Beat Goes On: Questionable Police Killings of African Americans --Including a Great-Grandma-- Continues Unabated

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Great Grandma Geraldine Townsend shot to death. Photo:

Last week, several Black people died at the hands of police around the country under questionable circumstances.

Thirty-three year olf Bryan Johnson Gregory was shot to death in Tennessee during a traffic stop; in Oklahoma, 72-year-old Geraldine Townsend was killed, supposedly, for firing a pellet gun at police; in Wisconsin, 26-year-old Donte Shannon was killed by police after allegedly aiming a gun at police; and in Texas, 61-year-old Arther McAfee Jr., an Army veteran was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.

In the era of the Me-Too Movement, will violence aimed at Blacks by America’s police forces still be ignored by “progressive” Whites, and political forces—especially Democrats who depend on African-American votes?

As I've mentioned in previous columns, we must support the Me-Too Movement wholeheartedly. We must also create a Me-Too momentum against racism and police brutality. Some of the major corporate media played a large role in galvanizing public sentiment to reject sexual abuse and exploitation and rape. These same powerful media can rally opposition to racism.

The website has been keeping a running tally.

Bryan Johnson Gregory was killed in Memphis Tennessee on January 17. According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s office, two of their deputies shot Johnson to death after he allegedly tried to ram two undercover vehicles as they were attempting to stop him. They claim after he was finally stopped that he tried to pull a gun on police.

Police say they also had a warrant to search Gregory’s home for dealing marijuana. Gregory’s mom, Delois Johnson, believes her son was unjustly killed. "This killing has got to stop," Johnson said. "Y'all killed that boy in cold blood."There are a couple of curious things with the police version of this story. First, if police had a warrant to search Gregory’s house, why are they trying to stop him in another part of town, away from his home? Another thing we must ask ourselves here is: did Gregory even know he was being stopped by police—since they tell us the police cars were unmarked?In the Sean Bell case, he likely died thinking he was being gunned down by bandits. Given all the lies police have been caught in over the last few years, can we really afford to accept the official account of the Gregory case?

On the same day Bryan Johnson Gregory died, 72-year-old great-grandmother Geraldine Townsend was shot dead by police in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  A drug task force was in the act of arresting her son, Michael Livingston, on drug and weapons complaints, reportedly.

According to police Townsend shot at least two policemen with a pellet gun, hitting one in the leg; and hitting another in the face. The officer that was hit in the face fired the fatal bullets. It seems clear, he knew she wasn’t shooting a real gun.In an apparent attempt to place the blame on this great-grandmother for her death, Bartlesville Police Captain Jay Hastings said: “The replica pellet guns are just as dangerous as the real guns.” Police also made it a point of criminalizing this woman and her family by saying marijuana, two other pellet guns, surveillance cameras and a police scanner were found in the home. Is this supposed to justify the killing of this great-grandmother? Monsters.

On that same day, in Wisconsin, 26-year-old Donte Shannon was killed by police. Police claim during a traffic stop, Shannon fled on foot from them—before allegedly pulling a gun and aiming it at them. We can no longer believe unsubstantiated police accounts when they kill Black people. Mr. Shannon could’ve been killed in a similar manner to Walter Scott or Alton Sterling. Why run away then pull a gun?

Also killed last week was 61-year-old Army veteran Arther McAfee Jr. He was felled in Texas, by a Harrison County deputy sheriff. Apparently, McAfee suffered—like many veterans do—from a mental disability. McAfee’s sister, Lorine McAfee, was worried about her brother who live adjacent to her on family land. She called 911. “When I called 911, I said ‘He has a mental (disability),” said Lorine. After police arrived, Lorine McAfee said she let the officer into the house; he would eventually kill her brother.

“I let him inside the house,” Lorine said. “He called Arther, and Arther came out of his bedroom. But he came out swinging.” McAfee stated that her brother was unarmed when he emerged from his bedroom.

She explained the officer first used a stun gun on her brother. “The deputy went back in the hall where (McAfee) was, and he (used a stun gun on) him, and he fell to the floor.”  She said her brother was killed during a struggle when the deputy was trying to handcuff her brother.

“He tried to turn (McAfee) onto his belly,” Lorine said. “The cop unsnapped his gun and shot him two times. He was on the floor.” The sister of this veteran asked the pertinent question: “How can you justify shooting somebody in the chest when you’ve got him on the ground?”

Mr. McAfee isn’t the only Black military person who has been killed by police. Marine Officer Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., also a 20-year-employee in the Westchester Corrections Department was killed, by Officer Anthony Carelli—inside his home—on November 19, 2011 in White Plains New York. He was also unarmed.

During the NFL protests, Donald Trump, and other Republicans, said those protesting police brutality and murder were disrespecting veterans. But why don’t we hear from Trump and Republicans when police unjustly kill Black veterans?Where is the outrage from the powerful corporate media? 


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