What We Need Now: Everything Authorities Said Before S.C. Shooting Video Emerged (Opinion)

If you haven’t see the video yet, you need to.

Everything is recorded. A North Charleston, S.C., police officer chases a man after a traffic stop scuffle and shoots him in the back, eight times. Then he calmly walks over to the body and places an object — some say a taser gun — next to the body.

To the police department’s credit, authorities move quickly and seek outside investigators to review the case. In just days, patrolman Michael T. Slager, 33, is arrested Tuesday for the murder of the man, Walter Scott, 50.

Having the video makes this shooting dramatically different from that of so many unarmed black men over the last few years, shootings that have lead to nationwide protests over the excessive use of force by police officers. For example, the Aug. 9, 2014, tussle between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Miss., is at the crux of the very emotional debate between Brown and Wilson supporters. Was Wilson acting reasonably? How did Brown react? How did Wilson shoot Brown? In the end, the issue has always been, “we’ll never know.”

But the North Charleston incident is very different. The shooting is all on tape. No grand jury needed.

And, no matter what happened right before the shooting, the U.S. legal system never condones an officer repeatedly shooting a person in the back to kill.

So, at this point, I have different questions and I think others who are concerned about police brutality, race relations and how black males are treated by law enforcement should have them, too.

I want to reconstuct everything that was said about this incident before the video surfaced. I want to see everything the officer said. I want to learn how the powers that be in this community portrayed this incident. I want a copy of every television, print and talk radio dialogue about this incident.

Why?

Because the overarching issue in all of these cases is trust.

Right now, trust is broken between police and their supporters and black males who claim to be unfairly treated by police and their supporters. And, many in this society truly do not believe some police officers treat human beings in this dehumanizing way Officer Slager clearly treats Mr. Scott, in this clear-as-day cellphone video.

No, not all police officers are bad people. But those who are abuse their power to the point of cold-blooding killings like this.

This is what the protestors have been trying to tell them all along.

So. Tell us what they said before the video.

Time to turn the mirror on supporters of these bad cops.

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Congregation of Church Razed for Falcons Stadium Celebrates 1st Easter at New Southwest Atlanta Location

by Janita Poe/@AtlantaPolitics

CASCADE HEIGHTS — The congregation of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church — one of two historic African-American structures razed last year to make way for a new $1.2-billion Atlanta Falcons stadium — celebrated its first Easter service today in its new southwest Atlanta location.

The occasion comes just a month before Mt. Vernon — now across from Young Middle School at Mays and Lynhurst — celebrates 100 years since the congregation became a church, according to the church’s website. The official march into the new facility was Palm Sunday, according to Associate Pastor Walter Mobley.

Mt. Vernon’s vote to accept $14.5 million from the city for their 53-year-old downtown home and that of landmark Friendship Baptist to accept $19.5 million, did not come without controversy. Historic preservationists, devout Baptists and other groups strongly opposed the churches selling their structures for any price. Some church members and their supporters, however, said the funds will allow the two churches to build and grow.

Editor’s Note: The author is the grandniece of the Rev. J.R. Lovett, who pastored Mt. Vernon from 1952 to 1962.

Image: Janita Poe

@MaynardMovie Twitter Handle Now Promoting Documentary on Life of Atlanta’s First African-American Mayor

by Janita Poe/@AtlantaPolitics

ATLANTA — The @MaynardMovie Twitter handle for the new Auburn Avenue Films movie about the life of Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, Maynard Holbrook Jackson, is up and running.

Jackson is seen here in this 1952 picture of the Dobbs family in front of their home at 540 John Wesley Dobbs (formerly Houston Street) on Aug. 27, 1952.

Mr. Dobbs — affectionately know as the “Mayor of Auburn Avenue” — is seated front and center. His grandson, Maynard, is on the very back row, on the left.

His son-in-law, the Rev. Maynard H. Jackson, Sr., who pastored the historic Friendship Baptist Church during the 1940s and early 1950s, is on the front row, holding a child.

Friends who want to support the making of this movie can donate to the crowdfunding arm of the documentary here: http://maynardmovie.com/

Image: @historyatlanta Twitter page.

APS Cheating Scandal Racketeering Verdict: Who Set Up the Racket? (Opinion)

by Janita Poe/@AtlantaPolitics

ATLANTA — Eleven Atlanta Public Schools educators, now convicted felons, were hauled off to paddy wagons yesterday, after the verdict in a test cheating scandal was read about 2 p.m.

The defendants were found guilty of racketeering — a crime tied to the bloody mobster era of the previous century that suggests a systematic “racket” to make money off of innocent citizens.

So, my question today is this: Who set up the racket?

Who created “No Child Left Behind” and the government-backed financial incentives to produce the high test scores?

Who pressured these educators to achieve success with some of society’s most economically and socially challenged youth, “by any means necessary?”

But, wait. That’s not all.

Who left poor kids behind in a rush to the suburbs in search of “better” schools for their own children?

Who turned the other cheek and handed off public education’s most complex challenges to the least-prepared, least-qualified teachers and academic leaders?

Folks. This country and it’s racist, classist, egomaniacal underpinnings is in need of some self analysis.

Because what happened in that courtroom yesterday did not change a durn thing for the education of youth in our lowest-income communities.

And nothing will change unless and until we Americans– all races, both genders — stop pointing the finger and seriously commit ourselves to helping the least of these.

Welcome to Atlanta Politics Buzz!

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Every morning, we publish a round-up of the latest political news of interest to our readers. And, throughout the day, we update the page with curated and original reports, as well as occasional commentary from veteran, award-winning southwest Atlanta journalist turned political new media consultant Janita Poe.

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