On Dec. 26 I read a local paper and there was a column about how the city of Pittsburgh had paid a Philadelphia Police officer to write a fairy tale [lie] about the conduct of the three 200-pound policemen who arrested young 145-pound Jordan Miles. The conclusion was not surprising to me, because I really understand a person in blue whether they are male, female, Black or White—they are supportive of each other right or wrong.
There was brief period of time in my life I was employed by the city of Pittsburgh in the capacity of an investigator in OPR [Office of Professional Responsibility] it is currently referred to as OMI. Our function was to investigate complaints against police officers. It became apparent to all of us that the police who were summoned to our office overwhelmingly were skilled in fiction writing. It is understandable that police need their jobs like most others, but if they are going to continue to turn a blind eye to injustice perpetrated by other police, then how in God’s name can they constantly blame those throughout the communities, who refuse to inform on their neighbors?
All of my life I have advocated that wrong is wrong whether it is Black or blue. If you failed to read the column there was a sentence that crystallized the mind set of the writer who was a former police trainer and police chief. He stated that Jordan Miles should have known that three White men were police, one of the most blatant racist statements I can recollect. The statement means that all Black folks when they come in contact with Whites should understand they are honest law abiding citizens, but the opposite is definitely not true. I can recall an incident that then Chief “Muggsy” Moore while in full uniform travelling to a speaking engagement was stopped and questioned by the Mt. Lebanon Police.
I become angrier and angrier because too many people have a tendency to try and justify their lack of involvement in correcting the multitude of injustices—inequalities of Black churches becoming the church of yesterday, lack of support for Black owned businesses, Black men not standing up and speaking out, and more Black men and women not taking control of their political future by running for office. We must change our vocabulary by eliminating words such as can’t, they won’t let us, no Black can be elected, don’t have the money, it has always been the way it is, I wish I was rich. We must cease saying can’t and replace it with we can, forget they, because we don’t even know who they are. Blacks can be elected—remember South African President Mandela? We do have money, tremendous disposable income. We take cruises, vacations, buy expensive cars, play the lottery, buy top shelf alcohol, golf clubs and live in houses in the suburbs.
Too many Blacks fail to remember we were not always slaves, but descended from kings and queens. And last but not least we must reach the state of understanding that richness is a state of mind not a state of being. Materialism is not richness—family, friends, health and happiness are the kind of richness that money can’t buy.
In the near future, I will write an entire column on our failure to support Black businesses.
Have you ever thought about writing a letter about the mistreatment of Jordan Miles to all those in authority—District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management Michael Huss?
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)