A Picture is worth a thousand words; a video … a million

Go Lean Commentary

The penalty for a broken taillight should not be “Death by Firing Squad”.

Welcome to America!

Though this declaration is not the law-of-the-land, it is the anecdotal experience for the Black-and-Brown populations, far too often.

The subsequent news commentary – by British Expatriate Piers Morgan (former host on American news network CNN) – is ripped from the headlines of “Cop-on-Black” crime in the US. For much of the latter half of 2014, this type of headline was prevalent in places like Ferguson, Missouri, but in truth, it appears that the law enforcement community appears to have “Bulls-eye” targets on African-American males throughout the country, more so than any other ethnic group. This statement would have appeared to be only indicative of “conspiracy theories”, if not for the following pictures and VIDEO.

By: Piers Morgan
Title: After seeing South Carolina police nearly get away with murder, I won’t feel safe until every cop who carries a gun, wears a camera too

This morning, I watched Walter Scott die.

I didn’t think I’d ever see a piece of video footage that made me feel as physically sick and angry as that disgusting ISIS snuff movie of a Jordanian pilot being burned alive.

But the last few seconds of Scott’s life, captured by a passer-by on a camera phone, provoked similar nausea-fuelled emotions of blind rage.

Why? Because they exposed the shocking truth behind a sickening lie.

Picture Words - Photo 1 Scott, a 50-year-old American father-of-four, had been stopped in North Charleston, South Carolina, for having a broken taillight on his Mercedes car.

A vehicular misdemeanor so minor in its importance that it’s usually dealt with by a verbal police warning, no fine and no points on your license.

But Scott, fearful of arrest because he owed child support, ran away.

The police officer who had stopped him, Patrolman Michael Slager, gave chase into a small grassy lot.

Minutes later, unarmed Scott was dead. Needlessly, senselessly, murderously riddled with bullets in the back from trigger-happy Officer Slager’s handgun.

Walter Scott’s death is outrageous enough.

But the disgraceful cover-up that followed makes the stomach churn.

Picture Words - Photo 2Officer Slager told his bosses that Scott had taken his taser gun in a violent struggle, and he had shot him because he feared for his life.

To support this, the taser had been found next to Scott’s body – suggesting he had run off with it.

His bosses preferred to just take his word for it then properly investigate.

And presumably, the word of a second officer who arrived at the scene shortly afterwards.

So the official statement released to the media backed Officer Slager’s claim that he had acted entirely within his rights after Scott tried to grab his taser.

The Supreme Court ruled that an officer may use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only when there is probable cause that the suspect ‘poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.’

By Officer Slager’s account, that criteria was met.

And there it would have ended.

Walter Scott’s death would be blamed on Walter Scott.

Another reckless violent aggressor who forced a terrified cop to shoot him.

Case closed.

But then came the video.

It turned out that someone walking nearby had secretly filmed the whole thing on his camera phone.

So now we could actually see for ourselves what happened.

Mr. Scott never grabbed Officer Slager’s taser.

In fact, Officer Slager tasers Scott, who then runs off.

Scott is more than 20 feet away and clearly fleeing when Officer Slager stands and fires eight shots at him.

When Scott finally falls, after the last of the eight shots, Officer Slager runs back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picks something up of the ground. Moments later, he drops it near Scott’s body.

It’s believed to be the taser.

After the video appeared, Officer Slager was promptly charged with murder.

Which is all very well, but if the video hadn’t appeared, he would have GOT AWAY with murder.

Isn’t that just utterly shameful?

The South Carolina police department failed Walter Scott on every single level. Doesn’t the simple fact alone that he was shot five times in the BACK demand a serious analysis of forensics, autopsy and witness statements?

Instead, they chose to do nothing but stand by their lying, cold-blooded executioner.

At this point, I should mention that Walter Scott was black and Officer Slager is white.

I’m wary of casting racial aspersions on Officer Slager’s actions.

There’s nothing to unequivocally suggest it was a racially motivated incident.

And indeed, the Scott family attorney, L. Chris Stewart, offered a different explanation:

‘It’s not about race, it’s about power. The officer thought he could just shoot this man. He thought Mr Scott was expendable. He just casually shot a man in the back many times. That speaks to the value of human life, which is a bigger issue than trying to just make this a small issue of race. When people start respecting that more, it won’t matter what colour you are.’

I think he’s right.

When American cops shoot dead someone who is black, it garners huge headlines because people rush to assume it’s racial.

And sometimes it is. Perhaps Officer Slager racially profiled Walter Scott, we’ll probably never know.

But the truth is that American cops shoot everyone, regardless of colour or creed.

They kill many more whites than blacks, though the percentage of blacks who get killed as part of the U.S. black population is three times higher than the same percentage for whites.

And they do it because they can.

Guns empower some of them to behave like trigger-happy John Waynes and it is, frankly, terrifying.

I received my first ever traffic ticket recently, after performing an illegal U-turn in Beverly Hills – right in front of a policeman on a motorbike.

He signalled for me to pull over, which I did.

But as he walked towards me, loaded gun glistening in his hip holster, I began to slightly panic. Especially as just two days before, a man was shot dead by cops a few blocks away on the famed Rodeo Drive.

What were the rules again?

  • Do I put my hands on the steering wheel or by my side?
  • Do I wind down the window, or leave it up?
  • Do I turn the ignition off or keep it on?
  • Do I reach for my papers, or wait to be instructed?
  • Do I call him ‘Officer’, ‘Sir’ or what?

None of these questions would be significant in somewhere like Britain, because nobody fears they might be shot by a policeman.

The vast majority of British cops don’t carry guns, mainly because they know the vast majority of civilians don’t carry them either.

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, it is worth repeating once more that fewer Brits die a YEAR from guns than get shot dead every single DAY in America.

So there is no expectation, fear or paranoia on either side that a simple traffic violation may suddenly erupt into a deadly shooting match.

In America, everyone now has to assume that everyone else may be armed.

It’s the exact same mentality that existed in the Wild West.

One false move in the wrong place, one dumb comment in a bar, one heated exchange of words with a law enforcement official and BANG!!!!

Someone dies.

The justice system rarely supports those who get shot dead by cops.

We can see from this horrific incident how the police protect themselves.

But there is, as we can also see from this incident – and the death of Eric Garner in New York – one truly effective weapon at our disposal: a video camera.

Which is why I want every single U.S. cop to now be compelled by law to carry them at all times, right next to their guns.

The technology exists for them to do so without any restrictions on their ability to function as normal.

What it would also do is restrict any rogue gun-toting policeman’s ability to lie after he casually, indiscriminately shoots dead an unarmed human being, black or white.
Retrieved from: The Daily Mail – London Daily Newspaper – Posted April 9, 2015 –

VIDEO: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030442/PIERS-MORGAN-seeing-South-Carolina-police-nearly-away-murder-won-t-feel-safe-cop-carries-gun-wears-camera-too.html#v-4159293374001

There is no way to defend this Police Officer, Michael Slager. The US Justice System will have to deal with him. Our focus can only be on the mitigation, in this case body cameras; and how to apply the lessons in the re-boot of the Caribbean societal engines: economic, security and governance.

The events of this small suburban town of Charleston, South Carolina now have huge bearing on the acceptable standards for community policing through-out the US and other countries, including the Caribbean. There is a direct impact between the two communities: many in the Caribbean Diaspora living in the US face these same dynamics, because of their Black-and-Brown status. (Even the bystander – Feiden Santana – capturing the VIDEO in this case is of Caribbean – Dominican Republic – heritage).

The book Go Lean…Caribbean seeks to assess (identify and qualify) the issues that drive so many of the Caribbean youth to flee their homelands to take up residence in the US. The book posits that this is not a wise course of action, that it is better to “prosper where planted” in the Caribbean than to risk the interactions of American life. This book portrays that there are “push-and-pull” factors that contribute to so much societal abandonment in these Caribbean member-states. The purpose of the book is to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) to elevate the region’s economic engines, and optimize the security (public safety) issues as well. These are among the prime directives for this societal elevation. The declarative statements are as follow:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The assertion of the Go Lean book is that the Caribbean region must prepare a better security apparatus and justice institution than our northern neighbor is able to boast. Based of the dual “scales of justice” in the US, one for Whites and another for Black-and-Brown, this goal should not be so difficult to pursue. For this reason, the Go Lean roadmap spuns American leadership for security and justice, and proposes homegrown solutions. According to the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12), our region is urged to take the lead for our own solutions and appoint our own “guardians” with our self-interest in mind; prioritizing the community ethos for the Greater Good. The actual declaration is pronounced as follows:

x.   Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

The Caribbean appointing “new guards” or a security pact to ensure public safety calls for permanent justice institutions sanctioned by all 30 CU member-states. The CU Federation or federal justice’s institutions must operate differently than the US versions; we must do so judiciously and with proper regard for human and civil rights. The Go Lean roadmap calls for a separation-of-powers between the CU and the Caribbean member-states. So many of the community policing will not be under federal jurisdiction, but the CU will furnish a lot of funding and outfitting, with a lot of “strings attached”. The book calls for dashboard and body cameras (Page 178); as part of the edict for transparency and accountability.

The US does not currently have this default disposition.

Picture Words - Photo 3

The forgoing news article teaches some powerful lessons for Caribbean consideration.

Before the eye-witness (Feiden Santana) VIDEO came out on Tuesday (April 7), the assumption and benefit-of-doubt in the shooting of Walter Scott would have sided with the Police Officer Michael Slager. But having a photo/picture speaks a thousand words as to what really happened there in North Charleston, South Carolina. Having a VIDEO speaks a millions words. Now all previous allegations of police brutality and evidence planting suddenly have new merit. In addition, the “Blue Line” between Police Officers and the public is blatantly exposed – the VIDEO depicted another officer, an African-American Officer, aiding Michael Slager cover-up. This relates that the loyalty among law enforcement officers trumps any other interrelation in the criminal justice system. It can be concluded that intra-department oversight of their own law enforcement activities may never yield true justice; there must be outside compliance review.

The Go Lean roadmap leads with economic empowerments in the quest to elevate Caribbean society. But security and governance dynamics must be coupled with this effort. As we learn in the foregoing article, “bad actors” can emerge in society, even in the form of law enforcement officers; these individuals can also have sinister intent.

No justice; no peace.

This Go Lean roadmap relates a heightened level of economic-security-government engagement. These prime directives of the CU calls for a Homeland Security focus related to threats that may imperil the region’s economic engines, and crime remediation and mitigation: Public Safety. The CU is an entity to serve as a deputy for law enforcement agencies for each Caribbean member-state, empowered by an international treaty – a Status of Forces Agreement – for all Caribbean member-states to confederate the Homeland Security and Anti-Crime forces to execute a limited scope on the region’s sovereign territories.

To ensure justice – and peace – the Go Lean roadmap calls for a lot of proactive activities to remediate and mitigate crime. Like crime intelligence, surveillance videos and data analysis. The need for transparency and accountability was strongly urged in the same opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12), as follows:

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

The Go Lean book details the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to provide increased public safety and security in the Caribbean region, and to ensure the right attitudes of law enforcement officers to serve-and-protect their Caribbean communities:

Economic Principle – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Economic Principle – Consequences of Choices Lie in Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Privacy –vs- Public Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Witness Security & Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation Page 23
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Tactical – Confederating a non-sovereign union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Justice Department – CariPol Page 77
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Federal Courts – Court   of Justice Page 90
Implementation – Assemble “Organs” into a Security Apparatus Page 96
Implementation – Start-up Security Initiatives Page 103
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices Page 134
Planning – Lessons from the American West Page 142
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Impact   Justice – Police Internal Affairs   Up-line Page 177
Advocacy – Ways to Reduce Crime Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Gun Control Page 179
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Terrorism Page 181
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering/Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Prison Industrial Complex Page 211
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220
Appendix – CariCom Organs: IMPACS & Court of Justice Page 244

Other subjects related to crime remediation and fair human/civil rights protections for the region have been detailed in prior Go Lean…Caribbean commentaries; as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4447 Probe of Ferguson-Missouri finds bias from cops, courts
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4360 Dreading the American ‘Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3881 Intelligence Agencies to Up Cyber Security Cooperation
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2782 Red Light Traffic Cameras, other CCTV Deployments can Impact Crime
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2684 Role Model for Justice, Anti-Crime & Security: The Pinkertons
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1674 Obama’s $3.7 Billion Immigration Crisis Funds – A Homeland Security Fix
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1554 Status of Forces Agreement = Security Pact
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1487 Here come the Drones … and the Concerns
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=960 NSA records all phone calls in Bahamas, according to Snowden
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=546 Book Review: ‘The Divide: American Injustice In the Age of the Wealth Gap’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=535 Remembering and learning from Boston
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=392 Jamaica to receive World Bank funds to help in crime fight
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=341 American Hypocritical Human Rights Leadership Slams Caribbean

The foregoing article and VIDEO depicts that the community ethos for community policing will change imminently. There is now the need for law enforcement officers, at all levels, to employ dashboard cameras and body cameras; especially when deadly force is used. This is a valid need in the United States of America; in North Charleston – South Carolina, Ferguson – Missouri and every village, town, city, county, state and federal jurisdiction.

There is no longer the benefit of any doubt to police officers who shoot an unarmed Black Man. No more!

The published photos have now spoken thousands of words; the videos now speak millions.

The Caribbean must learn from these American mistakes and do better. We can forge an even better homeland, a better place to live, work and play – even more so than our American counterpart.

America should not be considered the land of destination for the Caribbean people to emigrate to. Income inequality and racial inequality persists in American society. Race still matters in the US; there is different treatments for Black-and-Brown, compared to the rest of the population.

Here at home, we must do better!

We know that “bad actors” will emerge in all situations, and we want to be prepared with the proper mitigations. We also know that police officers can also be “bad actors”, so we must appoint “new guards” to ensure the integrity of the “old guards”. Everyone, the people, institutions and government officials are encouraged to lean-in to this roadmap to ensure transparency, accountability and a commitment to due-process and the rule-of-law. Yes, we can … do better.  🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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