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Op-Ed: Why cellphone videos of black people’s deaths should be considered sacred, like lynching photographs

WLA Guest
Written by WLA Guest

By Allissa V. Richardson, The Conversation

As Ahmaud Arbery fell to the ground, the sound of the gunshot that took his life echoed loudly throughout his Georgia neighborhood.

I rewound the video of his killing. Each time I viewed it, I was drawn first to the young black jogger’s seemingly carefree stride, which was halted by two white men in a white pickup truck.

Then I peered at Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Trevor, 34, who confronted Arbery in their suburban community.

I knew that the McMichaels told authorities that they suspected Arbery of robbing a nearby home in the neighborhood. They were performing a citizen’s arrest, they said.

The video shows Arbery jogging down the street and the McMichaels blocking his path with their vehicle. First, a scuffle. Then, gunshots at point-blank range from Travis McMichael’s weapon.

My eyes traveled to the towering trees onscreen, which might have been the last things that Arbery saw. How many of those same trees, I wondered, had witnessed similar lynchings? And how many of those lynchings had been photographed, to offer a final blow of humiliation to the dying?


A series of modern lynchings

It may be jarring to see that word – lynching – used to describe Arbery’s Feb. 23, 2020, killing. But many black people have shared with me that his death – followed in rapid succession by Breonna Taylor’s and now George Floyd’s officer-involved murders – hearkens back to a long tradition of killing black people without repercussion.

Perhaps even more traumatizing is the ease with which some of these deaths can be viewed online. In my new book, “Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism,” I call for Americans to stop viewing footage of black people dying so casually.

Instead, cellphone videos of vigilante violence and fatal police encounters should be viewed like lynching photographs – with solemn reserve and careful circulation. To understand this shift in viewing context, I believe it is useful to explore how people became so comfortable viewing black people’s dying moments in the first place.


Images of black people’s deaths pervasive

Every major era of domestic terror against African Americans – slavery, lynching and police brutality – has an accompanying iconic photograph.

The most familiar image of slavery is the 1863 picture of “Whipped Peter,” whose back bears an intricate cross-section of scars.

Famous images of lynchings include the 1930 photograph of the mob who murdered Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. A wild-eyed white man appears at the bottom of the frame, pointing upward to the black men’s hanged bodies. The image inspired Abel Meeropol to write the poem “Strange Fruit,” which was later turned into a song that blues singer Billie Holiday sang around the world.

Twenty-five years later, the 1955 photos of Emmett Till’s maimed body became a new generation’s cultural touchstone. The 14-year-old black boy was beaten, shot and thrown into a local river by white men after a white woman accused him of whistling at her. She later admitted that she lied.

Throughout the 1900s, and until today, police brutality against black people has been immortalized by the media too. Americans have watched government officials open firehoses on young civil rights protesters, unleash German shepherds and wield billy clubs against peaceful marchers, and shoot and tase today’s black men, women and children – first on the televised evening news, and, eventually, on cellphones that could distribute the footage online.

When I conducted the interviews for my book, many black people told me that they carry this historical reel of violence against their ancestors in their heads. That’s why, for them, watching modern versions of these hate crimes is too painful to bear.

Still, there are other groups of black people who believe that the videos do serve a purpose, to educate the masses about race relations in the U.S. I believe these tragic videos can serve both purposes, but it will take effort.

In 1922 the NAACP ran a series of full-page ads in The New York Times calling attention to lynchings. /New York Times, Nov. 23, 1922/American Social History Project


Reviving the ‘shadow archive’

In the early 1900s, when the news of a lynching was fresh, some of the nation’s first civil rights organizations circulated any available images of the lynching widely, to raise awareness of the atrocity. They did this by publishing the images in black magazines and newspapers.

After that image reached peak circulation, it was typically removed from public view and placed into a “shadow archive,” within a newsroom, library or museum. Reducing the circulation of the image was intended to make the public’s gaze more somber and respectful.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, known popularly as the NAACP, often used this technique. In 1916, for example, the group published a horrific photograph of Jesse Washington, a 17-year-old boy who was hanged and burned in Waco, Texas, in its flagship magazine, “The Crisis.”

Memberships in the civil rights organization skyrocketed as a result. Blacks and whites wanted to know how to help. The NAACP used the money to push for anti-lynching legislation. It purchased a series of costly full-page ads in The New York Times to lobby leading politicians.

Though the NAACP endures today, neither its website nor its Instagram page bears casual images of lynching victims. Even when the organization issued a statement about the Arbery killing, it refrained from reposting the chilling video within its missive. That restraint shows a degree of respect that not all news outlets and social media users have used.

 


A curious double standard

Critics of the shadow archive may argue that once a photograph reaches the internet, it is very difficult to pull back from future news reports.

This is, however, simply not true.

Images of white people’s deaths are removed from news coverage all the time.

It is difficult to find online, for example, imagery from any of the numerous mass shootings that have affected scores of white victims. Those murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012, or at the Las Vegas music festival of 2017, are most often remembered in endearing portraits instead.

In my view, cellphone videos of black people being killed should be given this same consideration. Just as past generations of activists used these images briefly – and only in the context of social justice efforts – so, too, should today’s imagery retreat from view quickly.

The suspects in Arbery’s killing have been arrested. The Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death have been fired and placed under investigation. The videos of their deaths have served the purpose of attracting public outrage.

To me, airing the tragic footage on TV, in auto-play videos on websites and social media is no longer serving its social justice purpose, and is now simply exploitative.

Likening the fatal footage of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd to lynching photographs invites us to treat them more thoughtfully. We can respect these images. We can handle them with care. In the quiet, final frames, we can share their last moments with them, if we choose to. We do not let them die alone. We do not let them disappear into the hush of knowing trees.


Allissa V. Richardson is an assistant professor of journalism at the USC Annenberg. She researches how marginalized communities use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism — especially in times of crisis.

Richardson is the author of “Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism.” The book explores the lives of 15 mobile journalist-activists who documented the Black Lives Matter movement using only their smartphones and Twitter, from 2013 to 2017.

She is a pioneer in mobile journalism (MOJO), and has launched the first smartphone-only college newsroom in 2010. The MOJO Lab, based on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, expanded globally in 2011 to include classes for allied nonprofit organizations in Morocco and South Africa


This essay is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. You can also read the essay in its original form at the Conversation here.

Photos by Lorie Shaull, Flickr.

The Conversation

83 Comments

  • The never ending cycle:

    1. Black person commits crime
    2. Police try to detain/arrest black person
    3. Black person resists
    4. Cops use force (sometimes excessive but mostly not)
    5. Force looks horrible on video (even when justified)
    6. Blacks riot and loot…sorry “protest”
    7. Guilt-ridden whites show support for the black criminal
    8. Cops (often BLACK or BROWN) get cleared when the FACTS are presented to a jury

    AND……Repeat

    I can’t IMAGINE how these beatings/deaths could POSSIBLY be prevented (See No. 1)

    OR….society could just give blacks a pass on committing crime and tell cops NOT to enforce laws.

    • Ay, you have just pointed to the problem at #4: cops use force (sometimes excessive force but mostly not).

      Force can be used to effect an arrest & overcome resistance, but when resistance ceases force must also cease.

      If not then rioting begins.

    • Imma continue to pray for you my brotha, I wonder how many others in the tan n green share your same views. I have encountered many and I will pray for them as well.

      • And 1:

        Kellie Chauvin, wife of the officer involved here, just announced she’s divorcing her husband because of this incident. They were married ten years.

        Full particulars can be Googled.

        Wives know.

  • While it is important to let the investigation/due process procedures play out, both the Arbery and Floyd incidents appear to have been grossly mishandled, leading to tragic results. It would be a great world if people obeyed the law and didn’t try to run/resist but that’s never been reality and never will be. Arrestees can be combative and appropriate force has to be used but there’s no defense I can muster for the decisions made in either of these cases. This has zero to do with white guilt, liberal values, political party or any other nonsense excuses. It is about right and wrong – period. It’s also about a whole lot of other things – training, respect for the law, empathy, common sense, etc. Police across this nation have expressed disapproval and appropriately so.

  • Uhh.. lots of videos out there.. some of them show the people described as victims in this op ed in a less than favorable light. Those videos exist, as much as some people would like to pretend they don’t . Witness la is kinda busting my chops on this, but what the hell, there it is

    • Agreed re being cooperative and appreciate this article. Whether or not kneeling on this man’s neck was the direct cause of death or contributory is important to sort out but either way in my opinion, it was wrong. The man was cuffed. There were multiple cops there. He purportedly asked a dozen times for the officer to take his knee off of his neck before falling unconscious. Another officer’s suggestion to place Mr. Floyd on his side was also allegedly ignored. This was all over trying to get groceries with counterfeit currency. You have to ask if a “reasonable man” would find this appropriate. I think not.

  • I know the fact Mr. Floyd allegedly committed a crime which is why the police were initially called. The video shows him on the ground handcuffed and with the officers knee on his neck. Will we (or do) ever know what led to the police putting Mr. Floyd on the ground? One can argue that he was handcuffed and “defenseless” on the ground and the force being used was excessive but the devil will be in the details as they say.

    Let’s just hope the rioting and rush to judgement and conviction by the media doesn’t play out like Ferguson, Missouri. In that case the FBI investigation painted a different picture of the incident and the results fell on deaf ears. Peoples minds had been made up, their blood lust satisfied, lawsuits and payout checks cashed and a lot of unnecessary deaths and destruction across the country.

    I applaud the President for not stoking the flames like President Obama did which only resulted in an escalation of distrust and division in the country. Let the states handle state issues, which is what most state governors always say want, and the Federal Government play the role of neutral observer. The DOJ will be monitoring and doing their own investigation.

  • Autopsy showed his knee placement wasn’t the cause of Floyd’s death but I’d be amazed if it wasn’t a contributing factor. What was he thinking? No reason to remain in his dominant position for so long, none. Now he’s going to prison, not for as long as people might want but he’s going.
    Meanwhile the animals are acting out even worse than usual. Should be getting their ass kicked. But this is not the way the new “Woke” Mayors and Councils allow Chiefs to let their cops handle violent thugs.
    Of course the great one Obama fans the flames by claiming this is “normal” cop business in 2020.
    What a horrible petty disgusting little man. Can’t Function probably loves the injuries that officers are having to deal with just like most Leftist cowards. Sad time for the rule of law.

  • Well the liberals planted the seed. Let’s see if they get want they asked for. It all started with the anti police rhetoric with the Obama administration and continued to be fed by the leftist liberal press. The false accusations of systems police racism and brutality against blacks in this country where criminal behavior is excused for political expediency and white guilt. What happens when u dial 911 and no one answers. We are about to find out as black communities are destroyed by their own residents

  • Does anybody actually think the officers that held Mr. Floyd down intended to kill him. Much like the Rodney King incident, the other male black suspect in the car cooperated and was not harmed. The constitution as I understand it does not excuse criminal behavior based on a persons race. We are all expected to cooperate with the police when we are contacted. When we don’t bad things happen.

    • Fortunately many Cops do not agree with you.

      Chauvin knew exactly what he was doing.
      To make it worse, when told by witnesses that the forgery suspect could not breathe, Chauvin got pissed and applied more pressure with his knee. No valid defense at all for Chauvin.

      No doubt that his wife also suffered by his hand as she wisely filed for divorce.
      Another devil who will have to go in hiding for the remainder of his natural life.

      Even Trump can’t help Chauvin’s cowardly ass.

    • Which is why no murder charge of a higher consequence could be filed. Just wait until he’s found guilty, which he will, and receives the maximum sentence of 11 years.
      It will be groundhogs day.

  • Bandwagon, that is a GREAT point, of COURSE those cops weren’t trying to kill Floyd. But the answer is, “Yes,” lots of black people believe that, because they’ve grown up in a culture of victimhood where they’re taught everyone and everything is racist and against them, particularly the police (“….for 400 years!”). When in fact, today’s blacks enjoy preferential treatment at the expense of other races (college admissions, workplace promotions, award ceremonies, etc.) their ancestors couldn’t have imagined. All for the sake of “diversity,” which is code for FEWER white people.

    One person initiated, controlled and determined the outcome of the incident in Minneapolis. Now I hear black voices saying they should actively RESIST the police…exactly the OPPOSITE of what they should do.

    For perspective, this isn’t just an American problem, it’s in every country….even countries where the legacy of slavery can’t be blamed.

    I honestly hope police around the nation pull back from enforcing the law when blacks are involved. The country will quickly see what happens when the sheepdog, who the sheep increasingly hate, stops guarding the flock.

    • Yes continue to burn, loot, and shoot. The silent majority is arming. When this mob starts migrating to nice neighborhoods, the good citizens of America will quickly solve the problem.

      • Surprisingly the majority of the mob are from nicer neighborhoods.
        The wannabe homies all have backpacks as they want some street cred to “be down” with the black communities.

        Do you really think that the majority of the mob that you you saw, specifically Caucasians (including females) live in the affected area?

        Just know that outside of the ignorant few that you do see, other civilianzed America will not accept your bullshit anymore, period.

    • Not matter what Arbery did, they didn’t have the right to hunt him down and kill.

      No matter what Floyd did, they didn’t have the right to continue to harm him once he was handcuffed, subdued, non combative and complaining he could not breathe.

      2 individuals have been killed for petty crimes….but wait, was there ever a crime that had been committed.

      In Central Park we found that an educated African American male was bird watching and had LE called on him for simply talking to a white woman. “ You saw the video”.

      People, you have your narrative and I have mine.

      @LASD Apostle, I’m sure you believe your doing the lords work based on your screen name. That term is thrown around a lot on the department. Well our Lord n Savior was in part crucified because he judge man not by his color or wealth.

      Not all LE are bad, I believe that.
      Not all white folks are bad, I believe that.
      Not all people of color are bad, I believe that.

      But like I say, I will continue to pray for this world cause I don’t want my sons son to live in the same fear I live in.

      Stay Blessed

  • Ladies, now you don’t want to rush to judgment? Make up your mind. When its black or brown kid you assume he is guilty as soon as those pant fall an inch below his waist. When its a potbellied uniformed hero accused of overstepping or killing someone or molesting someone or accused of defrauding the system with false claims of disability you want to let the justice system take its course. Ladies, make up your mind.

    On this one, however, I must agree with Fifi, “the animals are acting out worse than usual.” As we saw in a video a few days ago on this post, one of those animals beat a homeless man who was not even moving. Albeit, he called him a F#$%^ Faggot,” but wasn’t even moving. Now we see another animal if not outright killing a man with his knee on his back at least contribute to his death. We recently heard of some animals that shot a woman numerous times in her apartment while looking for a man that did not even live there and that may have already been apprehended. Yes, Fifi, the animals are acting out more than usual. But, thank you for not calling them pigs because Celeste will not allow the use of that word for these animals. I guess we can use “animals” for them from now on.

    LASD Apostle, you are incorrect. It is not a never ending cycle. The cycle has much changed. Outline the cycle in place 150 years ago, or the one 50 years ago or the one 30 years ago. It used to be:
    1. See black man (you called them N%#%^s) – stop black man
    2. N^&%^% talk back, shoot him
    3. Claim N^$%@# threatened cop
    4. Move on

    You see, now you cant move on. Now you may have to answer the brother or sister’s complaint, at minimum. Now, you may get sued. Now you may lose your job like these animals that put the knee on the brother. Now, as we have seen in a few cases, you may face criminal charges. Now, as we have seen in a few cases you may even go to prison. Now, as we saw in Dallas a few years ago in Dallas, a brother may climb a building with the words of Bobby Seale in his mind that Today’s Pig is Tomorrow’s Bacon, and, god forbid, take out uniformed heroes. Or, at minimum, a brother may come up to you, as they did last night, so pissed by how you treat them and break the windows of your car, break your hand and call you a pig to your face and you have to bite back your tongue because the world is watching. That was not the cycle as recently as the 70s. So, you see, my potbellied hero, its not the same cycle and the times they are a’changing. You will have to try harder to make America great again, and you are still not going back in time, Dorothy.

    Bandwagon, you are correct, I do not think that officer was trying to kill the man. That animal, as Fifi calls them, just didn’t give enough of a F@#$ to do his job right and have regard for the man’s life. Maybe not first degree murder, but there are others. And, you blame Obama? Really? Listen, Trump, the brothers did not hear Obama say anything, they saw a video of an animal kill a black man.

    Finally, back to you LASD Apostle, the bothers don’t believe the animal, as Fifi calls them, tried to kill the man because they have been led to think that “everything is racism,” as you claim. They believe that animal killed Mr. Floyd because they saw a video of the animal killing Mr. Floyd. As usual, you make asinine comments.

    • Cf, (Greg) just pretend he cops are Israeli defense forces and that Floyd is a Palestinian kid and you’ll feel a lot better. I know it’s not really the same thing as Floyd’s death was probably accidental, he wasn’t shot with a sniper rifle, but you get the point.

    • But this guy CF….rather than judge individual actions of people he’d rather throw a giant blanket across an entire group.

    • Isn’t it amazing how the media said nothing about the Black attendant in the nursing home using the elderly White man as a punching bag. It was up and gone about as fast as Can’t Function lasts with a woman. Same with the story about the Black guy gunning down the elderly couple in the Veterans Cemetery in Delaware, gone quicker than Can’t Function looses a wife to a White guy.
      Animals, now you know better, you probably pay youngsters to go get your groceries afraid of the ones in your neighborhood. I get it, grew up with some up in mine but where you’re just mouth and pretend my brothers and I held our own. You couldn’t have lasted, why you’re living back with the folks now depending on the government thanking God they got at least one pension and SS.
      Go to bed in that nice basement room they kept for you and hammer away little fella. Remember in your prayers to pray to God your liquor store hasn’t been torched yet. What you going to do if that happens, there’s your real tragedy. Or wait, what if mom and pops can’t get their meds, lot of places burning, and go belly up? It’s back to the streets and a tent and a nice shopping cart for you, maybe two. Good night CF, sleep tight little man.

  • LASD Apostle….

    I would say that a history of slavery, oppression, institutionalized racism, workplace discrimination, educational discrimination, housing discrimination have left deep scars past, present and most likely into the future. Black people have been here since the early days of this countries existence, fought in every war yet still feel a sense of exclusion…whether perceived or actually felt. Some would argue that something is wrong in a country that Blacks have shed blood for yet still feel left behind and excluded. In all societies there has to be a lower class for which the middle class strive to distance themselves from and the upper class have to exploit for their personnel gain. Why couldn’t Black people historically by homes and properties in those neighborhoods were appreciation helped ensure generational wealth building? I will tell you, because Black people couldn’t go to the better schools, live in the neighborhoods and get the jobs to afford living in those areas that afforded upward mobility…Redlining at work…institutionalized racism at play whether implicit or explicit…all had the same outcome. With regards to affirmative action, as a Black person living in this country and especially this state, I don’t see any free passes or handouts coming my way. I’ve had to work pretty damn hard (legally) for what little I do have. Blacks are the only true minority in the state of California as Hispanics, whites and Asians far outnumber them, yet they don’t appear to be living the Fresh Price of Bel Aire dream.

    There is no excuse to give up ones morals, principles and adopt a lifestyle of lawlessness, but 300+ years of oppression is bound to leave some deep mental and emotional scars. We are just dealing with the resulting manifestation. I would agree that a victim/dependent mentality has been created and fostered as a way of control, which can trace its roots back to slavery which evolved into share cropping after the civil war and the modern day welfare system. What better way for government to control and ensure a dependent underclass, maintain an economic status quo and control the the hearts and minds of a group of people. A cycle of self hate, despair, hopelessness, ignorance and mis guided priorities.

    I do hope, just as most “smart people” don’t paint all police with a broad brush like racists tend to do, police around the country realize not all Black people hate the police and encourage lawlessness but want safety, security and prosperity just like everyone else does. Black people just as White people are not some monolithic group think organism.

    Oh..my family members and I are veterans and some in-law enforcement and the fire service. I (we) have served this country honorably and will continue to do so as it is our home and we want it to be a good place for our children, grand children and great grand children to live in. Isn’t this what every American should want regardless of race, color or ethnicity?

    • @American: Facts, facts and more facts.

      For guys like the “LASD Apostle”, his fear and his hatred of blacks are quite evident.
      His squeaky wheel always need oil being the fearmongering that he fosters.

    • American – That is exactly what every American should want. Thank you for your articulate and thoughtful comments.

  • My bullshit? The riots are because people care about Floyd…That bullshit? Police bullshit? Antifa white kids coming out of their basement to destroy society…that bullshit?
    What bullshit?
    It’s all bullshit.
    The ignorant cops who treat blacks poorly, yup, they’re assholes and that’s bullshit.

    Riots disguised as protests, those are bullshit. Just a reason to loot, steal, and cause mayhem. 99% of those involved don’t give a shit about real problems.

    False narrative that blacks are targeted by police? Well, that may actually be real. However, when you commit a crime the police generally come to you. So, stop committing crimes and they’ll stop coming. That goes for whites, browns, all the colors. Stop committing crimes and the police will not come. It’s actually so simple it’s hard to understand I suppose.

    It’s all bullshit. I’m sure police try to hire the best they can but some assholes make it in. So when the worst of the police meet up with the worst in the community (criminals) bad shit happens. The cop is going to jail. He’s already been judged now it’s just a matter of “due process” but a fair trial he will not have. Maybe he doesn’t deserve one. It’s all bullshit.

    I never said rioters come from affected areas. No doubt some pimple faced basement dwellers showed up and caused problems. I really don’t care. Keep burning down the businesses that care for you….that’ll show the man! Maybe there’s a reason the looting doesn’t spread out of those areas. As a non California resident, I just loaded 30 of them into an empty magazine.

    • Correct, No more of your bullshit or the bullshitters who look and think like you. Stay in your foxhole and don’t worry the rest of America.

      The chickens are back home, roosting. You can have thousands of 30 round magazines and it won’t help you.

      • Who look like me?
        I’m curious now…what do I look like?
        I won’t pretend to know what you look like but I can assure you my judgement of you will be based solely off of your actions and not the way you look…but please entertain me.

      • Idk Johnny I think more people would be happier living around a guy like lol and his kind than you and your kind. Judging by property values and whatnot.

  • Rakkasan, yes she filed for divorce. Although, if she really knew she would be left long ago.
    I’d be willing to bet the frenzy of sharks circling contributed to this more than anything she knew about him.
    He needs to go to jail for a very long time.

    • “I’d be willing to bet the frenzy of sharks circling contributed to this more than anything she knew about him.”

      You might not be too far off on that; she not only wants a divorce but she is petitioning the court to have her last name legally changed–she’s a Realtor, it turns out, and the Chauvin last name isn’t likely to generate much real estate business for a long time to come.

  • Are the cops involved in the arrest responsible for his death. Their actions certainly contributed and the autopsy should determine how responsible. Should they be held criminally responsible or civilly or both. Obviously their intent was not to harm Nr. Floyd but to control him. To call that murder is irresponsible. If we are going to start indicting every cop that makes a mistake stand by. The future does not bode well

  • And 1, I’m an agnostic, so no….never “did the lord’s work.” “LASD Apostle” is just because I love the Department and what it used to stand for before Villanueva began dismantling it.

    American, I don’t hate blacks, but I DO despise self-hating whites who capitulate to blacks and excuse, enable and encourage their behavior.

    If police aren’t allowed to do their job, REGARDLESS of the criminal’s race, they should disengage. If we are such horrible, racist monsters, police should STOP enforcing laws in black communities. Ideally, only black officers would police predominantly black neighborhoods. They should also only have black officials running the majority black cities. Let’s see how many whites remain in those cities and I’m sure, in no time, crime would plummet, police brutality would go away, business would thrive and school test scores would improve….

  • as much as I love to engage with the aggrieved past and current LASD bunch (cf and the disenchanted brothers ) looks like we’re moving into new territory here. The mob is realizing its power. The elites ,from the president down to the Mayors and Governors are being tested. It’s a test of will. Do they have the will to deal with the mob? Force is going to have to be used, do they have the stomach for it? The mob isn’t backing down. Interesting stuff.

    • …if force is used in the “Great State of California” let us hope it is executed with the required hesitation and second guessing the Governor and state legislature in all its wisdom inflicted upon law enforcement. I sure don’t see the mob exercising any restrain and due regard for life and property.

      It was interesting and so hypocritical to hear Gavin Newsome try to downplay the murder of a Federal Security Officer in Oakland and distance it from the protests and violence that’s been taking place there and across the country. Come on! No rush to judgement and hastily drawn conclusions when it involves a low level government authority figure such as a security guard or law enforcement officer I guess? They are expendable. Its reminiscent of all the Barrack Obama anti-law enforcement rhetoric….”demilitarization of the police” talk at a time when criminals have access to more and more dangerous weapons……”Fast and Furious” and all that stuff.

  • Poor Celeste, I don’t think we appreciate how hard this has been on her, let’s all prey fore her well being

  • American: Well stated. There is enough ignorance to go around. The issues of poverty affects all races in this country. I speak from experience. Plenty of poor white people in this country that suffer from the same lack of opportunity and lack of education as African Americans. The issues of self loathing in the African American community needs to be addressed from within. I treat people the same with dignity and respect unless it is not reciprocated. I would be interested in your opinion as to how to make a person have self worth and self respect where it doesn’t currently exist.

  • America: Food for thought. Do I generations removed from slavery have an obligation or responsibility for the sins of my forefathers? How bout the middle and upper class blacks in this country. Do they have an obligation and responsibility to help lower class blacks rise up through the social spectrum? Plenty of blame to go around. But what are the answers?

  • Ok just to show you I can change my mind. I sincerely believe if Hillary were president there’d be machine guns and tanks in the street. It would be god help the “protesters” who got between her and her re-election. Is it too late to give her into the Democratic nomination?

  • Lastly let’s talk about BLM. A movement that started in Ferguson based on lies. We all know now that the police officer in question was brutally attacked and shot in self defense. “Hands up Don’t shoot” never occurred. Did anyone in the black political spectrum ever admit that. No they didn’t and life goes on without the lies being exposed. How bout the myth of unarmed black being killed by the police. How many videos have we seen where a white cop jumps out if his car and for no reason shoots a Blackman. None that I am aware of. But if you listen to BLM/CNN it happens every night. How many blacks would be alive today if they had not resisted the police and just cooperated like we are all supposed to do. Being black does not give you the right to disobey a police officer. Respect shown. Respect given. My two cents!

    • Ironically today BLM was in Santa Clarita today.
      As I drove thru, I saw that 99 % of them (yes BLM) were WHITE.

      Don’t forget the BLM chapter that were in Ouhua Hawaii earlier.

      Google the footage for a genuine fact check and afterwards chew then digest it. SMH

      • And if you look more into the coverage a lot of individuals out started sh— that were supposedly BLM were not people of color. Cameras don’t lie America.

        What is this here of a cop in Minneapolis breaking windows, starting fires. IDK witnessLA don’t………Dont believe the hype.

        Like I said, I will pray for the world more today than I always do. Nothing will change, I just hope my sons son will be free and equal because I will never see the equality I believe in.

        Stay blessed,

  • I’m sure non of the domestic terrorists last night were recently released from jail or prison because their presence in custody was a risk. Thanks for that AV and Newsome. Both equally stupid and culpable.

    • Protesters in America!

      Now in your city, urban & suburban, comprised of YOUR neighbors.

      You can’t make this up.

    • LOL – The truth is that what happened in Minneapolis, recorded on video and viewed worldwide through social networks, is just the latest proof that the racism epidemic is far from being controlled. Yes you are right the two Barack Obama administrations did nothing to cauterize any of these wounds. On the contrary, they fueled the desire for revenge in many communities, with a deeply rooted racist culture, which is taught my parents who portray Blacks and Latinos living in LA County as animals. Oh yes the Orange Baboon in White House has just started openly saying shit that people hid in the closet for a while.
      AV had nothing to do with this, and you know it. So keep AV out of it. Oh wait why would you.. just the same ol stereotyping.

  • If the hero of this story, prominently displayed in the photo at the beginning of this “story,” doesn’t want to apologize for his “blackness,” maybe he’ll want to apologize for some of the consequences of his/his comrades’ actions:

    The store owner beaten to within an inch of his life in Dallas. Then shamelessly robbed as he lay unconscious, bleeding on the pavement. Of course, after a few more fuck you kicks to the head were delivered.

    How about the hundreds of stores looted of their shoes and other goods. Does that make the “institutional racism” go away?

    Or maybe the police officers who have been attacked in many cities – Chicago police officers dragged and kicked in the head; the Jacksonville police officer whose neck was slashed; several LAPD officers who received injuries including broken bones; and the list goes on.

    The innocent drivers of cars caught in the streets who dared, yes DARED, to try to escape the demands of the rioters to just stay parked and have their cars destroyed while still in them.

    There are so many atrocities being perpetrated by these “mostly peaceful protesters” that it will take years to fully appreciate them.

    In the meantime, it’s clear that the aggrieved blacks have been joined by communist BLM and ANTIFA agitators. Their handiwork is denoted by FTP and ACAB graffiti being plastered all across many cities. For those playing along, that’s “Fuck the Police” and “All Cops Are Bastards,” well known BLM/ANTIFA/anarchist lingo. The coordination between rioters is clear; their tactics are being shared and implemented with military precision.

    As a cop with over 30 years of service, I can comfortably say that Officer Chauvin was a damn idiot. All of us have had to subdue and maintain control of resistive suspects who put up much more of a fight than did George Floyd. Apparently the culture of their department weighs experience too heavily, as Officer Long, who was the three year arresting officer of Floyd for passing counterfeit money, suggested that they roll him onto his side. Chauvin with his unimpressive 19 years, rejected the correct course of action. I’ve never seen or heard of kneeling directly on a suspect’s neck for so long. Again, the guy’s an idiot.

    Officer Chauvin’s culpability for Floyd’s death will be dealt with in court, just like any other accused defendant. To anyone who demands justice be done in the form of an immediate conviction and lengthy prison term, I simply ask, why do you hate America? That’s not how we operate. Maybe you heard the catch phrase, “… with liberty and justice for all.” As Biden would say, you know the thing.

    • I’m sure that officer chauvin’s evil actions and stupid deeds were never witnessed by any other LE officer throughout his carrer. As I am sure that this was simply an isolated incident and due to “one bad apple”.

      “Evil and evil actions(bad apples) prevails when good apples do nothing” As we clearly saw in the video.

      So, how are bad apples allowed to grow within our trees of law enforcement agencies? By themselves with not one good apple ever witnessing their missdeeds, right?

      So, dose of your alternate reality, can you please tell us how many bad apples you’ve witness in your very extensive career? And out of the many I’m sure you’ve witness, how many did you confront and/or report as required? Or did that “code of silence” applied to most if not all?

      And I’m only asking since I’m assuming that you’ve turned out to be one of the “good apples”!

      • Ruiz Senor,

        You picked the wrong person to challenge in this regard. I worked Internal Affairs for quite some time. I had the occasion to investigate and even criminally charge cops. Your insulting tone notwithstanding, what exactly have you done to solve the problem?

        • No, I would argue that you are the right person to challenge in this regard, but it’s mostly due to your point of view of things. You are looking at this situation from your experiece having work within a broken system that seems to fail every time it promises to do better with that extra seinsitvity trainning.

          Tell me what would have happen to the law officers involved in the many killings of George Floyds, Ahumaud Arberys, the Breonna Taylors of this country without the videos? We have some very dark, criminal and unjust atrocities to account for as a nation in order to formally address and understand the latest riots.

          Just google the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the Trail of Tears, the Interment of Japanese Americans, the Mexican Repatriation, just to give a couple of examples of what some marginalized peoples have experience at the hands of a broken system that keeps proven relevant in our current state of affairs.

          So I really don’t care how many years of experience anybody has as an LE in any agency, if there is no understanding of all the relevant and constant perplexities with which laws are enforced unequally and disproportionally throuhout our land. History is not a required subject in any of our law enforcement academies, and I could see why.

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understading it” Upton Sinclair

          “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have shosen the side of the oppressor”
          Desmond Tutu

          I CAN’T BREATHE!

    • Dose- Have you ever stood up when you observed your partner doing something heinous, something way out of line and stopped him/her. Did you elevate the situation to your Sup or did you turn a blind eye. We need to get rid of bad apples, if not they rot the entire bunch. Both you and I know we sure do have quite a few.

      • Beat Cop,

        Yes, we called it “career survival.” The goal was to know the people we worked with and prevent bad things from happening. We’d routinely step in to help fellow officers out when they had issues. As a supervisor, my goal was to prevent problems before they happened by coaching, counseling, and mentoring younger cops. Ultimately, this can result in training/re-training, discipline, or removal.

        Back to the Chauvin issue: I think it was due to a culture of deference to those with more experience. Long was right on target, and it was his hook, so he should have asserted himself more. What’s that principle? First on scene is the incident commander until properly relieved.

        Of course not everybody is cut out to be a cop. If we keep hiring from the general public, and Jesus Christ doesn’t apply, then we’re going to continue to have problem employees. Chauvin is obviously one of those. Anybody who would use a technique like Chauvin did to prevent a handcuffed suspect from moving around is an idiot.

  • hey Greg how do they handle this kind of thing is Israel? You never did get back to us on the treatment of Palestinians. You revel in the destruction of this country yet ignore what’s going on over there, why? Makes it look like you have a personal grudge, like you don’t really care at all, what a phony

    • Same to you, brother. I’m sure if you’ve been around for a while, you did the same for your guys.

      • I support law enforcement and enjoyed a great career in tan and green. I see a common trend in reading these comments and listening to the main stream news that make it difficult to stay quiet.

        The trend is always finding a reason to sidestep the real issue at hand. A man died when professional officers had him in custody. It is clear the dead man did not accept the responsibilities and burdens that come along with the demands of a law enforcement profession, the officers did. He was not paid and trained to play the role he played in this tragedy, but the officers were. Somewhere in these arguments we never place and leave the responsibility on the professional who accepted the job.

        We need to remind our law enforcement personnel that they accepted the responsibilities and role they play in society and that is to be a professional. We all know it is a high bar and not many in society are willing to take on that responsibility.

        Members of law enforcement did and we can not let that unique role be diminished by incidents like this. We can share our feelings, backgrounds and political views, but it was the lack of these officers seeing themselves as holders of professional standards and ethics that failed us.

        In a more honest review of many of these events the officers, with very few exceptions, did not remain professional, did not use acceptable tactics, or practice that most challenging factor that presents itself whenever we contact someone, called the reverence for life.

        Poor tactics, again and again, were prevalent. Whether it was an officer failing to stop his car, place it in park, and step from it before engaging a suspect, or reaching into a car with suspects still inside, or resisting shooting a man in the back as he ran away, or choosing not to request back up before being overwhelmed when a contact becomes unpredictable, or finding an alternative to placing an arm around a neck, or in this matter placing pressure on a man’s neck, or using appropriate communications; there is a problem with bad tactics, training, execution, and apparent motivation.

        We try to call it split-second decision making but there were eight minutes and more of poor tactics. We all know poor tactics usually result in some sort of split-second action to compensate for the poor tactics and tragedy ensues, one way or another.

        The results can be complicated by the numerous unsubstantiated calls for positioning the issue. Well, a doctor can be held culpable for his malfeasance, a contractor can be prosecuted if a structure fails, and don’t let a cosmologist damage our hair.

        For some reason we find it so unacceptable to hold an officer doing the unthinkable culpable. We have to remove those who do the unthinkable so when officers commit valid mistakes or true split-second incidents occur, those events are more palpable and clearly differentiated from the unthinkable.

        And yes, being in law enforcement with racist tendencies is a risk, but acting on those tendencies as a law enforcement professional is unthinkable. Society will begin to restore trust in our ability to protect and serve no matter what race is involved when we, without hesitation, remove those who participate in the unthinkable without controversy and needless positioning.

        • Points to ponder:

          A.. Two autopsies:

          1. The county autopsy says death was caused by an underlying bad heart condition
          2. The family autopsy, conducted by a noted medical practitioner, says death was caused by asphyxiation & the heart was fine. This would mean that while pleading “I can’t breathe” Floyd was suffocating to death at the hands of an officer who was basically an asshole–no other way to put it.

          Point to ponder: which autopsy is true?

          Another point to ponder: none of this would’ve come to light were it not for a bystander’s cell-phone recording of the event.

          .

        • Stay Quiet: Wonderfully written – and amen. The stuff has hit the fan and exploded. People of all races, classes etc. are understandably fed up with these kinds of stories. It staggers me that other cops stood and watched this deal with Floyd. No one had the integrity or guts to pull that guy off of him – no one. It’s sickening. In many departments, there will be a lot of work ahead to restore the faith of the community. The good news is that there are a lot of fine people in law enforcement that can meet the challenge.

  • Well, now the LASD is going to suffer big time as part of the murder fallout of George Floyd at the hands of disgraced Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, coupled with the FAILED leadership of Sheriff Alex Villanueva. I know some of you are saying, “you’re just an Alex hater using this tragedy to take a cheap shot.” But hear me out, as all along I have been pointing out the long term damage that Lt. Villanueva would be causing to the LASD with his ill-advised decisions made solely to boost his fragile ego with the support of ALADS and ELA Station Bandidos.

    Connect the dots:

    – The Creepy Carl Mandoyan reinstatement and rehire fiasco and subsequent lawsuits,
    – Stated intent and promises to review and rehire all previously lawfully fired personnel for egregious misconduct,
    – Shutting down the efforts to investigate unprofessional and destructive unit cliques,
    – The opening of a criminal investigation against the LASD Inspector General, Max Huntsman,
    – His outward disdain and disrespect of the Civilian Oversight Commission
    – The on-going attempts to publicly embarrass and fight with the Board of Supervisors over everything,
    – The attempts to challenge the CEO over his complete mismanagement of the LASD’s budget,
    – His failure to institute and deploy body worn cameras as he promised he would do in the 1st Qtr of 2019.
    – and the continued behind the scenes efforts to curry favor and support from certain prominent & shady community figures who have very questionable ties and backgrounds, to name a few.

    This will all come crashing down on Alex in the coming months. That resulting cascade of $%^& soup will forever change the LASD and the ability of the hard working deputies to do their already difficult job; making it a thousand times harder.

    All one has to do is recall how policing in America was changed following the ‘92 riots. Several of us know the meaning of Pre-Rodney vs. Post-Rodney policing. In the coming months, once order is restored across America, the new demands and movements for police oversight will be on steroids. Every agency will need an “INTELLIGENT” leader who will be strong and wise enough to forge respectful, meaningful and trustworthy relationships with the oversight leaders in their respective counties and cities.

    Now, how many of you believe Lt. Alex and his narcissistic ego will allow him to publicly backtrack and eat some of that bitter crow and humble pie that will be forced down his throat by the Board, the OIG, the COC and the newly empowered police reform activist groups?

    He has destroyed all of the previously hard earned working relationships that had been forged over the years and now, “Policing Accountability Oversight” proponents will have the overwhelming community support (LA County Voters) to neuter the once professionally powerful Office of the Sheriff.

    Nice grasp of the “Big Picture” Lt. Alex Villanueva.

  • What a sad state for you lasd holdouts.
    How about Captain S and Lt B ordering Palmdale deputies to kneel in front of protesters last night. Not voluntary…but under fear of an insubordination charge.
    Way to go lasd brass! You sad sacks of shit. Palmdale deputies should call in sick for the next week. Let those two clowns hold the line.

  • Thank so much for this post.

    Who would I ask for permission to use the top image for our Black Lives Are Sacred promotion materials for an Interfaith vigil we are doing this Sunday evening in the Bay Area?

  • PLM, no they should not call in sick, they should quit if they have any self respect and dignity left. But, alas, they will not because they cannot get a better job. So, they will take the indignities from the brass and the public. What slaves.

  • CF, the indiginities is a good way to look at this. Forced to act a certain way to appease someone who is trying to appease someone or something which they really have no bearing or clear understanding. Sorta like the politicians’ and news commentators’ expressions and demands for more rules, policies and laws to address the indignities.

    You touched on the most honest point. That is, if the people don’t want to change their actions and views of the world, we are stuck in the indignities. Be it peer pressure, racism, religion, cultural, or supremacy, the indignities are real and we all suffer from their results. Time has proven that we can create more fool proof rules, programs, policies and laws that government officials must follow, but people will continue to call the police or clutch their purse because someone of another race is near them and makes them uncomfortable. We can give more money for social programs, but the stigma and ridicule that is associated with such programs becomes the denominator, not the actual benefits associated with being able to move someone into a better social and economic position because of such programs. Or the wolves see such programs as an economic basket that they can take advantage of and their motivation is not change.

    If we continue to place the burden on the government entities to make more programs or its employees to follow the ever growing list of rules, policies and laws, what good are the means (or ends) if society as a whole really doesn’t want to adhere to such efforts, or believe in such efforts, or is simply too stubborn or stuck in their ways to understand why someone simply wants to express themselves by taking a knee or not.

    I fear most that shaming one group and making them believe they should find an answer for our societal ills or have them coddle another group to make someone feel better will not create a change that balances the core issues here, law enforcement professionalism (individuals took the oath of office and we must demand that in their performance they adhere to it), and basic human rights (the challenge of all of society and all of us who reap the benefits of the United States of America).

    • Stay Quiet …

      You have summed up and pointed out most of the issues related to idealogy versus reality. All the rules, policies, laws and resulting multi-million dollar lawsuits that result from police officers will not stop deliberate or mistakes from happen. Police are mere mortals and members of society. They were a uniform and have specialized training but at the end of the day are imperfect humans who will make mistakes. Police are also drawn from society which clearly has issues as the protests have shown. To magically expect them to leave all the inherent biasis, prejufuces and racism they grew up with is unrealistic.

      Just as liberal professors, terrorist, far left and right manipulators have learned, the best chance to change the hearts and minds of a group is to start as young as possible. In this country our young people have been co-opted by their teachers and social media. Our best hope at creating a culture and future leaders with strong morals and values is to start in the schools.

      Hitler new this and effectively brainwashed a generation of German youth into hating the Jewish people.

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