Justice Delayed

Yesterday a 25-year-old African American man identified as Ezell Ford was shot and killed by the Los Angeles Police Department. His family says he was shot in the back while complying with police orders.

Ferguson, Missouri is still on edge after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, also African American, who was shot by Ferguson police for reasons that are under dispute. Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, 22, was an eyewitness and said Brown was shot after he had put his hands up. Johnson also disputes the police version of the incident, that says Brown had grabbed for the police officer’s weapon. No one in law enforcement bothered to take a statement from Johnson until today.

Here in New York, it’s been three weeks since Eric Garner died of a chokehold administered by police. On August 1, the medical examiner declared that the death was a homicide. The district attorney will still not say if any further action will be taken. At least in New York, the Mayor is not making excuses for the police.

We do seem to have a problem here, don’t we?

6 thoughts on “Justice Delayed

  1. We need a serious look at (among other things) the use of deadly force by law enforcement in this country. Even if the incident happened exactly as the officer said, there’s nothing this young man has been accused of (smeared with) that warrants his death. It seems like a no-brainer to me that if someone is accused of (or even witnessed) committing a crime that can’t result in the death penalty, if there’s no serious threat of bodily injury, if there’s no weapon present, then cops have no business drawing their guns.

  2. Pingback: Ferguson: Police Are Out of Control | The Mahablog

  3. I kind of like the idea of “Girl’s Gone Wild,”* much more than the reality of “Police Gone Wild!”

    *Note: I never saw a any of those, but I did see plenty of the ads on TV late a night when I couldn’t sleep.

  4. J.T., I think we need to go even deeper.

    I will accept the occasional “I swear to god, I thought it was a gun!” shooting. But I sometimes think about how I heard it said that, in the Navy, if you run a ship aground, even if the review board finds you did everything spot on perfectly, no one could have handled it better, it was a freak accident that ship ran aground, you’re a fine captain… you still won’t ever get command of a ship again. There are just *too many* command-ready officers, and too few command posts.

    Now: note, you might get promoted regularly, you might end up putting up your star. But you won’t ever be put in direct control of another ship.

    And I sometimes feel like we should have something like that for cops. “Sorry officer, but the kid was unarmed. There’s too many good people ready for a chance at a badge and a gun for us to take a risk on you. Now, we have some *fine* administrative jobs, and you still have a fine chance for promotion along another career track….”

  5. Is anyone here but me old enough to remember the riots in the summer 1965?
    I had just graduated from High School and bounced from Cincinnati where my prep school was, to New York City where my parents lived.

    I had already experienced the murder of my President and would shortly find that 2 more of my heroes, MLK and JFK, would be murdered as well. Then there was the 1968 Democratic Convention and the police were out of control there as well.

    This summer of 2014 feels just the same – hot and smoldering in the cities and racial tensions building up to the point where they will explode everywhere.

    In Cincinnati we barely heard of the rioting and when we did it was from the point of view of the police and the establishment. My real education happened in NYC where things were surprisingly calm and outrage was from the liberals against the out of control police. In those days it was Republicans who were the liberals and the Democrats who were just starting to wake up to reality.

    By the time of the Kent State shootings in 1970 I was in College and the tide had turned against Vietnam and the police state that seemed to be fighting every inch of social change.

    I’m having deja vu and it doesn’t feel nostalgic in a good way at all. If President Obama doesn’t lead our people to begin to stand with the protesters in Ferguson and in all of the cities and towns where the same scenarios are playing out, I fear that we will have a summer like we did in 1965 and that could affect an entire new generation of young people to loose faith in our Government.


    The Watts Riots (or Watts Rebellion)[1] was a race riot that took place in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles from August 11 to 17, 1965. The six days of racially-fueled violence and unrest resulted in 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage. It was the most severe riot in the city’s history until the Los Angeles riots of 1992, and is considered by many to be a key turning point in the African-American Civil Rights Movement




  6. Sondra,
    The day MLK Jr. was assassinated, RFK was supposed to give a speech in Indianapolis.
    His advisor’s counseled him not to go.
    He went and gave a very moving speech.
    And he is credited with preventing riots in that city.

    I was 8 in ’65, so, outside of watching Cronkite with my father, I didn’t have any other exposure to the Watts or Newark riots.

    I remember ’68, though.
    My two hero’s – outside of Mickey Mantle, of course – were MLK Jr. and RFK.
    I came home from school on April 4th, turned on the TV to watch cartoons, and saw the aftermath of MLK Jr’s assassination.
    I was still crying when my parents got home from work.

    Later that summer, as a 10 year-old political junkie, I was at my Grandmother’s house in NJ, and snuck down late at night to watch what was happening in the CA Primary.
    And when I turned on the TV, to my horror, Bobby had been killed.
    I HOWLED!!!
    My Grandmother and her husband came running out, thinking I was being disemboweled by some killer, only to find my speechlessly crying, and pointing at the TV.

    I also lived not too far away from Malcolm X and his family, in NYC. So, his death also affected me.

    When people ask me why I’m such a nut, I blame it on all of the countless deaths of hero’s I that I experienced in my impressionable youth, and the senseless slaughter of soldiers and innocents on both sides, in Vietnam.

    For all of our sakes, I hope you’re wrong, and this summer ends up peacefully.

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