Monday, July 18, 2016

Presumptions of Criminality



                                                 From The Ramparts
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                           Presumptions of Criminality

            When reporters asked Malcolm X  to comment on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm defied Elijah Muhammad's order not to say anything about the event and responded "It was, as I saw it, a case of ‘the chickens coming home to roost.’ I said that the hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, had finally struck down this country’s Chief Magistrate.” 
            The recent shootings and killings of police is another example of the chickens coming home to roost. Martin Luther King Jr said in a speech exactly one year to the day  before he was assassinated, "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government."  The United States is the most violent country on Earth. It was conceived in violence when Europeans landed in this hemisphere and began brutalizing and killing its indigenous inhabitants. That violence continued until Europeans claimed all of North America. Now their goal is to completely dominate the world.
             Violence escalated once Africans were imported here to do the back breaking labor to make America profitable. The history of gun ownership here is based upon the need for whites to have guns, not to protect themselves but to facilitate the theft, appropriation and conquest of the Native Americans' lands and to keep the Africans they imported passive and under control.
            Organized militia patrolled and protected the colonies. The Sheriffs were colonial administration officers with duties similar to those of sheriffs in England. Standing armies cost money and the colonists didn't have money to pay. Sheriffs and Constables served warrants and did other non law enforcement duties once the United States was founded. Police departments didn't come into existence until the 1830's.
            Read the late Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr's well researched and written books In the Matter of Color Race and the American Legal Process, The Colonial Period and Shades of Freedom Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process and you'll understand the roots of the presumptions of racial inferiority and criminality woven into the US legal system and enforced by the police. Constitutionally sanctioned slavery, color peonage and Post Civil Rights America still remain stuck in those notions. US police departments were originally created and used to maintain social order and control for the ruling classes to keep European immigrants, and people of color in check. Connect the historical dots and you'll realize the causes of what is happening today.
            Police brutality has existed since police have been around. In addition to patrolling neighborhoods, police were primarily tasked with being the guardians of the ruling class and their property. If you are old enough to remember the '60's and 70's police brutality was a contentious and volatile issue. Following the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the subsequent murder of Martin Luther King Jr more Black Sheriffs were elected, more Black police officers were hired and more Blacks became chiefs. Yet the presumptions of inferiority and criminality Judge Higginbotham described still remain.
             Due to the recent shootings of police officers, police, politicians and pundits are demonizing the Black Lives Matter movement. They claim BLM is a hateful anti-police movement.  In their haste to defend their actions, the police deny tensions between police and the Black community have always existed. They focus on the small number of Blacks killed by police, admitting police shoot and kill more whites than Blacks.
              This is a complex issue. See http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-justice/police-reasonable-force-brutality-race-research-review-statistics. Ironically, the police are resorting to the same presumptions of inferiority and criminality Judge Higginbotham wrote about. They are attempting to sweep police brutality and misconduct under the rug. The chickens are coming home to roost.

                                                            -30-

            

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