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Aug 1, 2009

The article at the link below shows that there are still rainbows after storms:

Accident of Time and Place

But weather can be different from place to place.  Some who experienced arrests like Prof. Gates' are still in jail.

We solute all the officers who protect and serve society to their utmost ability and do so without violating citizens' rights and unnecessarily depriving citizens of life, liberty, and peaceful existence. Policing is a difficult job, as Professor Gates acknowledged, and we have many more police officers who handle their responsibilities well than those who do not.  Appreciation is in order for good policing.


Thank you, officers, for refraining from misusing your positions of trust to vent your personal frustrations. Thank you for stepping in when you see your fellow officers going too far in use of force and stopping them from crossing the line into actual cruelty.


Thank you for helping to keep our communities safe and for leaving sentencing for crimes to the courts, while you cause as little harm to people as possible as you apprehend and deliver them to be tried courts of law.


Thanks to all police officers who hold your oaths of office and duty to serve and protect the public above your affiliation with the police "brotherhood," especially the few officers who help to prosecute criminals whether or not they wear a badge.


TODAY IS THE SIXTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WRONGFUL DEATH OF LARRY NEAL, a lifelong mentally ill heart patient who was secretly arrested in Memphis Shelby County Jail and incarcerated for 18 days while his social worker and family searched for him as a missing person. Police repeatedly denied that Larry was incarcerated, but did nothing to help his social worker or family search for this middle aged African American handicapped man who desperately needed his heart and psychiatric prescription drugs for survival. When Larry died, police immediately went to his home address and reported that he was dead and that he had actually been in jail during the entire period while his family agonized over his whereabouts. Police were apparently tired of their enforced role of caretakers for the harmless mental patient. Decades ago,, chronic mental illness was made a police matter rather than a health matter in the U.S.A.


Abuses of power happen, and when they do, oftentimes government does not step in to protect the citizens or their survivors, but to hide the crime, excusing offenses by police officers. Such is the case with the secret arrest and wrongful death of Larry Neal.


Despite six years of asking and two lawsuits against the family's wrongful death attorneys who were secretly working with the jail to help the facility and police dodge accountability for Larry's death, Larry's survivors have no records of his arrest, no explanation for his death, and are denied the investigative effort that followed Michael Vick's dog abuse.


Larry's case should show the entire world that as much as we need police personnel to keep our society secure, they are capable of great cruelty, and their wrong actions are usually protected in higher levels of government.


Taking a stand against police profiling and brutality is NOT the same as being a cop hater. The word "cops" and "brutality" are not synonymous, because there are hopefully many police officers who would never do to anyone what was done to my handicapped brother and to my family as we searched for him, and neither would they participate in the ongoing denial of due process of law that ensued since Larry's demise.


Thanks to President Obama for speaking strongly against inappropriate policing.  Thanks to Professor Gates for acknowledging that were he in a different position regarding his socioeconomic status, he would likely still be behind bars today, not sitting on the White House lawn sharing beer with the officer who facilitated his arrest for nothing more than exhibiting what the officer perceived as a bad attitude. Such arrests in the absence of crime occur frequently, but are usually recorded under "disturbing the peace" and "resisting arrest."  Some officers go as far as using the charge of "assault on an officer" to justify grudge arrests.


It would behoove us all to be cognizant of the fact that every arrest is expensive in terms of the toil on the lives of those incarcerated and their families as well as public funds, which in today's economic climate frequently subtracts from other needed domestic programs.  The cost of incarceration is up to $50,000 per year per inmate, depending on the state.  That expense is incurred AFTER trials that often require the accused being supplied a public defender, also at taxpayers' expense.  The cost of criminal justice is therefore too great in terms of personal trauma and public resources for police officers to conduct retaliatory arrests in the absence of real crime by those who are deprived of their liberty as a result for failing to address officers in "respectful" tones of voice.


On this, the anniversary of the wrongful death of Larry Neal, a classic example of criminalizing of mental illness, let us be mindful of those among us whose mental faculties are such that their behavior is often categorized as being disrespectful, and many suffer arrest and even death in the absence of crime or criminal intent.


While we commend the president and professor and officer for mending fences, let us be mindful of the costs of retaliatory arrests.  Economically disadvantaged persons, parolees, probationers, and the mentally ill who are arrested for doing no more than Professor Gates was accused of doing, using a "tumultuous" tone when addressing a police officer, would still be behind bars today - some after beating and/or Tasering.  In fact, many such persons are imprisoned right now.  Whereas these arrests are happening increasingly to white citizens across the country, the rate of incidents continues to be higher among people of color.  It is likely that some of the 1 in 9 young black men presently imprisoned were arrested for little more than “tumultuous” behavior, although charged with something more worthy of incarceration.


Crime and punishment, prejudice within the justice system, and protecting citizens' rights are all within the governing scope of the presidency.  President Obama is correct to be concerned about these matters that affect millions of Americans.  All of the parties to the White House conciliatory meeting are right that this should be a teaching moment for our nation, and the lesson to be learned is that retaliatory arrests in the absence of real crime are cruel, costly, and best avoided.


May God bless all our law enforcement officers and keep them safe from dangers real and imagined.  May He grant them good discernment while providing for all their needs in Jesus' name.

Mary Neal



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Posted: Aug 1, 2009 9:43pm
Jul 30, 2009
"If you criticize how we treat blacks, we'll call you racist, President Obama!"

President Obama is strongly criticized for calling Professor Gate’s arrest “stupid.”  Are the president’s critics trying to ensure that he says and does nothing significant during his presidency to address inequities by the justice system toward African Americans for fear of being labeled a “racist”? 

It would be preferable if President Obama had not relaxed his stance against Sgt. Crawley's reaction to Prof. Gates.  Too many Americans of every race are suffering from retaliatory arrests in the absence of any crime.  Personal offense at citizens not have a conciliatory tone with law officers is not a punishable offense, therefore people are arrested on charges like "resisting arrest," and "disorderly conduct."  Those charges should be reserved for real incidents and not used when the issue is a citizen did not quake with fear in the presence of police officers and may have responded to officers in a disrespectful tone.  Retaliatory arrests like this sometimes result in wrongful convictions and prison sentences for people who lack powerful friends and resources to help combat the charges offended police officers use to justify their arrests of citizens who simply p**sed them off.  Occasionally, police actually kill citizens who offend them, in the complete absence of any crime.

Retaliatory arrests happen most often to those perceived as being least likely to have a means of defending themselves against same.  Therefore, it is true that police aggression is usually directed at minority members in society, especially young black males - "profiling."  However, the 72-year-old great grandmother who was Tasered for talking back to a police officer was white; the Idaho man who police sodomized with a Taser weapon for not willingly admitting them into his home was white; and so was the Phoenix blogger whose home was raided by police and his female roommate handcuffed while they ramsacked the home for three hours because the blogger wrote negative news about them.  Therefore, police aggression and retaliation are not limited to citizens of a particular race, age, or sex.  See specifs about these incidents at this link: 

Arresting Harvard Professors . . .

President Obama condemned such retaliatory arrests strongly, and doing so does not make him racist.  He thinks such arrests are "stupid,” and they are.  Police officers are adults who deal with the public in stressful circumstances every day.  They should have thicker skins, especially since they are armed and have police power over the citizenry.  Furthermore, retaliatory arrests and trials are a stupid waste of taxpayer resources.  Arrests, trials, and incarceration are costly.  Taxpayers pay around $50,000 per year per inmate in many states, and triple that if the inmates are sick and require mental or physical treatment and special provisions while incarcerated.    The judicial process is too expensive to be used by police officers to soothe wounded egos or to prove a point.

President Obama’s immediate family members whom he grew up loving are white, including his mother.  To assert that he criticized the officer's overreaction because the president is racist is itself a racist accusation.  The criticism in effect tells our president that if he stands against overuse of force or other injustice against any African American, he will be criticized fiercely.  He is to stand by mute while America's long history of police abuse and other inequities against at black citizens continues.  President Obama is being told by critics that he must pretend to think racism ended with his election, lest he be labeled a racist for decrying inequities and injustice against a people who comprise a large percentage of the electorate.  One way to ensure President Obama’s easy defeat in 2012 would be to alienate him from black constituents by having him ignore issues peculiar to our American experience.  It would be unacceptable for any president, black or white, to deliberately ignore areas of concern affecting a class of constituents he vowed to represent. 

I noticed some years ago that when I interviewed with white human resource directors, I had more success in my job search than when I was interviewed by black HR personnel.  This is because the black ones were afraid that hiring me might cast them as racists in the minds of their superiors, and it was "safer" for them to hire someone white.  Allegations such as those being hurled at President Obama sometimes lead to reverse discrimination amongst people within the same racial group.  Those in positions of power refrain from using their ability to help people who look like themselves, seeking to avoid being accused of racial favoritism.  Perhaps making minorities in power defensive about what they say or do to promote the cause of other minorities is intentional on the part people who really are racists.

To learn more about this phenomenon, I recommend a book called "Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States," by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

President Obama Inauguation
Photo:  President Obama Inauguation

Presidents take an oath of office to serve ALL Americans - not excluding blacks for fear of false accusations of being prejudice

President Obama is an educated man in his mid-40's who has common sense.  It is ridiculous to think that he believes racism is dead in America or that police don't frequently engage in overuse of force and racial profiling.  When the president took his oath of office, he vowed to do his best to represent ALL of the people and to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  Those who criticize President Obama seemingly hope to silence him on this issue and other issues of unequal treatment to black citizens by making false accusations against him.



Sgt. Crawley apparently fabricated his police report by falsely alleging that the woman who called 911 said two "black men with backpacks"
may be breaking into a house.  She never mentioned race except to say that one of the men may be Hispanic when she was prompted for a description, and she did not mention backpacks at all.  Now who is prejudice?

In view of the revelation regarding Sgt. Crawley’s inaccurate account, I believe even more strongly that President Obama's original stance against Sgt. Crawley's conduct was appropriate.  Regarding a black officer who spoke in Sgt. Crawley's favor, the "brotherhood" among police officers frequently supercedes racial unity and even their oaths of office to serve and protect.  Ask Sean Bell's relatives, or just read the website below.  

Mary Neal

Articles -

NOTE:  The Care2 cyberstalker who already disconnected my RSS feed to my sharebook has placed a table around President Obama's inauguation photo.  Generally, there is a fight posting anything about President Obama.  Ordinarily, when the Care2 cyberstalker outlines text and photographs in a table, the content is later deleted or it deletes when I hit "submit."  He may not do it since I am telling about it now, but you will see examples on my videos I already captured.  The censorship I encounter on Care2 is more fierce than anyplace else on the Internet, everyplace except Care2 News Network.  Since what I write about is anti-death penalty, news to promote social justice and decriminalize mental illness, pieces that speak against police violence to promote better relations between police officers and the communities they serve, it surprised me to encounter such censorship on this site.  I used to wonder if the owners know, but I write so much about it that I cannot see how the owners would miss knowing about it.   


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


Mary Neal
, 5, 2 children
Atlanta, GA, USA
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