Riots and Police Shootings Not Just a National Problem

Riots and Police Shootings Not Just a National Problem

The faces of the men and women pictured above are some who have died at the hands of or during encounters with police from 1999-2014. This list was tweeted by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund last December.
The faces of the men and women pictured above are some who have died at the hands of or during encounters with police from 1999-2014. This list was tweeted by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund last December.

Special to the NNPA from The Miami Times

While America and the rest of the world watch with shock and dismay as Black citizens are gunned down one after the other by rouge police officers, Miami-Dade County has remained almost silent.

Bobby Worthy, president of Justice League United, staged a rally against police brutality May 7 in front of the Miami-Dade County Richard Gerstein Justice Building and it produced more media than participants and spectators.

Michael “Black Jesus” of the Black Man’s Movement and four spectators on a blistering hot afternoon joined Worthy.

“I’m shocked and disappointed that no people are here,” said Worthy, last Thursday. “We had 10,000 people come out in Ferguson, Mo. I just came from Baltimore, Md. I’ve been to North Charleston, S.C., all over the country. Never have I seen so few people interested in justice for Black people.”

But the apathy shown at this rally does not reflect national efforts. The rallying cry against the unaccountability of Black lives has been happening in pockets across the nation. Civil rights leaders rushed to the site of the dead and asked for justice on TV and radio, shouting to stopped-up ears of the justice system. But social media and mobile phone cameras have unlocked the eyes and ears of Americans, particularly the young, and a new civil rights movement has been born.

76 DEAD

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund had been documenting the death of unarmed Black men and women by the police — sometimes when they were already in police custody — from 1999-2014. The first on the list: 23-year-old Amadou Diallo, who was killed in New York after a hail of bullets was fired by police from outside his apartment. Nineteen bullets hit him. The officers were acquitted.

On Dec. 3, 2014, the day it was announced that New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be indicted, the Legal Defense Fund tweeted 76 names of men and women killed by the police and known by the fund.

Since then, several unarmed Black men have been killed during encounters with police — some of them documented on cameras by witnesses. The latest to set off a literal firestorm was the death of Freddie Gray, who, after his arrest by Baltimore Police April 12, died of a spinal cord injury April 19 while still in police custody. Police said Gray was initially arrested because he ran from police in an area known for violent crime and drug sales.

Baltimore erupted, people flooded the streets and civil unrest continues, even after Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby indicted six police officers on charges ranging from second-degree murder to manslaughter and assault.

The Justice League United staged the Miami rally against police brutality, according to Worthy, as an awakening in the aftermath of the recent deaths of Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Courtney Harris, Laval Hall, Michael Brown, Kajieme Powell, Jack Lamar Roberson, Antonio Whetstone and other Blacks at the hands of police.

The North Charleston State Attorney has since indicted Michael Slager, the North Charleston police officer accused of shooting Scott eight times in the back, on a first-degree murder charge.