Walking While Black


The state of Florida has declared open season on young black males.  Any white person, anywhere in Florida can open fire and kill a young black man;  any white law enforcement officer can assault, arrest or physical intimidate black boys willy nilly and expect nothing will happen to them.  If you don’t believe me just ask Bobby Wingate Wingate

Walking down the road, minding his own business, one First Coast man says he was assaulted by a Police Officer and thrown in jail for no reason.

When he was tried for the crime, a judge threw out the case half way through the trial.

Bobby Wingate said the incident occurred on Oliver Street in Arlington.

The last time Wingate walked down the road, he said he called 9-1-1 to protect himself from the police.

“He parked his car right up here near this curve,” he said as he pointed.

On a 9-1-1 recording of that night Wingate can be heard saying, “He said do I really want to fight him? I haven’t done anything wrong.”………

According to court papers uncovered by First Coast News at the federal courthouse, Wingate was walking down the road in December when a JSO Police Officer stopped him and asked to talk.

When he told the officer he was running late for an appointment, the officer cited him for walking on the wrong side of the road.

According to court papers the officer then hit Wingate in the face and engaged his Taser. That’s when Wingate called 9-1-1.

Wingate spent a night in jail, and the State Attorney’s Office took the case to trial.

He was charged with resisting arrest without violence, and walking down the wrong side of the road.

But in court, the officer testified he wasn’t sure what side of the road Wingate was on.

Before the defense could even present its case, the judge ruled that there was not nearly enough evidence to proceed and dropped the charges and the case against Wingate.

I am not a fan of police officers because repeatedly I read about how they abuse and assault citizen rights and this case with Wingate reinforces my prejudices that they are terrorists in communities in which they patrol….those of them who are bad anyway.  However, what is interesting about this case revolves around another case and the prosecutor  that both cases have in common.

Remember Trayvon Martin, the young man who was murdered by George Zimmerman?  During his trial a medical examiner Dr. Shiping Bao made assertions that buttressed the prosecution’s case, if the prosecution was really interested in bring Zimmerman to justice.  However, Bao doesn’t think that was the case and was vocal about that saying the district attorney was sloppy, indifferent and proclaimed Martin got what he deserved.  With those attitudes, according to Bao the prosecutor carried out a half-hearted case.  His opinion of how the prosecutor conducted herself is what got him fired and as a result of his termination, he’s decided like Wingate to sue the prosecutor, Angela Corey.

CoreyWho is Angela Corey?

Before Corey made national news by charging Zimmerman with murder for killing Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the state attorney was no stranger to calculated risks. She had already made a 12-year-old face first-degree murder charges.

She also put a woman in prison for 20 years for firing at, yet missing, an allegedly abusive husband, the prosecutor’s office says. Now, a growing number of critics describe her as a desperate prosecutor who regularly overcharges defendants and is more interested in making a name for herself than in seeking justice.

“She had the worst reputation in Florida for overcharging and the worst reputation with professional responsibility,” said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor explaining why Corey should not have tried the Zimmerman case. “There are some great prosecutors in Florida and across the country. She’s not one of them.”

On the one hand Corey conducted a luke warm prosecution of a cold blooded murderer in George Zimmerman, fired a medical examiner who could have helped her case  yet went after a man for walking on the wrong side of the street only to have that case thrown out by the trial judge.  Is this indicative of the type of justice you can expect if you are a black man in Florida?  It’s hard to think otherwise.

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The past and the present converge


I saw this headline, Tremaine McMillian, 14 year old with puppy, choked by Miami-Dade Police over ‘Dehumanizing Stares’ and thought almost immediately of Emmit Till another 14 year old African-American boy who was set upon and murdered by a gang because of a loud wolf whistle and wondered what is it about gestures and body language of 14 year old black  boys that makes people in power go bonkers?

I don’t remember much about being 14 years old, it happened so very long ago, but I didn’t weigh 150 pounds soaking wet so it wouldn’t have taken much or too many to subdue me, but in the most recent case a half naked McMillian was set upon by two officers because of how he looked at them.  It was clear he didn’t have a weapon…he barely had on any clothes; he was carrying an animal and he probably weighed less than I did when I was his age but there’s something about skin color and uniforms that makes people act in strange ways, and policemen and especially white policemen seemed threatened by black boys.

Emmett-Till-507515-1-402What happened to McMillian is the same as what happened to Emmit Till almost 60 years ago with the exception Till’s encounter with white authority resulted in the loss of his life.  He too was accused of indecent body language that his accusers felt deserved their attention and correction.  Although Till’s  killers were widely known they were never brought to justice which is almost akin to McMillian being charged with a felony because of his stare and demeanor…the demeanor of being a black 14 year old boy in the south which will result if not in a jail sentence, more attention from authorities because of the stigma such charges will bring.

What is it about this toxic mix of black male youths who are primarily defenseless and white authority that usually ends up so tragically for the former?  I know young people can be especially petulant and unyielding but is that reason enough to exert force that causes physical harm or even death which seems to be the outcome whenever these two ingredients of race and power come together. There are other parallels to be drawn from this combination of race and power….many of which are being played out in Washington, DC.  I wonder whether these young boys are being made examples of so that others don’t  grow up and become ambitious enough to think they can sit in the halls of power and tell others what to do; what is going on with Obama is motivated by  the same forces which are signaling to young aspirant black youth that Obama’s example is what will happen to them should they get too uppity and seek to grab the rings of power that have previously been reserved for only some.  The revolving door of race and politics continues to trap us until and unless we stop it and figure out how to get out of it!  Fix this America!

Another example of citizens taking control of their safety


I’m not a big fan of the “police state”.  It is often time abusive and tramples on the rights of citizens.  The story of the cops blasting into the house of someone they thought was issuing internet threats against the local police department is just one very small example of a police force out of control.  Of course excessive policing is about control over the citizenry not about protecting them.  Diligent, aware citizens are generally able to protect themselves; police only need to mop up what’s left.

This story is an excellent example of the ability of a homeowner to defend himself and his family and the keystonesque inability of the local police force to pick up where the homeowner leaves off.  Awakened late at night by noise, the homeowner, Joe Pacetti found this whacked out individual, Jeremiah Haughee (pictured above) sitting on Pacetti’s roof, and otherwise invading his property.  The homeowner  confronts the naked trespasser with a legally owned firearm and a struggle ensues.  The property owner joined by his son is able to subdue  Haughee and in the course of the struggle is smart enough to give his firearm to his wife in order to avoid injuring himself, his son or even the trespasser!!  Evidently he realized he didn’t need to shoot him.  Wow….what a guy!  Unfortunately, the police have to get involved and they do, in a blundering sort of way.  Where a single homeowner and his son and wife are able to subdue Haughee, it took 5 police officers to get him into their car.  Oh, and we forgot to mention the number of times they  tasered  him before doing so.  Five officers and repeated tasing to do what it took one man and his son to do.  I would have preferred the homeowner take Haughee down to the police station himself.

I can’t speak for the property owner…no doubt he was glad to have the police come and help him out, but I can say that he’s an excellent model of how to do things right!  He’s a responsible firearms owner who recognized the danger of engaging  someone with his weapon in his hand at the same time realizing that the weapon was not the appropriate way to deal with the situation, (Remember Rodriguez in Texas that we wrote about yesterday??) was able to safely secure the weapon and deal with the situation so that the invader was no longer a threat to him or his family.  Bravo!!  The Pacetti family needs to be given the keys to the city where they live.  I’m not trying to be funny here….I applaud that kind of diligence and competence.  We need more of it from our citizens.  It shows we can protect ourselves, without the oppressive and abusive powers of police departments; unfortunately it also shows that those who are supposed to protect and serve usually get in the way!  Citizens 1, police 0.

Rodney King, part deux, or this happens all the time


Fifteen year old Chad Holley was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 2 1/5 years probation, until he reaches eighteen years.  Holley was a first time offender who was charged along with several other accomplices for a crime whose notoriety was not in what he did, but rather what was done to him, and which resulted in the termination of 4 Houston police officers.

Essentially what you see in the tape below is an assault carried out by the police against an unarmed man, who was lying prone, unresistant, in full compliance, and who was the target of police rage.  He had no weapon, nor had he assaulted a police officer, his only crime was running from the officers after being a suspect in a burglary.  Had such a beating been visited upon anyone else by anyone else it would have resulted in charges against the perpetrators.  Luckily the police chief of Houston saw it that way in this case and four officers, are being charged for what you see on the tape.   In that respect, kudos to police chief Charles McClelland for ridding his department of four very bad apples.  You can read about just how bad they were, here.

What this speaks to however, is a wider problem with American society and that is opposition no matter what form it takes is met with inappropriate force to serve as an example of what happens to people who some consider ‘out of line’.  Holley in the video below is purely compliant, assumes a non-aggressive stance, with no report of him being verbally abusive towards police, but that is not good enough.  He had to be, in the minds of these officers, humiliated, humbled, terrorized because of his act of defiance….an act that did not merit the physical punishment he had to endure.  That has become the way we operate in general in today’s America.  If you resist, you must pay for your “crime” in the worse possible way; if physical punishment is not appropriate, then verbal harangue or litigation (as in the recent case of Jimmy Carter, which you can read about here) will be brought to bear with every available means in order to make you feel subjected to the power which you rebelled against.  This is the language we speak to one another today, that of wholehearted subjugation.  No one does it better than government, and no one is a better enforcer of that than the media and the police.