Greetings dear readers!
Trouble in Black paradise shapes catastrophe, threatening the entire “rainbow” masses.
The prediction paraphrased from one of my past blogs, “not if lightning strikes, but when it strikes again,” tragically has occurred all too soon.
Shocking street attacks on Blacks have not declined, despite prolific and ever growing video presence. Add this: deplorable incidents are being flushed out of police department underbellies by other inadvertent means (blatant racist and sexist climates revealed thriving unabated).
Something though, is peculiar especially in CNN’s national media mix. For instance:
Widely broadcast was a damning South Carolina video, capturing what appears to be a straightforward execution.
Also widely broadcast was mindboggling mystery regarding a healthy 24 year old Freddie Gray who received massive spine and neck injuries before reaching the jailhouse, following an arrest Baltimore police basically called un-eventful—Gray died just days after being apprehended.
First the lead—solidly substantiating the screaming reality of police culture:
I’ll bet everyone in the techno world has now viewed that shocking video from North Charleston, South Carolina, the state’s 3rd largest city: as Walter Lamar Scott flees (getting about 20 feet away) officer Michael Thomas Slager is seen calmly and methodically shooting him in the back.
Eight shots ring out and Scott crumples to the ground. We now know that 5 hit the victim squarely in the back.
We now also know that the video came extremely close to not ever surfacing—a tragic notion just as important in these continued scenarios. Here’s why:
The recorder was 23 year old Feidin Santana. Shadowed by the cop’s legendary “Blue Code of Silence” (fearing for his life so intensely) he almost erased it; plans leaned heavily on fleeing the community. Santana emotionally wrestled with his dilemma—then a sobering development instantly solidified the ultimate decision.
Slager’s official police report surfaced, justifying the killing. It claimed Scott was shot in self-defense, alleging that Scott attempted to grab Slager’s stun gun. An African-American officer who quickly arrived also backed the report; it was backed by respondents who added that the Black officer had attempted CPR.
Law department heads immediately exonerated Slager, backing it themselves—apparently no thorough investigation of a civilian’s death (shot squarely in the back) was deemed needed.
Of course those respondent’s official claims are nowhere seen on the extensive video; glaringly absent is any CPR attempt. The notorious “Code” proved to be alive and well.
Thus a stunned Santana (newly infused with courage) unhesitatingly came forth with his totally contradicting evidence—unnerved this time by the brazen audacity to “cover up.”
Pre video reports had barely raised a peep. Afterwards the national sensation was on. Clamoring pundits anxiously ripped into what seems a damning slam-dunk observation: Slager ended up fired and arrested for murder—an “action” almost unheard of.
At CNN though, status-quo assessment was desperate to interject: Tom Fuentes, a white male ex cop (former FBI assistant director) now news pundit, was disturbing; he couldn’t deny the evidence was compelling, but his frame-by-frame video review kept “slipping-in” an assumed notion; Fuentes always mentioned “a struggle” (for the stun gun) between the two at the video’s beginning—a struggle the viewer never sees.
Fuentes’ pressed assumption seeks the obvious: give a pipedream possibility to Slager’s stretched justification, while attempting to still appear “politically correct” (or on the actual civilian justice side). Santana vehemently declared that there was no struggle; he says Scott was running away from the stun gun—a declaration Fuentes obviously doesn’t want to believe. No studio attendee ever challenges the ex officer.
A thing that constantly found consensus was chilling: were there no video, a heinous crime and miscarriage of justice would be just another unnoticed, standard statistic.
Even so, pundits proclaiming this a blatantly exposed execution still kowtow to a mainstream myth’s desperate deflection from reality, backed sadly by most of CNN’s Afro staff: these “status-quo” assessors still staunchly push the few-bad-cops-only ideology—ignoring police culture.
Such newspersons as these want us to believe their finger definitely rides the country’s interrelated “pulse” (pushing to add broad credence to the “renegade cop” myth); they did leap on the Freddie Gray Baltimore incident where evidence explaining those catastrophic deathblow injuries grows daily.
Pundits greedily perused state’s attorney general Marilyn Mosby’s methodical incident timeline—glaring police report “discrepancies” (for one) resulted in the arrest of 6 Baltimore police officers; inches now expanding that action’s precedence.
Incidentally, medical reports ruled Gray’s injuries (in police custody) resulted from a homicide. Even still Mosby, unsurprisingly, is now under both media and police association attack.
Given this climate how bizarre then that all seem to miss another totally related sensation: serious weight confirming the pervasive cop culture legacy recently unfolds this time in a major west coast city—San Francisco.
A “Bagdad-by-the-bay” scandal unexpectedly piggy-backed yet another active bad cop probe by the Feds. I’ve yet to hear a peep on CNN, of what elsewhere in a more obscure national discourse did subsequently surface.
Here’s the lowdown:
5 San Francisco cops and 1 ex cop (who’d been fired in 2012) were indicted in February, 2014—an incident national outlet did report. The charges: violating defendant’s civil rights, committing theft from Federal programs and stealing valuables (evidence) for themselves, drug dealing and falsifying police records; this caused about 100 of their criminal cases to be dropped.
Initial results: Sergeant Ian Furminger was convicted last December, 2014 and sentenced to 41 months in prison. Officer Edmond Robles was also convicted, sentenced to 39 months.
The 2nd scandal, not finding CNN’s blaring broadcast, erupts resulting from Furminger’s emails that were subpoenaed (standard in the Fed’s investigation) and recently released. Shocking is the word.
The reader sees extremely vile racist and homophobic exchanges—matching the horrendousness of those exposed by Ferguson’s Federal investigation; they’re between Furminger and approximately 10 other officers (not included in the earlier indictment) dating back to 2011.
A disgusted ex SF Police Chief and now District Attorney George Gascon reportedly must examine every prosecution over the last 10 years involving these officers—to see if they’re tainted as well.
Here’s the bomb:
Openly gay, white male officer Michael Robison (a 23 year veteran) immediately resigned in light of the emails—instantly the first casualty. Another officer Noel Schwab resigned shortly thereafter.
In SF’s gay community (mostly male and white) Robison had become somewhat of a celebrity. National gay magazine The Advocate featured Robison on their 1998 front cover (provocatively holding a gun) for their article titled: Gay Cops Out in the precincts and on the streets.
Here’s the ironic clincher:
California’s white gay mainstream erupted in fury discovering that the standard Black Church backed anti gay marriage initiative Prop. 8 (a key focus in Trouble In Black Paradise). Gay rag editorials and stories followed suit ranting and raving, punctuated with this question: how could they (Blacks) reject us (white gays) a “fellow” persecuted group?
Reportedly as well, Black gays were attacked by gay whites, conversely not considering them “kin.”
SF gay media coverage of Robison’s career downfall in a racist and homophobic scandal has drawn miniscule attention toward him specifically. At best I’ve seen him mentioned in a March 19th Bay Area Reporter (B.A.R.) article. The same edition’s editorial also mentions Robison, but he’s lost amid the litany of other departmental scandals.
Here, as I point out in earlier blogs, “white male” dominated gay institutions show peculiarity: their social analysis methods (and emotional allegiance) remain inexplicably entangled in a racist/sexist “white politic” make-up; it’s the same emotional shutdown and compartmentalizing (regarding others) gripping greater white society—its persnickety hetero counterpart—dragging along all that nasty “info selective” baggage.
It is bizarre that the screaming contradiction of a white gay officer’s particular participation (and career loss) from such damning revelations draws no editorial unto itself. Even the photo of that Advocate cover, published clearly in the March 20th 2015 SF Examiner, finds no space in SF’s gay rags I’ve seen.
Contrast this with another extensive B.A.R. reported incident: the arrest of a former San Francisco 49er, both Black and gay, that became a page 3 B.A.R. headlined story unto itself—mug shot photo and all.
33 year old Kwame Harris was arrested in SF on April 5th, apparently after being found “groggy” in a “still running” car, awkwardly situated at a chained driveway. It followed Harris’ alleged hitting several cars while driving erratically and resisting arrest charge was included. Medics initially took Harris to a hospital and he was released on bail the next day.
Harris first became featured news in 2013, charged with domestic abuse against a then lover—he was convicted. Following his unrelated release this past April 6th B.A.R. (without result) did seek an interview.
But nowhere did I see B.A.R. claim an interview attempt had been made of scandal rocked Robison. While anxious to drill Black gay Harris with inquiries it appears critical questions that should be asked of white gay Robison were deemed irrelevant, or not as important—or might just hit too close to home.
Here’s what I would ask and what every gay rag should be attempting to ask Robison:
Where you comfortable with those email exchanges, thinking them harmless, or merely pressured by the department’s climate to fit in? Do you actually feel a kinship with that “old boy’s” network and see it as a “network?” Did you ever attempt to rebuff those extremely revolting racist, homophobic jibes, or express personal insult? Did you feel that decrying such inflammatory bantering would jeopardize your career?
More so: given the deep history of viciousness targeting gays and Blacks by police forces (and major crime assistance neglect) do you not believe that this level of fostered homophobic and racist police attitude puts both gays and Black citizens in immense social risk? Did you not consider your being openly gay in the department as opportunity for change—opening doors for gays and creating better police/community relationships?
And this: What was growing up as a homosexual child like for you? Was “coming out” not difficult and did a connection to the Civil Rights Movement ever happen for your family—and for you?
Gay rags not highlighting the serious irony of a white gay cop’s accommodation of racist and homophobic bantering on such an impacting systemic level, kills the desired Civil Rights kinship (especially with a Black mainstream); touting it conveniently only when seeking huge social gain is merely disgraceful lip service.
Not a peep can be heard of this in the Castro’s corridors; apparently white gay men think a white gay cop’s damning ties to severe homophobic taunts matters not one bit—the white sexual “male trophy” image blinding whites to far greater priorities. Many I’ve spoken to are not familiar with the scandal at all.
And the few Blacks, snugly settled into Castro’s social network (and fundraising for its charities) raise not a peep themselves.
It follows suit more with Tom Fuentes, constantly obscuring the nasty reality of racist police culture, or media pundits blaming entrenched racist climates on a few rogue cops; white gay media seems to not want white gay racism to seem as prevalent as it really is. Black lives (let alone Black LGBT lives) appear not to matter to white gays propped in seats that tie and steer gay community building.
Civil Rights veterans know a thing: when organizing on behalf of an endangered and defamed, but beautifully legitimate people, leadership has to step up from somewhere.
The nature of media for socially attacked “members” transcends luxury, making it a critical leadership tool for implementing knowledge and resource—sustenance for constituents who’ve been robbed (of broader perspectives and healthier self-esteem particularly).
Gay media touts itself as a vital means of LGBT network connection to added leadership sources. It props its laurels against standard media’s legacy of so effectively in history, using ugly stereotypes and defaming lies to derail homosexuals (let alone people of color).
Hence a local gay rag’s acerbic irony in duplicating CNN’s news “white out” on this and other matters. It’s as if some Cosby-like media magic (keeping a tight lid on his rumored NYC sexual escapades, which took forever to leak from that city) has now swept over the Bay Area—rendering key news nationally “invisible.”
Debunked is the notion CNN’s cop culture apologist “experts” thoroughly inspect even blatant bleeps on the national radar; seriously calling to question how their mechanical refuting of that tenacious cop culture holds valid.
Herein, white gays need an internal media voice that tells them racism and internalized homophobia run deep in its dominant white community—these conditions, now brilliantly seen leaping out of “white gay folds” into SF’s so-called liberal greater system, are hardly benign.