Mr. Phil. That’s what the kids at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul called Philando Castile. A parent called him “Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks.” Will he be remembered as the cafeteria supervisor who gave out hugs and food and love to “his” kids? Or will he be remembered as one more name in the unending litany of black men and women killed by police? Continue reading
Joe Friday – Just the facts, ma’am
Is crime increasing? Are police under attack and being killed in large numbers? Despite three Executive Orders this week – which amount to a combination of fear-mongering and orders to conduct studies – crime is decreasing in the United States, and so is danger to police. The numbers come from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the FBI, neither of which is noted for any left-wing bias. Continue reading
I’m white. You’re white, too, and you tell me, “They’re always playing the race card.” You don’t believe that race is as important as “they” say it is. You believe that discrimination might happen somewhere, some time, but not that often. Please – listen to these voices. Hear what they say. Continue reading
Mr. Phil. That’s what the kids at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul called Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police on Wednesday night. Thursday night, his school family held a vigil for him. This is not the way he should be famous, someone said. This is not how he should be remembered.A parent called him “Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks.” Fellow staff members said Mr. Phil was patient and kind and caring. Mr. Phil loved his job and all of “his” kids in the school. Mr. Phil gave them breakfast and hugs and direction. “Everything Mr. Phil did in this school was for the kids,” another parent said. Continue reading
First, the city council refused to allow public testimony about the police shooting of Jamar Clark. Then, without notice to protesters and their supporters, a council committee voted to open its meeting to immediate public testimony about the Fourth Precinct protests. The people present and ready to testify? Opponents of the protest, of course, including Police Federation head Bob Kroll. This is not what democracy looks like. Continue reading
UPDATE 10 p.m.: A huge crowd marched from the 4th Precinct to downtown Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon, unintimidated by the white supremacist shooting of five protesters on Monday night. As of Tuesday evening, police have three young white men in custody. A Hispanic man was arrested but then released, as he was not at the shooting scene. For more, see Star Tribune article. [This article has been substantially revised and updated, following the march.]
Someone called police early Sunday morning. Domestic assault, they said. Paramedics helping the victim, and a man interfering with them, they said. Did he want to talk? To fight? Maybe even to apologize? We don’t know. We do know that police acted, taking Jamar Clark away from the paramedics. Minutes later, the 24-year-old black man lay on the ground with a police bullet in his head. Continue reading
Besides the horrific video of a police officer throwing a 16-year-old girl across the school room, October’s news included the dancing D.C. cop who defused a potentially nasty situation. Continue reading
King speaking to an anti-war rally on University of Minnesota campus in 1967. This file was posted to Flickr by the Minnesota Historical Society and is licensed under Creative Commons.
“April 4,” the young lady at the gym said as I signed my name to a form and stopped to think of the date. April 4, which will always mean just one day to me, that day 47 years ago when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I still remember the tears that would not stop and still feel the impact of his life and his death.
I was seventeen years old, finishing my first year at the University of Chicago, full of the excitement of the university and the city and the tension between being a student on the south side and learning community organizing on the north side, praying Sunday mornings at St. Dominic’s Catholic masses in Cabrini Green and Saturday mornings at soulful, prayerful, songful Operation Breadbasket meetings at Chicago Theological Seminary. Continue reading
Just about a week ago, the Department of Justice issued its scathing 102-page report detailing the racist and unconstitutional practices of Ferguson courts and cops. I read some of it at the gym, some on buses and trains, and finally finished it tonight. The report is as appalling as it is important, and it should be required reading and study in criminal justice classes, especially for future police officers. (Click on link at end of article for full report.) Continue reading