Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 7:18 AM

Black Lives Matter? Sandra Bland Is an Example, Not a Martyr

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 5.25.12 PMYou have probably seen police dashcam video of the July 10 traffic stop that led to Sandra Bland’s arrest. Shockingly, she died of an alleged suicide in a Texas jail, under plainly suspicious circumstances, just three days later.

I shall leave it to others to propagate racially motivated speculation about whether the manner of her death was really suicide or in fact homicide. I feel obliged to note, however, that many of those screaming bloody murder in this case are the same, self-appointed Black avengers who screamed bloody murder in the Michael Brown case. It took Black Attorney General Eric Holder to finally declare that their outrage – complete with unhinged looting and vandalism – was utterly baseless.

I truly believe that “Black Lives Matter.” That’s why I’m more interested in preventing these Black tragedies than in rushing to execute the White cops involved in them. This is why I can think of nothing more constructive to say today than what I said after the killing of Michael Brown, which ignited the most animated public debate on police brutality against Black folks since the beating of Rodney King.

Accordingly, here is an excerpt from “Why Chastise the Times for Describing Michael Brown as ‘No Angel?!” August 26, 2014.

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We’ve all seen far too many incidents of people resisting arrest – even wresting away a policeman’s gun and killing him – just because they fear being questioned or arrested … even for something as simple as petty theft.

You’d be hard-pressed to cite a case that resulted in fatality, where the victim followed the few general rules we should all follow when dealing with the police. Those rules are:

  1. Do not run.
  2. Follow instructions calmly (i.e., no sudden moves that might spook a nervous or trigger-happy policeman).
  3. Wait for the police to explain why you’re being stopped before politely posing any objections, concerns, or questions you may have.
  4. If instructed to turn around to be frisked or handcuffed, comply without uttering a word.
  5. Save any disagreements or arguments you may have for the courtroom or your civilian complaints review board, which is the only time and place to resist arrest…

Instead of doublespeak that would make him a saint, those eulogizing Michael would honor his death far more by admonishing young Black men [and women as the case might be] against the deadly hazards of resisting arrest and defying authority … merely as a misguided badge of honor or rite of passage.

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Incidentally, liberals are fond of championing the right to disrespect the police. But what you need to know is that almost all of them live in communities where law and order is not an issue. Which is why their championing of this right amounts to little more than fomenting nimby anarchy.

Apropos of this, the video makes clear that Bland copped a confrontational attitude from the moment White cop Brian Encinia approached her car and attempted to engage her in a very professional and polite manner. Obviously, her attitude does not excuse his failure to maintain his composure, especially given that his duty to be professional, no matter the provocation, was far greater than her duty to be civil. In fact, Encinia has been duly reprimanded and placed on administrative leave pending further disciplinary action. But nobody is suggesting that he was responsible, in any way, for her death.

On the other hand, there can be no denying that, if Bland had returned Encinia’s professional approach with just a little civility (and cooperation), he might have issued her a ticket or let her off with just a warning. Either way, she would not have ended up in jail, dying under suspicious circumstances.

All the same, her family and friends are understandably grief-stricken, and I fully appreciate why they are so incredulous. They are in my thoughts….

55afb46f1800003d00376883Meanwhile, you have probably not seen reports on what happened when White cop Ray Tensing stopped Black motorist Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati on Sunday; reportedly, because his car was missing a front license plate. According to CNN, Dubose refused repeated requests for his driver’s license, as well as repeated requests to get out of his car.

‘There was a struggle at the door with Mr. Dubose in the vehicle and the officer outside the vehicle, and the vehicle sped away,’ Cincinnati police Lt. Col. James Whalen told reporters…

Tensing fired one shot at the fleeing car, killing Dubose.

(Huffington Post, July 22, 2015)

So, just like Michael Brown, another Black man is dead simply because he refused to behave as we all should when stopped by the police.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.39.10 PMBlack lives matter. Unfortunately, far too many Black activists seem more interested in proselytizing their nihilistic, anti-cop agenda than in protecting Black men – as much from each other as from White cops.

This was brought into distressing relief at the liberal Netroots Nation conference in Arizona last weekend, when activists disrupted interviews with liberal Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley.

They couldn’t care less what plans these candidates have for advancing the cause of social and criminal justice for Black folks. They were only interested in hearing Sanders and O’Malley chant their hollow rallying cry, “Black lives matter.” Period.

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UPDATE

July 29

Officer Tensing charged with murder

 

Initial media reports indicating that Dubose resisted arrest and endangered Tensing’s life were based solely on the latter’s police report. But video from the body camera he was wearing contradicts his report.

Accordingly, here, in part, is how Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters damned Tensing as he announced a murder indictment against him during a press conference today:

This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make — totally unwarranted…

People want to believe that Mr. DuBose had done something violent towards the officer — he did not. He did not at all.

(CNN, July 29, 2015)

Having now seen the video myself, the murder indictment is entirely warranted. But this video also vindicates my abiding admonition that the best way for Blacks to survive traffic stops and other encounters with cops is to be far more cooperative than even slightly confrontational.

I hasten to clarify that DuBose did nothing to provoke this shooting. But, like Sandra Bland, he clearly could have been far more cooperative….

Incidentally, in “Killing of Michael Brown: as much about Resisting Arrest as Police Brutality (only against Black men?),” The iPINIONS Journal, August 12, 2014, I called for every police department in the country to make wearing body cameras as standard as wearing bulletproof vests.

There’s no gainsaying that, but for the body camera in this case, Officer Tensing would not have been indicted.

Meanwhile, lawyers invariably explain their decision to defend reprehensible defendants by citing the universally recognized rule that “everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense.” This, for example, is how Mark O’Mara explained his decision to help George Zimmerman get away with murdering Trayvon Martin.

Audrey DuBose, Aubrey DuBose, Cleshawn DuBose, Terina Allen, Mark O'MaraThere is a critical difference, however, between a lawyer being appointed as a public defender of such defendants (which happens every day) and one choosing to play that role. The former does so as a professional duty; the latter, invariably, as a boon to his profession. I would bet my life savings, for example, that you had never heard of O’Mara before he chose to defend Zimmerman.

This is why I am stupefied that the Dubose family retained O’Mara to help them get justice in this case. Never mind that, if he had any professional principles, O’Mara would have chosen to defend Tensing….

More to the point, this family could have chosen from a national pool of thousands who have not prostituted their legal services the way he has. Not to mention unwittingly rewarding O’Mara now by giving him a chance not only for professional redemption, but also for a big windfall from the millions in civil damages even a first year lawyer is capable of winning in this case.

Related commentaries:
Ferguson to Baltimore: black lives matter

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