Sheets of Blood Streets of Pain

OpEdI have two sons and two grandsons; I am safe in knowing they will under all but the very worst circumstances be safe on the streets of most cities. Why and how do I know this? My sons and grandsons are White, they are Caucasian and they aren’t mentally ill, they are not in the targeted group commonly at risk when walking down the sidewalk in any city or town. For that matter, they are not at risk in their own homes except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Other mothers, mothers of Black sons and Brown sons cannot say the same thing. Mothers of Black and Brown sons and even of Black and Brown daughters must caution their children to be wary on the streets of their neighborhoods. They must caution their children to be afraid of the police. They must be afraid each time their children go out to play, go to the store even go to school; they must be afraid their child may not return. Other mothers, an estimated five hundred (500) a year bury their children due to police violence; violence that is rarely prosecuted, frequently ignored by the press and all too often excused as ‘justified’.

2012 Compare

Racism is not dead in this nation. Shame on any of us for trying to bury the inherent and blatant racism of the United States and its people, it has always been part of our makeup and it has come roaring back in its full and awful glory in the past decade, especially since the election of our current President. It did not start in 2007 with his win over John McCain though, it started emerging as accepted political and social fodder long before this, the best example is New York City and the Stop and Frisk policy initiated under Rudy Giuliani and escalated under Michael Bloomberg.


It seems instead of moving forward toward more acceptance of diversity within society we are reverting to our inglorious past of injustice, lynch mob mentality and criminalization based on melanoma content.

What is good for one is surely not good for another; we have examples of this across the nation. In Florida, Trayvon Martin was shot down by vigilante George Zimmerman; he lay on the cold ground out in the rain and then in the morgue for hours before his family was notified their child was dead. In a travesty of justice where Trayvon was put on trial, where Trayvon was depicted as a ‘thug’ and a ‘banger’, where Trayvon’s humanity and his right to exist were called into question, his killer was exonerated for his murder. This because he, this grown man, was ‘standing his ground’. In Florida, this very same state a Black woman in fear for her life, shot a warning shot at the ceiling as her abusive husband advanced toward her, now Marissa Alexander faces the possibility of sixty (60) years in prison. Her life, her motherhood, her fear is not as palatable to the judge or the district attorney, Angela Corey, as that of George Zimmerman.  Clearly, the life of Marissa Alexander, a Black woman is not of the same value as that of George Zimmerman or Angela Corey wouldn’t be so hell bent on pursuing her with such vehement hatred where she didn’t pursue George Zimmerman with the same vehemence.

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There is clearly a war on, the lives of primarily Black men and mostly those under thirty-five are definitely at risk when out on the street of any US city or town. It doesn’t seem to matter what they are doing, whether coming home from a day at the office, sitting on their porch having a beer with friends, returning from the store or in fact otherwise engaged in legal or illegal activities; the police assume the worst and open fire. All too frequently, the police are shooting first, shooting more times than required and shooting in the back.  Let me just say this, you are not at risk or in danger if a subject is fleeing, that is running away from you. So why in the hell are you shooting to kill if someone is running away from you? Why are some of these men being shot up to ten (10) times, or even more, in the back? How does anyone justify this as a “Justified” shooting? Why are these cops still on the job?

Yesterday eighteen year-old Michael Brown was shot down in the street of Ferguson, Missouri. His body was left where it lay for four hours or more. Now as reports of this ‘sanctioned’ murder come out the police are glossing facts with fiction, making Michael into the aggressor and trying to justify yet another police kill of a young and promising Black child. The police have a very different version of the facts than what witness reports, who do you think will win in this battle? It certainly will not be young Michael Brown; his life is over before it started.

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Just two days earlier, twenty-two year-old John Crawford was gunned down in Walmart for wielding a toy gun. A toy gun you all, in Ohio one of the bastions of Open Carry. I guess Open Carry only applies to those with limited or no melanoma, certainly it didn’t apply to John Crawford who at the time he was gunned down in WalMart had in his hands an unloaded MK-177 BB/Pellet Gun he had picked up off the shelf. According to the mother of his two children, who was at the time of his sanctioned murder on the phone with him and heard everything, the police shot first and ordered him to the ground after he could no longer obey their orders; he had been put down by their bullets. Clearly, John Crawford wasn’t afforded the same legal rights, as others with pale skin would have been. Now a young man is dead and three children will grow up without their father.

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Others like these assclowns in Aurora, Colorado who walked up and down the streets with loaded shotguns trying to ‘sensitize’ civilians to open carry. I am going to guess had these young men been Black or even Hispanic the outcome would have been very different.

This is what I find ugly and horrifying, tragic.


What is important to know, there are no official records anywhere; the police are not required by any federal agency to self-report their own bad behavior. They are not required to track or maintain records on brutality, violence or murder. They do not provide this information to any other agency. Though there are some records, they are gathered through many sources and backbreaking legwork. Trying to find any sort of statistics, especially on a national level is nearly impossible since there is no single source. I commend those who have done the work to try to gather the information and provide at least some evidence of vigilante brutality that exists today, not just within the police forces nationally but across our justice system and embedded in our psyche.  The two reports I found that seemed to provide the best I have included here:

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Information Clearing House

I have included others as well, where information on both recent and historical data can be found and is important to read.

Based on the information I found, there is a person of color, primarily a Black Man and primarily a young Black Man murdered in vigilante justice, usually by the police somewhere between every 24 to 28 hours in the United States. We do not hear about most of these killings. The murderers are rarely penalized for their actions. Since 9/11 there have been approximately five thousand (5,000) vigilante murders by on-duty police / security guard and stand your ground murders in the United States. More than 75% of these are against Black people, less than 10% of these are against White people and most White people killed by police are killed after police stand-offs in highly publicized cases.

Something has to change. The motto of ‘Protect and Serve’ is no longer valid, especially not in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods of our cities and towns. The police are militarized and the “War on Drugs” has turned into something far more insidious and damaging to our nation and our people. We must stop turning away and pretending this isn’t genocide, it is. We must stop looking at other nations and speaking out against the genocide there until we begin to clean up what is broken here. This isn’t just bad behavior, it is murder and it is more than killing individuals, it is killing of entire communities and vital lifeblood within them.

We must stop this. Those of us with the will, the heart and the soul to stand up must stand up and say enough. We must stop turning a blind eye to the terrible ugliness within this nation and our people. We must fight back and demand justice for all the dead children, they are our children and our future.

Sign the petition for federal laws to force better policing:


  1. I hope Val that the truth of this latest murder by the police will surface and that justice will prevail and those accountable for their actions brought to justice.. Not like in the past as we have seen police officers who have got away scot free with no further action taken..
    My thoughts are with the families Val.. And I thank God that our Gun Laws are so different and the police only carry weapons when issued them for specific operations ..

  2. Administrative leave means circle the wagons to get the story straight,absolutely unacceptable!

  3. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel.

  4. Very important post. I love the music of Tracy Chapman. It is wrong that the young men lost their lives. There must be justice. Hugs, Barbara

  5. It was very upsetting to read your post and to read the comments (I read them all). I knew our country was in trouble, but after reading everything on this page, I am frightened for our youth of color. It seems to me that the more conservatives we have holding elected office, the more we have this kind of trouble. So many cities are actually “police cities,” not unlike “police states.” Thank you for sounding the trumpet. Let’s hope that intelligence and calm will soon reign again, and that people of all colors can safely and fearlessly walk the streets where they live.

  6. I had to walk away after reading your post I was so angry, and sad. I cannot understand how this can happen over, and over again. The stories you have covered are just so horrible to even begin to imagine. I was telling (ranting) about what happened to my husband . I wish I knew how to fix it. Thank you for speaking up.

    • Don’t walk away Tao. I also sometimes want to walk away. I sometimes want to hide in a closet, the problem is if we do that we are truly part of the problem.

      • I agree, but sometimes taking the time to stop being so damn angry at ignorance – keeps a somewhat civil tongue in my head. All I’m seeing is that racism is growing by leaps and bounds, less overt in some ways, but more insidious, brutal, to the point of unmitigated hate in other ways.

  7. Jueseppi B. says:

    Your usual mastery is in evidence here once again. Thank you for being on the side of common sense & logic. And a Goggle board member. ʚ(ˆ◡ˆ)ɞ

  8. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  9. Reblogged this on SherayxWeblog.

  10. Reblogged this on Blackbutterfly7 and commented:
    Great supportive detail. It’s time for all people to come together. There is saying that came after WWII about a man who did nothing as the Nazis arrested and killed because he did not fall into the category of those they came for. Eventually they came for him, and there was no one left to speak for him. When evil gains momentum, everyone eventually becomes a victim. Before long, we may find that the cops targeting those with auburn hair, or tattoos, or people who wear brown shoes. That is the true trickle down because the appetite of evil is never satisfied.

  11. Valentine,
    This article shows that you put much time and thought into it, and I thank you for it. Interesting that the chart you have includes Rockford. That is where I reside. I know of the killing of Mark Anthony Barmore. The cops actually followed him into a church where the day care center is located on the lower level. In front of the children and staff, Oda Poole shot Mark in the back. In spite of the many witnesses who said that Mark had his hands up, Poole alleged that Mark went for his gun.

    Previous to killing Mark Anthony Barmore, Poole had killed three other black men. He was placed on paid vacation; i.e., administrative leave after he killed Barmore, but has fought since to get his job back.

    Then there is the case of unarmed, 16-year-old Michael Sago, Jr. . He went into a pizza cafe with 3 adults, one who had a gun and tried robbing the place. Off duty Sheriff’s deputy Frank Pobjecky was in the pizza place at the time. When he showed his gun, all 4 of the guys ran, Michael being last. It was later testified that Michael had no idea what the guys were going to do. Frank Pobjecky wounded the 3 older guys, but he shot Michael 3 times in the back. It is even on video where Michael is seen crawling on the floor and Pobjecky took aimed and fired point blank.

    Deputy Sheriff Frank Pobjecky then had the audacity to campaign for County Sheriff in the Republican primaries based on his reputation for stopping a robbery. He did not win the primary race.

    Thanks for the article and allowing me the opportunity to get on the soap box.

  12. As usual, you hit the nail on the head. What’s going on is so tragic and unnecessary and it all boils down to this: We do not live in a post-racial society. Racism, discrimination and prejudice are very much alive and well across America, land of the free and the brave. What are your thoughts on 19-year-old Renisha McBride who was shot point blank when seeking help by a white man who tried to plead self-defense? I feel in this case the jury came through.

  13. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I’m still speechless about this incident … the more I read about it, here in the blogosphere, I find I have less words …. Like this blogger, thinking that my grandkids are all white. Sad to think that way ….. Please, stop this madness!!

  14. And this is why the open carry “protestors” make me so nervous…there’s definitely a shoot first, ask questions later mentality in this country right now. At least I’m one of the “pale skinned”, so I’m in less danger…but what if I make the wrong move and make someone’s trigger finger itch anyway? We’re descending into complete insanity.

    • Well I am one of those with less color to my skin also, it doesn’t remove my responsibility for standing up and speaking out. If anything it places greater accountability on my narrow shoulders. I refuse to live in fear.

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