reported escalated when she resisted arrest.

According to police spokesman Sgt. Frank Preciado, there is no arrest report because Thomas died in custody before officers could reach the police station.

Police refuse to release the dashcam video that showed exactly what happened to Thomas that morning, but assault charges were filed against Officer Mary O’Callaghan, 48. O’Callaghan was seen on video repeatedly kicking Thomas in the stomach and genitals and punching her in the throat.

A statement released by department officials said officers used “questionable tactics” against Thomas while she was restrained, and made “inappropriate verbal comments.”

Kathyrn Johnson:In November 2006, three officers had entered 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston’s Atlanta home in what was later described as a ‘botched’ drug raid. Officers cut off burglar bars and broke down her door.  Police said Johnston fired at them and they fired in response; she fired one shot through the door over the officers’ heads. They fired 39 shots, six of which hit the elderly woman. 

None of the officers were injured by her gunfire, but Johnston was killed by the officers. Police injuries were later attributed to “friendly fire” from each other’s weapons. 

One of the officers planted marijuana in Johnston’s house after the shooting. Later investigations found that the paperwork stating that drugs were present at Johnston’s house, which had been the basis for the raid, had been falsified. 

The officers later admitted to having lied when they submitted cocaine as evidence, claiming they had bought it at Johnston’s house. The three officers were tried for manslaughter and other charges surrounding falsification of evidence. One police officer was sentenced to 10 years, another one got six, and the third officer in the case received five years’ imprisonment. 

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