Will Lacquan McDonald Die In Vain?
A case for some radical ideas on preventing this from happening again.
We’re unconscious of the power that’s in our hands.. African people … have given their power and wealth over to another people. And, have made that people powerful and now are on their knees in front of those people: begging for salvation, begging for jobs, begging for food and begging for their very lives. — Dr. Amos Wilson
With the tactics of protesting and boycotts being covered what are some ways that can we organize from political and legal standpoint? I found some like minds and now want to suggest some ideas to the masses in the hope that it resonates someone out there. These are compiled from various people who for whatever reason do not have that “voice” or platform. It’s an idea, not “the” idea. It’s a building block ; someone may offer something in the comments section.
Beginning with the end in mind, the ultimate purpose is to get a conviction and class action lawsuit by 1) getting a lawyer who will make the best arguments in African American’s best interest. 2) Then if we can’t get conviction we pull out of the Democrat party for their ultra silent complicity as a way to acknowledge the system is not working for us. Even after obvious cases of injustice and brutality.
Digression — Do Black Lives Matter?
At the end of a recent Democratic debate, the candidates were asked a simple question. Do Black Lives Matter? I personally didn’t feel it was a trick or loaded question. All except one candidate answered different variations of All Lives Matter. That was shocking to hear them say the incorrect answer. The white media perception of the term “Black Lives Matter”, for some really strange reason, is misconstrued to mean something other than its original meaning. If you say Black Lives Matter then they also must mean that All (White) Lives don’t matter; but even though it’s not mutually exclusive.
Those presidential candidates, except Bernie Sanders, either believe the media’s definition and/or have a scarcity mindset. It’s the same saying where you can’t say you are pro black without seeming like you are anti-white. By this twisted logic running White America we won’t ever get any real justice.
Because our vote means nothing, I and others propose that we should not vote for the Democratic party and instead write in or create another party that serves our best interest. These incidents of police brutality underscore how well the political system uses their power to keeping Black and Brown people powerless. Democrats/Liberals have failed spectacularly,despite us giving the benefit of time and doubt. We can’t participate in this charade. We fought for our right to vote but if politicians do not make good on their promises, what’s the point. The right to vote for meaningful corresponding action completes the transaction. We don’t need to ask for something when you have this much leverage. For the Black person who has courage and the capacity of leadership, the only thing they should talk about is the utter and complete destruction of the Democratic Party. Create something new that has our best interest. Some group that does not accept gifts or funding from the people who support Dems or Republicans. A future article will go into detail about this. Let’s see if any Jessie Jackson’s or Al Sharpton’s can publicly co-sign this radical idea. We know Republicans don’t pretend to be for us but it is the Democrats that we believe to be the “place of refuge” for Black people. Also, to the pastors, who were willing to meet with Donald Trump, they can clear up any confusion by telling their constituents to vote for this new party as well. And Black people overall with the energy put in disrupting life by protesting, can we also choose vote Democratic nor Republican at the polls, next November?
Voting for the lesser of two evils, today, seems indistinguishable.
A Legal Strategy
We including myself, do not know enough “legalese” and if we did this would stop us from constantly going from one funeral to the other. Below is a rough plan regarding getting a conviction in the case of Laquan McDonald’s death by police.
Step 1. Develop a strategy
The only question to be asked is how exactly do you put Van Dyke behind bars, that’s what an activist would want to know. This will be a new standard of solutions based thinking.
This case hinges on the 8th amendment which among other things prevents cruel and unusual punishment. A cop unloaded 16 live rounds in a man. Cop or not — one can’t dismiss the Constitution. The other argument is that you can’t shoot someone who is a fleeing felon. There was a Supreme Court ruling in Garner vs Tennessee that says you can’t shoot a fleeing felon. From the wikipedia:
Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that, under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”
Step 2. Retain a lawyer who will go to war for Black people
The family must get a competent and zealous attorney at the forefront, particularly one that knows how to deal with class actions. Some lawyers, Black ones even, are unwilling to challenge the system aka put white criminals in jail. In a different but related example you may have a public defender makes his client plead guilty in order to save the court time and money. If you get a special prosecutor, chances are he/she would not be sympathetic to the concerns of Black people. The family has a lawyer currently but in general we would make sure to get a “district attorney for the people” not the state.
“The only question that should be asked is how do you put Van Dyke behind bars”
Step 3. Return the money
His family would need to be contacted first but there is a way to turn this around drastically. Though many people like settlement money and think it should be pursued, I’m not one of them as it’s simply just hush money. Most settlements usually come with a clause that says you can’t speak about the case etc. It may not be too late for the family to do a serious preemptive strike, on the basis of the new video evidence being released, to start a class action suit and at the same time monitor what is happening in the criminal trial. I’m sure its not that simple but it may be possible. It’s bigger than one family, it’s like Rosa Parks, the family takes the flack but all will benefit.
Step 4. Get some (class) action
In law as a black person the one thing you have to do in law is not go along with the way you have been defined by the judicial system. Redefine yourself, not as a prosecution attorney, but as “The People’s Attorney’s General” …like an Alton Maddox Jr. This type of lawyer would have a real interest in defending a group of oppressed Black people. It is the people who have the interest in this Laquan McDonald case; not necessarily the state. The state being given the right to represent and defend African Americans is not the appropriate way of dealing with things as we’ve seen before in many case they have failed us.
“In a typical class action, a plaintiff sues a defendant or a number of defendants on behalf of a group, or class, of absent parties. Instead of each injured person bringing their own lawsuit, the class action allows all the claims of all class members — whether they know they have been injured or not — to be resolved in a single proceeding.”
Most attorneys do not get involved with a class action because they find it is maybe too cumbersome to litigate or the economic rewards may not be as high. However the struggle has to start somewhere, we can’t avoid the road less traveled. Case after case, many families receive hush money without the cop being punished for the crime. The White system of justice, named white because of the white people are the majority who run it are willing to pay out to essentially sustain the killing of Black people. The state wont convict we’ll just pay the family off. But if you deal with a class action lawsuit you have to deal with the group of people who have been directly affected of police brutality for total justice. What I’m saying here is that you are talking about paying more money than the 6 million dollars. Otherwise the shootings will just continue. 6 million is not enough money to deter the state from punishing those acts.
They say be the change, you want to see, well short of being a lawyer, here is an idea from myself and others to turn this around. Do you remember when then attorney general Eric Holder said he will do his own investigation into Trayvon’s death and Mike Brown’s killing. The result? 0 out of 2 cops received jail time. As of Sunday Dec. 6th they said they will be looking into the Chicago case. They are looking to improve to a 0–3 record. Unless we, Black people use all of our options there will be another routine not guilty verdict being rendered. If we don’t hit them where it hurts then what other outcome can we expect? What will we choose to do to challenge the system, and to essentially survive? Please share your solutions if you have some in the comments below. In a possible next article they are the specific situations in Baltimore, Minneapolis and Cleveland to address as well.
For the interest of full disclosure and transparency these ideas were inspired by conversations with various people. These people, critical and radical thinkers who deserve more of a platform to be heard. The ideas also came from Attorney Alton H. Maddox Jr., his organization United African Movement & Sister Utrice Leid. Sister Utrice has an internet radio program called Leid Stories that is strongly recommended. All of these source gave me ( and this article ) its life. The show airs Weekdays 1–2pm on PRN.fm. Inter-generational communication and knowing history is essential in determining our future.