On The Horns of a National Racial Dilemma
"It was like somebody died when that news [Trump presidency] came through."
"Please hear my cry, don't allow my son's words and our tears to be in vain."
"I've been living in a nightmare and crying for over two years and I'm ready to awake to peace."
"I know my son's case is on the line, and if it goes past Obama's administration, we are not going to get any justice."
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, Manhattan
Loren Elliott, Tampa Bay Times via APA Black Lives Matter protest, held in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, takes place in downtown Tampa on Monday, July 11, 2016. Both Sterling and Castile were shot by police officers the prior week.
"Anybody who watches the news knows we need to have law and order reinstalled and we need to have more support for Blue Lives Matter."
Pamela Heilman, 60, hospital administrator, Grantville, Pennsylvania
"Donald Trump has proposed nothing short of a police state."
"This is backlash to a black president, a black movement and black people being self-determined, bold and unapologetic."
Brittany Packnett, activist, formerly on President Obama's task force on 21st Century policing
"What role does he [Trump] see for his Justice Department in dealing with use of force issues, pattern and practise investigations, and the overall role of the Justice Department vis-a-vis local law enforcement."
"We really don't know yet."
Chuck Wexler, executive director, Police Executive Research Forum
"[Under Mr. Obama's direction the Justice Department] politicized everything."
"It was like he [President Obama] was defending the black community, the Muslim community, the Hispanic community. But not the white community."
William Bateman, 52, Trump supporter, Dallas-Fort Worth
"The atmosphere has gotten harder for police officers because there is a lot of second-guessing by people with a lack of insight into their jobs and a lack of expertise on what constitutes appropriate policing techniques in given situations."
Jim Pasco, executive director, National Fraternal Order of Police
Chances are that if a crime is committed, proportionately greater numbers of young black men are involved than white, though neither has a lock on criminal activity as a monopoly by any means. Even Barack Obama, in his Chicago-social-organizer days as a much younger man, recounts in his autobiographical Dreams From My Father, writing of his own personal awareness and fears of attacks by young black males.
Gwen Carr -- mother of Eric Garner who died in 2014 as a result of having been placed in a police-rules-forbidden chokehold while being apprehended by a police officer in Staten Island -- as a member of "Mothers of the Movement", held out hope that the police officer who was not charged in her son's death would yet be found guilty of some manner of manslaughter in her son's death through a Justice Department initiative. That would be under the Obama administration.
With an incoming new president-elect who stated vociferously and repeatedly throughout the election campaign his admiration and support of the men in blue and his intention on changing things toward beefing up the law-and-order quotient of good governance, it is highly unlikely that his Justice Department appointees would be willing to revisit the decision by a state grand jury in Staten Island not to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the manner in which he chose to subdue his prisoner.
Under Mr. Obama, the Justice Department was urged to take the lead on instances of disputed police violence, going so far as to prosecute officers citing charges of civil rights violations once local prosecutors refused to bring charges, or juries rejected conviction. Ferguson, Missouri experienced the Justice Department citing violation of the constitutional rights of black residents and a finding in Cleveland of "unreasonable and unnecessary use of force", resulting in dangerous and recklessness seen in police action there.
Black Lives Matter and other similar movements have grown on the furiously outraged thesis that protests against the killings of black people by police must take centre stage simply because what they claim as police brutality disproportionately targets young black men. During the election campaign, Mr. Trump made it clear he has no time or patience to spare for anything of this disputatious manner. It is his intention to support the nation's police, not damn them.
The issue of widespread stop-and-frisk, the practise of police apprehending and searching people in high-crime areas is a case in point which Trump is urged to support on the basis that it is an aid to police finding illegal weapons, resulting in diminishing homicide rates. But it is an indisputable source of resentment and tension among the black residents where it is deployed by police. Struck down in New York as unconstitutional by a federal judge, a future Supreme Court representing Trump appointees could reverse that decision.
Statistics indicate that 24 percent of police killings affect black men, though white men are killed by police at a greater level. But then, there are proportionately more white men in American society than the population of black men. And statistics show that the representation of black men killed by police is disproportionate to their numbers in society. Perhaps matching the disproportionality of the crime rate as well as the incarceration rate. This is a societal and race problem of huge dimensions, one that defies remedy.
"We are now facing a presidential administration that not only does not value black people's lives, but will promote and support policies that will actively make our lives worse and kill more people."
Charlene Carruthers, national director, Black Youth Project 100