Racist Cops and Vigilantes: As MSM Covers More Like Trayvon, Will We See Justice?

The murder of Trayvon Martin seems as though it's become one of the most-reported stories about brutality and race since Rodney King. However, tales of racist cops and viglantes are not new, but perhaps because of the mainstream media's heightened awareness, more stories like it are getting more airtime. Right now, two separate, racialized tragedies are starting to see a little more coverage:

• In November, police in White Plains, New York, shot and killed Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., an unarmed, 68-year-old Marine veteran, after his medical alert alarm set off an alert accidentally. Because of the life-alarm, the entire ordeal was recorded on tape; Chamberlain is heard explaining there is no emergency, while cops are heard calling him the n-word through the door—which they then broke down, tased him, and shot him twice in the chest. He was dressed only in his boxers.

• In mid-March, Deanna Johnson, a middle-aged white woman in Pearland, Texas, nearly killed two 13-year-old black children riding a go-cart on a grassy median, when she drove over the curb, then slammed her SUV into them, while shouting, "You don't belong in this neighborhood!" One of the children, Jules Moor, said, "With all due respect, ma'am, I live down the street," after which Johnson said she did not care and called the police. CNN reports:

“He thought he was going to die,” said Theresa Moor, mother of Jules. “All I could do was stop what I was doing, grab my keys and make my way to my child.

As Theresa arrived, she saw that the go-cart had been damaged severely and learned from Jules that Johnson had accused the boys of not living in the neighborhood. As Theresa approached Johnson to find out what happened, Johnson put her palm up to her face in a dismissive manner, refused to talk, went back to her truck and rolled up the windows.

Frustrated at the way things were transpiring, Theresa contacted the police and several Brazoria County Sherriff’s deputies arrived.

According to Theresa, she overheard Johnson claim that she was trying to “detain” the boys because they looked like some kids that they had seen earlier riding bicycles onto the driveways of houses in the neighborhood.

Moor sustained neck and back injuries and is suffering from PTSD. And—in a chilling echo of the confounding handling of George Zimmerman by Florida police—Johnson was neither drug-tested nor arrested upon their arrival. 

So as millions across the United Statesdemand justice for Trayvon Martin, there's another issue at hand: how do we ensure that similar incidents in which a clear racist element is present are brought to justice? For one, if the DOJ becomes involved with the Zimmerman case, as Martin's parents wish for them to do, it could send a message to police departments across the country—that if negligence is apparent for whatever reason in hate crimes such as these, the feds will intervene. Which they need to: it's the only way, apparently, to hold these corrupt police accountable. 


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at April 2, 2012, 5:24am