Despite the repeated testimony of black Philadelphians who cite a fear of the police, officials won't acknowledge their trauma and instead suggest they just do what their told to avoid harm or death.
Recently I was walking up Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia after finishing a business lunch with my associates, which included a prominent philanthropic leader who was in town for the day.
As we were approaching 3rd street we heard police sirens behind us, and though we had done anything wrong, we all responded with a nervous flinch and a quick turn of our heads, as if we were expecting a barrage of shields to be chasing us.
"Did you notice how we all reacted," said one my colleagues, "that's crazy!"
"That's trauma," I responded, insinuating that the black community has been terrorized by police so much over the years that even when they're not doing anything wrong, the mere presence of police officers is enough to elevate the heart rate.
The day before that lunch meeting, I sat in City Hall and listened to nearly an hour worth of testimony from Philadelphians who told the Department of Justice that the black community lives under a "heightened level of terror" because of the abusive and corrupt patterns of those who represent the Philadelphia Police Department.
"It's untenable that I should have to teach young men how to be stopped by police and not be killed in the process. Even in the worst days of Frank Rizzo we didn't have what we have today," exclaims Vivian Crawford, a civil rights activist from the '60's who testified in City Council chambers along with Paula Peebles and Matthew Smith, Sr., all members of the PA State Chapter of the National Action Network.
"Philadelphia, especially the black community, does not trust the actions of the Philadelphia Police Department," stated Smith, who identified himself as the President of PA State Chapter of NAN.
Smith's comments were validated a week later at the District Attorney's office during a press conference announcing that a grand jury concluded Darrin Manning -- the 16-year-old honor student from Mathematics, Civics and Science Charter School who claimed to have suffered a ruptured testicle during a stop and frisk on January 7, 2014 -- wasn't injured by a female police officer.
"Based on the way he was raised, he has a deep distrust of police officers and it was in his best interest to avoid any type of interaction with police," said former state prosecutor Mark Costanzo, when asked why Manning ran if he didn't do anything wrong.
Williams -- who admitted he's stopped monthly by police when traveling to Army reserve duty but doesn't get irate, instead he inquires about what he did wrong and then complies with whatever the officer says so that he make it home -- told the press though the situation involving Darrin Manning didn't result in injury, it could've been alot worst. "We need to take time to teach young people how to act when they come in contact with police," he added.
What advice would Seth Williams offer young men? This:
"Life is like a game of dodge ball. The winner is the person who throws the ball and gets the most people out, but it's also about who doesn't get hit."
I disagree with Williams, as I usually do, because the responsibility should not be to black people to tap dance politely in order to avoid harassment or a**whippings from racist police, instead the trained professionals who are compensated by taxpayers should be taught that not every black person is a criminal, not every tinted car in a high crime neighborhood is driven by a drug lord and not every black kid running up the street has something to hide.
The problem is bigger than Darrin Manning and Seth Williams; the real issue is the existence of two cities: one where the police protect and serve, and the other where they stop and frisk.
To hell with political correctness, it's time to talk about the black elephant in the room.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I'm Flood the Drummer® & I'm Drumming for JUSTICE!™