Cop Kills an Unarmed Black Man, a Trial Starts, a Lone Juror Sabotages and a Mistrial: The Michael Slager Case

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America continues to prove that it doesn’t give a fuck about black people’s lives.

From WYFF:

Jurors in the trial of former South Carolina patrolman Michael Slager informed the judge just after 3:30 p.m. that they were deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.

The judge had given jurors additional instructions earlier in the day, including reminding them that a guilty verdict must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

Slager is charged in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, who was shot five times in the back last year while running from Slager during a traffic stop in North Charleston..

The jury resumed deliberations Monday morning as the defense continued to request a mistrial.

The jurors asked Circuit Judge Clifton Newman for clarity on the meanings and definitions of several phrases, including imminent danger, malice aforethought, provocation and self-defense.

The judge merged concerns from the defense and prosecution about the jury’s request into a single written response that he prepared for the jury.

The judge returned with the response at about 12:30 p.m. Monday,and shared it with attorneys before calling the jury back to the courtroom.

The prosecution and defense reviewed the judge’s response. The defense asked the judge to add that there is no malice if one has a just cause to act.

The judge reminded the jury to accept the law as defined by him. The written response explained that manslaughter was included as an option because it is a lesser but included crime in a murder case. The judge defined manslaughter as an unlawful killing without the malice of murder.

The judge’s response to jurors included telling them that they cannot convict Slager of murder or manslaughter unless the charge has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The response also said that if the defendant believed he was in danger because of some provocation by the victim, it could have induced the heat of passion.

Newman said self-defense would be the case if a person of normal prudence and courage felt in danger.

The judge’s response said a conviction for murder requires determining if a person acted with malice aforethought.

Newman said the new instructions were to be taken in conjunction with previous instructions and they should be treated as a whole.

The defense asked that the judge re-instruct the jury regarding the potential manslaughter charge, saying that the nomenclature of it being a “lesser offense” might influence the jury when it is a crime considered in the same category as murder with similar penalties. They asked that it be referred to as “another charge” or an “alternate charge,” not a lesser offense.

The defense also asked that the judge charge the jury that both provocation and heat of passion must exist or manslaughter should be taken off the table, and that the judge instruct the jury that that malice must have existed at the time the shots were fired for a charge of murder.

The prosecution argued that all of the charges as given to the jury were appropriate.

The judge said the defense’s requests to modify the instructions to the jury were not timely and additional information given to the jury would lead to confusion. He said his responsibility was to answer the jury’s questions, not to change the original charge to the jury.

Within minutes, the word came that the jury was deadlocked.

The jury deliberated more than 20 hours over four days before ultimately deciding that they could not reach a unanimous decision.

A lone juror prior to the declaration said he can’t convict Slager out of “good counscience.” NBC News reports:

A lone juror said Friday he can’t convict a former police officer who fatally shot a black man in South Carolina, and the jury said they want to continue deliberating.

The juror in a letter to the court said “I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict” against Michael Slager, a white former patrolman who pulled over Walter Scott in North Charleston, and ended up shooting him as a bystander recorded the incident on video.

The jury foreperson said in a separate note to the court that it was only one juror who was “having issues,” Circuit Judge Clifton Newman said. The juror opposed to conviction said in the letter, “I cannot and will not change my mind,” Newman said…

So, killing an unarmed black man was not as bad as convicting a cop who killed him? I see.

…Slager, 35, has been charged with murder in the death of Scott, 50, who was not armed. Scott was shot five times in the back while running from Slager during the traffic stop.

And yet, people are upset or naive about the Black Lives Matter movement and why it’s needed. They will look at this and other trials and still feign ignorance and disdain.

So, go ahead continue to proclaim how racism doesn’t exist among cops and the justice system if it soothes your feelings while cursing those who fight for the lives of black people all while denying how not racist your racist ass is.

Yeah, your words are more powerful than your actions.

Racism Deniers, Please STFU, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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This isn’t a powerful blog post with deep logic or brilliant points. In fact, I think other writers and bloggers have said the same thing, but with more finesse. I’m not even going to try to link to other articles, because I’m confident that those who read it have the know-how to research themselves. Instead, I’ll just keep it short and sweet and cut straight to the chase, because it’s a fact of life and common sense.

Racism exists in this land. That’s not an opinion or up for debate. It’s fact. It’s proven. It’s common knowledge. People of color (POC) are the targets and have been for what seems like eons.

So, those who still deny that it exists sound like a complete and cowardly dumbass.

I’ve had people tell me how it’s no longer an issue for POC, especially black folks. Despite truckloads of evidence to the contrary, they insist that racism is no longer at play. It’s always something else at work.

So, when police walk away after killing unarmed black folks, a pipeline threatens the land settled by Native Americans, cops are ordered to stop and frisk people of African and Latino descent, a white man guns down churchgoers and a bunch of other bullshit based on the unchecked fears and hatred of POC, no one should say a word how race was a factor in all those and more?

Fuck that, and fuck you too, racism deniers!

Here’s the deal. POC have been victims of racism for centuries. They are still victims of racism. So, they know what it is, what it can be and how to deal with it. They aren’t stupid enough to take the word of a denier portraying the role of a clueless moron.

Even some white people aren’t afraid to know that racism exists and that they benefit greatly from it. And they know the racism deniers are full of it.

So, to those of you who claim to be alt-right members, race realists or whatever pet name you want to call yourselves to avoid being called what you really are, and those who deny that racism is still a problem, you’re really just being scared. You are racists. This country is racist. Plain and simple. You’re just too cowardly to admit either or both.

My article got a website hacked by racist Trump followers

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I’ve been informed that the popular blog The Intersection of Madness and Reality (IMR) has been shut down due to hackers. I’ve been told by fellow blogger and good friend Rippa, the owner and operator, that it was due to an article I wrote.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the call for people to empathize with the white working class who voted for President-elect Donald Trump and who continuously vote against their best interests. I expanded on that issue to include white women and college education white folks. And I also talked about how bogus it is that black folks should feel for those that don’t feel for them. You can read about it here.

I copied and pasted the article on IMR. Naturally, it got mixed responses. A couple of people claiming to be white agreed and are also sick of such foolishness. But a couple of people brought their foolishness with them, being perfect examples of why people are sick of their stupidity.

Apparently, people were angry enough to do something about it. They hacked the website causing it to shut down. Hopefully, it will be back up soon.

I apologize to Rippa and the writers of IMR that their website was attacked. However, and Rippa will agree, I can’t and won’t apologize for what I wrote.

One of the things racist white people love to do is negate causes for the anger and frustrations felt by people of color (POC). It’s because they’re they know their people, histories and systems are the direct and indirect causes for most of the issues POC continue facing. Instead, they engage in victim blaming, highlighting their faults as if they caused their own oppression. They’re too cowardly to admit racism exist and that they may be racists themselves. That’s why some of them refer to themselves as the alt-right or race realists instead of what they are: racists, white nationalists, white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, etc.

The jackoffs who hacked IMR have proven that they are deplorable. They don’t want to be better people. Being white and thinking that that’s superior to everyone else is too great to lose. And they will tear the world to shreds so white supremacy can thrive. White fragility is a lethal weapon. Let humanity be damned.

R.I.P. Ron Glass

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"Serenity" Los Angeles Premiere

From Variety:

Ron Glass, a prolific TV actor known for playing Ron Harris in the sitcom “Barney Miller” and Shepherd Derrial Book in “Firefly,” has died. He was 71.

The actor’s rep confirmed the death to Variety, but had no further details regarding the cause or location.

Glass was born in Evansville, Ind. and went on to study drama and literature at the University of Evansville. He began his career in Hollywood in episodes of “Sanford and Son,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “All in the Family” in the early ’70s.

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R.I.P. Fidel Castro

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From Al Jazeera:

He outlasted 10 US presidents, brought free medical care to a small island nation, suppressed dissidents and infuriated his opponents at home and abroad after overthrowing a dictatorship in 1959.

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s larger-than-life former leader, has died aged 90, according to Cuba’s state-run television. The news was confirmed by his brother, current President Raul Castro, on Saturday.

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An Open Letter To White People From a White Person

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I’ve written extensively about my frustrations with white folks who mostly operate based on right wing thinking. But truth be told, there are whites on the left who are just as infuriating for their brand of liberalism that’s usually in the form of images. (Safety pins anyone?)

It’s gotten so ridiculous that even white people are sick of the bullshit. They know that most of the solidarity for marginalized people is all for show, a way of avoiding collective guilt and responsibility usually forced upon nonwhites.  And they know how far from progressive those white folks actually are.

One such person is Eric Peterson, a writer and educator who wrote an open letter to white folks, particularly the left wingers, lecturing them to cut the crap and learn what being a true ally is all about:

Dear Fellow White People,

Since the election, I’ve been noticing a trend among my left-leaning friends on social media. It began with the wide sharing of an article called, “On ‘Woke’ White People Advertising their Shock that Racism Just Won an Election.” It seemed to suggest that if a white person thought that America was a place where an open and unrepentant racist (among other things, “sexual predator” and “xenophobe” come to mind) couldn’t possibly be elected President, then they haven’t been paying attention, aren’t as progressive as they claim, and should compound their feelings of despair over Trump’s victory with an extra dose of guilt regarding their failure to experience the lived reality of people of color.

I have also seen a rash of articles regarding the safety pins that allies of marginalized groups are wearing (one of which I shared on my personal page; it was called, “Dear White People, Your Safety Pins are Embarrassing”). The overall theme was that those who wear the pins to show their support were primarily motivated not by allyship, but by the desire for a get-out-of-racism-free card, and that the desire to walk around with a safety pin says more about an ally’s privilege than it does about the safety of those who feel newly in danger since Trump’s victory last week.

Before I say much more on the topic, let me freely admit that I take a certain degree of pride in my own “wokeness.” I’ve been working in the field of Diversity & Inclusion for some time now, and every time a person of color tells me how nice it is to “finally” have a conversation with a white person who “gets it,” my heart swells a little bit. With that in mind, here’s a few things I know about being white …

1) WE NEVER REALLY “GET IT.” No matter how many black friends we have, no matter how many blogs we read, no matter how “woke” we feel, we’ll never know in our bones what it means to walk through the world as an oppressed racial minority. Many of us are marginalized in other ways; I happen to be gay, and of course there are white people who are poor, or possess a disability, or are Jewish or transgender. And these experiences give us a window into the experiences of other disadvantaged groups — but looking through a window is not the same as being on the other side. If we want to come to some kind of understanding, the best we can do is listen and learn.

2) WHITE PRIVILEGE IS INVISIBLE BY DESIGN. One of the key dynamics of any kind of privilege, white privilege included, is that it eludes the people who have it. The fact that there are racial dynamics that never occur to us is one of the key luxuries that comes with privilege. So yeah, a lot of us were shocked that an objective racist (by his own words and actions, which can be easily accessed by a Google search) was elected President of the United States. And many people of color were not. That might be because we have a certain degree of privilege, and in times of stress, it disappears from view.

3) THERE’S NO ENDPOINT. YOU WILL NEVER WAKE UP IN “WOKEVILLE.” And the minute you think that you have achieved peak “wokeness,” you are almost as dangerous to people of color than someone who doesn’t believe that privilege exists. You want to be a force for good when it comes to racial justice as a white person? You never stop listening. You never stop learning. You never stop making mistakes. You never stop getting better.

4) SINCE THERE’S NO FINISH LINE, THERE’S NO RACE TO GET THERE. Because this is a journey without an end, there’s no white person on earth who is the “wokest.” We’re all incomplete in this regard. A white person posting something on his/her Facebook page meant to belittle other white people for feeling sadness and shock about the election, or to shame them for wearing a safety pin, doesn’t make that person better than any other white person who’s trying their best. In fact, if their hubris gets the better of them, it might be setting them back.

5) HUMILITY IS UNDERRATED. This is such an important conversation to be a part of. But conversations can quickly become debates. And if you’re a white person who likes to win debates, this is going to be a tough topic for you. This isn’t to suggest that we don’t need white people to teach others about what they know, but it’s never your job to teach someone how to be black or brown (Mary Matalin tried this with Van Jones on CNN this week; it didn’t go well for her). You’d be better served coaching your fellow white people about living in a diverse society — and even then, you can’t ever assume that you know more than the person you’re speaking to. Asking is nearly always better than telling in this regard.

And finally …

6) ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS YOU CAN MASTER AS AN ALLY IN SOCIAL JUSTICE IS THE ABILITY TO FORGIVE YOURSELF AND KEEP GOING. You’re going to mess up. As a white ally (or male feminist, or straight ally, etc.), messing up and learning from your inevitable mistakes is practically part of the job description. People will tell you that you’ve messed up often, and it’ll be tough to hear. And if you don’t know how to both a) really hear what they’re saying, and b) not let it eat away at your soul for months afterward, allyship will quickly become too great a burden to bear. If nothing else, there’s this: the fact that you messed up is proof that you’re trying. The only people who never mess up are the ones who refuse to try. As allies for social justice, we’re in for a tough couple of years. So be kind to yourself. If someone tells you that your stand for equality should embarrass you, listen to what they’re saying, don’t take it personally, and decide for yourself if it makes sense. If so, make a change. If not, keep doing your best. Either way, don’t let it scare you from the path that you’re on — the world needs you right where you are.

Love,
E.

R.I.P. Sharon Jones

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From The Root:

Legendary singer Sharon Jones passed away Friday at the age of 60 after battling pancreatic cancer. Jones, who was part of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, was born in North August, South Carolina in 1956, and raised in Brooklyn, NY.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer,” the singer’s rep wrote in a statement. “She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”

Jones was first diagnosed with cancer in 2012, but went into remission, and it returned in 2015.

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White People Screwed the World…Again, And We Must Empathize With Them???

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As if conservative white folks aren’t aggravating enough, here comes liberal whites and their pleas for thinking of the white working class.

Kali Holloway of Alternet via Raw Story vents about how people should feel empathy for the white working class, the section of America where most of its people don’t give a damn about black people’s plight:

The only surprise to come out of this election is how many, and how quickly, white people want us to empathize with the people who voted against our humanity, our right to exist in this place. Even before the election, the Washington Post actually had the audacity to berate us for not crying for the white working class. In the days since Trump won, the number of articles urging everybody to be cool to Trump’s America, to understand what they are facing, to hear their grievances, has added insult to injury. Bernie Sanders issued a statement saying Trump “tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media.” I read it at least three times and couldn’t find the words “white supremacy” anywhere in it.

I want to add another article to the mix.

This comes from the Advocate. The writer, Elizabeth Daley, doesn’t want us to blame white women for Trump’s ascension. Instead, we should blame internalized misogyny. While she has a point that it played a major role in the last election, that doesn’t negate the fact that many white women voted for a misogynist due to their unwavering allegiance to whiteness. And people of color, especially women of color, are sick of white women fucking things up and are told not to cast blame:

…While it might be tempting to blame white women for the outcome of this election, let’s not. Doing so reinforces the idea that women have to be twice as responsible as men, not just 10 percent more. Furthermore, the cultural impulse to blame women is tragically aligned with the impulse that we as women have to blame ourselves.

Except women aren’t the primary problem here. It’s white women’s whiteness that’s the issue.

White privilege means never to be demonized or pathologized for the bullshit you or your people do no matter how catastrophic it is. We are told to empathize, chill and feel sorry for them for they know not what they do. In short, never blame white people.

Incidently, another article from New Republic suggests not to blame working-class whites. It’s these college educated yuppies who partook in the fuckery. Now, even though it still blames a population of whites, it dares not blame white people as a whole the way society holds nonwhite groups liable for its problems.

No. Instead, let’s blame and punish black people and their culture for all the crime in this country. Let’s blame and punish Latino immigrants for taking all of the jobs. Let’s blame and punish Asians for getting into great schools. And let’s blame and punish Muslims for all the terrorism they’ve caused. But please, please go easy on white people for EVERY LAST SCREW-UP THEY DID.

Like Comedian Samantha Bee said, “…Don’t try to distance yourself (white folks) from the bad apples and say, It’s not my fault, I didn’t vote for him, hashtag not all white people. Shush. If Muslims have to take responsibility for every member of their community, so do we.

Holloway continues:

Please miss me with all this nonsense. I’m not even going to get into how this is based on an easily refutable economic lie, especially since others have already spent precious time they’ll never get back breaking this down. But even if it was true—and I am well aware of what’s plaguing the white working class, from substance abuse to suicide to a loss of manufacturing jobs—I refuse to take part in the endless privileging of white pain above all others. (Martin Gilens, who has studied this stuff going way back, notes that when the media face of poverty is white, this country suddenly gets a lot more compassionate.) Latinos and African Americans remain worse off than the white working class—which is still the “largest demographic bloc in the workforce”—by pretty much every measurable outcome, from home ownership to life expectancy. Where are these appeals for us when we protest or riot against the systemic inequality we live with? Where are all the calls to recognize and understand our anger?

As some of you know, I’ve had trolls come here refuting the problems that black people are facing. They especially don’t believe that racism is a major issue. Lincoln freed us from slavery. We had the Civil Rights Act passed. We’re on welfare. It’s all good. We shouldn’t complain about anything.

But white people are still dominant in every institution in this country. The government. The corporations. The courts. The education system. The media. Everything. And, when members of their race suffer, the world must stop and feel while they shit all over the world.

Holloway quotes Audre Lorde:

Audre Lorde said (I wonder if that woman ever got sick of being right), “Oppressors always expect the oppressed to extend to them the understanding so lacking in themselves.” For a people who have shamed black folks for supposedly always wanting a hand out, for being a problem of the entitlement state, I have never seen people who so firmly believe they are owed something.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how privileged assholery operates. and I say, FUCK THAT EMPATHY BULLSHIT!

Why the flaming hell should we feel for them, consider their feelings and be civil to a population who’s legacy has been about the religion of white supremacy? Why should we be cool to a group of homo sapiens who would angrily plunge the nation – no, the world into ruins to make sure whiteness stays on top of everything? Why should we always be the better person to a group of people who don’t consider me a person?

I say it again. FUCK THAT! We’re tired of always being the better person. Thoughout history, the white race plundered, enslaved, raped and polluted the world to build their global empire of white supremacy, displaced, dehumanized and destroyed people and their lands to this day in order to keep it going and punished them for having the balls to fight back.

So, why can’t these bumbling, sociopathic, racist assholes be better people?

R.I.P. Gwen Ifill

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From the Daily Kos:

By KELSEY SUTTON and HADAS GOLD

Gwen Ifill, the longtime news anchor who had served as a co-host of PBS’s NewsHour and as moderator of “Washington Week,” has died fter a battle with cancer, PBS has confirmed. She was 61.

“I am very sad to tell you that our dear friend and beloved colleague Gwen Ifill passed away today in hospice care in Washington,” WETA president and CEO Sharon percy Rockefeller wrote in an email to staff at the public TV station Monday. “I spent an hour with her this morning and she was resting comfortably, surrounded by loving family and friends… Earlier today, I conveyed to Gwen the devoted love and affection of all of us at WETA/NewsHour. Let us hold Gwen and her family even closer now in our hearts and prayers.”

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