HomePrevious EditorialsLiars and Other Rites of Passage

Liars and Other Rites of Passage

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Rites of passage and remembering lessons from the pastThis week I was again reminded of one of the lessons that my daddy taught me and which my years on earth have proved true. That lesson is that there are many White men who don’t sleep at night trying to think of new ways to keep Black folks down. My daddy was right again. I was defending a young man in a trial who was severely injured by police action but the District Attorney filed criminal charges against the man and blamed him for his own injuries, kinda like they did in the Rodney King beating.

We went through the trial of so-called peers in Alhambra where there are few jurors of a Black man’s peers. Don’t be fooled by that term of peers. It doesn’t mean you will have people that look like you or even think like you on your jury. You may very well have people on your jury whose whole culture is worlds apart from yours. As a note, that is why you need to find a lawyer you trust, pay him/her, and please, listen to your lawyer.

In this case, the young man talked to the police more than three times before having a lawyer present. One of the times he talked to them was at the hospital while he lay in a hospital bed, handcuffed.  Three Sheriff’s sergeants with a total of over sixty years experience showed up. They assured him that they were there to “help him” as a result of the so-called confidential complaint he had filed against the deputies who had injured him so bad and put him in the hospital for four days.  The sergeants were from Internal Affairs.  He believed them when they said they were there to help him just as he had believed the Sheriff when they said his complaint was confidential and not part of the criminal case.

While we were in trial a major part of the case against him was the Internal Affairs investigation and one of the witnesses against him was one of the three sergeants who questioned him and said he was there to “help”.   The sergeants who came to question him in the hospital asked his mother and father to leave the room. Theconfidential statementhe made to them was twisted and used against him in front of a jury of his so called peers. The District Attorney handling the case told the jury in his final argument that there could not have been any issue of race because the sergeant who had gone to the hospital and testified was Black.

Another piece was that within the Internal Affairs file was a statement by the deputy that injured this young man which said, in effect, that Black pastors in Altadena teach the young people that they don’t have to get out of their cars when the sheriff tells them to. The deputy named a particular pastor who they claimed had said this.   I checked with that pastor and he said he had said no such thing and he was willing to come and testify to that fact. The deputy was flat out making up something just as they make up stories to arrest and help convict young Blacks and ruin their lives.

Parents please teach your kids that the police are generally NOT their friends.  DO NOT TALK to them!  The less they say to them, the better off they will be.  Only answer their questions and comply with their demands – even if it is unreasonable.   It’s probably best not to even ask a question, because they will likely take that as “having an attitude” and “resisting”.   The Captain at the Altadena Sheriffs Station believes that young Blacks should put their hands on the steering wheel when stopped by the sheriffs.  I think they need to not talk and put their hands on the wheel. This is not what White people are required to do, but as part of the rites of passage for young Blacks – especially males, teach them that it is a full time job being Black and the rules are still different.  For example, how many times have you seen young white men sitting on the curb at a so called crime scene?   Probably never. That is a humiliation reserved for Blacks by the sheriffs. Even the Pasadena police don’t humiliate the kids that way. 

The creativity of the police in creating lies to convict you with is amazing. Remember that with deputies in a circle taking turns beating Rodney King they still went into court and said he was resisting. In 2002, when a young handcuffed kid named Jackson was slammed onto the hood of a patrol car, the police said they slammed him onto the hood of the car because he grabbed the police officer’s testicles with his handcuffed hand.

In the case I just handled, the sheriff says that the young man who was pulled out of his car, dragged two deputies to their car and placed himself on the hood of their car and essentially barbequed his own body on the hot car.  In 1968 when I was a senior student at Pepperdine College, I was arrested and charged with battery on a police officer.  At court they lied and said that I attacked three officers when I went to my front porch and dove down at them causing them to beat and subdue me. 

At the time, I was about 5’8” and 165 pounds. I guess I was stupid enough to attack three LAPD officers. NO!  Thanks to a good lawyer, Charles Lloyd, no record, a good reputation and witnesses who watched me being beat by the police who were willing to step up and say truthfully what they saw happen to me, the case was thrown out.  Without the dismissal of the case, where would I be?  Certainly not defending other police abuse victims.  

Like a rite of passage, abuse like this is still happening. There is a new crop of police officers who are willing to treat young Blacks like they are inhuman, and a new crop of young Blacks to victimize.

Remember young brothers, and sisters, even if you are a college student as I was, or President of the United States and Black, as Barack Obama is, you will be treated different than Whites who are similarly situated. But your chances of survival are better if you get your education and stay as clean as you possibly can. Because in the end, my daddy was right. 

There are some White people who don’t sleep at night trying to think of new ways to keep Black folks down and they use whatever tactics they can think up – even other Blacks against us. Don’t give them victory over you easily. If you don’t learn to read, write and reason (think), or if you don’t learn when to speak up and when to stay quiet, you make it easy to become a loser.

Find your passion and set yourself on a path for a career. If you have a goal, you have something to climb for.  You should also find a church where the minister is as concerned with the quality of life for the community, then he/she will likely care about your soul and your welfare. This will help you by serving as a guide for your life, helping you to stay on the straight and narrow in developing a good moral basis and a good reputation.

A note to Parents of young people: Since your kids are unlikely to pick up this article and read it themselves, gather them and their friends around and read and discuss it with them. Hopefully, you can have this discussion before they get to the fourth grade and “think” they know everything.


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