Core Values

Jordan Edwards spent his last moments in a car driven by his 16-year-old brother in a Dallas suburb. The teens in the car — Jordan, his two brothers and two friends — had no weapons, and they were not drunk. None of them has been charged with any crime.

At first, Balch Springs Police Department Chief Jonathan Haber claimed that one of his officers, later identified as Roy Oliver, fired at the teens’ car because it was backing down the street in an “aggressive manner” toward officers called to break up a teen party.

Hours later, the police chief walked that story back, saying body camera footage showed the car driving away when the officer raised his rifle and began shooting.

“After reviewing the video,” Haber said, “I don’t believe that (the shooting) met our core values.”

The Dallas County medical examiner has ruled Jordan’s death a homicide. Cause of death: gunshot wound to the head. The police officer has been fired. We await further news about what happens next.

Dallas News: His name was Jordan Edwards

Saturday, May 6 update

A police officer in a Dallas suburb was charged with murder on Friday, six days after he fired his rifle into a car full of teenagers leaving a party, killing a black 15-year-old in the front passenger seat.

The New York Times: Police Officer Who Fatally Shot 15-Year-Old Texas Boy Is Charged With Murder

I Guess This is Progress

In the summer of 1949, a 17-year-old white girl named Norma Padgett accused four black men of kidnapping her from a dark road in central Florida and then, in the back seat of their car, taking turns raping her.

Within days of Padgett's accusations, three black men from the city of Groveland were in jail and a fourth, Ernest Thomas, was dead, shot and killed by an angry mob — led by [Sheriff] McCall — who had chased him 200 miles into the Panhandle. In Groveland, black-owned homes were shot up and burned, sparking chaos so intense the governor eventually sent in the National Guard.

Based on little evidence, a jury quickly convicted the living three.

Charles Greenlee, just 16 at the time, was sent to prison for life.

Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin, friends and Army veterans, were sentenced to death, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned their convictions and ordered a retrial. Before that could happen, though, McCall shot them both. Shepherd died at the scene, but Irvin — who played dead — survived, and his sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

Washington Post: “We're truly sorry”: Fla apologizes for racial injustice of 1949 ‘Groveland Four’ rape case

Some decades later…

Fear gripped the small town of Denison, Tex., after 18-year-old Breana Harmon Talbott burst into a church on a Wednesday night, bleeding and wearing only a shirt, bra and underwear. She said that three black men in ski masks had kidnapped her.

On Wednesday, nearly two weeks after Talbott burst into the church, police said called her story a “hoax” and the allegations deemed “officially UNFOUNDED.” In a statement, the police chief admonished Talbott for the turmoil she caused in the community and for making offensive claims about African Americans.

“The so-called victim in the case confessed to the hoax last evening (March 21) to a member of the investigative team working the case,” read a news release by the Denison Police Chief Jay Burch. “Talbott’s hoax was also insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax.”

Washington Post: ‘Hoax’: Texas teen made up widely publicized story of being kidnapped, raped by 3 black men, police say

The Oppressed Majority

In a new poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) on Tuesday, a whopping 43 percent of Americans told researchers that discrimination against whites has become as large a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minority groups.

White Americans long for the 1950s, when they didn't face so much discrimination — The Washington Post

Absolutely pathetic.

Equal Opportunity Harassment

Moreover, if police start stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of white women and men in the manner they’ve been searching young men of color, they will undoubtedly issue some summonses and make some arrests. There are middle-class white people in possession of illegal guns — not to mention heroin, illegal prescription painkillers, and marijuana. The success rates may not be high. But this shouldn’t deter police officials. After all, low success rates haven’t dissuaded them from searching young men of color for contraband and firearms.

— Christopher E. Smith: What I Learned About Stop-and-Frisk From Watching My Black Son

Sounds fair to me. If you object to being stopped by the police, you probably have something to hide, right? Only criminals need to worry.

The Right People

“We go out there and we summons people,” Inspector McCormack said. The way to suppress violent crime, he said, was for officers to stop, question and, if necessary, frisk “the right people at the right time, the right location.”

— Recording Points to Race Factor in Stop by New York Police

“The right people” seems to include musician friends of mine who are simply going about their business in Brooklyn. Granted, some of them are suspiciously black and male.