A Man Was Lynched Yesterday…

Undated photo of Herbert Lee and wife

Herbert Lee, a 50 year-old black man was a cotton and dairy farmer in Amite County, Mississippi. Lee had a wife and nine children. He was a quiet man who regularly attended NAACP meetings at a neighboring farm, during a time when receiving threats and harassment  were common when doing so. Lee used his resources to help Bob Moses, field secretary with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), register local blacks to vote. Even though Amite County was majority black, only one black resident was registered to vote and had never casted a vote due to Amite County also having the largest Ku Klux Klan population in the state.

On September 25th, 1961, Lee arrived at a cotton gin with a full load of cotton in his truck. Lee was confronted by is old childhood friend, Mississippi State representative E.H. Hurst, a white man who was upset with Lee’s involvement with SNCC. Irate with Lee’s activism, Hurst shot Lee in the head, killing him. Hurst claimed that he shot Lee in self-defense. All of the witness corroborated…even the two black witnesses: a local reverend and Louis Allen. Hurst was never arrested.

Louis Allen

Later, Allen reached out to the Department of Justice stating that the testimony he gave was false and that he was frightened for him and his family if he revealed the truth. Allen testified that Lee asked Hurst to put down the gun and Hurst shot Lee without provocation. Allen later recanted once he began receiving threats from local officials.

On January 31st, 1964, one day before Allen finalized his arrangements to move North, he was shot and killed in front of his property. No one was arrested.

Sound familiar?

Botham Jean

Botham Jean was killed by a Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger who claimed she shot him in self-defense because she thought he was an intruder when she “mistakenly” entered his home believing she was in her house. She stated she screamed commands at him to show his hands and he lunged at her and she shot and killed him in self-defense. And yet she didn’t render first aid to save him and sent a string of texts to her cop friends which were later deleted. Guyger was allowed to stay on the scene of the crime and was protected by other officers who intentionally turned off dash cams to ensure she didn’t incriminate herself. All of this was out of protocol, including that headass hug from Judge Tammy Kemp.  The text Guyger didn’t delete were chalked full of coded and racist language. There is speculation that she intentionally went to Botham’s apartment but dead men can’t talk so we will never know. She and Dallas PD made sure of that.

Murderous Molly aka Amber Guyger

One of the witnesses who lived in Botham’s building videotaped Guyger directly after the shooting. She received various threats, was fired from her job, and was not called by the prosecution to testify what she saw, which included hearing Botham saying “why did you shoot me”. Another witness, Joshua Brown, who lived on the same floor as Botham, did provide testimony in Guyger’s murder trial, stating that he did not hear commands shouted, but instead heard “two people meeting by surprise”. Brown’s testimony was crucial in getting a conviction against Guyger. A week later, Brown was gunned down near his home. No arrest have been made.

Joshua Brown

It should also be noted that Joshua Brown was also to be a key witness in the Jean family’s wrongful-death suit against the city of Dallas.

Coincidence this is not.

The Dallas Police Department is clearly complicit in covering up this murder and as well as not further implicating other officers involved. Martin Riveria, Guyer’s partner and lover, whom she texted prior to killing Botham, as Botham laid their dying, and a few days after killing him, also killed an unarmed black man.

In 2007, Rivera shot and killed 20 year-old Brandon Washington, who was accused of stealing a candy bar. Rivera claimed that Washington, whose hands were in his pockets, was too slow to show them, which resulted in him shooting Washington in the head and leg. Rivera was not charged with a crime.

Antoinette Washington’s son, Brandon Washington (pictured in poster)

Prior to the officer who was convicted in 2018 of killing 15 year-old Jordan Edwards, and unarmed black teen who was shot and killed riding in a car leaving a house party with friends, an officer had not been indicted in Dallas County since 1973. That 1973 case involved an officer who interrogated a 12 year-old boy Russian roulette style. He was found guilty and only served 2.5  of his five year sentence.

Jordan Edwards (left), 15, who was shot and killed by Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver(right)

The news about Dallas PD corruption should come as no surprise considering Dallas used to be considered the most racist city in the country!

The power of the Klan in Dallas extended far beyond mere popular acceptance. Dallas County voters placed Klan or Klan-supported candidates in control of the courthouse in 1922 and of City Hall in the following year. When the State Fair of Texas officially designated October 23, 1923, as Ku Klux Klan Day, a huge crowd from across the nation showed up. Two successive district attorneys were Klansmen (although one of them, Maury Hughes, resigned in disgust from the Klan during his term), as were the sheriff, the police commissioner, the police chief,  judges, and others. Doctors, lawyers, bankers, public utility executives, ministers, businessmen, and journalists were also Klansmen. Four of the Klan’s Executive Committee of Ten and at least 20 of its Steering Committee of One Hundred were members of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

Attendance at the 1923 Ku Klux Klan Day at the State Fair of Texas reached a near-record 160,000.

So what you have here is a systemic and systematic racism problem within the Dallas Police Department, dating back to before the 1920s. What happened to Botham…what happened to Joshua…what happened to Brandon are not isolated incidents. This is not a new problem. Their murders are a a symptom of a larger problem that has been allowed to fester within Dallas, its law enforcement, and its criminal justice system for over a century.

And Dallas is not alone. There is a police culture problem across the country, and not one that can be remedied by hiring black police chiefs. It is impossible for these new black hires to make any significant changes when they are indoctrinated into a system that actively targets and kills black people with impunity.

In 2019, The Center for Investigating Reporting found hundreds of officers around the country were found in racists Facebook groups. More than 50 departments (FIFTY!!!) promised investigations but only a few took any action. “Portland Police Bureau said “no jurisdiction existed” for it to take any action against an officer whose Islamophobic comments were posted before he joined the agency. The New York Police Department said it couldn’t substantiate reporting showing one of its officers had posted misogynistic comments, even though we obtained screenshots.”

The Plain View Project “found more than 3,000 racist, sexist, violent or offensive posts allegedly by 328 active-duty Philadelphia police officers. The police department initially put 72 officers on desk duty while it investigated the posts. Thirteen officers were targeted for dismissal, though seven retired before they could be fired. Former Commissioner Richard Ross said he did not expect more cops to lose their jobs.”

In September 2019, a Michigan cop was fired after a KKK application was found in his home.

NIGHT RIDERS: In 1921, a party of Klansmen kidnapped a black man, whipped him at gunpoint, and used acid to burn “KKK” on his forehead. The sheriff said he deserved it.

In October 2019, a jury was deadlocked in deciding the fate of former New Jersey police chief, Frank Nucera Jr, who was charged with civil rights and hate crimes for slamming the head of a handcuffed black teen in to a metal doorjamb. Nucera was known to use epithets for nonwhite citizens and called President Pumpkin Spice the last hope for white people. Nucera was the first officer to be charged with a hate crime in a decade.

In October 2016, a black Norfolk Councilmember, Angelia Williams Graves, did not mince words when she spoke at a NAACP luncheon stating modern racists had “taken off their white hats and white-sheeted robes and put on police uniforms. Some of them have put on shirts and ties as policymakers and some of them have put on robes as judges.” I double dog dare you to find the lie.

A 1923 tobacco label for Dallas’ Klansman All-American Cigar Company

So now, in 2019, as Black people are still supposed to “trust the process” even though we know the process is bull shit.  The killing of Botham was tragic in itself. The execution of Joshua was debilitating. We can’t help but be on edge knowing that his death was not only a lynching, but a lynching in retaliation for his testimony in Guyger’s trial and the family’s civil suit. Speaking out against the police can take your life just as quickly as talking to the police. It is a lose-lose situation. This is what being Black in America feels like.

The Klan left this note on Sam McDonnell’s White Rock area home.

Being Black in America is knowing the police investigating itself, as it is “intending to do” in Dallas is a farce. Being Black in America is knowing that the Department of Justice, especially under President Pumpkin Spice, is designed to protect law enforcement, not police it. Being Black in America is knowing that you could be next, for any reason, and that your death can and will most likely be justified. Being Black in America is knowing that Black lives don’t matter.

Malcolm X said:

When you’re in your own nation, on your own land, you’re in a position to get justice. But when you’re in another mans country, in another man’s land, under another man’s flag, and other another man’s government, and under another man’s court system, you have to look to that other man for justice and you’ll never get it. And Negroes in this country are probably the authority on that.”

So you see, the answer is to not change the system from within. No. It is too corrupt and was specifically designed to work for ‘the;’ and against us. We will never find justice in their system. We must burn that motherfucker down.  We don’t need no water. Let that motherfucker burn. Burn, motherfucker, BURN.

The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will be live. The revolution is now.
Let’s get uncomfortable.