Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
More Hearings on Police Brutality – Part I
On Thursday, January 25, 2007, I gave testimony to the Tri Level Joint Legislative Task Force. As I stated then, it was as if I was dreaming.
In 1983, I gave a testimony to the Sub Committee of the House of Representative Judiciary Committee. The subject was police behavior. The following is the testimony that I gave at that time. It is striking how relevant it is today.
Honorable Congressman John Conyers;
Honorable members of the Sub-Committee;
Honorable members of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives;
Honorable members of the House of Representatives
On behalf of 99 9/10ths per cent of the Black community and all liberal, progressive, decent, fair-minded citizens of New York, I welcome you to New York City – the Big Apple and applaud your decision to conduct Congressional Hearings into police misconduct.
My organization, the Black United Front, was born in 1978 out of the community’s protest over the 1976 police killing of 15-year-old Randolph Evans and the subsequent acquittal of Robert Torsney by reason of insanity and the 1978 police killing of Arthur Miller, a respected businessman, husband and father.
Since 1976, we have exhausted every avenue of appeal.
On Thanksgiving night, 1976, Robert Torsney, who had been summoned by neighbors who said there was a disturbance, walked up on Randy Evans who was 15 years old at the time. When Randy asked, “What’s happening?” Torsney without provocation or justification shot him in the head.
There is a pattern here that I want to note at the outset. Even when Black citizens call policemen for help often times their relatives or some innocent Black or Latino is beaten or killed.
In 1979, Luis Baez, who had a known history of aberrant behavior, was shot 21 times by at least five officers. On the day he was killed his mother called police for help. The officers arrived and Baez leaped or fell from the fire escape into a yard. Police officers claimed that he had a knife, so they emptied their revolvers into his frail body. No one was punished for this crime. (*)
On Sunday morning, January 9, 1983, Henry Woodley was walking with his sister and his girlfriend when he was confronted by attackers. His sister ran to get help from the police. However, when they arrived, Woodley was fired upon and killed by the police officers who escaped punishment.
One other example of a beating - Just last Wednesday night, policemen were summoned to a street around the corner form my church. Some youngsters were having an argument. One was alleged to have a knife. When the police arrived, they commenced beating a black teenager while he and others screamed, “He’s not the one. He doesn’t have the knife.” All of this was happening while a white teenager screamed, “I have the knife. Stop beating my friend.” The police officers continued to assault the youngster who now suffers from broken ribs, facial scars and body bruises.
These incidents indicate clear racist attitudes and actions. There is a conditioned reflex if Blacks are present. Whatever their age or sex, you attack first and ask questions later. If they are Black and Latino, they must be carrying a knife or committing some criminal act - - after all, that is the way Blacks and Latinos are portrayed in the larger society - - and after all, no one gives a damn about Black humanity anyway.
To be continued
Organizing Meeting on Darfur
each Thursday, noon to two p.m.
at The House of the Lord Church 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY