Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Define Freedom

The histrionics about Sandra Bland's death in a county jail the result of a traffic stop was tragic and like anything her suicide was not painless.  As it opened a Pandora's box of confusion, denial and responsibility.  And that is on both sides of this coin.

Regardless of the color of your skin when you encounter a Police Officer and enter the system you are no longer responsible for the outcome.  You can hire an  Attorney and go broke doing so or have some poor overworked Public Defender appointed who will spend as much time on your case as it takes to jump on and off the treadmill during your first and likely longest encounter the arraignment.  And this does not change even when you pay them. They will leave you and run from courtroom to courtroom to meet and greet their other clients whom they have tried to coordinate their varying appearances to make it convenient for of course the Lawyer.  You are an end to the means.

I read about this poor woman and of course taxpayer paid settlement for abuse by our Police who decided that as they do in all cases - she was guilty not innocent.  This woman is white, mature, well established roots in the community and that had nothing to do with anyone actually investigating and ensuring that justice was served.  Once in you are in for the long con.

Yes the Police are largely prejudiced and biased towards those of color - including black officers as they have been accused and tried of the same crimes of abuse and neglect of defendants, prisoners and victims. It is the profession and the institution that while not a person (well corporations are people why not institutions) cannot in and of itself be racist it can be biased and discriminatory which reflects those within it.  And all of that is learned behavior.   And that is easy to do so when those brought to it in the hands/cuffs of the Police are of color, but if on that odd chance that person is not of color it becomes the same treadmill where the end is largely jail.  In fact always some jail time.  And that is the ending for their reality but for you that is the beginning of a new reality.

So if you survive that and few do.  Many commit suicide during the process and Sandra Bland is sadly one of many.

Here are just stories from Texas where Ms. Bland was incarcerated and you see no protests or demands or ## to demand Justice from a system that provides anything but.

Those are three.  The Waco Tribune did an article about one of their privately operated jails and the death of an inmate that was a result of a suicide.  And of course as those in "law enforcement" do they covered it up.  

At times you wonder why no one asks questions and more importantly demands answers.  Well you do and you find the door shut or in some cases are also arrested.  The reality is that few have the resources and that is not just money it is time.  You have to be relentless to get the information and some of it is just out in the open no FOIA required.   This site is the Bureau of Justice Statistics that records all the deaths of those in Police Custody.  And yet we know that in reality that many are simply loopholes that enable those to cover up, ignore or "mislabel" the cause of death.  

As the year comes to a close it was the UK Guardian that kept the Counted.  It is now over 1000.  But I wonder how many more that died when they finally were released from years of being incarcerated when not guilty - and that is both health/age related as well as suicides.  Try to imagine spending years demanding and begging for help, pleading your innocence and finally some one, anyone gives a shit - does Serial, reads your letter, sees potential for fund raising and of course publicity,  or well actually gives a damn - and you are freed then what? 

For anyone who enters the system of justice know that for many the death penalty is often the reality.  It is sometimes the cure and the solution as opposed to retribution.  And that is by the hands of the inmate as it is the last and final act of control in a life that is no longer your own. 

America as you sit down to your table to thank God for your bountiful feast there is one thing that we always profess about here in America - our freedom. Just that word alone connotes many meanings.  

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