Letter writer: Black people are denied justice and truth

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The letter writer for “Rethink Your Battles, Protesters,” [Aug. 3, Xpress] really must have a very calloused heart to say that police killings under “circumstances that were obviously unjust” was “incredibly disheartening.” I would say the repeated, almost daily, killing of unarmed and nonviolent black men, boys, women and girls is absolutely heartbreaking, soul-destroying and completely depressing. It is the lack of any public remorse by our country’s police that is incredibly disheartening. But one thing that writer did not mention is that often the original police stories of those killings were often proven totally false when videos came to light. That has happened many times. And no one faces any real consequences.

That letter writer then goes on to defend the Asheville Police Department officer in the recent shooting of Jai Lateef Solveig “Jerry” Williams, without any corroborating evidence other than what has been presented via the APD in the local media. I was not at the scene of this shooting, but I have heard from people who have talked to witnesses on the scene, and they are telling a very different story. I have also heard that there is video from this shooting, but that APD still has the cell phones with the videos on them. If that is true, then the APD needs to release the cell phones and videos and let the public judge the evidence.

And I think the State Bureau of Investigation report on A.J. Marion should be released also. I feel that would go a long way to corroborate the APD’s version of what happened at that [September 2013] shooting — or not. I have lots of doubts about that incident.

At Bele Chere in 2007, I saw an APD officer grab a young women and throw her to the pavement and then yell at her to leave immediately or he would have her arrested. She jumped up and ran off. I went up to this officer a few minutes later and asked him why he threw her to the ground, and he told me that he did not throw her to the ground, she tripped. I found out that two local women (one a friend, one a stranger) had also seen this incident from a closer perspective. We decided to pursue this with Chief [Bill] Hogan. After months of stalling, we met with Chief Hogan and two city officials. At that meeting, Chief Hogan told us we did not see what we thought we saw. I learned from that experience that APD officers can lie to my face, and the chief and city will back him up. Things may be different today, but I suspect not.

I do agree with that letter writer that “it’s not safe with people shooting off assault rifles.” And the only way to counter that problem is to ban assault rifles and round them up. Having the police shoot up people with assault rifles strikes me as a dangerous course to pursue. I feel it is not the protesters who do not understand the seriousness of the situation — I think it is the letter writer, the APD and some city officials.

The ones out there protesting do realize how bad the situation is for black people in our country — we are treating them like their very right to go on living is not an important issue. We are treating them like their lives do not matter. We are treating them like they are less than fully human with the same rights and same opportunities as anyone else in our country. There is a rage developing (and has been developing for a long time), and this is a situation that could totally explode, since justice and truth have been denied for so very long. It is a soul-destroying situation that cannot continue. #BlackLivesMatter.

— Susan Oehler

Editor’s note: When contacted by Xpress about the 2007 Bele Chere incident, Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper provided the following response:

“In reference to the 2007 case mentioned [in the letter], that took place nine years prior to me beginning with the Asheville Police Department. Our Professional Standards Unit did locate an investigative file regarding the incident. The complaint was investigated and a letter sent to the complainant informing her of the results. We cannot release any information on the case due to it being a personnel matter, however, I do agree that the investigation appears to have taken longer to complete than it should have.

Our procedures have been updated since 2007 and require that investigations be completed in a timely manner. If a citizen wishes to make a complaint, they can follow instructions on our website, or call our Professional Standards Unit at (828) 259-5907.

The Asheville Police Department is dedicated to providing the best police service possible and as such, will thoroughly investigate any accusation of wrongdoing by our officers.”


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32 thoughts on “Letter writer: Black people are denied justice and truth

  1. boatrocker

    What was the name of that GOP president from the 1980’s who created a war on drugs while simultaneously using the CIA to run coke back and forth from Central America to fund an illegal war to coincide with privatizing our nation’s prisons so they could generate serious revenue for disproportionately jailing minorities for low level non-violent drug offenses and thus destroying countless families?

    He used to act in movies and co-starred with a chimp. He had a greasy pompadour like a 1950’s hood and Alzheimer’s too-
    drat, I can’t remember.

    • yea, that guy. The Rebel without a clue. The war on drugs is directly responsible for half of the murders in this country. We learned nothing from the war on alcohol, which only gave us organized crime and two useless gun control laws.
      Legalize, tax and regulate.

      And quit whining about MY gun.

  2. The Real World

    As Dr. Gregory House on former TV show, House, liked to say: “everybody lies.”

    Question to the letter writer — “do you care about the white, yellow and brown skinned people who are killed by police?” If so, why are they disregarded in your commentary? If not, why not?

    Also, Black Lives Matter comes to you courtesy of the generous financial backing of Mr. George Soros. I strongly suggest doing some research on him. There’s lots of good stuff because his primary “charitable” foundation was hacked recently — which provided confirmation of what many already knew about his nefarious activities.

    • Lulz

      But, but democrats aren’t the party of the rich LOL. So say the liars in the media who cover up and are a huge reason why they should be considered traitors.

  3. While it is true that the police shoot more innocent white folks, the per capita shooting of innocent blacks by the police is a lot higher. Of course, the per capita committal of crime by blacks is also at the high ratio. And since blacks kill each other at an even higher ratio, I can understand why they are angry with police, but I do not understand why they ignore WHO is doing the most killing. The war on drugs is the main reason why blacks murder about 8000 blacks each year. But white and liberal America only give a shit when a bunch of white folks get shot up, or a black thug gets shot by police. BLM really needs to find better poster boys, rather than the thugs they choose. Walter L Scott is a great example of a cop murdering someone, and moving evidence to hide it, while his partner watches. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/us/south-carolina-officer-is-charged-with-murder-in-black-mans-death.html?_r=0
    The cops shoot a lot of innocent people, and we have no idea how many. The Feds do not keep track of this data, and only a few cities have made an attempt to find out exactly how deadly the police are to law abiding citizens.
    I personally believe they shoot a lot more now, than back when they had revolvers and shotguns. With all the army guns they have to today, I feel they are starting to look at civilians as combatants, and civilians and combatants are looked at very differently. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/08/14/ferguson-and-the-shocking-nature-of-us-police-militarization

    • Hauntedheadnc

      Interesting… So militarizing the police results in more shootings, but one must never, ever suggest that militarizing the public might have the same result. And all this discussion about out-of-control police… Why, one could hardly be blamed for declaring it tyranny and fretting that their liberty tree looked a trifle parched.

  4. well, if you have some evidence that shows allowing citizens to exercise their right to bear arms has actually increased risk for law abiding citizens, over the past 20 years, since the first Clinton was stopped at disarming the victims, then you might have a possible point. Violating rights (that some people in this country hate and fear) because of violent imaginations is never a good idea. Ask the Blacks how they felt about the Dems imaginary fears during the KKK and Jim Crow years and you might get an idea how gun owners feel about some Dems today. Here, these guys may help, http://www.theliberalgunclub.com/ In the meantime, don’t worry about armed citizens, we rarely shoot anyone that does not need it. At least a lot less than some liberals that went insane and shot up a bunch of folks. Cops, now that is different. hmm?

    • Good points, Mr. Orsban. All discussed in the new book “The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies”: http://bit.ly/2bKOb0e

      In The War on Guns, you’ll learn:
      • Why gun licenses and background checks don’t stop crime
      • How “gun-free” zones actually attract mass shooters
      • Why Stand Your Ground laws are some of the best crime deterrents we have
      • Why having background checks on private gun transfers is a bad idea
      • How big-money liberal foundations and the federal government are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into “public health” studies, the sole purpose of which is to manufacture false data against guns
      • How media bias and ignorance skew the gun debate—and why it will get worse
      • How anti-gun activists have targeted not just the Second Amendment, but the First Amendment—all in an effort to shut down pro-gun arguments

        • But it’s really great cover flap. I’m just happy to help.

          There’s plenty more and much of it will be eye opening even to avid consumers of Second Amendment news. There are tools aplenty in here for those fighting the good fight on gun rights heading into this election, so if you don’t have a copy of The War On Guns yet, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you order one today. I seriously can’t recommend this book strongly enough.

    • Hauntedheadnc

      Ah, but if I did provide those statistics, such as the numbers showing that America is apparently too stupid to solve the gun violence problem the way that every other developed nation has, if I presented you with the numbers showing how many people die of gun violence per day (which, to me, demonstrates that unfettered gun nuttery is actually a danger), if I were to discuss the ways that gun violence in cities with strict gun laws can be traced to the flow of guns in from states with lax regulations… Well, you’d just dismiss it as figments of a liberal media smear campaign.

      And then you would beg for forgiveness. Over in the Citizen-Times discussions you’re very good at begging for forgiveness — almost more so than instructing us all on what a grand idea it is to have hundreds of drunk people in a dark, loud nightclub all packing heat and shooting randomly into the dark in the event of a shooter. And remember when I linked you to an article in which the mayor and police force of Dallas stated point blank (heh) that open-carry puts people at risk because good guys with guns look just like bad guys with guns, and it makes the cops’ jobs that much harder? And remember how you dismissed that as just more liberal smear, despite the fact the cops know more about their job than does some developmentally-arrested cowboy with Captain Hero fantasies?

      See, that’s how I know you wouldn’t respond to facts and statistics, because you haven’t in the past, and because you and your ilk certainly aren’t about to allow agencies like the CDC collect more facts and statistics, because you live in mortal fear that reality would contradict your magical thinking.

      Which it would, mind you, so you and the friendly Texan sociopath go right on giving each other that gun nut backrub. I’m ashamed I even interrupted.

      • boatrocker

        Ow ow ow owwwww, I can’t even touch my keyboard right now!
        It’s so hot for a factual burn!

      • spoken like a true ideolog, I already know the stats you “presume” to tell, and while they are accurate, they are irrelevant. Please explain how 17k people killing themselves with a gun will somehow be safer if you restrict MY access to a gun.
        Please explain how 8000 blacks, who kill each other with a gun, has anything to do with restricting MY access to a gun, will somehow make them safer.
        Please explain how 5000 whites, who kill each other with a gun, has anything to do with restricting MY access to a gun.

        If you guys really wanted to limit gun violence, legalize drugs. Quit confusing the law abiding with terrorists.

        I have to wonder at leftists who complain when repubs want to “regulate” a bunch of muslims, when a few like to blow up children, but have no problem with regulating, millions of gun owners, because a few kill themselves or others, with guns.

        As for your other fantasies, it is only the leftists who feel that someone with a gun is a captain america, or a bloodthirsty killer.

        Perhaps the leftists need some counseling. Or regulation. And I would not recommend regulation, As someone who actually thinks, rather than feels, I know there is nothing you can do to stop a bad guy from getting a gun. You can only stop the good guys, And everytime you do, people die.

        I am for pretty much prochoice on anything, I wish you guys were prochoice, on things other than killing unborn children.

        I have noticed leftists tend to get pissy or flee when confronted with facts that interfere with their beliefs. Reminds me of some religious folks.

        • Peter Robbins

          Here’s a market-based approach for you, Pat: Hold firearms manufacturers strictly and fully liable for all harms caused by their products, whether used properly or improperly, lawfully or unlawfully. Under such a regime, the rational manufacturer would take steps to prevent those harms that it’s cost-efficient to prevent and then pay for the harms that it’s not cost-efficient to prevent. The manufacturer would also insist on likeminded preventive steps from all other actors in the chain of commerce (with whom it contracts, either directly or indirectly). The number of guns available to bad guys would fall dramatically (since current gun prices do not reflect significant external costs, resulting in economically inefficient overproduction). Indeed, there would probably be nothing but “smart guns” (which can be fired by only one person) on the market. But dedicated enthusiasts would still have the fundamental right to go out in the backyard and pretend to be Yosemite Sam, to the extent discretionary income and neighborhood opinion permitted. Only rent-seeking special interests (whom we presumably both abhor) would object to such a simple law. Right?

          • The Real World

            O-M-G. Pls re-read your own post. So flawed in so many ways.

            Assigning responsibility to the wrong people/entity, creating even more of a nanny state, pricing the product out of reach for mid-lower income folks (which many could argue as discriminatory….that would be bad, right?) which puts them at a disadvantage in protecting themselves in their homes.

            I could go on but, I’ll let others have at it……. since you’ve left yourself wide open.

          • Peter Robbins

            Wrong people? There are no “wrong people” in tort law. Tort law is, or should be, a matter of assigning liability in the way that produces the best social result. Disadvantaged people? The market responds to money-backed demand, not need. If you want to go all softie and talk about income redistribution through progressive taxation, we can have that conversation. I thought you fellers wanted to be the hard-edged tough guys who believed in the creative destructiveness of the marketplace. Finally, there is no need to refer to “me” in your comments at all. I’m not ego-invested in the idea. You (or your friends) can talk about the concept without getting personal, can’t you?

          • Um, Peter, um, that is not market based, that is shark based. Please, if you lawyers want to make money, just sue Ford or Chevy Manufacturing for making a product that does not stop drunk drivers.

            Hmmm, using that illogic, let us sue Budweiser and Michelob. Their product is ONLY made to drunk.

            Hell, while you are at it, sue your neighbor because he sold a used car to another neighbor who got drunk and killed another neighbor.

            And damn, boy, if you live in a neighborhood where yosemite sam goes out in the back yard and shoots some beer bottles, you need to move. Or get a bigger gun.

            I have to assume this was some great sarcasm, because I cannot imagine even a leftist to not be able to tell the difference between accidents with bad products and idiots, and products that are misused, which are perfectly safe when used properly.

          • Peter Robbins

            Pat: Thanks for the polite response. An argument could be made for strict liability for all manufactured products, and actually has been made by good legal scholars. But I wasn’t going that far here. I will point out that strict liability would actually reduce legal costs, since only damage amounts and not liability would be at issue. And no, you are wrong. I am serious as a heart attack. I see great merit, as an abstract proposition, in giving private actors the financial incentive to do things that government often does less efficiently by regulation. Recall that accidents caused by explosives are already governed by strict-liability rules. So the concept is my no means outlandish.

          • boatrocker

            I’ve heard a similar argument a few years ago that will probably be scoffed at by the ‘we love guns more than children’ crowd-

            Your life insurance policies are determined by how safely you lock up your guns at home if children live in the house.
            Unless a 3 yr old blowing his brains out or those of his sibling are Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

          • Peter Robbins

            Yes. As a practical matter, insurance companies who contract with actors in the chain of firearms commerce would ultimately be the ones who would determine what controls and restrictions represent cost-efficient ways to reduce unintended social harms. It might be better to give their experts a crack at it, instead of relying on legislators and agency staffers. Just an idea.

          • ApePeeD

            Peter Robbins: Using your logic, we’d have to ban everything down to Legos, because they cause (potential) harm to customers.
            But there’s more to that. There’s also the irresponsible human with these products. Even the irresponsible human with a bag of Legos is not going to inflict mass chaos and murder.
            However, someone with a car or a firearm can inflict mass chaos and murder. And it happens quite frequently.

          • Peter Robbins

            I’m not talking about banning anything. I’m talking about the economically efficient allocation of financial burdens.

            But your example is an interesting one. Fear of medical costs is hardly the primary factor that causes parents to watch their toddlers when they play with toys. Placing the financial burden of accidents on parents therefore would be unlikely to improve protective behavior and reduce harms. It may be that the manufacturer could not do much more to protect the child, either, beyond including a clearer warning on the box. But placing strict liability on the manufacturer would ensure that the foreseeable social cost of accidents is more accurately reflected in the price of the product, thereby discouraging economically inefficient overproduction. Placing liability on the manufacturer in this instance may or may not be the wisest policy. But it is not unthinkable, as you appear to assume.

          • Peter Robbins

            And as regards the malefactor using the bag of toys as a weapon, he is already disregarding serious criminal penalties. Do you think his behavior will change by the threat of being sued? Since your example will occur so rarely, the manufacturer would scarcely notice the cost of the harm. But the innocent victim would.

          • Once again, you aim at one person, and end up hitting another. ” Recall that accidents caused by explosives are already governed by strict-liability rules. ”
            that would the user that gets sued, not the manufacturer. Unless he made a faulty product, then the manufacturer gets sued. I have no problem with gun makers that get sued when they guns fail to operate as advertised. Namely, to move small pieces of lead quickly towards a target, without blowing up in the holders hands.

            And asking the Gov to assume responsibility for the average, parents, children smacks of socialism at best, and since socialist govs have killed more of their own citizens than any out side threat, ever, I would have to so no to your proposal.

            If you really wanted to reduce purposeful gun violence in this country, by half, legalize drugs. Our accidental gun harm rates have fallen to lows not seen since 1904. And we bought 70 million guns legally since Obama was elected. Yet gun violence keeps falling. Except of course, in Dem controlled cities with lots of gun control.
            I do not understand how any leftist cannot see that guns are not problem. Statistically, they have been the solution.

          • Peter Robbins

            Pat: The point about explosives was simply that sometimes it makes more sense to use a strict-liability standard, rather than a negligence standard, in tort law. There are good reasons here why placing liability on the bad-guy shooter — unlike the purchaser of explosives for commercial use — would have little deterrent value. Is he worried about getting sued? But placing liability on the manufacturer (or someone else in the contract-based chain of commerce) would greatly affect gun safety (e.g., type of guns sold, number of rounds they can fire, background checks required, “smart” features, etc.). Incentives vary according to the situation, and legal standards should, too.

            The rest of your comment is unresponsive to anything I said. I am not talking about government-mandated controls. I am talking about voluntary controls that might be implemented by the gun industry if economic incentives were structured differently.

          • Peter Robbins

            Oh, and by the way, I agree with you about the war on drugs. But we’re already pretty far off-topic.

  5. Fin

    “That letter writer then goes on to defend the Asheville Police Department officer in the recent shooting of Jai Lateef Solveig “Jerry” Williams, without any corroborating evidence other than what has been presented via the APD in the local media. I was not at the scene of this shooting, but I have heard from people who have talked to witnesses on the scene, and they are telling a very different story. ”

    That is the exact same argument about you protesting a killing of an man that Possibly had a gun. Apparently he was a very good man being banned from almost every housing complex, Susan wait till you have the facts, it’s getting old listening to these arguments, reality and facts are not applical.

  6. Cherokee

    Oh get real…seems posters here are mostly of a pale complexion..
    This Cherokee has seen enough of your lack of empathy.
    The Lakota used to call the ruling class.. “Waschitu” means those who take all and don’t think of others
    I grew up being told I was white because my grandpa and GRANDMOTHER had to pass as white
    Racism is the wart on the end of your white faces that you cannot see.
    Living here reminds me of segregated Alabama back in the fifties except with clueless hedonist who also have no humanity.
    I stand with Black Lives Matters because racism that I observed towards my brethren..scarred my young soul.Not to mention how my grandparents suffered due to your pinheaded minds

  7. Civilian gun owners have the right to retreat and the right to hold their fire, whereas police can be fired for retreating. Therefore I feel much safer under the protection of civilian gun owners than I do around police. Civilian gun owners also have the right to ignore stupid laws.

    Many social programs prevent more crime per dollar than police, with far less violence; such as methadone programs and youth jobs programs. There for the proper place to fight police shootings is at butget time (may/june) when we can ally ourselves with competing programs to defund the APD.

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