Missouri Closes 2014 With Another White Cop Killing Young Black Male

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Another shooting. Missouri Gov. Nixon; his incompetence and refusal to recuse prosecutor McCulloch helped killer-cop Darren Wilson walk

Once again, another young Black man has been killed on the streets on America by a White cop.Again it has happened in Missouri, where many Black Missourians are still reeling from the grand jury non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. Reportedly, on Tuesday night, a spontaneous protest occurred, after the killing of Antonio Martin, with some in the crowds confronting police—apparently some demonstrators turned violent, wrestling with police, throwing rocks and bricks, and there were accounts of fireworks, or, possibly explosives being lit in the gas station where Martin was killed.

With a new year, 2015, fast approaching we must ask the question: where is America heading, with respect to the nation’s leaders finally tackling the question of racial policing, the mass incarceration of young Black men, and, a racist “justice” system feeding itself off of criminalizing African-Americans under the guise of “law and order?”

On Tuesday night, 18-year-old Antonio Martin was shot and killed outside a gas station, in the suburb of Berkeley, Missouri—after, allegedly, pointing a 9 mm handgun at an, unnamed, 34-year-old police officer. Much remains to be explained here. Officials claimed they found a weapon at the scene and released a grainy surveillance video they contend proves the officer fired because he feared for his life.

“This is not a policeman in the city of Berkeley half-cocked, going out,” said Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins. “You couldn’t even compare this to Ferguson or the Garner case in New York.” But some demonstrators are questioning the reliability of police accounts—and asking why this policeman decided to approach Mr. Martin, in the first place. This is indeed the essential question here. The police officer in this case should, immediately, hold a press conference and explain his actions—and not wait for months to concoct a story, as was done by Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown case.

Did this officer have “probable cause” to stop Mr. Martin? Or, was this just another incident of a White policeman harassing a young Black man?

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, weighed in on the shooting, said "The events in Berkeley are a reminder that law enforcement officers have a difficult, and often dangerous, job in protecting themselves and law-abiding citizens." Unfortunately, for Governor Nixon many Black Missourians now have no confidence in him, ever since he, spinelessly, allowed Prosecutor Bob McCulloch to convene a sham grand jury—where it was obvious, from the time McCulloch wasn’t recused, that no indictment would be forthcoming against Officer Wilson.

The Martin demonstrations led to the arrest of four protesters—for, allegedly, assaulting an officer. Reportedly, two officers were injured. One was said to have sustained injuries to his leg—as he was running away—and another was purportedly treated for injuries sustained when he was hit in the face with a brick.

Reportedly, three explosive devices, or fireworks, may have been used by certain elements who were fighting with police. Some news stories say the devices were thrown at gas pumps, presumably, in an attempt to cause an explosion at the gas station where Martin was killed.

Protesters also tied up traffic in several locations including along Interstate 170 in North St. Louis County, at an intersection off Airport Road and North Hanley, and, along the interstate near Lambert Airport in St. Louis.

Several activist organizations are calling for calm as all the evidence is still forthcoming. “All the evidence is not out, and we’ve got a community that grieving,” said Hands Up co-founder Taurean Russell. “As we await the results of the investigation into the shooting death of Antonio Martin, we ask that the community exercise peaceful protest and refrain from any violent retaliation,” said N.A.A.C.P. President Cornell Williams Brooks.

Sadly, given the lack of credibility—and impartiality—that local police departments have in these kinds of killings, where White officers repeatedly shoot young Black men dead, independent entities must do their own investigations into these shootings. The Black press is one entity that must leave no stone unturned in cases like these. We here at the Black Star News ask that anyone who has relevant information, especially video evidence, in this case—or any other incident of police brutality—should contact us via milton@blackstarnews.com

We would like to know the reason why this officer decided to stop Mr. Martin? Was Martin a suspect in a crime of some sort? Did this officer see him do something illegal? Or, is this just another case of a White officer trying to fill the quotas police tell us they don’t have?

The mayor of Berkeley says this is nothing like what transpired in Ferguson or Staten Island. If this is so the mayor should tell us sooner rather than later everything that happened here. He should also demand that the officer in question come forward immediately and tell us why he stopped Mr. Martin and why he decided to shoot at him at least three times.

We now know of only this grainy video, which officials say prove the officer feared for his life. This officer should have to explain why his body-camera—which he was reportedly issued before the start of his shift—was, coincidentally, not operational when he shot Mr. Martin? The policeman’s car was said to be equipped with a dash-camera. We also need to know if that dash-camera caught anything from the fatal encounter.

In 2014, the conduct of police, across America, has been exposed for the often brutal interactions that police have with those from marginalized communities—especially, those in Black America. The targeting, through racial profiling, must be stopped. African-Americans are fed-up with being hassled and harassed by a policing system where they are being criminalized and incarcerated to cover-up the historic crimes that were perpetrated against Black America during Slavery, the Lynching Era, and Jim Crow segregation into today’s climate of racial policing and economic “benign neglect.” Latinos and other poor and disaffected communities are also outraged by the conduct of out-of-control police.

Black America demands that Washington, and local governments, act now to stop the indiscriminate slaughter of African-Americans by trigger-happy White cops.

With 2015 approaching, we demand change beginning now.

 

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