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The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Black Cops and Police Unions



Steffanie Rivers - headface
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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The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Don’t Cry For Melania



Melania Trump (Gety) - image

*When she (Melania Trump) came on the scene during the 2016 election a lot of Americans had questions about her: Was she nothing more than eye candy for her husband?

Was she oblivious to women who accused her husband of sexual harassment – even while they were married – or did she know about allegations of his dubious business practices? 

Then there was that video of her getting left at the bottom of the steps during the inauguration that caused people to assume she might be living under duress and needed to be rescued.

But four years later the perception of FLOTUS Melania Trump has changed, and not necessarily for the better.Tell-all books have offered behind-the-scenes perspectives about President Donald Trump and this 3rd wife, the mother is his fifth child!

The verdict: She is as manipulative as the president. The latest example is a tweet from her where FLOTUS tries to give credit to her husband for somebody else’s work. 

In case you didn’t know, Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactured opioids, agreed to pay an $8 billion fine admitting they lied about the addictive potency of the drug that led to America’s opioid epidemic! Purdue Pharma also agreed to shut down operations.

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Melania Trump (Gety) - image

FLOTUS Melania tweeted that Purdue Pharma’s downfall was proof the president cares about the health of Americans! I’m calling her out on that lie. 

Trump is too busy trying to erase the Affordable Healthcare Act that could leave millions of people who have pre-existing health conditions without healthcare in the middle of a pandemic. He’s too busy pretending to have a healthcare plan – for the past four years – that he never has revealed. And to make matters worse, when Trump contracted the deadly Coronavirus, he was treated by doctors with access to the best medical treatments and experience to help him recover rapidly. His access to testing and treatment are not the norm. If it was 200,000 Americans wouldn’t be dead because of COVID-19.

The care and concern shown for the president’s health is far greater than what pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma exhibit towards other Americans. Even though company executives agreed to pay an $8 billion fine, who got the money and how will it be used? Click on the video to find out why company executives agreed to walk away.

Steffanie Rivers (screenshot1)

Steffanie Rivers

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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Larry Buford: Judgment or Test? America’s Job Experience



Job in Bible
Job in the Bible

Illustration of Job in the Bible

*[This is a chapter from my book, “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand, first published in 2007. Although many other tragic events have happened in the 13 years since then, including the current global pandemic, I think it is still relevant as history continues to repeat itself]

Breaking news: Bridge Collapses, Victims Killed; Miner’s Trapped, Victims Killed; Record Flooding, Victims Killed; Senseless Shooting, Victims Killed; Raging Fires, Victims Killed; and the list goes on!!

While it seems like all hell is breaking loose, one may ask, is America being judged or tested?

The biblical character Job received (heart) “breaking news” [Job chapter 1]: “And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword…While he was speaking, there also came another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them…”

In the end, Job had received back-to-back reports from four different messengers that he had suffered great losses including his children. Job even lost his health, but eventually regained everything even more in abundance. It was a test to see if Job would deny God.

Prior to the 911 tragedy, we seldom heard of God or Jesus in mainstream media. Since then it has become acceptable, and more and more prevalent with each new turn of tragic events. Is God testing America to see if we truly are a Christian nation? Or is this judgment on a nation that has turned its back towards God?

If it’s a test, we as a nation should hold steadfast our convictions as did Job. If judgment, God says in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

There is yet hope for America!

Please share your thoughts in the user-friendly, no-obligation comment section below.

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Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]

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Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Why Trump Keeps Beating Biden Over the Head with the Crime Bill



Trump - Biden (face2face)

Trump-Biden - Debate

*On November 18, 1993, then Senator Joe Biden let it fly on the Senate floor. He lambasted the “predators on the streets” and “sociopaths” who were “beyond the pale,” and must be “cordoned off.” Biden punctuated his impassioned cheer of the Clinton Crime Bill up for Senate passage with borderline race tinged rhetoric about broken homes, family squalor and ignorance. The inference was he was talking about young Blacks.

Biden’s words that day keep coming back to haunt him like a hideous nightmare. Trump dredged it up again at the last presidential debate. Joe, Trump intoned, you branded young Blacks as “super-predators.” He then gleefully finger pointed Biden as practically the Founding Father of the 1994 Crime Bill; the bill widely reviled as the single biggest cause of the mass prison incarceration of explosion of mostly young Blacks and Hispanics.

Biden, in defense, did the same two things that he’s done repeatedly every time he gets hit over the head by Trump and the GOP with his cheerlead of the bill. He denied that he called anyone “super predators.” He didn’t, but his label of “predators on the streets” came darn close. It’s his second counter though that he hopes will take some of the sting out of his overexuberant tout of the bill a quarter century ago. He called it “a mistake,” and says times have changed. He spruces up some of the features of the bill such as ramped up drug treatment and services that he claims ownership of in the bill.

Biden pivots and rightly points out that the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus backed it out of fear of violent crime and drug plague hammering Blacks. He then does a quick fast forward to cite his array of criminal justice system and police reform-oriented proposals he’s put forth during the campaign.

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Biden - Trump

Biden – Trump

It doesn’t change the past but it’s part mea culpa and bigger part hope that it gets Trump off his back, and does no damage among Black voters on November 3.

Trump, though, won’t go away on this. He senses a tiny opening with this that can be exploited to fuel the still very deep sting and resentment over the bill. There’s some cause for worry about that.

The draconian bill was the brainchild of Reagan and Bush Sr., they could not have gotten the bill through a mostly Democratic-controlled Congress. But then President Clinton did. He muscled it through Congress. The bill shelled out $22 billion to the states and feds to hire more police and prosecutors build new prisons, and courts, and establish crime commissions.

It criminalized thousands, mostly Blacks and Latinos, for petty crimes and drug possession, ignited the biggest prison-police boom in U.S history, spurred dozens of states to adopt three strikes laws, led to the deadly rash of racial profiling cases, and widened the gaping racial disparities in prison sentencing. The anti-crime legislative mania also tacitly encouraged more states to disenfranchise thousands of ex-felons. The law added more than 30 new provisions for the death penalty in federal law. To no surprise, the majority of those that await execution are Black men. In 1993, there were less than a half million blacks in America’s jails. That figure has soared to more than 2 million today with still about half of them Black.

Biden’s public pledge to change that takes the battle against crime in the direction that it should have gone even twenty years ago. And that’s putting massive resources into investment and repair in poor and minority communities, while committing to fight to end the blatant racial disparities in arrests, sentencing, imprisonment, and the death penalty that have become the trademark of the criminal justice system.

However, the damage that the bill wreaked is done. And Trump knows the bitterness that it has caused among many Blacks. He can take the issue twist and turn it around on Biden to the point of casting himself as some sort of Harriet Tubman liberator of Blacks from the shackle of mass incarceration. So, as Biden squirms on the crime bill, Trump parlays his threadbare record on criminal justice issues which include nothing more than after much arm twisting endorsing a Second Start and a handful of pardons of Black inmates.

The challenge then is not to hold Biden’s feet to the fire for a policy from the past that’s had and has bad consequences for the present. But to hold him feet to the flame to deliver on her pledge to push for meaningful criminal justice system reforms, and programs and initiatives to aid the urban poor once in the White House.

The crime bill  will forever remain part of Clinton’s legacy, the good, and the much larger bad of it. Trump will cynically and calculatingly twist that odious history around and call Biden on the carpet for it. And hope that enough other Blacks do the same to dampen enthusiasm for him.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson1 - Getty

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of What’s Right and Wrong with the Electoral College (Middle Passage Press)He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio-one. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Pacifica Radio.

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