Thursday, November 30, 2006

They Shootin' 2: Legend of Bronco Blanco

I'm still thinking about the murder of Sean Bell. It's eery listening to people in New York talk about the death and rattle off the litany of names, Eleanor Bumpers, Michael Stewart, two of the many that proceeded the most famous prior to Bell's, Amadou Diallo.

It was also this week, that I received a link to this article by John Ridley appearing in Esquire, where Ridley announces "So I say this: It's time for ascended blacks to wish niggers good luck." Ridley's article essay homes in on two events in 2001, one which he believes did not deserve the backing and attention it received by African-Americans, the death of Cincinnati's Timothy Thomas at the hands of office Steven Roach. The other event, the immense power wielded by Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell during that same year, of course climaxing with the events surrounding September 11th and its aftermath.

I would agree with Ridley that Rice and Powell do not get enough credit for their impressive professional accomplishments. I have long argued that Rice is an intriguing example of the post-Civil Rights story because her accomplishments have been superb, but her politics have been surprisingly anti-thetical to those traditionally associated with the movement. Rather than banish her, I think her presence calls for more examination of Black conservatism in the 60's.

However, it should also be noted that Powell participated in two of the most unpopular or at least controversial, and longest lasting wars in this nation's history, Vietnam, and the fifteen year's war in the Middle East. High ranking chiefs, Black or White in either of these wars, have managed to ascend to the status of their predecessors in WWI and WWII. But I digress....

Reading Ridley's article in light of the Bell incident, brought up a question, do we remember a wealthy or upper middle-class Black person being murdered by Police?

There are testimonies by figures like Danny Glover and their bouts with racial profiling, but can someone recall when one of these random, unjust, police shootings involved a relatively affluent African-American. I can't.

Some are reading this and saying a "Black person dead is a Black person dead," and that's true, but I would hope that we all could agree that class does matter. I'm not going to accept any arguments that rich Black folks stay above the fray that has to the death of our less affluent brothers and sisters, because if the police shootings are as random and inexpicably racist as we'd like to believe, then surely the cops aren't thinking, "That's Bob James, CEO of James Inc."

There's another reason that I bring this up. The Bell incident occured on the eve of the failed OJ Simpson interview and book release where he goes through a "hypothetical" reenactment of the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Correct me if I am wrong, but when Simpson interrupted broadcasts of the '94 NBA finals and my friends were set to watch him and Al Cowlings escorted by police through LA, weren't they driving in a car? If I remember correctly, it was a big white Bronco wasn't it? I could be mistaken.

Oddly enough, the deadly weapon that Bell and his friends were wielding was a car. Just yesterday a police lawyer was on the air saying that the authors were justified in shooting because there was a weapon involved, "a car." A Nissan Altima to be exact.

No one should deny the fact that the officers involved in the Bell shooting believed there life was in danger when that car was put in gear. That said, we also recognize that shooting to impede the car also implies shooting to stop the passengers.

Of course it's coincidence that Bell would dovetail behind Simpson in the national headlines, random even, but no less random then the fates of these two men when they tried driving off.

Now if Ridley wants to argue that "It's time for ascended blacks to wish niggers good luck," then I hope that he realizes that he's at least a decade late in offering his greetings.

The Nightshift Chronicler

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

They Shootin'

This past weekend on Saturday November 25th NY resident Sean Bell was murdered by undercover officers. The officers were allegedly investigating a Jamaica Queens strip club for prostitution and drug trafficking, when allegedly mr. Bell and his friends who were attending his bachelor party became involved in a dispute at the club. Along with Mr. Bell, two of his friends Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield were also shot, but they have survived.

The number of bullets belted out in this shooting have evoked comparisons to the 1999 Amadou Diallo incident in which the Liberian born immigrant was shot 41 times by New York police officers as he reached for his wallet. This incident also bears a strong resemblance to the Patrick Dorismond murder of 2000 where the Haitian immigrant was murdered outside a manhattan club after a scuffle with undercover officers who tried selling him drugs.

Sean Bell's murder has brought the spotlight back on to the NYPD and the tactics employed by their undercover officers. On Sunday Al Sharpton led a march through Jamaica, Queens. The resistance struggle does not end there however, and as another series of events planned for this week attest, while all violent encounters involving police officers do not end with death like Mr. Bell's murder, they are not as rare as many people believe.

If you want to have your voice heard, there are two events taking place today in Manhattan in which you can participate:

Public Hearing on Police Brutality at 4pm
mburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037-1801

at 6:30pm
The Audre Lorde Project, a LGBTST People of Color Center for Community Organizing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2006
Communities of Color and Social Justice Activists mobilize for Picket Line &
Press Conference outside 6th Precinct Wednesday, Nov 29th 6:30pm – 7:30pm
(233 West 10th Street)
Media Contacts:
Dustin Langley 646-354-8056 or
Imani Henry 646-342-9673,

Monday, November 20, 2006

I Shouldn't Have Left You

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you, without a dope [post] to step to.....

It's definitely been a minute since I did this job and I feel that I may be a bit out of practice. So please excuse me the next few days/weeks as I try getting the skills back (that's for those of you who think I have skills in the first place.)

Fortunately, two of my favorite bloggers Gary Dauphin and JB have been banging out some jewels, and I know that those of you reading from the ATL have checked out my homie Mike Molina's work. If not, please get up on it...

As for what's been keeping me away, the usual, the church and the book. The job and the book. The friends and the book. But as you could tell mostly the book. We're making good progress, it's back in production, getting typeset as I type, so pray for me that it drops on May 8, 2007 as expected.

Man since I've been away the Democrats took back control of the house and senate, and just like keeping with the 1994 retro theme of this year's midterm elections, OJ came out of the woodworks to offer a hypothetical confession. There's surely a French Philosopher out there ready to explain this OJ confession to us, so si'l vous plait hurry up and write that book so we could understand what a hypothetical confession says about the soul/nature of the American psyche/condition in this day and age.

Speaking of French Philosophers I joined the blog roll at MadMaestroNews, check out my first post over for them that I put up today if you get a chance. Okay, they're not french philosophers, they're a hip hop production collective, but these days hip hop producers might as well be french philosophers. You'll get that one later tonight when you turn on 106 and Park or whatever the hip hop show on MTV2 is called.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't offer a belated moment of silence for Gerald Levert and Ruth Brown...

May you both rest in peace.

Till next time,

The Nightshift Chronicler