Go Lean Commentary
It happens so often, it rarely gets attention anymore; Police-on-Black shootings that is!
It seems to be a constant feature of American life. See the latest high profile one – Stephon Clark – in the Appendix below.
What’s worse, when it happens, the White people in America, just yawns. Sad, but true!
Is this phenomenon the Nature of the United States of America, or is it Nurture?
The answer is complicated; the answer is both!
This commentary continues the 4-part series on Nature or Nurture for community ethos. This entry is 2 of 4 in this series from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean in consideration of root causes of some societal defects – specific examples in the US and UK – and how to overcome them. The other commentaries in the series are cataloged as follows:
- Nature or Nurture: Black Marchers see gun violence differently
- Nature or Nurture: Cop-on-Black Shootings – Embedded in America’s DNA; Whites Yawn
- Nature or Nurture: UK City of Bristol still paying off Slavery Debt
- Nature or Nurture: Nurturing comes from women; “they” impacted the Abolition of Slavery
In the first submission to this series, the history of Psychology was introduced, which quoted:
One of the oldest arguments in the history of psychology is the Nature vs Nurture debate. Each of these sides have good points that it’s really hard to decide whether a person’s development is predisposed in his DNA, or a majority of it is influenced by this life experiences and his environment. – https://explorable.com/nature-vs-nurture-debate
All of these commentaries relate to “why” the New World – including the US and the Caribbean – has the societal defects that are so prominent – and so illogical – and “how” the stewards for a new Caribbean can assuage these defects and the resultant failing dispositions among Caribbean society. Though the traits may be consistent in the hemisphere, our efforts to reform and transform is limited to the Caribbean.
The subject of Police-On-Black shootings is a familiar theme for this commentary, from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free. The book asserts that there is a consistent lack of respect for those in America fitting a “Poor Black” attribute. In fact these prior blog-commentaries doubled-down on this assertion:
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13081||America’s Race Relations – Spot-on for Protest|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8202||Lessons Learned from American Dysfunctional Minority Relations|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8200||Climate of Hate for American Minorities|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7221||Street naming for Martin Luther King unveils the real America|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5527||American Defects: Racism – Is It Over?|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4863||Video of Police Shooting: Worth a Million Words|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=546||Book Review – ‘The Divide’ – Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=341||Hypocritical US slams Caribbean human rights practices|
Say it ain’t so … it is a dangerous proposition to be Black in America. In fact one Caribbean member-states – The Bahamas, a majority Black population – had urged their young men traveling to the US to exercise extreme caution when dealing with police authorities. This advice is Spot-on!
The Nature of the US is that Black people – especially men and boys – have always had to contend with an unjust society in terms of justice and the security apparatus. Since the subject of Nature assumes that racism is predisposed in a society’s DNA, despite the fact that formal slavery ended 150 years ago, it is no surprise that Blacks in America have seen a continuous suppression, repression and oppression of any justice requirements.
After all, this is the population that suffered so much of the indignity of lynching.
Yes, we are going there …
Despite the fact that African slaves were taken to all New World territories, the country with this acute practice was only the United States of America. Surely, this had a lingering effect on the culture and society. This effect was not only on the victims, but on society in general, and the law enforcement establishment.
Imagine people gathering in their Sunday Best Clothes to watch the lynching (murder) of a Black man with no trial or due process. Imagine the effect that would instill on that community? Would that forge concern and consideration for the targeted population?
Now imagine that drama repeated again and again … 4733 times.
According to a previous Go Lean commentary, 4,733 people were documented as being lynched. That’s a huge number. To think there would be no impact on the Nature of a society is inconceivable. This theme was also conveyed in the TV news magazine 60 Minutes. See the full story here:
VIDEO – Inside the memorial to victims of lynching – https://www.cbsnews.com/video/inside-the-memorial-to-victims-of-lynching/
Posted April 8, 2018 – Oprah Winfrey reports on the Alabama memorial dedicated to thousands of African-American men, women and children lynched over a 70-year period following the Civil War.
Surely this country – the America of Old – would have been no place for Caribbean people to seek refuge. The Nuturing of American society continued to develop a nonchalance to injustice for the Black people of the US. This is where the Nature has been supplanted by the Nurture. This is why stories like Stephon Clark continue to emerge and why White America “continue to yawn”. Surely this society – modern America – is no place for Black-and-Brown Caribbean people to seek refuge.
Yet, the region – all 30 member-states – continue to suffer from an abominable brain drain rate in which so many Caribbean citizens have emigrated to the US, and other countries. (One reported has rated the brain drain rate of 70 percent).
The book Go Lean…Caribbean asserts that it is easier for the Black-and-Brown populations in the Caribbean to prosper where planted in the Caribbean, rather than emigrating to foreign countries, like the United States. If only we can reform and transform our own society so as to dissuade our people from leaving to seek refuge in the US. This is the quest of the Go Lean book, to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The book presents 370 pages of instructions for how to reform and transform our Caribbean member-states. It stresses the key community ethos that needs to be adopted, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies necessary to optimize the societal engines in a community.
The CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives for optimizing our societal engines:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines,.
As related in this blog series on Nature or Nurture, the Caribbean has the same Nature as our American counterparts, but not the same Nurture. Our majority Black-and-Brown populations have forged different societies than the baseline US. And we are not wanting to be like America …
This is not just a dream; this is a roadmap that is conceivable, believable and achievable. Yes, we can … reform and transform our society. We can make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂
Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.
Appendix – Shooting of Stephon Clark
Stephon Clark was shot and killed on the evening of March 18, 2018, by two officers of the Sacramento Police Department in Sacramento, California, United States. The officers were looking for a suspect who was breaking windows in the Meadowview neighborhood, and confronted Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old African-American man whom they found in the yard of his grandmother’s house, where he resided. Clark ran from the police in an encounter that was filmed by police video cameras. The officers stated that they shot Clark, firing 20 rounds, believing that he had pointed a gun at them. After the shooting, police reported that he was carrying only a cell phone. According to an independent autopsy, Clark was shot eight times including six times in the back.
The shooting caused large protests in Sacramento, and Clark’s family members have rejected the initial police description of the events leading to Clark’s death. The Sacramento Police Department placed the officers on paid administrative leave and opened a use of force investigation. Police have stated they are confident that Clark was the person responsible for breaking windows in the area prior to the encounter.
The Sacramento Police Department stated that on Sunday, March 18 at 9:18 p.m., two officers were responding to a call that someone was breaking car windows. In a media release after the shooting, police stated that they had been looking for a suspect hiding in a backyard. They said the suspect was a thin black man, 6 feet 1 inch (185 cm) in height, wearing darkly colored pants and a black hooded sweatshirt. A sheriff’s helicopter spotted a man at 9:25 p.m. in a nearby backyard and told officers on the ground that he had shattered a window using a tool bar, run to the front of that house, and then looked in an adjacent car.
Officers on the ground entered the front yard of Clark’s grandmother’s home, and saw Clark next to the home. Vance Chandler, the Sacramento Police Department spokesman, said that Clark was the same man who had been breaking windows, and was tracked by police in helicopters. Chandler said that when Clark was confronted and ordered to stop and show his hands, Clark fled to the back of the property.
Police body camera footage from both of the officers who shot Clark recorded the incident, though the footage is dark and shaky. In the videos, officers spot Clark in his grandmother’s driveway and shout “Hey, show me your hands. Stop. Stop.” The video shows that the officers chased Clark into the backyard and an officer yells, “Show me your hands! Gun!” About three seconds elapse and then the officer yells, “Show me your hands! Gun, gun, gun”, before shooting Clark.
According to the police, before being shot Clark turned and held an object that he “extended in front of him” while he moved towards the officers. The officers said they believed that Clark was pointing a gun at them. The police stated that the officers feared for their safety, and at 9:26 p.m., fired 20 rounds, hitting Clark multiple times. According to an independent autopsy, Clark was shot eight times, including six times in the back. The report found that one of the bullets to strike Clark from the front was likely fired while he was already on the ground.
Body-cam footage shows that after shooting him, the officers continued to yell at him as one shined a flashlight at him and they kept their guns aimed at him. One officer stated in one of the body-cam videos, “He had something in hands, looked like a gun from our perspective.” Three minutes after the shooting, a female officer called to him and said “We need to know if you’re OK. We need to get you medics, so we can’t go over and get you help until we know you don’t have a weapon.” They waited five minutes after shooting Clark before approaching and then handcuffing him. Clark was found to have a white iPhone, and was unarmed. Clark’s girlfriend later said the phone belonged to her.
After more officers arrived, one officer said “Hey, mute”, and audio recording from the body camera was turned off.
The Police Department stated on March 19, one day after the shooting, that Clark had been seen with a “tool bar”. On the evening of that day, police revised their statement to say that Clark was carrying a cell phone, and not a tool bar, when he was shot. Police added that Clark might have used either a concrete block or an aluminum gutter railing to break a sliding glass door at the house next door to where he was shot, and that they believed Clark had broken windows from at least three vehicles in the area.
Elected officials and political activists
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, initially said he would not second-guess decisions made by officers on the ground. After a backlash, he said the videos of Clark’s shooting made him feel “really sick” and that the shooting was “wrong” but declined to comment whether the officers should be charged. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated that Clark “should be alive today”. [Civil Rights Activist] Reverend Al Sharpton stated that he was alarmed by the story, which he said had not received enough media attention.
On March 26, White House spokesman Raj Shah stated that he was unaware of any comments from President Donald Trump regarding the incident. Two days later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump is “very supportive of law enforcement” and that the incident was a “local matter” that should be dealt with by the local authorities.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the Clark family, stated that the autopsy finding was inconsistent with the official narrative that Clark was charging toward the police officers when they fired. Clark’s family expressed skepticism of the police version of events. Clark’s brother, Stevante Clark, said of police statements: “They said he had a gun. Then they said he had a crowbar. Then they said he had a toolbar … If you lie to me once, I know you’ll lie to me again.” Clark’s aunt Saquoia Durham said that police gave Clark no time to respond to their commands before shooting him. According to Crump the officers did not identify themselves as police when they encountered Clark. The police have stated that the officers who confronted Clark were wearing their uniforms at that time.
University of South Carolina criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert stated that it might be hard for officers to justify their conclusion that Clark was armed, since they had been told he was carrying a toolbar. Peter Moskos, assistant professor of Law and Police Science at John Jay College, said that the officers appeared to think they had been fired upon following the shooting. Alpert, Clark’s family, and protesters questioned officers’ decisions to mute their microphones. Police Chief Daniel Hahn said he was unable to explain the muting. Cedric Alexander, former police chief in Rochester, New York, and former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, said that the muting did not appear to violate any policy, but looks bad. He also stated that it is not unusual for police to mute their body cams and that attorneys advise the police to mute conversations to prevent recording any comments that could be used in administrative or criminal proceedings. Many body cams are made with a mute button on them.
Source: Wikipedia; retrieved April 9, 2018 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Stephon_Clark