Betty Pleasant’s Soulvine for January 12, 2015

By Betty Pleasant

A FATE ACCOMPLI ? — Did you see where one of the members of the Ferguson, Mo. grand jury, which declined to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for having committed any crime when he shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, is shaming the devil and speaking the truth about justice in America?
Identified only as “Grand Juror Doe,” the juror took serious issue with the fairness of the proceedings and stated, flat out, that the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, put Michael Brown on trial instead of Darren Wilson and that his whole case was skewed in favor of the killer cop.
Naturally, the government told  “Grand Juror Doe” to shut up, but he has refused and has filed a 58-point lawsuit against the county and the prosecutor asserting his constitutional right to speak publicly about the proceedings in which he was involved. And he has the support of Missouri’s American Civil Liberties Union and the national NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund.
Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU, stated: “The Brown case is an important public policy issue and the grand juror should be allowed to speak about the proceedings.” Shortly thereafter, Sherrilyn A. Ifill, director-counsel of the LDF, wrote a nine-page letter to the presiding judge of the 21st Judicial Circuit — which includes the St. Louis County Court — challenging virtually everything about the grand jury proceedings which resulted in the complete exoneration of the killer cop. Ifill’s letter was endorsed by the Mound City Bar Assn. and the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee.
In the meantime, local activists have been indefatigable in their efforts to ensure that justice prevails in the matter of the South L.A. killing of Ezell Ford by two LAPD cops, two days after Michael Brown was killed. Toward that end, the National Action Network and the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles groups have led a series of high impact protests in the city and the NAN group presented a written demand to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck for the immediate firing of Newton Division gang enforcement cops Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, who stopped the mentally challenged Ford as he walked along Florence Avenue for some unrevealed reason and then killed him. Wampler and Villegas have been assigned to “desk duty” for their actions, but they remain on the police payroll. The group also demanded that District Attorney Jackie Lacey immediately file murder charges against the two killer cops.
In addition, NAN and the L.A. Urban Roundtable developed a 5-point LAPD/Community Conflict Plan, which was presented to the chief. The five points are: 1. Mandatory use of body and dashboard cameras 2. Review and revision of police use of deadly force policies 3. Comprehensive retraining of all police officers on mental health issues recognition 4. Establishment of a police-community group conflict mediation task force 5. Automatic referral of all officer-involved shootings to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Criminal Prosecution Section.
Likewise, the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles group prepared a list of demands upon the LAPD which some members tried to give Chief Beck Monday. They were arrested instead.
But I must relate that one good thing has occurred in respect to police/community relations in Los Angeles since the LAPD launched its apparent “Let’s kill unarmed black and brown men; but let’s shoot armed white women in the leg” campaign. Since the city plans to equip all its cops with body cameras, the cops provided community leaders a tutorial session on the cameras, at which they showed them how the cameras work and discussed the policy and procedures as to how the cameras will be used. That was one step in the right direction.
SEE WHAT I’M SAYING? — I thought I told you guys the other day not to call the cops on your loved ones unless you wanted them killed. Did you listen to me? No. The new year was just six days old when a Willowbrook woman called the Century Sheriff’s Station and reported that her 26-year-old son was full of drugs, was refusing to leave her house and threatening to kill her. The deputies arrived; the mother let them into her house and when her son saw the deputies, he became agitated and charged them. They shot him with a Taser, handcuffed him and called paramedics. The son stopped breathing while the paramedics treated him and he was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. There had to have been a better way. We had better find it or else we will have no progeny. Rest in peace, young man.
STOP THE PRESSES! — Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty introduced legislation today (Jan. 7) that would create third-party oversight of police shootings in California. McCarty’s AB86 would require that any officer-involved shooting that results in the death of a civilian must be reviewed by an independent law enforcement panel established within the California Department of Justice. (Mercy!!) The bill further requires the results of the investigation be submitted to the district attorney where the incident occurred and to the attorney general of the state of California.  “For far too long there has been a cloud of confusion surrounding police shootings,” the Democrat McCarty said. “The creation of an independent police review panel is a common sense solution which will create trust between the police and the community,” McCarty continued. “District attorneys will no longer have to worry about investigating the police with whom they work so closely. No one should be able to police themselves,” the assemblyman added. Hallelujah!
WEST BASIN LEADERS — The West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors elected veteran water woman Gloria Gray its president and newly elected member, Harold C. Williams, its treasurer. The first African American woman to serve on the West Basin board, Gray was first elected in 2006 and won re-election in November, 2014. She represents Division II, which includes Inglewood, South Ladera Heights, a portion of Lennox and Athens, Howard and Ross-Sexton. Gray currently serves as vice chair on the Metropolitan National District Board of Directors, and she was appointed last year to represent West Basin on the National Water Research Institute Board of Directors and as vice chair of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission Governing Board.
Serving the cities of Division I, which include Carson, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills and portions of San Pedro, Williams has held leadership positions in numerous civic organizations and served on various city commissions. He was president of the City ad County Engineers Assn. and treasurer of the Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers.
So, what about that drought?!
Note: We’ll discuss the Reuters report “Black Cops Fear Other Cops” next week because it’s long and I’m running out of space here. And don’t forget, if you can’t get a copy of the Compton Herald, you can read it on line at

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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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