theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Invisible Men: Black Victims of Black KILLERS


America was rocked by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men killed by police in early July, but what of the other 21 black men killed on those two days? 

The whole world is watching videos of two men recently killed by cops. Meanwhile, nearly two dozen black men killed almost simultaneously — but not by police — remain virtually anonymous. Police officers fatally shot Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in, respectively, 

Baton Rouge and near Minneapolis. While extenuating circumstances may exonerate officers Blaine Salamoni and Howie Lake of Louisiana and Jeronimo Yanez of Minnesota, the ubiquitous videos of their deaths make Sterling and Castile look like the victims of dreadful police training, trigger-happiness, toxic over-reaction, racism, or perhaps an amalgam of these elements. While facts ultimately may prove otherwise, for now, both incidents seemingly went very wrong. If so, justice should prevail, and these officers should be punished. But on July 5 and 6 — as these tragedies unfolded — at least 21 other black men were murdered across America. Their killers were not cops. Several were fellow black men. One was a Hispanic teenager. The others could have been white, but that’s unlikely. While news outlets from California to Calcutta have discussed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the names of these dead men barely have been whispered since their funerals: 

From left: Taekwon Commodore with his two children; Domonic Norton; Gerard Foster

From left: Taekwon Commodore with his two children; Domonic Norton; Gerard Foster Jamal Brown, 20, allegedly shot and killed Taekwon “Tee Kay” Commodore, 28, on July 5 in Brownsville, Pa. Police say that these two black men and others argued about a robbery, and then Brown began shooting into the air. When the crowd scattered, Brown allegedly shot at those who ran and fatally hit Commodore. “His personality, smile and happiness were infectious to us all,” Commodore’s loved ones wrote on a appeal to cover his funeral expenses. (So far, donors have met $340 of the $4,000 goal.) “And his laugh. . . . you can never forget his laugh,” it continues. “He leaves behind his amazing music and realistic lyrics, but more importantly, he leaves two beautiful baby boys behind. Two baby boys left without a father. That’s all his loved ones have left of him.” Police are seeking a black man named Davon Burden, 27, in connection with the shooting death of Domonic J. Norton, 28, on July 5 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Burden was convicted in 2010 of possessing a gun with obliterated identification marks. “Rest Easy cuzzo you will be missed love,” Deborah Julien wrote Wednesday on Norton’s online obituary page.

Demetrius Darnell Grant, 39, was shot and killed July 5 in Los Angeles. A dark car reportedly approached Grant and others near South Central Avenue and East 56th Street, and someone in the auto opened fire, fatally striking Grant. According to the Los Angeles Times, “So far, police believe the suspects are black men.” Christopher Figgs, 28, is a black man and person of interest in the July 6 shooting death of Edword L. Kiel, 28, in Fort Wayne, Ind.. So far, no candles have been lit on Kiel’s obituary page. Police arrested Jacob Pyne and Christonya Section, both black, for the July 6 shooting death of Gerard Foster, 52, in Decatur, Ga. Foster, a deacon at Living Water Christian Baptist Church in DeKalb County, is survived by his wife, Diana Anglin Foster, seven children, and two grandchildren.

The names of these dead men barely have been whispered since their funerals.

As for the other 16 black men killed the same days as Sterling and Castile, their assailants are not white cops, or everyone would know that by now. They could be white civilians, but statistics disagree: The FBI reports that 90 percent of black homicide victims are snuffed by other blacks. Cop bashers retort that 82 percent of whites are whacked by other whites. This is interesting, but irrelevant. Cop haters claim that blacks are being wiped out by racist white cops, not just racist whites. Even if white cops killed 10 percent of black murder victims — which is light years from true — how do Al Sharpton and other cop bashers explain how the other 90 percent of blacks get killed? Food poisoning?

Also, among the 21 men killed on July 5 and 6, six were murdered in Chicago. The fact that Obama’s home town saw 29 percent of these 21 homicides should fill Chicago’s streets with protesters demanding the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Chief Eddie Johnson. But Chicago is Democrat Central Station, and these six black men almost certainly were killed by other blacks. So, the Windy City stays silent, save for the loud cracks of fresh gunfire. Appropriately, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are world famous. But, since these 21 murder victims were not killed by white cops, they are invisible men. Evidently, these black lives don’t matter.


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