AFRICANGLOBE – As expected, a grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio did not bring charges against the police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014.
It is said that the judicial system is so biased in favor of prosecutors that they can “indict a ham sandwich.” In this case, Cuyahoga county prosecutor Timothy McGinty wanted no such thing.
According to a recent report there were 1,134 police killings in the United States in 2015. Three hundred of those persons were Black, killed by police at twice the rate of Whites. These numbers won’t change unless the police know they will answer for their crimes and politicians know they will pay if they don’t help to bring the system down.
Every murder that goes unpunished brings greater urgency to the demand for Black community control of the police. There is no other option.
President Obama has the power of the Justice Department at his disposal. Yet he hasn’t seen fit to use it for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or any of the hundreds of Black people killed by police during his presidency. No Democratic or Republican presidential candidate has said anything about utilizing Department of Justice prosecutorial powers to stop this carnage.
‘Little Or Nothing’
Every announcement of a killer cop going free sets off a sad parade of ultimately useless activity.
The tears, outrage, protests and condolences to family do no tangible good because there isn’t any commensurate demand or action behind them. Too many people who might play a role in stemming the death count have done little or nothing.
McGinty holds an elective office. The official sanction of Rice’s murder should bring defeat when he runs for re-election. Cleveland’s Black mayor Frank Jackson and all other elected officials should be held to account as well. Jackson issued a mealy-mouthed and deliberately obtuse statement about reviewing police procedures, but said nothing about a child’s killing going unpunished.
The mayor and his colleagues should also be in fear of job loss if they can’t even go through the motions and condemn McGinty and the grand jury decision. They should all make sure that McGinty is the soon-to-be former prosecutor. There must be a line in the sand that no one is allowed to cross, no matter how seemingly sacrosanct their position or reputation.
“Black Lives Matter” also issued a statement that was a rehash of readily available information. As usual, they didn’t articulate a strategy or make a demand beyond what they have always done.
They were true to form, spelling out obvious reasons for anger but calling for petitions and federal investigations that end up meaning nothing.
The Cleveland region has Black city council people, state legislators, and Congressional Black Caucus members. They haven’t demanded justice for their constituents.
Mayor Jackson and other Black politicians should have been in the front row when protesters gathered outside of McGinty’s home. Anyone unwilling to make such a small effort should also be consigned to political oblivion. There is no need of Black faces in high places if they can’t make even small efforts to protest murder.
Black people who are in a position to use a bully pulpit against the enablers should have to explain themselves or leave their offices if they can’t muster any courage.
If the mayor can’t join in saying that McGinty has to go, then he ought to go, too. Cleveland residents should make their way to his house and demand that he do something about McGinty and the whole rotten system he upholds.
Living In Fear
The sad fact is that Black so-called leaders live in fear. They fear loss of position and connections – but they don’t fear the people. That ought to change; so should the way that the people interact with them. Black Cleveland should have been prepared for the non-indictment. That preparation should have included a list of people who must be gone from public life if the cops went punished.
The McGintys of the world aren’t the only people who must be ousted. Jackson and his ilk must be placed on the chopping block, too. That is the only message they understand.
By: Margaret Kimberley