Today I am saddened to hear about the 16-year-old kid shot by Courtney Birt. I can bet, though, that Ash-Lee Henderson and her group will not say a word about this. If they do, they'll blame whitey on the gang shooting. If they are so concerned for Chattanooga, why is this group of people not out marching to stop the gang shootings and the gang activity at Howard, Brainerd, Tyner, and other schools? Why are they and others like Al Sharpton and "The Rev" not pounding pavement in anger and outrage over the black youth of America destroying themselves?
Being a minority myself, I strive to be my best and live up to a higher standard. I try not to let the racist comments be true to me. However, I can't say the same for some of the black youth of America. It is truly sad. My son has been a victim of hate speech and a racially motivated assault. It truly hurts me.
However, Ms. Henderson and her ilk play the race card so much that it has no meaning anymore--it is almost expected for them to play this. Can white police only arrest and give tickets to white people? I watched the two officers in that video. What they did was deplorable, however I never heard them use one racial slur the entire time. There is no proof that this is racially motivated. Stop feeding into the racists stereotypes.
I pray for the mommas and daddys of our black youth population that they will see the need to be a mommy and daddy to their children.
* * *
But Ms. Nitupski, aren't you committing the same act of stereotyping you're accusing Ms. Ash-Lee Henderson of commtting? You immediately jumped to the conclusion that the shooting death of the 16-year-old by 18-year-old Bert was gang related, when it's already been determined it was not. What was it that made you immediately decide it was gang related? The race of the accused and the victim? The mentioning of Howard School? The area the crime took place?
Over the past several years, and after talking around, I came to realize that 85 percent to 95 percent or more of crimes we've been misled to believe were gang related actually weren't. There were usually some other contributing factor. Something stupid such as some girl. But just like mentioning the word "terrorist" carries a certain power, strength and control, just the simple mentioning of the word "gang" carries the same power, strength and control.
* * *
Perhaps Sabrianna Nitupski is new to the area and doesn't realize that the CPD has a sordid history of abuse to black folk.
I'm just a pasty white boy, but just off the top of my head I can recount a handful of cases where the CPD severely beat, choked to death, or violently shot a black suspect. I can't recall this ever happening to a white boy. Someone please correct me if my memory is failing.
A drunken black man on Rossville Boulevard gets shot 60 times for standing on his porch with a rifle, but a white cop-killer like Jesse Mathews is still breathing our air.
Marlon Duane Kiser was another white cop-killer who is still alive and didn't get his legs broken when the S.W.A.T. team arrested him.
The Wadie Suttles case is still unresolved years after he died at the city jail, allegedly from the massive injuries incurred from falling out of his bunk.
And yet, a skinny black guy high on crack gets his legs broken and beaten over 200 times with a baton by two roiled-up thugs while a room full of officers watch and do nothing except cough repeatedly to hide the sound of the blows. You tell me if there is a pattern of racism here.
* * *
Many may choose to look the other way and deny the claims that police brutality is a problem in Chattanooga, and has been for decades. Numerous families have experienced this trend of abuse; some with the result of injuries to their loved ones, and others with the result of death.
On behalf of the family of homicide victim Leslie Vaughn Prater, we support the efforts of Concerned Citizens for Justice and challenge other citizens in Chattanooga to do the same. We applaud Ms. Henderson and others for the courage to speak out against these injustices. We pray that there will be a cross section of residents and community leaders, including elected officials and police department representatives, who will assist them in the outcome of providing justice for all.
The fact that there are good police officers, who treat citizens humanly while doing their job, does not erase the fact that there are others who use their badge as an excuse to commit crimes and unconstitutional acts of violence, without legal accountability.
This gang behavior, identified as police brutality, within the ranks of the Chattanooga Police Department must end. However, there will be no end, as long as citizens tolerate this abuse by those entrusted to protect us. We should recall the words of Frederick Douglass to prompt us to act. He stated, “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
Dr. Loretta P. Prater
* * *
I know there has been a history of police brutality and I remember Leslie Prater tragically lost his life in police custody. However, I believe Ms. Nitupski is referring to the need for intervention with our youth.
The senseless killing of a 16-year-old by the hands of an 18-year-old occurred during school hours. While the incident might have been over a girl, both youths are members of rival gangs. This occurs on the heels of a witness of a gang shooting recanting her testimony in court. After she recanted her story, the court cheered at his release. There were 20 witnesses to this crime.
Why? Why all the shooting? Why are all these kids not in school? Obviously the police and a "gang task force" do little to dissuade this behavior,but what can neighborhoods do? A lot. As parents we need to be accountable for our youth, as neighbors we need to report unusual activities, as citizens we need to care about crime. As a community, we need to be on fire for this cause, because it affects everyone.