December 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm EST | by Richard J. Rosendall
Season’s bleedings
Ferguson, gay news, Washington Blade

Protests erupted around the country last week after a grand jury failed to indict Michael Brown’s killer.

The “Season’s Greetings” banner hung across South Florissant Road in Ferguson, Missouri is a far smaller piece of incongruity than the Christmas truce on the Western Front in World War I a century ago. But it provides a contemporary reminder of the contrast between our ideals and our treatment of one another.

The failure last week of a Ferguson grand jury to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of Michael Brown was criticized by several LGBT groups, including the National Black Justice Coalition, National LGBTQ Task Force, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, Metropolitan Community Churches, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, National Center for Transgender Equality and PROMO, the statewide LGBT group in Missouri.

If gay advocacy for you is a joyful progression from understanding to understanding, you might think the story would end with these groups deploring another black son being missing from another Thanksgiving table. You would be wrong. Here is a sampling from Twitter. @HRC: “HRC expresses disappointment after grand jury fails to bring Michael Brown shooting case to trial.” @nyctrojan69: “@HRC you just lost my donations. Stick to what you know! I will never donate to you again.” @jowierey: “@nyctrojan69 @HRC bye bitch! They don’t need yo money!” (This last comment may be true, but don’t expect to see it as a new HRC slogan.)

What is the fuss about? Succinctly: A police officer who was more an occupier than a protector used deadly force to subdue a jaywalker, then prosecutors presented the case for his defense.

As protests sprang up across the nation and overseas last week, Wilson resigned from the force. St. Louis County police shut down a vigilante operation by the Oath Keepers militia. Twenty-year-old Deandre Joshua was murdered during the unrest on the night of Nov. 24. When President Obama said after the grand jury announcement, “[T]here are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up,” reactions from the right would make you think he had torched a storefront.

Carlton Lee, Michael Brown Sr.’s pastor, received dozens of racist death threats in recent weeks, and his church, far from the riots, was burned down as he was off trying to keep the peace. Vowing to rebuild at a Sunday service beside the ruins, he urged love in response to the haters.

It is an old struggle. Frederick Douglass, speaking in 1852 on the meaning of the Fourth of July to a slave, accused America of “crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” The catalog runs from slavery to the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans to the rapacity of robber barons. Extrajudicial killings of young black men by police are ongoing. The desire for payback is perfectly natural; but we must choose between seeking revenge and building our country.

Any building, however, must be done on a foundation of truth. Here are some disturbing details that we must confront: Wilson describing Brown as a demon, as if he could bounce bullets off his body. Police leaking falsified evidence, including a convenience store security video edited to delete the part where Michael Brown paid for his cigarillos. Fox News falsely reporting that Wilson suffered a fractured eye socket. An assistant DA giving the Grand Jury a law on police use of force that was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1985.

The haters portray the protesters as all looters and rioters despite extensive efforts by community leaders and ministers to keep the peace. Echoing their peers in Ferguson, the Council of Elders of Metropolitan Community Churches wrote, “Humanity has the power to do great good. Systemic racism can be dismantled. The Berlin wall was toppled. Apartheid was overthrown. Nazi Germany was defeated. Slavery was stopped. Systems of oppression are constructed by human beings and can be deconstructed by human beings. Will it be easy? No, but like every good thing we work for, it will be worth the effort. Our only regret will be that we did not act more quickly.”

The LGBT groups do not have to speak for everyone. All lives matter, and so do our voices.

 

Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at rrosendall@starpower.net.

Copyright © 2014 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.

8 Comments
  • What is the fuss about? Succinctly: A police officer who was more an occupier than a protector used deadly force to subdue a jaywalker, then prosecutors presented the case for his defense."

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    Demagoguery and spreading a criminal accomplice's big lie regarding the justified shooting of a violent, raving common criminal — who tried to kill said cop, btw — isn't surprising, however disappointing.
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    Stopping and arresting violent criminals and would-be cop killers are among the things civilized societies hire police officers to do. And well they should, in a nation with almost as many guns as people.
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    But such demonizing and racist bigotry, and outright, intentional lies directed at a cop for the color of his 'white' skin is just as wrongful as racism directed at people of color.
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    It is also hypocrisy of a high order coming from members of the LGBT minority, often subjected to demonizing bigotry and hate violence as well.
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    Had that outrageously belligerent, common criminal not violently assaulted his community's duly authorized police officer, grabbing his gun and trying to kill him — and had that perpetrator followed orderers to stop and get down on the ground, he'd be alive today.
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    The overwhelming majority of Americans understand that, and agree with lethal force applied in necessary situations. They reject racism and bigotry masquerading as progressive liberalism, just as they reject racism and bigotry masquerading as legitimate conservative thought.
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    A body cam would have more fully exonerated Officer Wilson for doing the right thing under the extreme, criminal circumstances Brown created — hard evidence which the GJ reviewed thoroughly. Rick, of course, did not review that evidence.
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  • Chris Chocolatebearcub Capers

    You're a fucking idiot! But I like how you tried to cover up subliminal thinly veiled supremacist feelings with statements about demonizing. Most whites think just like you that Michael Brown was a 'common criminal'. Did you see the FULL VIDEO from the store? If you did you will see he didn't steal nothing. Sometimes I find myself wondering why does this community considers itself a 'minority'? We are hardly that if you take away the only thing we have in common is that we are lovers of the same sex! Outside out of that everybody see things very differently. But I'd bet if that was a white gay male shot down by police you wouldn't feel like that. As sad as it is to see these instances occur. They definitely let folks know what people really feel about different groups. Especially within this community.

    But I find this Strange James Eagan Holmes walks into a theatre with multiple firearms with tear gas. Kills 12 and injures 70 and was taken into custody MIND YOU without being shot and is considered a college kid with 'issues'? Then we have Eric Frein who purposely kills a state trooper and badly injures another one goes on the lam for 48 days and finally gets caught with a loaded rifle and wasn't shot by police and cost the state of Pennsylvania 60 MILLION DOLLARS?

    And this Darren Wilson who is the same height as Michael Brown claims he was scared so he shot him to death in self defense and Michael Brown had NO GUN and shot dead like dog? I guess it is a blessing to be born white in America! Maybe Peter need not write these articles because obviously it's offensive to many in this community. No wonder Blacks are still to this day are 'Leary' about their involvement within this community.

    UGH just UGH!!!!

  • Chris Chocolatebearcub Capers —

    Thanks. Racial profiling against people of color — by police, by vigilante predators, employers of all types, etc. — is a completely legitimate and incredibly important issue for every government level to solve.
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    This is just a poor, illegitimate case to pursue as an example of racial profiling by police.
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    For example, as soon as Brown assaulted Officer Wilson, Wilson's job was to arrest and pursue him for a felony by an obviously dangerous young man — no ifs, ands or buts.
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    And that's completely irrespective of the shoplifting/ shopkeeper assault report, which Wilson didn't associate until he got out of his vehicle and saw Brown's khaki shorts and yellow socks. That just added to the fact that he was dealing with a dangerous criminal.
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    Lying about a case and making racist assertions against a cop for his skin color only weakens the credibility of civil rights activists making the larger point against racial profiling/ civil rights violations under color of authority. Likewise trying to turn common, violent street criminals into heroes. It's nutty. Few commonsense Americans will ever believe it, and most think it's reflective of racial bias.
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    The Ohio, NY and other cases are entirely different and are easily more on point to that larger issue you make as well.
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    Quickly getting body cams on every cop in the nation is going to solve a lot of the problems. Fed bucks can help with that.

  • Brian he didn't steal anything and there is no PROOF that he hit Officer Wilson! But no use in trying to prove that to you your mind is made up.

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/08/18/ferguson-pd-busted/

  • Efrem Capers
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    Hey, thanks for that link– i had heard about that full version video but hadn't seen it.
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    Still, it shows a simple assault of the shopkeeper by Brown — whatever the cause, it's highly belligerent behavior, under any circumstances.

    The store assault was really a distraction, however, to the *REPEATED* acts of assault Brown perpetrated against Officer Wilson. Brown's criminal actions at the scene of his death, and Wilson's account is reliably corroborated by BOTH the physical evidence and eyewitness accounts.
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    Repeatedly physically assaulting a police officer is outrageous, common criminal behavior. It can never be tolerated in any civilized society.
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    It's too bad this young man was taught to have such a blind hatred for white police officers. Given the parents comments, actions and behavior, it's not hard to speculate where all that belligerence and hate came from.
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  • Chris Chocolatebearcub Capers

    brians.ions SERIOUSLY?For you say "It's too bad this young man was taught to have such a blind hatred for white police officers" How do you know this? No criminal history, Was on his way to college. Here goes that good word that is called PERCEPTION it's everything! But I'm glad you think those white police officers love Blacks LOL! Anyway it also shows how divided gays are on this again just like the recent Mayoral election. It all came down to RACE in the end!!!!! Oh wells he's dead and gone. Eric Garner is dead and gone and the cops got off. Oh well! Good Ol' AMURICA'

  • Chris Chocolatebearcub Capers
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    "It's too bad this young man was taught to have such a blind hatred for white police officers" How do you know this?
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    Chris, for sure it's speculation — but it's rooted in some common sense, too. People don't generally physically assault police officers unless they have a profound dislike or hatred for them.
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    What bothers me most about this, is the credibility that all progressives/ Democrats (and civil rights activists of all stripes) are losing as a result of what most Americans recognize as an outrageous lie to further narrow special interests — and maybe celebrity journalists' special interests..
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    When riots and protest demonstrations disrupting innocent bystanders result from such a lie, Americans, left, right and center, are likely to react to what they see as an unfair assault on their freedom, their institutions and their public safety.
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    We've seen that kind of voter reaction/rebellion in broad, middle class democratic nations all over the world– whether the protests were regarding racial bias, labor/management issues, students's free speech, social safety net cutbacks, etc. Conservative, 'law and order' governments are typically swept into power — and for substantial blocks of time. A freeze on political and social reforms usually results.
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    The last time it occurred in the United States was after the King assassination riots and the Democratic Convention/ anti-war protest ('police riot') in 1968. It resulted in Republican 'law and order' presidents being elected for 20 of the next 24 years– a whole generation's block of time. Civil rights advances for all groups were generally downplayed and put on back burners.
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    The depth and breadth of the Republican sweep last month is pretty shocking. Progressives and civil rights activists can not afford to be angering independent and crossover voters. Our 'political capital' has clearly been spent — for a nation still waiting for an economic recovery and weary of boots-on-the-ground wars.

  • The huge difference between Ferguson and the murder in New York…
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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/12/04/why-eric-garner-isnt-ferguson-politically-speaking/
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s8JklrBSlk
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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/ferguson-grand-jury-findings/
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    ——-
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    And PBA's/ New York's Police union's bossy bullying of minorities…
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    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/04/pat-lynch-eric-garner_n_6272738.html?utm_hp_ref=eric-garner
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    The New York police union ('PBA') is a disgrace to every police department in the country. It is time for federal and state legislation to limit the power of police union bosses. They can not be permitted to intentionally bully minorities and the public they are sworn to serve and protect.
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