*I lost my dad this year.
I loved him dearly. In some of our last moments together, he would tearfully wish he had been a better father. I assured him that he was the best father I could have asked for. I knew so many horror stories from friends of fathers who were abusive, absent, uncaring. My dad showed me the kind of man I wanted to be, not by reciting articulate life lessons, but by example.
He was a cop.
As such, I grew up around cops.
Back in the ’80s and ’90s, I don’t know, maybe because I was in close proximity all the time, I couldn’t tell a policeman from a civilian. I was never afraid of the police.
When your dad’s a cop, and you have the same name, you get out of speeding tickets as soon as you show your ID. You’re not afraid to ask for help either.
I can remember having my car locked up in Chicago while I was hanging out with a Puerto Rican friend. I saw a couple of cops sitting in a squad and went over to ask them for help. He was nervous about it, I remember now, and I kind of chided him for it later.
I remember now that these two guys got out of their squads with their hands on their pistol butts. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I guess I just figured it was Chicago (my dad policed a south suburb, Calumet City, where the Blues Brothers were from, not exactly a hotbed of shootings at the time).
Years later, driving through the California desert scouting locations, I got pulled over for speeding by the highway patrol. My dad was retired. I was long past the years of getting away with tickets. I had my friend and production assistant, a black man, with me.
“Whoa,” said the patrolman, when he came to the window. “You’re a big old boy, ain’t you?”
He didn’t mean me.
Cops have changed nowadays, my mom tells me. I definitely see a difference in them. But I’m not sure that it’s because they’ve changed, or I have.
My dad was a good cop.
I have always known this.
My mom told me a story about a fellow officer, over at the house one night, drinking a bit, asking my dad why he ever became a cop.
“You’re too nice,” he said.
He always talked. Always talked them down. Never shot anybody. Never beat anybody down.
I’ve always been proud of that.
I could tell other stories about my dad. How he alone was able to comfort a traumatized juvenile kidnapping victim until they were capable of positively identifying their abuser. How he was Officer Friendly, the face of the police to elementary school kids, and Officer of The Year.
How, when a friend of mine dropped dead over the summer on a basketball court, he got me his mother’s address so I could write her everything I’d loved about her son. How in high school, any of my friends who found themselves in trouble with the cops would take me aside and tell me ‘how cool’ my dad was.
Once he apologized to me, on a long drive, that he had never quite gone as far as he could have, to afford better things for me. I knew the reason. My mom had told me by then about the bad cops in the department, and how he’d been passed over for promotion because he didn’t play ball, never exchanged favors or looked the other way.
I told him then I was proud of him.
I reiterate; my dad was a good cop.
But this isn’t about good cops.
I tell you this to tell you I understand cops as much as I can. I understand that they arrive on the scene of a call and when they get out of the car, they don’t know who might attack them simply for their uniform. I understand they can’t tell good people from bad people on sight, and I know how these experiences can twist the mind to expect the worst. I know this. I’ve heard the stories first hand.
I also understand that when a cop arrives on the scene, the average person – the average black or brown person in particular – can’t tell if they’re good or bad either. That uniform, that badge, that’s no indication of the quality of the bearer. All cops are not heroes. All cops are not good.
And there develops a tendency for both to view the other as a potential enemy in a combat zone.
Because there are bad cops. We all know this. We’ve all seen this.
Now I’m going to tell you about 2015.
Ferguson and Michael Brown were in the news.
My dad was still alive. I think he was retired by then. If not, he was a bailiff in an Indiana county courthouse.
I was home with my kids for the holidays. We were visiting a mutual old family friend, and a member of that family was there, whose son I had grown up with, and who had become an ATF agent.
Let me tell you something about this kid. I still think of him as a kid because he was (is) a couple years younger than me. We grew up together. Our families were close.
I have a couple fond memories. We discovered “Predator” and “Robocop” together. We were in Cub Scouts together. Went camping and river rafting together. We had birthdays together.
This guy had no business becoming a police officer.
That sounds judgmental of me, I know. Who the hell am I to make that call?
He always had temper issues. He was a bully. He was often a coward. He was a racist.
I was no saint. As a white suburban kid I said stupid things, had ignorant beliefs. Of course I did. How could I not, given where I grew up? I changed as I grew, as we all do.
I can remember at my one-time friend’s high school graduation, I hadn’t seen him in a while by then, we were sitting at the table and he kept glaring at the waiter, a slim guy with a lisp. He started loudly making cracks about ‘faggots.’
I didn’t even know why at the time. I was pretty freakin’ naïve. I’ll tell you truly, and as ridiculous as this sounds in 2020, this is no lie; I didn’t even believe gay people existed till I was a junior in high school. I thought it was just an imagined behavior and a term kids used pejoratively.
I can still see the consternation on that waiter’s face, which I took for mere annoyance then. It was, with hindsight, a clear desire to say or do something warring with the need not to get fired for pitching this little asshole out of his chair.
I didn’t say anything.
I’m a slow learner.
You’re going to see just how slow.
When I heard this guy had become not only a cop but a federal agent, I remember shaking my head. I couldn’t imagine what kinda cop he would make.
Now back to 2015.
We’re sitting in the living room, and this guy’s dad is discussing the news through gritted teeth. I’m paraphrasing the syntax here, but not the terms. I remember the words clearly, and the vehemence dripping from them.
“You know all that shit going down in Missouri, in Ferguson? Where that monkey got killed? Yeah they had all this shit in the street for him, you know? Brian and his partner said they drove right through that shit at night and dragged it down the street. Ha-HA!”
You may not remember this. I haven’t really forgotten. I have thought about it a lot, particularly since George Floyd.
The supporters of Michael Brown and his family had constructed a memorial to him, of flowers and pictures, supporting messages, candles, remembrances lining Canfield Drive in Ferguson.
And according to his father, Brian and his partner, both ATF agents, had driven through it and dragged it down the street. On purpose.
On Christmas night.
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) June 14, 2020
In combing through the news for a report of that incident, I found this statement from Public Information Officer Tim Zoll, quoted to KMOX News:
“It’s our understanding that an alleged vehicle, we’re assuming, drove over the memorial and kept going. We have no other information other than that. Nobody has come forward to make a report; therefore, we’re not investigating it.”
And he told the Washington Post;
“I don’t know that a crime has occurred…But a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?”
Yeah, that’s what he said, the memorial to a dead young black man was a pile of trash.
And that was how my one-time friend and his partner treated it.
I remember, hearing this, the bottom of my stomach dropping out. I remember standing abruptly and going into the next room where my kids were pounding on a piano.
But did I say anything?
Nope. No more than I said anything when he harangued that poor waiter on his graduation day.
To my mother, later, yeah. I said I didn’t want that guy anywhere near my kids ever again. I said if they were ever going to have him around and we were there, let me know in advance so I can be elsewhere.
And later, visiting another old friend, I shared this with him and he was incensed.
“What’re you gonna do?” he said.
And that stopped me.
What was I supposed to do? I thought.
It hadn’t occurred to me at all to do anything.
I remember saying, lamely,
“Well….my mom and dad, they’re still friends with his dad….”
That night I went on the FBI’s webpage, thinking of leaving an anonymous tip. Or maybe it was the ATF’s site. I don’t remember which.’
I do remember you couldn’t file a complaint anonymously.
So I didn’t do anything.
And five years later, I still haven’t done anything. Didn’t call or write any news outlets. Didn’t even say anything to his dad when I saw him once years later briefly (not around my kids).
Didn’t say anything to my dad either.
I’ve thought about it a couple times a year since, but as more and more time has passed, it felt like I’d missed the opportunity to speak up. Nobody cares anymore, I told myself.
But obviously people do. It matters. It matters to Michael Brown’s mother, to those who loved him. It matters to all the people Brian encounters in his continued role as a federal agent.
Because this juvenile, petty vandalism of a dead man’s impermanent, memorial, was not the thoughtless act of the dumb, ignorant kid I knew.
This was the deliberate act of a grown man in his thirties. A grown man now serving as an ATF agent.
If he did this in 2015, what’s he done since?
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) March 12, 2017
I know how it made me feel just hearing about this vandalism second hand. I was enraged, and it wasn’t an act against me or my family. Although this depredation did not require any planning on his part, only a vehicle and opportunity, it was a harmful, despicable, cowardly act. I know the effect it was intended to have on the people of Ferguson.
It was a message. A message that said;
“Black lives don’t matter. Your memorial is trash. You’re trash. A bunch of monkeys.”
Brian Giovingo is a bad cop. The term is monumentally inadequate for what he is. This one craven act I know of casts aspersion on every agent he serves with. It defiles the social pact his badge is supposed to represent, and it bolsters every negative belief that exists against law enforcement.
I didn’t say it then. Didn’t report it, didn’t even stand up and tell his dad he was wrong to express elation over his son’s vile antics, or chide my own parents for indulging his vitriol with their silence because I didn’t want to disrupt my family’s relationship with theirs.
I didn’t want to cause ripples, even though I hadn’t seen Brian in years, decades, at this point. Yet the only real reprisal I could expect was what? Shunning, from somebody I didn’t want to be around anyway? A couple of uncomfortable dinners?
What kind of reprisal do others face from unworthy law enforcement representatives like Brian? What kind of real life threat do people face every day with guys like him wearing a badge and carrying a gun?
Still, I balked. I was a coward. I didn’t speak up.
So what does a good cop go through every day, with bad cops inextricably in their midst, and why’s it so hard to shine a light on the bad?
That’s the culture I unconsciously inherited; don’t ‘rat.’ Don’t cause other people problems. Mind your own business. Don’t be a troublemaker.
But I have come to understand that I have to reject that, because when an evil is done right in front of us and we don’t say or do anything to correct it, we become an accessory. Our hearts are sullied by association. We are lessened.
It is absolutely unacceptable to surrender the authority of conscience to any belief system which celebrates non-intervention over moral obligation; which dispenses with ethics in the name of maintaining some facile, placid status quo – in our lives, in our work, in our relationships with each other.
It took my dad’s death for me to feel free to say this now.
Whose deaths are all the good cops out there waiting for?
By Edward M. Erdelac
*Edward M. Erdelac is an award winning screenwriter, an independent filmmaker, and contributor to Star Wars canon. He’s been published in several magazines and is the author of Buff Tea, Dubaku, and the acclaimed weird western series Merkabah Rider.
Prominent Breonna Taylor Activist Fatally Shot in Louisville
*Hamza “Travis” Nagdy, a young protest leader known for calling out the injustice done to Breonna Taylor, was shot and killed early Monday morning in Louisville, Kentucky.
Nagdy, 21, was reportedly the victim of a suspected car jacking. According to USA Today, he was transported to University of Louisville Hospital, where he later died as a result of his injuries.
The Louisville Metro Police Department is investigating, and no suspects have been identified.
Nagdy is the the latest grassroots leader/advocate against anti-police brutality to die in a random attack that progressive and woke Black folk are giving the side-eye to.
“He’s irreplaceable,” said Antonio T-Made Taylor, an independent reporter who mentored the victim. “Travis really believed he could help change systemic racism. He believed he could be a big part of that change.
“What I’m hoping is he will become a symbol of the violence that’s going on, and people will finally give it the attention that we need to be giving to this record number of homicides in our city. …We’re just hoping that he will become a symbol of what great lives we are going to lose if we don’t wrap a movement around what’s going on.”
Maxwell Mitchell, who participated in many summer protests in Louisville, described Nagdy as a man with “a strong sense of strength, a sense of willingness to spend and give everything he had toward this” during a live video on Monday.
“I can only assume that that energy is going to waft over all of us like a wildfire,” Mitchell said.
“Travis really believed he could help change systemic racism. He believed he could be a big part of that change,” said Taylor.
“What I’m hoping is he will become a symbol of the violence that’s going on, and people will finally give it the attention that we need to be giving to this record number of homicides in our city. …We’re just hoping that he will become a symbol of what great lives we are going to lose if we don’t wrap a movement around what’s going on,” he added.
Amazon Banned, Un-Banned Doc About Michael Brown’s Death that Indicts ‘American liberalism’ / WATCH
*ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida — An African-American scholar who regularly upends the way mainstream U.S culture views race politics says white guilt and “enormously seductive” post-1960s liberalism, not racism, are responsible for the death of Michael Brown on a Ferguson, Missouri street in 2014.
Shelby Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, has long raised the hackles of progressives with his views on race relations, multiculturalism and affirmative action. His new documentary What Killed Michael Brown?, a collaboration with his award-winning filmmaker son Eli Steele, turns the culturally dominant view about the unarmed black teenager’s death on its head.
“We wanted to understand what really happened in Ferguson. What did it mean for us as Americans?” Eli told Zenger News. “And why had Americans responded to Ferguson the way it did? These questions about America’s response to Ferguson—not the actual shooting of Brown—were really what drove the focus of our documentary.”
The Steeles believe their conservative politics led to Amazon Prime Video initially pulling the plug on the documentary, which was slated to begin streaming on October 16. Amazon later reinstated the film.
“The film … is a unique take on race relations in the U.S. because it asks questions Black Lives Matter would not allow, for example, ‘Is Michael Brown in any way responsible for his own death?’” Steele said in a statement. “When Amazon decided to cancel [the film], they let themselves be captured by white guilt. Amazon doesn’t want justice for blacks, as they claim. They want the look of racial innocence attached to their brand.”
Amazon told the Steeles in an email that their film “doesn’t meet Prime Video’s content quality expectations” and that the company “will not be accepting resubmission of this title and this decision may not be appealed.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
The Poetic Truth
On screen, Shelby Steele stands in front of the Canfield Green apartment complex, just feet from where Michael Brown was killed and left in the street for four hours, while a narrator sets the tone: “Groups pass on their identity to their young by telling them cautionary tales, ‘Watch out for the whites.’ So if you’re black and you step outside of any of these apartments and see Michael Brown’s body … at that moment, before any evidence or witness testimony, all you can see is a victim of American racism.”
Steele’s unconventional approach is questionable, according to one scholar who argues that when black Americans talk about racism every individual has an individual story.
“Dr. Steele makes a long-standing argument that blacks are complicit in their own suffering,” said Dr. Donn Worgs, a political science professor and program director for the African and African American studies program at Towson University in Maryland. “It’s troubling to see people discount black people’s personal, lived experience. Any journalist worth his salt could go into [a black neighborhood in Ferguson] and talk to the people, and no doubt they’d all present different perspectives on how racism has touched them.”
Worgs says Steele is wrong to blame liberalism for Brown’s death, calling it a case of bad policing. That view is shared by the U.S. Department of Justice. “Black Lives Matter is a genius concept because it is critical of police violence and the systematic dehumanization of black people,” Worgs said. “Whether Brown committed a crime or not, he did not deserve to die. It’s not enough just to not kill innocent people; the police should not be killing guilty people either.”
White Guilt and Post-’60s Liberalism
The flip side of black victimization is white guilt, Steele says.
When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder went to Ferguson in August 2014 to investigate Brown’s death, he came as both the nation’s top law enforcement official and “also as a black man,” leading some to believe his agenda was set beforehand and the Obama administration was already aligned against the Ferguson Police Department.
“Eric Holder came to Ferguson as an envoy of the Black Power movement, but there was no evidence of white racism in the shooting of Michael Brown,” Steele says in his film. “Where did he find the momentum to go on? I think it was white guilt. Since the ’60s, whites have lived under the accusation that they are racists. Thus, there is a compulsion to prove their innocence of racism. This compulsion is white guilt; it is not actual guilt.
“For Holder, it wasn’t just [police officer] Darren Wilson who pulled that trigger; it was the thousands of other officers dating back to the oppressions of slavery and segregation. The weight of all of that history is the measure of systemic racism today.”
Steele said modern American liberalism falsely promises to remove blacks from the grips of white supremacy.
“Back in the ’60s, we blacks made a very bad deal with America. We demanded that America help us develop,” he said. “But if that was logical, it was also naive. It seduced us into putting our faith right back into the hands of the same white America that had oppressed us in the first place.
“The liberalism that insists on Michael Brown being a victim of racism also makes him an invisible man. We have no chance to know what really ailed him when he arrived at that profoundly bad decision to slam his fist into the officer’s face, wrestle him for his gun and make that final, fateful charge at Officer Wilson. I don’t believe racism drove Darren Wilson to shoot Michael Brown. I think the motive was so simple as to be unbelievable: He feared for his life.”
Despite initial allegations that Brown poetically surrendered, hands in the air, before Wilson shot him dead, an investigation later proved that “Hands up, don’t shoot” was a fabrication.
Wilson was justified in using deadly force, Steele said.
Holder’s report concluded “that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause and using unreasonable force against them.”
Black Conservatism in the Arena
Steele does have supporters who stick their necks out routinely to stir America’s race discussion.
“Black Lives Matter doesn’t give a damn about blacks. They care about a narrative based on Marxism and being an adjunct of the Democratic Party,” said Clarence McKee, a former Reagan administration official and author of How Obama Failed Black America and How Trump Is Helping It. “If you don’t think like they do, you can get blacked out in much of the mainstream media and corporate America. They do know how to make people feel guilty.”
Like the Steeles, McKee is a critic of “Critical Race Theory,” an academic discipline that drives much of today’s race politics.
Steele’s son, Eli, agreed. “The problem with the systemic racism argument is that it comes out of the Critical Race Theory, which demands that everything be viewed through racial lenses. While racism may explain things in some cases, it is often the exception and not the rule,” said the younger Steele.
Big Tech as Censor?
Shelby Steele believes Amazon risked a massive backlash by trying to silence him, and predicts both ends of the political spectrum don’t like when billion-dollar technology companies play favorites.
“Political pressure is building on the left, which dislikes Big Tech’s success and size; and on the right, which resents its leftward bias in suppressing cultural messages it doesn’t want people to hear,” said Sandye McIntyre, an IT and management consultant.
“Amazon Prime Video isn’t a journalistic enterprise/news media outlet; it’s a content and distribution platform,” McIntyre said. “The leadership of many media and tech companies are biased, either toward the left or the right, but all are biased toward financial benefit, risk aversion and long-term survival.”
McIntyre also believes online platforms have an obligation to ensure they’re not providing a platform for misinformation and disinformation.
“The progressive roots of the Black Lives Matter movement have been falsely recast as violent, anti-American anarchy,” he said. “It’s possible that Amazon didn’t want to be complicit in smearing the movement … by streaming the documentary.”
(Edited by Allison Elyse Gualtieri and Anne Denbok.)
The post Amazon Banned, Un-Banned Documentary about Michael Brown’s Death that Indicts ‘American liberalism’ appeared first on Zenger News.
Geo. Floyd’s Killer Derek Chauvin Has Divorce Settlement DENIED Due to Possibility of Fraud
*A Washington County (Minnesota) judge has rejected a divorce settlement filed by Derek Chauvin’s estranged wife due to the possibility of fraud.
Days after Derek was officially charged with manslaughter and the murder of George Floyd, Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce on May 31. However, divorce attorneys have looked into the paperwork and claimed it may have been a ploy to protect their assets against lawsuits in civil court as reported by Star Tribune. Judge Juanita Freeman wrote in her ruling back in October that a “court has a duty to ensure that marriage dissolution agreements are fair and equitable. One badge of fraud is a party’s transfer of ‘substantially all’ of his or her assets.”
Attorney Marc Beyer stated due to the timing of the divorce filing, the court can suspect that there could be a possibility of fraud but it is still speculation.
“This is just speculation, but it’s possible that the [agreement] was intentionally drafted to get assets out of Chauvin’s name in anticipation of a civil judgment against him from the estate of George Floyd.
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