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The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Black Cops and Police Unions

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Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers

*Even when there are questionable uses of deadly force by law enforcement officers, even when there are videos that clearly show officers misused their authority – like in the cases of Eric Garner, George Floyd and Rashard Brooks just to name a few – there is always someone who comes to the defense of these bully, liar, killer (BLK) cops.  

Even when internal investigations recommend punishment or termination against these bad cops there always is someone trying to convince us that our lying eyes have deceived us. Police unions have created a wall of protection around bully, liar, killer (BLK) cops. If your goal is to redirect local taxpayer funds to create more community policing programs, powerful local police unions will fight your efforts every step of the way. 

According to The Marshall Project, a non-partisan criminal justice system watch-dog, of the fifteen largest metropolitan police departments in America with a mostly Black and Brown workforce, police union representatives are White men. Only in Memphis where the police force is majority Black the police union is led by a Black man.  

These White police union bosses are roadblocks to police reform while they protect and support racist White cops. Minneapolis Police union representative Bob Kroll called George Floyd a violent criminal and characterized people who protested Floyd’s modern-day lynching and police brutality as a terrorist movement. Kroll also was a guest speaker in 2019 at a rally for Donald Trump. Trump calls himself the ‘law and order’ president who continues to mischaracterize peaceful protesters. 

The police union leader in Baltimore called Black Lives Matter supporters ‘a lynch mob’ when they protested to hold officers accountable after Freddie Gray died while in police custody.

When a Black man campaigned for the prosecutor’s job in St. Louis using police reform as his platform, the police union boss there called this Black man a “menace to society.”  

And when cops are held accountable for their unjustified use of deadly force, prosecutors seem are more worried about trying to appease police unions for the sake of future cases, instead of seeking justice.  Some of them who don’t have the guts to do their jobs and file charges themselves defer to grand juries to make that decision. 

Although each police jurisdiction has its own union they fall under the national Fraternal Order of Police union. Many Black and Brown offices say FOP is akin to a white boy fraternity that’s more regressive than progressive.  

For most union jobs membership is mandatory. Most employees say the good part of a union is it negotiates salaries, benefits and perks for its members.  That same union also represents members who – based on job performance and behavior – should be terminated, but the union saved them.  Yet, when it comes to unjustifiable homicide by police protection from the union is unacceptable.

Racist White police are protected by racist White union bosses. They do things like scrub social media platforms of racially insensitive posts. They promote warrior mindset training instead of de-escalation training. So the next time you get a solicitation call from the FOP asking for donations don’t do it. They protect cops who lie on, bully and kill people. Supporting the FOP is akin to funding legalized genocide of Black and Brown people.  

When one regional police union rep, whose jurisdiction includes metro Atlanta, was asked why there was no diversity on the union board he told The Marshall Project none of his Black members complained about the lack of diversity, because in his union they don’t see color!  

More Black law enforcement officers should to get involved in the leadership of their police unions or replace the union with an organization that better represents their interests and the communities it’s sworn to protect and serve. A Marshall Project poll of Black officers revealed that more than 70% say they have experienced racism on the job by their White co-workers. In the same poll White cops claim there is no racism in their departments. 

Black police officers should remember they are Black people before they are cops. It’s a reality many of them face at work in uniform and at home out of uniform. They should stop supporting the White power structure that treats them like crap then bullies and kills their friends, family and neighbors. 

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TCBStef

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EUR Commentary

An Open Letter from Cornel West and Others: To Defeat Trump, Discredit His Movement, and Elect Progressives

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donald trump

*(Via The Nation) – We, the undersigned democratic socialists, want to make clear that the priority for the left in 2020 should be the electoral defeat of Donald Trump and the Trumpist Republican Party in November. At present, the only way to accomplish that will be to vote for his Democratic opponent.

The racist, xenophobic, misogynist authoritarianism of Trumpism poses an immediate existential danger to people of color, to immigrants, to reproductive rights, to trade unions, to LGBTQIA people, to Muslims, to Jews, to members of other religions, and to democracy itself. A Trump victory would fortify our authoritarian State, expand imperial aggression, and collapse the political space for democratic and left forces at home. Reversing the creeping neo-fascism at play in our country is a strategic imperative, the most urgent political task before us.

Trump’s regime is literally imposing massive casualties on people of color, immigrants, and women, by means of its work-or-starve campaign to restart the economy in the face of a raging pandemic; through indulgence of random, murderous assaults epitomized by the cases of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery; by the shutdown of abortion clinics; and by virtual death sentences imposed on incarcerated persons, including those detained by the vicious Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The mob attacks on Democratic state governments encouraged by the president call to mind the reversal of Reconstruction by terrorist partisans of the old Confederacy, after the Civil War.

Thousands are dying of the coronavirus each week, disproportionately people of color, particularly elderly nursing home residents, the incarcerated, and detained immigrants. How many more must be sacrificed?

As democratic socialists, we believe that the best way to defeat Trumpism, as well as Trump himself, is with a platform the breaks decisively with neoliberal policies, especially austerity, privatization, deregulation, and anti-worker trade deals. But in the near term, as a practical matter, alliances are also necessary with other anti-Trump forces, for the sake of a Democratic victory in November.

We should continue to promote the interests of working people above the 1 percent; to take on institutional racism and sexism in law enforcement, employment, and social services; to address catastrophic climate change; and to promote public health. But our core mission need not preclude us from urging a vote against Trump. Nor should it discourage us from enthusiastically backing progressive elected officials and candidates for office, such as “the Squad” in the House of Representatives.

Particularly important is vigorous support for avowed democratic socialists, such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib. They must be defended from efforts to pillory and defeat them, not least so that the ranks of progressives in office can grow.

Our electoral work will have the greatest impact when done cooperatively among all progressive constituencies, including trade unions, civil rights organizations, and community groups, as well as progressive political organizations. This collaborative approach powered the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders and helped to elect Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib, among others.

Trump’s commitment to the destruction of basic democratic institutions—the right to vote, an independent judiciary, a free press, Congress as a coequal branch of government, the sovereign character of state governments—would make further pursuit of a progressive agenda impossible. Nothing is more important than ensuring his removal from the White House in 2021.

MAX BERGER
DAN CANTOR
LEO CASEY
CARL DAVIDSON
JOHN D’EMILIO
BARBARA EHRENREICH
SUSAN FEINER
BILL FLETCHER JR.
FRANCES FOX PIVEN
KATHLEEN GEIER
JOSE GUTIERREZ
RICHARD HEALEY
BARBARA E. HOPKINS
GERRY HUDSON
BARBARA JOYE
MICHAEL KAZIN
RANDALL KENNEDY
JEANNE KRACHER
CHARLES LENCHNER
JOSE LA LUZ
DARAKA LARIMORE-HALL
STEPHEN LERNER
PENNY LEWIS
NELSON LICHTENSTEIN
ERIC MAR
BOB MASTER
DEBORAH MEIER
GUS NEWPORT
ED OTT
KATHA POLLITT
CHRIS RIDDIOUGH
MICHELE ROSSI
MAX SAWICKY
JAY SCHAFFNER
MARILYN SNEIDERMAN
CORNEL WEST
ETHAN YOUNG

To add your name to this statement, go to www.dsanorthstar.org/defeattrump

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The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Convict Amber Guyger Wants Early Prison Release

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Amber Guyger

*Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer, has been in prison less than a year for murdering her neighbor, Botham Jean.

Already she’s trying to scam the system so she can get released early. Her attorneys have asked a judge to reduce her murder charge to criminally negligent homicide! Reduced charges could make Guyger eligible for parole immediately.

Guyger shot and killed Jean, her neighbor, in 2018. Guyger said she came home to the wrong apartment, mistook Jean for a burglar and shot him dead. Guyger’s apartment was on another floor. She was sentenced to ten years in prison.

In cases where police are convicted of a crime in the line of duty they rarely – if ever – serve their full sentence. Most of the time these bully, liar, killer cops are released early for what the system calls ‘good behavior.’ Guyger could have been sentenced to life in prison. If this convict really was remorseful as she claimed during her trial, why are she and her attorneys working to get a judge to reduce her charges so she can be release less than a year later? Could it be this was the plan from the day she was sentenced?

Guyger’s actions are an example of her lack of remorse for taking the life of an innocent man and her disregard for due process and punishment. The legal process that allows a convicted murderer to reduce their charges and essentially escape punishment shows how the criminal justice system is racially biased against ADOS – African Descendants of Slaves.

Go to Change.org to sign the petition to keep convicted murderer Amber Guyger from reducing her murder charges.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, TX metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow Steffanie Rivers on Facebook, and @tcbstef on Twitter and TCBStef on Instagram.

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God’s Gift of Salvation and the Gifts of the Spirit

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Salvation Freedom

*Salvation is free, salvation is freedom – it’s that simple; not complicated

During this unprecedented global pandemic, many people are asking “is the world coming to an end?” And with that comes the question of salvation: “Am I right with God?” To answer that question, may I share the simplest, most basic invitation to salvation found in the Bible: “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’.” [Romans 10: 9-13]

Salvation is free, salvation is freedom – it’s that simple; not complicated. Just come as you are to accept the invitation.

If you are sincere, other things like obedience, fear [reverence] of God and repentance [changing your direction and doing that which is well-pleasing in God’s sight] will come. The Spirit will give you the desire to do and be like Jesus!

What makes it complicated is when people say things that become stumbling blocks toward salvation. For instance, I recently listened to a preacher who had a good message, but at the end, extended an invitation to salvation with this addendum to the scripture in Romans: “…and speak in tongues as evidence that you received the Holy Ghost.” Now if you were sitting on a pew and the Spirit was prompting you to accept the invitation, wouldn’t you give pause to that condition? Of course you would; this would all be new to you! You most likely would not know the difference between God’s invitation to salvation, and the gifts of the spirit. Let’s not be confused.

1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 reads: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

People who believe that speaking in tongues is evidence of salvation, base it upon scripture in Romans 2:1-4. It was on the day of Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and other followers of Christ. The Apostles were not speaking in an unknown tongue, but rather, were speaking in languages representative of all the Jews from every nation who had gathered there in Jerusalem. It was nothing short of a miracle, but it was not to be mistaken as evidence of salvation. If that were the case, then there are a lot of Christians hell bound because the gift of tongues has not manifested in them. Please read and search the scriptures for yourself, and be not misled by someone else’s misinterpretation.

The Bible means what it says! I love our Pentecost brothers and sisters in Christ, but what does it profit an unbeliever to walk into a church where everyone is speaking a language he or she cannot understand?

Please follow the easy steps below to leave a comment. Thank you!

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon). Email: [email protected]

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