*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.
The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Kentucky AG Is Not Fit For the Fight
The good news is the city of Louisville has agreed to pay $12 million to Breonna Taylor’s family. It’s the largest wrongful death payment ever against the Louisville Metro Police Department. Taylor’s family and loved ones deserve it! Nobody would argue that after learning about how and why she was killed. Yet, the civil case award could be bad news for the criminal case. Keep reading to understand how.
She was killed in March 2020. Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel J. Cameron appointed himself special prosecutor back in June. Since then he claims to have been conducting a thorough investigation. Instead he stalled the case.
Ninety-nine percent of us know the story. For the one percent who don’t know here’s a recap: Louisville police lied to a judge to get approval for a no-knock warrant at Taylor’s residence. Taylor was not the target of the warrant. The person who was the target – her ex boyfriend – already had been arrested across town. But these bully, liar, killer cops showed up at Taylor’s residence anyway and broke down the door.
Police claimed they announced themselves as cops. Neighbors said they didn’t. Some of those neighbors and Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker who was at home with her, called police about the break-in. Walker shot at the people coming through the door. He’s licensed to carry a weapon and used it to legally defend himself and Taylor. Police unloaded a barrage of bullets into the apartment on the way in shooting Taylor. One of the cops stationed outside blindly shot into Taylor’s apartment. Some of his bullets were found in neighboring apartments where other innocent people could have died. Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of police – who didn’t announce themselves. Nobody offered Taylor medical assistance that might have saved her life. And that’s why Taylor’s family deserves the settlement money.
But there’s more to the story that makes Taylor’s murder even more egregious. Taylor’s boyfriend called her mom before he was arrested. When Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, showed up at the scene she was given the runaround about where her daughter was. Police sent her to a hospital telling her Breonna was there, knowing she wasn’t. After an hour, Palmer came back to the scene and that’s when police asked her about any domestic violence issues between her Breonna and her boyfriend. They tried to get her to make a statement that could later be used to blame Walker for Breonna’s death!
Of the officers involved in Taylor’s murder and subsequent cover-up none of them has been charged with a crime. Only one of them – the one who stood outside and blindly shot into her apartment – has been fired. The others are still getting paid for the legalized genocide of Black people. We should demand the system to dish out fair punishment to bully, liar, killer cops the same as it does for everyone else.
That’s where Attorney General Cameron should have stepped in. The aforementioned details are enough evidence for charges already to have been filed. Any other attorney general with a backbone would have done so already. Dan Cameron has no backbone. He’s afraid to bring charges against police, because they helped get him elected. He thanked the Fraternal Order of Police in his acceptance speech when he was elected to the AG position last year. The FOP has Cameron in their back pocket. They own him!
For three months Cameron claimed he had been conducting a thorough investigation of Taylor’s case. It was a stall tactic. He had hoped he could take control of the investigation and never file charges against the police involved. But then George Floyd’s modern-day lynching video sparked world-wide protests and brought attention to Taylor’s case.
That’s when Cameron realized the case wouldn’t go away because all eyes are on Louisville! Even though Taylor’s family deserves the $12 million settlement, the civil case could compromise the criminal case.
Typically the criminal case is decided first. The civil case is decided later. Since the money already has been awarded the grand jury might not feel obligated to indict Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Det. Myles Cosgrove or now fired officer Brett Hankinson. Criminal justice is different than civil justice. We want both
Even though they are not supposed to act on emotion when it comes to the law, the grand jury might feel as if criminal indictments against police and civil justice is too much justice for one case! Also, the attorney general can sway the grand jury’s decision based on how and what evidence he presents. It doesn’t look good for criminal prosecution. I know it and people in Louisville know it. That’s why federal buildings in the city have been boarded up and are closed for business this week in anticipation of what’s to come.
Daniel Cameron is not fit for the fight we as Black people in America are engaged in against bully, liar, killer cops! He claimed to be for law and order, but when it comes to holding crooked cops accountable, he doesn’t have the guts for it. He’s not fit to be attorney general.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with comments, questions or speaking inquiries. Friend her on Facebook.com/StefanieRivers. Follow her on Twitter @tcbstef and on Instagram @tcbstef
The Last Roundup! (It’s Time to Call the Children Home)
*Attention all Spirit-filled trail bosses: (“Trail Boss: A cowboy foreman, leader, or supervisor commissioned to be in charge of a collective effort to gather, obtain, retrieve cattle to form a herd and direct them to an assigned destination”) It’s time for “The Last Roundup!”
We must proceed while it is still light, for the day is far spent. So, grab your gear, and saddle up your palominos of power, your roans of righteousness, your steadfast steeds, and your stallions of supremacy! Fill your chuckwagons with daily bread, fruit, and victuals for victory. Go and scour all ranges, north, south, east and west. Rise up and cross the rivers, creeks and fords.
Traverse and climb every mountain and every hill. Search every valley. Succor and secure all that are willing to receive the JC (JESUS CHRIST) brand. Study your weapons and be fully armed. Be prepared to contend and defend the faith in which you’re operating in. Be not fearful of big cats, wolves, snakes, scorpions or any wild beast that may come against you. You have authority over all storms small and great.
The corral of CHRIST awaits you and you cannot be stopped. So, lasso them with the lariat of the gospel. Lead them through the green pastures. Quench their thirst by the still waters. Now is the time of reckoning. The signs of this season are pregnant with preludes of catastrophe. Are you a laborer? Or are you in labor? Are you in triumph? Or are you in travail? Wake up! Be bold and not stagnant. Be ready, and call the children home!
Please leave a comment below, or contact Elder Frederick Wm. Worthy, an Arizona-based contributing writer at email: [email protected]
The Enduring Legacy of the Fugitive Slave Act by David J. Johns
*The following is authored by David J. Johns, Executive Director of National Black Justice Coalition.
Recently I heard a friend say the following, and I felt each word pierce my heart like a dagger as they fell from his lips, “I know white people who are planning the future while the smartest Black and Brown people I know are focused on trying to get the police to stop killing us.”
This statement still sits with me because it speaks to the continued investments that African descendants chiefly make to address the problems that transatlantic enslavement and U.S. capitalism have created. The statement also speaks to how so many life opportunities and outcomes are shaped by the enduring problems caused by race and racism in America.
On September 18, 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was signed into law by President Millard Fillmore. Created as an attempt to keep the Union together and avoid a civil war, the Act was meant to enforce Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3, otherwise known as The Fugitive Slave Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This article states that enslaved Africans did not become free if they managed to escape to a free state and required them to be returned to their masters. The Fugitive Slave Act and the rift it caused between anti- and pro-slavery states contributed to both the Civil War and the formal end of slavery.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was actually the second Act of its kind. The first Fugitive Slave Act was enacted in 1793. This law allowed slave owners and their agents to search for runaway slaves in free states and it punished people who helped harbor and conceal enslaved Africans. In the North, where anti-slavery sentiments were rising, many intentionally neglected to enforce the law. Some people engaged in helping enslaved Africans make their way to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Some of the Northern states even passed “Personal Liberty Laws,” which gave the accused escaped slaves the right to a trial and protected free Black people.
An unintended consequence of the Fugitive Slave Acts was the theft and kidnapping of free Black people who were forced into slavery by bounty hunters and others seeking to profit from Black bodies. While there has been much attention paid to the horrifically brutal nature of slavery, the way that we remember slavery in America seems to suggest that both that period in our history and the collateral consequences of it are over. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as evidenced by this moment in the movement for Black lives. Dr. Joy DeGruy has pioneered thinking about “post traumatic slave syndrome”. Building upon the foundation that she has helped to establish, it’s also important to think about the unrelenting impact that slavery continues to play in all of our lives.
Both Fugitive Slave Acts were repealed by an act of Congress during the Civil War on June 28, 1864, and with the Civil War came the official end of slavery. But the oppression and discrimination Black people face did not end then and still continues to this day. There’s a movement to help people and medical practitioners understand the consequences of persistent traumatic environmental factors that impact the lives of African descendants in peculiar ways and the newly released feature film ANTEBELLUM brings the current costs of historical traumas into focus.
The impacts of intergenerational trauma and systematic racism are not discussed enough. The signs, symbols, and systems that are used to preserve and perpetuate privilege often go ignored. And the consequences of Black people still facing disproportionate levels of bias, discrimination, and violence are too frequently dismissed, which is precisely why I am excited about the conversations that will be had after ANTEBELLUM is released on September 18, 2020 — the anniversary of the Fugitive Slave Act.
ANTEBELLUM invites many of us to think about what it feels like to be trapped–confined by the horrifying trappings of our collective and not too distant past. The opening scene of ANTEBELLUM is a reminder of this very fact–of the contradictions that exist in a democracy that has been consistent and intentional in attempting to deny Black, Latinx and poor people access to opportunity. I don’t want to give away anything from the movie but consider the fact that while few people would think to get married at a concentration camp, there are thousands of couples clamoring to celebrate their holy matrimonies at plantations today. ANTEBELLUM invites us all to consider how the legacy of plantations have been shaped over time and how those narratives impact our lives today.
I sometimes wonder if the spirits of our ancestors could speak to well-meaning white people who celebrate confederacy without acknowledging the damage its legacy continues to cause, and what they would say to them. After viewing the film ANTEBELLUM, written and directed by the talented duo Bush + Renz, I can imagine what this conversation might sound and feel like. Go watch the movie and ensure you’re registered to vote.
ANTEBELLUM premiers on demand Friday September 18th, which is also the day that BET & the National Urban League have dubbed as the inaugural ‘National Black Voter Day.’
David J. Johns is the Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). David is known for his passion, public policy acumen and fierce advocacy for youth. He is an enthusiast about equity—leveraging his time, talent and treasures to address the needs of individuals and communities often neglected and ignored. A recognized thought leader and social justice champion, David’s career has focused on improving life outcomes and opportunities for Black people.
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