Twin Cities Pride Parade reversal on allowing cops in parade demonstrates “Blacks have no rights Whites are bound to respect”

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The reversal of PRIDE parade leadership from its earlier decision to limit the participation of local cops in this year’s Pride Parade and festival, makes it clear that disrespect for Black folks is the order of the day in the Twin Cities. It has been for some time while claiming to be a bastion of liberalism, progressivism and decency. It is neither.

The truth is Black folks in this locale have long been treated as if they have “no rights that White folks (especially those in power) are bound to respect.”

The Twin Cities Pride Parade organizers were attempting to be sensitive to the community’s pain after St Anthony cop Jeronimo Yanez got away with killing Philando Castile, by limiting police participation in this year’s parade. The organizers wrote on FaceBook, “We always have several police departments wanting to roll down Hennepin with lights and sirens to participate in this announcement that the parade is about to begin.With the recent verdict in the Philando Castile case Twin Cities Pride has decided to forgo this part of the police participation in the parade for this year and respect the pain the community is feeling right now.”

It was a request that made sense, considering that people’s feelings are still raw from seeing the squad video and trying to make sense of the senseless killing and subsequent senseless verdict.

But both St Paul and Minneapolis police leaders acted as if someone had shot their dog.  Even the heads of the cops federation chimed in, as if they have some kind of moral standing.

“If your organization is about love and acceptance … it’s kinda ironic,” St Paul police assistant head Nash said. “Members of the LGBTQ cross a lot of occupations. There’s a lot of good cops every day trying to do the right thing.”

Dave Titus the borderline thug, who heads the St Paul Police Federation claimed,” to exile gay and straight officers from the parade runs counter to the values the organization claims to promote,”

Minneapolis Police Chief Janea Harteau, who is an open lesbian, claimed that  “the decision  was “divisive” at a time when the police were trying to mend fractured ties with marginalized communities.”

Harteau  has proven  that a gay person can run be just as ruthless, dishonest  and disrespectful in leading the occupying and oppressive force that we know as the police.  And this statement is further proof. There can be no mending of so-called fractured ties, unless the police stop over-policing and harassing the community and serving as patrollers enforcing unjust laws.

“I really struggle to see how this decision helps our community heal, and the message of division and not inclusion is hurtful to many of us,” she wrote. “Police officers are more than just officers, they are human beings with families who are also part of this community.”

Harteau claims that the cops are human beings! If that’s the case why didn’t they act like human beings, and respect the request of another set of human beings, asking that you respect their right to not include you for a year, because your very presence is a reminder of the community’s pain.

The police didn’t act like human beings in this case, they acted like armed Bullies! The correct human response would have been to say, I see the community needs it  space, so we will give it to them. But the cops couldn’t give that to the community, because they don’t respect the community. Their real role is an oppressive one, which is to remind us at ALL TIMES who is running things.

The truth is they are not human beings, they are the POLICE!

Moreover this dispels the notion that we live in a free, open and democratic society. If we lived in a free and open and democratic society, we could ask the police to sit it out and they would comply. The parade organizers permit required that a cop car lead the parade, that is all that the Parade organizers were bound to, they weren’t required to allow police to march in it.

But Harteau and her gang BULLIED the Festival committee and insisted that they be included because let’s face it, they don’t give a damn about the communities feelings.

Even the capitulation on the part of the liberal organizers hinted at disrespect. While they were concerned about hurting the cops feelings, there is no evidence that they INCLUDED BLACK PEOPLE IN THE DISCUSSION  with them and the police.

Yet the Star Tribune quoted Pride officials as vowing “to continue listening to minority groups.”

Pride Executive Director Dot  Belstler ,said, “To our transgender and people of color communities, we will continue to respect your pain and angst by bridging the divide and continuing conversations on both sides of this issue, to ensure we consider alternatives that make each group feel comfortable and safe.”

Ironically the Pride parade came about as a way for the LGBTQ community to assert its right to exist, to assert its humanity and its right to be different. It was also partially organized as a push back against police harassment.

The Pride organizers should have stuck to their decision if they really meant what they said about recognizing the community’s pain, they would have stood on it. Their spinelessness will only encourage more police intransigence in the future.

Since Pride organizers say they are listening, they should know that oppressed communities don’t respect folks talking about “feeling” their pain, they respect folks who rather than talking about it, “be” about it! “Oppressed people learn early that the problem of life is not the problem of evil but the problem of good.”

Imagine that, the Twin Cities can’t have a parade without the cops (who Harteau calls fellow human beings) and in an open, just and democratic society!

justice then peace

Philando Castile case proves that this society is neither decent, democratic,or just; Its not fit for human subsistence

Philando protest after verdict

 
Let’s face it, the society that allowed an armed agent of the State to shoot a man for absolutely no good reason and then failed to punish the shooter, is the society we live in and not the one you think you live in that is decent, democratic and just and believes in “liberty and justice for all.”
 
The sooner folks face this fact the sooner we can move to some real concrete solutions.
 
The Minnesota House People of Color and Indigenous Caucus summed up the killing of Philando Castile as well as anybody when they said,”We continue to believe the killing of Philando was senseless, without cause, and veiled in unfounded racial fear and prejudice.” But they also said ,”urgent reform of our policing and criminal justice systems is needed.”
 
Unfortunately the legislators got it half right. The system of policing, this social/economic /political system cannot be reformed. It is resistant to reform because these systems exist as they are for a reason. It has to be torn up and tossed out and a new one has to be put in its place.
 
If someone or something continues to do something over and over again, it is who or what they are, police killings and police brutality occur too much for it to be an aberration, a so-called exception to the rule; it is the rule!
 
Just today In Milwaukee, a Black cop was just acquitted of murder, for shooting Syville Smith in the back in August 2016 and while he lay on the ground helpless, killing him. A few weeks ago a female Tulsa cop was acquitted of manslaughter and excused for killing unarmed Terence Crutcher, last September. On Sunday, a Black woman suffering from mental illness was shot in killed by Seattle police. This is no accident.
 
And the system supports the killing! It is codified in law, reinforced by the highest law in the land. And you can’t reform it because the lawmakers identify with and owe their careers to the rulers and not the person on the street.
 
The Yanez verdict coupled with the Tulsa and Milwaukee verdicts, reinforce the fact that police can not only kill you, but the law GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO KILL YOU WITHOUT FEAR OF REPERCUSSIONS OR NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES.
 
That is the system we live under and not the fairy tale.
 
When Plilando Castile’s lottery number came up, he didn’t have a chance; in life nor death. Yes being Black and surviving in the US means you hope you don’t win the reverse lottery, in which the winners reward is loss of life, or well- being.
 
Philando tried to tell the armed agent of the State that he wasn’t reaching for his gun, but Yanez didn’t listen, rather he listened to the propaganda; spoken and unspoken, conscious and unconscious that suggests a “ni–er” with a gun should be dead.
 
Sounds harsh? Nobody has come up with a reasonable explanation for why Yanez shot Castile. There was no evidence that he saw a gun, in fact all the logical evidence at hand indicates that was an impossibility since Castile got shot in his trigger finger and Yanez said immediately after the shooting that he didn’t see a gun.
 
Yanez was guilty he was proven to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (I was there), yet he was acquitted. That was not justice by any measurable standard. In a decent, democratic and just society the cop would have had to pay for his actions.
 
If the juror Broussard who has talked to the press is to be believed ten folks POSING as decent, fair minded, human beings made their minds up only hours after the trial ended.
 
And people shouldn’t be surprised that the two Black jurors caved in right away and believed the cop, they too have been fed a constant diet of White Supremacy and the “serve and protect” lie.
 
Folks should rather acknowledge and applaud the courage of the two holdouts according to the juror who talked: two White people held out. It’s likely the hold out jurors were forced to concede on Friday (after judge William Leary said he was going to force them to come back on Monday), for financial reasons because most working people can’t afford to miss more than two weeks of work.
 
Yanez would have had to stand trial again without the interference of the supposedly upstanding biased and undemocratic judge Leary, in the case who forced the jurors to continue to deliberate, though it was obvious the thoroughly propagandized and insensitive majority weren’t budging. As Mr Broussard said he “believed” the officer saw a gun; despite all the evidence presented to the contrary.
 
And Yanez is a coward.
 
Yanez has been portrayed as a decent person, but he is anything but. A decent person would not have tried to blame Philando for his death. A good person would not in his BCA interview try to disparage Castile and make up a story about smelling marijuana. No one else on the scene smelled marijuana, his partner, nor any of the cops that showed up afterward said on the witness stand said they smelled marijuana. But he lied to protect himself.
 
If he was a decent person he would saved everyone all this grief and just admitted that he made a mistake. He could have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. The system would have slapped him on the wrist and he would have been hired by another cop agency. The Castile family and Diamond Reynolds could have gotten on with their lives, but instead he committed a kind of soul murder against them as his actions, denied them the peace the justice that so desperately need to heal.
 
Even the defense lawyers were indecent. Earl Gray and Tom Kelly (who would probably represent Lucifer, if the money was right) weren’t satisfied with their tainted victory but decided to rub it in. Gray cold-heartedly told the press that “Castile would be alive if he followed Yanez’s orders.”
 
The truth is Philando would be alive if he hadn’t been profiled. Yanez had no reason to stop him at all.
 
And after adding insult to injury with their unjust verdict, the defenders of this unjust system have the nerve to demand that we respect it and its show trial. What kind of decent society demands that you respect it after they have it has spit on you? People have no obligation to respect anything, anyone, any law, or any system that does not respect them.
 
This is the society we live in and the sooner we acknowledge the truth, the sooner we can begin the work of creating a just humane decent society fit for human beings.
 
justice then peace

Jeronimo Yanez trial in a nutshell: Yanez shot Philando Castille because he was a Black man with a gun

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On July 6 last year St Anthony policeman Jeronimo Yanez radioed to his partner that he thinks he spotted a suspect in a recent armed robbery. His only identifier, “cause he has a wide set nose.” After shooting Philando Castille he told the supervisor on the scene“I don’t know where it was.” Those two statements sum up this case as well as any after 10 days of trial.
 
It appears that Yanez stopped Castille as the prosecution police expert witness Jeffry Noble said, “because he was a Black man.” Noble said that Castille should not have been stopped because “a wide set nose is simply not a distinctive feature.” He also noted that a reasonable officer would not have shot Castille because he told him he had a firearm. Another way of putting it, is Castille is dead because he was profiled by the St Anthony cop and he broke the unwritten societal rule established and enforced since slavery that, if you are Black, thou shalt not have a gun, legal or illegal.
 
This was a gut wrenching 10 days as the mother of Philando Castille, Valerie Castille had to watch the video of the incident recorded by Yanez’s squad car several times, as well as view the autopsy of her son’s shot up body.
 
She heard the vaunted defense team of Earl Gray, Paul Enge and Tom Kelly callously say on two occasions that if Castille’s brake light was working he would still be alive and we wouldn’t be here. (Yes that was said twice I was there) the truth is had Yanez not profiled the deceased and chose to harass him, he would still be with us.
 
However Yanez had to listen to prospective jurors tell him to his face what they thought of his actions. A Black woman in her 40’s looked him in the eye and said he was “careless” with Philando’s life and that “no one should have to die as a result of a traffic stop.” A White guy said he thought he was guilty. A young White woman cried on the stand as she recalled how she has been given warnings when stopped by police and didn’t understand why Mr Castille had to die.
 
Needless to say no juror who had a bad experience with the police or had their doubts about the efficacy of law enforcement made the final cut, thus assuring that Yanez would have a jury decidedly “partial” to the system and the narrative of cops as those who serve and protect.
 
Ten Blacks were in the initial pool of 50 jurors and only two made the final cut. The defense challenged one of them, a young Black woman from Ethiopia who they said was too “incompetent” to sit on the jury.
 
That was laughable considering the make up of the jury which included several folks who said they hadn’t heard anything about this case and didn’t know much more about the justice system than what they had seen on TV. One woman lied hiding her decidedly pro-police views from the judge until the prosecution exposed her through her FaceBook posts, which she previously denied. She even revealed after hiding it initially that she was friends with the wife of a suburban Maplewood, MN cop who had been killed. The judge refused to strike her for cause. And the prosecution didn’t use one of its three strikes to unseat either.
 
The defense team must have said the word marijuana over 100 times as it sought to make the case that Castille was responsible for his own death because he was high, causing him to fail to comply with Yanez’s commands. But as the prosecution pointed out, Yanez didn’t really give any commands.
 
In fact several cops who testified, admitted that if they thought the gun was a threat they would have told Castille to put his hands up or on the steering wheel where they could see them.
 
The prosecution put on an able and competent, though somewhat dispassionate case despite being in unfamiliar territory of prosecuting one of its own.
 
When cross examining Yanez on the final day, it’s hard to imagine that they would have let some guy in dreadlocks and sagging pants continue on and on, rather than answering the questions yes or no as instructed. Yanez continued to explain the inconsistencies in his statements by saying he was under stress.
 
The marijuana argument didn’t withstand the scrutiny of prosecutors. It appeared the prosecution discredited the defense’s toxicologist who couldn’t say definitively after cross examination if Castille was high on marijuana, or when he got high. In his initial testimony he claimed that the THC level’s found in the deceased proved that he had gotten high two hours earlier. The prosecution pointed out that according to the science there was no way he could prove that. In closing argument the prosecution labeled the defense’s toxicologist a practitioner of “junk science.”
 
The defense’s gun expert was made to look foolish after he claimed that he had timed himself sitting in a car pulling a gun out of his pocket and that someone could pull a gun out in a third of a second, when the prosecution asked if he had conducted his experiment while seat belted as Castille had been, he admitted he wasn’t in a seat belt.
 
The defense failed to present evidence showing that Castille resembled the armed robbers of days previous, who had robbed a Super America at gun point. The only resemblance Castille bore to the robbers was his color and maybe his wide set nose since the vast majority of African Americans have wide noses compared to White Americans.
 
Despite some of the reports coming out of the corporate newspapers which unwittingly make Yanez appear credible, in actuality the prosecution exposed the fact that Yanez gave several contradictory and inconsistent, statements which he tried to cover up on the stand by saying he was under stress. This was made even clearer in the prosecution’s closing argument by Jeffrey Paulsen.
 
The prosecution pointed out that despite his later claims in his BCA testimony that he saw the barrel of a gun he oddly failed to tell Roseville officers when they showed up that Castille had a gun. It is common practice when cops shoot folks who have a gun to point that out but Yanez did not. Its likely he didn’t because he didn’t see a gun as he admitted to the supervisor on the scene.
 
Yanez explanation for this was almost comical he told prosecutors cross examining him that he, “didn’t see a gun until he saw one.”
 
Incidentally the discovery of the gun by law enforcement on the scene exposed what appeared to be duplicity and collusion in effort to make Yanez’s story appear credible. The Roseville cop who initiated CPR on the already dead victim, claimed that the gun fell out of the dead man’s pocket when paramedics turned him to put him on the board to put him into the ambulance. The cop said that the gun had been sticking out of Castille’s pocket. When he was cross examined the prosecutors asked, if the gun was sticking out of Castille’s pocket why didn’t he see it? His response was, he was concentrating on administering aide to Castille.
 
A firefighter on the scene claimed he heard a clank and then saw a gun. It was revealed in the trial that one of Yanez’s brothers is a local firefighter.
 
But an EMT took the stand and said the officers patted the dead man down and then dug “deep” in his pocket to get the gun. He repeated his story under questioning and every time he acknowledged that the officers dug deep in Castille’s pocket to retrieve the gun.
 
So this begs the question, how did Castille manage to pull out the gun get shot up and shove it back down into his pocket? If the gun was out why wasn’t there any blood on the gun. He was also shot in his right index finger his trigger finger which again makes Yanez story less credible how could he have pulled the gun without his trigger finger and why wasn’t there any marks on the gun? Because according to Yanez in his statement in court , the deceased pulled the gun out.
 
Diamond Reynolds came across as honest and forthright in her testimony, she consistently stated that Castille never reached for a gun. Yet defense attorney Earl Gray referred to her as a liar in his closing argument, because she said she was held for five hours without food and water and she couldn’t remember being given $40 for groceries which had been confiscated for evidence.
 
However this writer and other activists on the night of the shooting are aware that she was held against her will for several hours because we recruited two local attorneys to represent her. Both tried for hours to locate her and were told different stories about her where she was being held by St. Anthony and Roseville police in a thinly veiled attempt by law enforcement to prevent her from securing legal protection.
 
By his own admission (and it can be heard on the video) Yanez says “Don’t pull it out”he didn’t yell, put it down, which would have made more sense had the victim actually pulled the gun. And Yanez can be heard on the police video yelling again after Castille is dying from the bullet wounds to the heart, “don’t pull it out as if he was doing it for posterity’s sake.
 
The closing argument by prosecuting attorney Paulsen appeared ironclad. According to him, “Yanez was the only one in this entire case who says Castile pulled a gun from his pocket.” He also reiterated that while the defense claimed that Castille was intoxicated, almost as if to say he was drunk and therefore wasn’t listening, it was Yanez who wasn’t listening and admitted that after hearing “weapon” he developed “tunnel vision,” and was getting nervous.
 
Paulsen’s also responded in his closing arguments to Yanez claim that he was nervous, “Everyone on both sides of this case agrees,” Paulsen said, “that being nervous is not a reason to shoot and kill someone.”
 
The prosecution in my opinion made its case. We will find out in a matter of hours or days, if the jury can overcome stereotypes about Black people and Black life along with how well US propaganda about the role and duties of police in US society has made its case despite evidence to the contrary.
 
justice then peace