Greetings charged-up readers!
Trouble in Black Paradise barrels right along and jolts the nation.
In San Francisco a shocking incident duplicating Chicago’s tragedy in practically every way recently occurred. 26-year-old Mario Woods was shot 15 times on December 2nd by at least 5 Officers in the Bayview District. Nine officers surrounded Woods who was up against a wall and all had guns drawn.
Unlike in Chicago Woods’ situation was recorded on a bystander’s video (no SF cop body cams are in place yet, being on indefinite delay). Also the SF video was released immediately.
Then similarities begin: the viewer sees Woods, who’s been pepper sprayed and bean bag shot, looking extremely lethargic, even staggering (as if a light breeze could blow him over) while apparently holding a knife. Woods tries to move away and the corralling officers unleash their barrage of gunfire—clearly contradicting the police report claiming he came at them wielding the knife.
Video from Chicago kept that city framed in the national media spotlight, but particularly on CNN’s 24hour news stream. Black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald is seen walking down the middle of the street, away from arriving officers, then crumpling to the ground from a hail of bullets—16 shots being attributed solely to 37yearold white Officer Jason Van Dyke.
It happened on October 20, 2014, but astoundingly this damning video was not released until just over a year later on November 24, 2015. Viewers know that Van Dyke remained a paid staff member the whole time, then was fired and charged with first degree murder—only after the video’s release.
Subsequent scenes showed Black led multicultural protesters flooding Chicago streets, demanding resignations from the top 3 agency heads: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Emanuel, stating that he himself was just as responsible, ousted McCarthy on December 1st (forcing him to resign) though steadfastly pooh-poohing his own departure call. Alvarez hasn’t budged.
San Francisco police actions have been likened to that of a firing squad. Given this glaring video though, SF administration response swings us back to striking contrast.
Police Chief Greg Suhr merely held a Bayview community meeting (standard after any cop related shooting). Suhr, in the face of that video, attempted to justify officer’s actions with typical redundant rationale—they feared for their lives. An outraged community called for both his resignation and a murder charge for the cops who shot Woods. Suhr steadfastly refused both requests.
And a real humdinger: SF’s first Asian Mayor Ed Lee gave a profoundly different response to this exposed video than Chicago’s Emanuel (after theirs finally surfaced)—Lee staunchly backs Suhr and his assessment.
Differences only pile up: I saw no CNN national SF coverage of Woods whatsoever, let alone duplication of what became ceaseless replay detailing horrific Chicago details—their reporters plunked in the thick of protesters right on that city’s streets.
Mayor Lee, aside from his initially backing police actions, commented to the press Thursday, December 3rd following a mass Bayview protest. Lee, promising a full and transparent investigation had earlier said he supports Tasers for cops, extremely unpopular with the local public (as persons hit by the devices with compromised health are known to have died).
At a time when racist cop culture barrels undeterred (out of this country’s beginnings) CNN’s white ex cops turned pundits rigorously cover-up a power mongering “cultural reality”—every step of the way. Tom Fuentes and Harry Houck (Retired FBI Assistant Director and NYC Detective) argue shamefully for the “few bad apples” theory.
Ironically Fuentes and Houck make themselves the perfect poster boy examples of the “blue code” fraternity itself. Eternal “code” members fight to preserve that “culture’s” almost untouchable power base, skewing perspectives to draw sympathy toward overboard manhandling tactics—actions especially preferred during basic contacts with “minorities.”
Just watch the Sandra Bland Texas arrest video. Officer Brian Encinia is seen and heard absolutely demeaning her, escalating the situation violently like a thug probing for excuses, rather than respecting and protecting her citizenry as he is sworn to do—in Sandra’s words, “all of this over a taillight!”
All of this cop analyst whitewashing of “culture” while evidence to the contrary (joining the costly national pile-up) screams from SF, a major U.S. city—only to be ignored.
Earlier this year I wrote about CNN skipping over extremely racist and sexist emails implicating 14 SF cops; they surfaced amid a separate Federal investigation of officers (whom the feds eventually convicted of corruption). The first email casualty was Officer Michael Robison—ironically an openly gay white male and rising Castro District celebrity—who immediately resigned.
Recently more cops participating in a Tenderloin District drug sting have been accused of not just singularly arresting Blacks:
Calling Black men “boys,” women “black bitches” and leisurely using the “N-word” was typical during patrols according to several defendants. Defense attorneys for arrested suspects say Sgt. Shaughn Ryan though, is the absolute worst—allegedly harassing women verbally and sexually (including female “informants”) making intimidation threats to plant evidence and suggesting suspects be shot before due process.
And court records after Woods’ shooting reveal a curious thing: two of the five officers firing on him are previously accused of using excessive force. A civil rights case charges Charles August with beating a Bayview man and a 2011 federal civil rights suit alleges Nicholas Cuevas in 2009 (hired laterally from Antioch by SF in 2011) shot two suspects in the back, trying to kill them.
The other three who discharged at Woods are Antonio Santos, Winson Seto and Scott Phillips.
So while some national outlets seem to at least notice SF events here’s a question: how does the growing exposure of its rancid law enforcement underbelly escape CNN’s so-called serious debate on police “culture”—one supposedly geared to effect “change?”
This past Christmas Eve Trade Unionists joined Black Lives Matter and community members for a heated afternoon rally on City Hall steps. Protesters again called for Chief Suhr’s resignation and demanded the 5 officers be fired, arrested and charged with murder. They called for the public to skip shopping in SF (“go to Walnut Creek instead”) then gathered inside at Mayor Lee’s office—Lee conveniently was away on vacation.
Unlike Chicago though, no mass crowds marched down Market Street to peacefully sit and block holiday traffic. No crowds converged in Union Square to peacefully disrupt Christmas shopping, contrasting Black Friday 2014: Black Lives Matter members peacefully chained themselves to an Oakland Bart platform (halting SF bound traffic) and marchers disrupted ceremonious Union Square activity (where unfortunately a separate violent arm broke store windows and sprayed graffiti) after Ferguson’s failure to indict officer Darren Wilson.
Apparently, although two different videos show extremely duplicate circumstances (and outcomes) one less bullet in the SF barrage hitting Woods is not enough for CNN’s repetitive coverage—both in studio and on the activity scene.
The rising, alarming volume of racist fabric being exposed in so many of SF’s law enforcement sectors—also duplicating bile spilling out of Ferguson’s records—is more than enough for the Department of Justice to intercede and conduct a thorough independent internal investigation here (not just of the Woods incident itself).
Chief Surh’s flimsy excuse for those officers firing on Woods, justifying refusal to make arrests (choosing an “insider” investigation before taking counter action) screams for a desperately needed “external” fed intervention.
The critical arbitration need here should have every SF social sector—looking to clean house, refine justice procedures and results—feeling absolutely impacted (and loudly joining the “call”). One group you’d think would feel connected though, tends to show indifference—if not worse.
SF’s predominantly white gay community and its outlets hardly peep about these mounting local and national incidents. No strong arm of representation stretches out offering purposefully visible solidarity with Black Lives Matter—a movement tilling critically shared ground (and actually co founded by a Black lesbian).
Common sense says white gays should not feel so snugly safe in light of the searing homophobic aspects in those cop’s emails—let alone indifferent. Problems here are huge and contradictory:
A contingent of Black Lives Matter did protest at a Castro bar (Toad Hall) whose owner has constantly been accused of entrenched racism and overall discriminatory practices—a staff member is accused of physically attacking those protesters.
And it’s hard to think of the Castro’s white gay male heirs showing investment in “outsider” minorities, given that the integrity of representing male homosexual life itself (within its own spaces) steadily dwindles in importance.
Case-and-point: Castro’s early gay scene exploded in world popularity (overrunning the Irish ethnic pocket that did reside there) for a specific reason. Mass infusion rode on its dynamic gay male “sanctuary” reputation. Men dared to provide physical and key visual reinforcement, even on the streets—items obviously under attack, forbidden within a dangerously hostile greater society.
I personally never ignored the priority emphasized by society (concentrating on a specific area of attack): eradicating the “visual” of male-on-male intimacy.
Now, with blaring flat screens in every gay bar instead of proprietors removing that huge man-love deficit (expanding the replenishment of “our” overall visual depth) we’re flooded with the opposite—straight movies, videos and sitcom shows endlessly hyping heterosexual convention.
Gays are bombarding the psyche’s of their own with unchanged media “cosmetics” that still marginalize or exclude gay presence altogether, oh so naturally (just the way that very same media still does with Blacks—as if gays themselves are the new promotional branch for Anita Bryant campaigns touting “acceptable imagery.”
In this climate it’s no wonder I still must admonish too many gay men regarding their lackadaisical attitude toward escalated gay bashing—most “coming around” only after waking up in hospitals (not even able to give descriptions).
Given the “gay-disposable” air found in cop’s emails concern here should gush around the obvious: emergency response and solving cases possibly being greatly under prioritized.
Undoubtedly if reps (and profiting beneficiaries) running SF’s gay operations pushed for greater civil rights movement sensitivity infusion, homosexuals there would more vigilantly not take our safety for granted.
And if a growing drive existed—for “solidarity” with broad based minorities—the openly gay white Officer Robison’s (who critically emerge) might be something else: resourceful godsends, rather than the first casualties in a nasty racist sting.
White gays thus might see something else: they’re repeating the same short-sighted mistakes made by Blacks who’ve lost tremendously in lieu of hard earned gains—progress that can be readily reversed by relentless, massively funded “adversaries.”
Seen would be why Black preachers who were key historical community cornerstones loss favor with multitudes, being more invested in building lucrative personal empires than fortifying those same community gains; ministers not interested in leading broad based unification for expanded economic development and social services (or in light of brutal systemic injustice, taking to the streets).
San Francisco’s Black population is only 3%, but makes up over 50% of jailed inmates. If every Black preacher here joined the few outspoken ones and hit the trail, dragging along their seemingly content congregations, there’d be national “noise” indeed!
Maybe then CNN will add the smoldering evidence of racist SF cop emails to its discourse, or newly “openly gay” Anderson Cooper would personally ask Robison how he could be part of that racist scandal, or just maybe Mario Woods’ shooting would be deemed worthy of coverage that “repeats.”
Just ask Sandra Bland’s mother how important national “noise” is, given that no charges will be filed in her daughter’s Texas case. A recent interview found her awash in gratitude, astounded that every day she hears or sees her daughter mentioned on some media outlet—kept in the public’s conscious.
Mario Woods’ grisly, avoidable situation deserves the same.