“Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Dallas Police Killings and Alva Braziel!: The State of the Current Fight for #BlackLivesMatter!”
Our show on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT will examine the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile police slayings, the continuing high police slaying rate for African Americans, the lack of accountability for these deaths, the implications of the Dallas Police killings, the misinformation on the Alva Braziel police slaying, media coverage, massive demonstrations over the weekend and more. Our outstanding experts include, T-DubbO, HandsUpUnited leader and rap artist; Jerika Tyler, National Program Director Hands Up United; and James Perry, Executive Director of the Winston Salem Urban League and expert on Louisiana civil rights matters.
Our nation is still reeling from the events of last weeks. On July 5th, Alton Sterling, a Black man, was slain by two white officers (one fired the shots while other helped hold Mr. Sterling down) from the Baton Rouge Police Department. Independent videos later released contradicted the officers initial account which claimed Mr. Sterling had drawn a gun and that their body worn cameras had been dislodged in the struggle with Mr. Sterling. The videos which showed a senseless and unjustified police killing immediately generated national anger and local demonstrations. Louisiana has a horrific rate of police killings of Blacks, police misconduct, deaths in prison and mass incarceration of Blacks.
Sadly, a day later in Falcon Heights, MN, a shocking video was live-streamed on social media showing the immediate aftermath of the police shooting of Philando Castile, a 32 year old African American man who had been pulled over by the police officer in this predominately White neighborhood allegedly for suspicion of robbery based on his skin color and flared nostrils. He was shot at least 4 times while complying with the officer’s demand to produce his license even as he told the officer that he had a gun and a permit to carry the gun. His fiancee, Diamond Reynolds, in the live-stream calmly recounts the deadly shooting as Mr. Castile lies dying next to her, her 4 year old daughter is in backseat of car, and the officer continues to threaten her with gun drawn. Mr. Castile was the very popular Food Supervisor for a local school. The video shows Ms. Reynolds being threatened as she is made to exit the car and walk backwards towards 3 officers with guns drawn. The livestream captures her distress as she is detained with her daughter realizing Mr. Castile is probably dead. This video set off a national storm of protest. And it reignited all the angst over the police slaying of Jamar Clark in nearby Minneapolis last November with no charges ever filed.
As protestors took to the streets in numerous cities nationwide under the banners of #BlackLivesMatter and Hands Up Don’t Shoot demanding justice for Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile, that evening in Dallas at the end of a protest, 12 police officers were shot and 5 killed by Micah Johnson, a 25 year old army veteran, who was mad about White police slaying Blacks. He was later killed, blown up by a robotic device with bomb after refusing to surrender to the Dallas Police. President Obama made two statements at press conferences in Poland to express concern over these events. While the nation of the Bahamas issued an advisory to its citizens traveling to the United States to beware of police.
Saturday, Alva Braziel, an African American man was shot 10 times by Houston police in another incident where the police account and video doesn’t match regarding a gun being pointed at officers. Also, during the weekend there were other attempts on lives of other police officers.
Over the weekend, daily, scores of cities witnessed large #BlackLivesMatter and Hands Up Don’t Shoot demonstrations demanding justice for the slain Black men against the backdrop of grieving for the slain Dallas officers. Again, these demonstrations resurrected the stories of the 345 African American men and women slain by police, many in highly questionable circumstances, without any indictments or convictions. People of Color constitute 63% of those unarmed when killed by police. Sadly, as was seen in Ferguson during Mike Brown protests, the Baton Rouge, Phoenix, Rochester, Minneapolis and St. Paul police arrested, tear-gassed and charged often peaceful demonstrators.
Our show will discuss these events, next steps for the Movement, www.joincampaignzero.org and other on-going efforts to end this crisis of police slayings of Blacks. We’ll also talk with T-DubbO about this new song, Enough, in response to these events.
Be sure to spread the word!!
James Perry is president and CEO of the Winston-Salem Urban League. Perry manages a 200 person team across the state of North Carolina, advocating for […]