Each month we at Boom Bap Radio will bestow the award of “The Douchey McDouche Bag” award on the biggest dickheads in the news. This category is not limited to politicians or entertainers or even athletes – there’s room for everyone on this bench.
However, each month one person stands out as the absolute winner of our coveted prize.
The award is based on the name I gave a menial worker from a big box department store, who insisted that my item was no longer in stock without looking. This douche actually made me order the item online and had a whole five minute explanation of why the product was not available days after Christmas. Evidently it was shipped back to some remote warehouse – over the hills and far, far away.
Imagine my surprise when about an hour later –while walking to the other end of the store I found piles of my item, neatly stacked and very much available.
So this one goes out to that collared shirt wonder, who obviously knew nothing, but before he knew a whole friggin’ lot –Douche Bag!! Hey dickwad - this award goes out to you – You Douche!!!
The August 2014 Douchey McDouche Bag Award
“You have the right not to be killed.
Murder is a crime.
Unless it’s done by a policeman…”
The Clash – Know Your Rights
In this edition of The Douchey McDouche Bag Award we get all cross-genre and Ol’ School on the Punk tip.
Because what was old was new again in August of 2014 and 20th Century demons like police brutality came back with a vengeance. The boys in blue were kicking ass and taking names – again and faster than you could utter “same as it ever was” young, unarmed, Black men were dying at an alarming rate.
Our latest rash of unarmed executions is like a two act play. A man allegedly hawking loosies gets the Radio Raheem Special and a teen obstructing the entire roadway got filled with lead after spooking the cops by putting his hands up in surrender.
We know, they must have been “resisting arrest,” or at least controlling the situation by getting the tar kicked out of them, but if not, it would mean teams of white, peace officers are arbitrarily serving as judge, jury and executioner when they come in contact with big, scary unarmed Black men.
But that of course would be ridiculous in post-racial America and at the same time so douchey and predictable that we could have picked our two “anomalies” out of a hat like so many ping-pong balls in a metal hopper on lottery night.
So throw your hands in the air, oops, or not. (It evidently could be a death sentence if you’re Black and male). This is the Boom Bap Radio Douchey McDouche Bag Award for August 2014. And this time we’re reflecting on unarmed Black men and all of the ways they end up getting moped out by those they pay to protect them.
This isn’t your Daddy’s Police Brutality. No, Phillip Pannell, Amadou Diallo or Michael Stewart here – this is exciting and new.
Stop Tobacco, It Kills
Our long term douche actually begins in July of 2014 when Police in Staten Island, N.Y. jumped into action against a true enemy of the public – that dude selling loose cigarettes for change on the corner.
Six-Feet three-inches tall, 350-lbs and Black, it was obvious what Eric Garner’s offense was on the day he was pummeled by NYC’s finest.
As reported, Garner routinely was suspected and arrested for selling loose cigarettes in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island. On July 17th the 43-year-old, former Parks Department horticulturist, had another run in with the law after he was accused of selling a 50-cent cigarette to a passerby. Once confronted by police, Garner proclaimed this would be the last time he was gaffled and then things went sideways.
Evidently by selling those cigarettes, po-po felt so threatened that at least three or four officers, including a plain clothed detective, were needed to choke and tackle the unarmed man and hold him down until he was dead.
I guess Garner didn’t see all of those anti-smoking Public Service Announcements or realize that he was an eminent threat to society.
Despite eyewitness video of the incident and Garner’s own pleas and proclamation that he couldn’t breathe, he died during the exchange. EMT’s dispatched to the scene were “a joke,” to quote Flavor Flav, and took several gawks at the dying Garner before swinging into “action?”
An autopsy later concluded his death to be a homicide at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo and his crew.
Policeman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch immediately tried to evoke the Douchey Blue Wall of Silence. Lynch said, despite the ruling that neck and chest compressions from a chokehold were the primary cause of death for Garner, he found the conclusions of the autopsy to be purely “political.”
Lynch said Garner had been warned by police the week before about selling the cigarettes and it was his actions that lead to confrontation – a response that I’m sure comforted his six children.
Evidently the unarmed Garner, who it appeared was cast in the role of “the big, black guy,” scared the neighborhood patrol and did it when they were under manned. There were obviously only five deep and only armed with Tec-9’s during his homicide to Garner’s pack of Newport’s.
The choke-out led to marches by Rev. Al Sharpton and thousands of community members who protested another police homicide and hoped Garner’s death will lead to more scrutiny in 5-0’s use of the illegal chokehold and lethal force.
Despite the attempted construction of the Big Blue Wall through the PBA, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio pushed for Pantaleo to hand in his badge; put two other officers on desk duty and placed the two non-effective EMT’s on modified duty.
At time of press, NYC Police Director William Bratton and De Blasio began efforts to retrain officers on confrontations and the need for physical force. The three day training will begin in November of 2014 and target 20,000 city officers.
The Garner case is expected to go before a Staten Island Grand Jury sometime in September of 2014.
Where his death will bring little comfort to his children and family, the designation of the death as homicide by police may begin a new era in the way police related killings are adjudicated.
The Garner homicide spurred protests but weeks later our second murderously douchey incident involving Police happened all the way across the country in Ferguson, Missouri.
Rage Against The Machine
When I turned on the television in early August and saw all of the looting and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, I initially thought it was a doco on the LA riots after the Rodney King verdict from 1992.
But, Rodney King died a ways back, so why were all these people risking life and limb for loose items?
Could Jake be at it again?
The answer to that question became a resounding “of course” on Aug. 9th when police confronted 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. and his friend Dorian Johnson.
After a closer look at the unrest, I was able to identify Ferguson, Missouri as the site of these new riots. In the information age, it appeared not only is the revolution being televised, but also streamed live over the web in real time.
It appears when police and Brown crossed paths, officers demanded the teen clear the roadway. When officers attempted to leave their cruiser, an altercation ensued and six shots later, the unarmed teen was killed.
Police say the shooting was self-defense after Brown allegedly attacked an officer, assaulting him in the police cruiser.
Witnesses, however, say Brown was executed as he walked toward officer with the hands raised in the surrender position.
It was this discrepancy that opened the douchey flood gates and bathed the entire community in a mixture of sharp, vinegar water, tear gas and bedlam.
From the beginning, this shooting stunk and the plain douchiness of it was only out done by the response of law enforcement after another unarmed Black male lay dead in the street. People began asking for answers, not getting them and by nightfall unruly mobs were burning and a looting.
Shortly after Brown was shot dead in the street, police began getting their stories together. Soon the public was told by a seemingly “very nice” Police Chief Thomas Jackson that “Big Mike” had charged the police officer after first beating the officer in his car.
Jackson said after pummeling the cop in his car, Brown allegedly walked away, stopped and decided to charge at the officer, who was actively firing his gun at him.
Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown, said when police tried to exit the vehicle the door hit Brown and bounced back closed. He said police reacted by shooting from inside the vehicle and then stepping out and continued firing on the unarmed teen.
The discrepancy between the two versions touched off riots and one of the douchiest handlings of a shooting in law enforcement history.
Chief Jackson refused to identify the gunman, ironically for fear of his life? His refusal to do so went on for days. Internet hacker Anonymous posted the video on the internet and police said they were receiving death threats against the officer, although no one knew who he was.
As nights in Ferguson turned into war zones replete with looting, Molotov cocktails and more confrontations between police in military grade riot gear, both the community’s mayor and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon pushed for the identity of the officer to be disclosed.
Six days later, Chief Jackson announced Darren Wilson as the shooter and further indicated the officer was on administrative leave and recovering from his injuries. Then, in the douchiest move of the year, police also released a video tape of an incident at a nearby convenience store where a man who looks like Brown appeared to strong-arm a box of cigars from the store owner.
The added video treat, which had no relevance or impact on the ensuing murdering of Brown, was evidently an extra stocking stuffer sent to the public and Brown family, which had only recently learned who killed their relative and what punishment the officer was receiving.
However, once named, police said Wilson was said to have suffered a fractured orbital during the alleged scuffle. A mysterious hospital photo of the officer also emerged on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter posted by a Chicago fireman. it was later learned the picture was actually that of late motocross rider Jim McNeil who died after a 2011 crash and not Wilson.
As confrontations grew nastier and tear gas, rubber bullets and additional arrests flourished, Governor Nixon imposed a curfew and called in the National Guard to protect the tiny town of 21,000.
Then, like an endless bottle of Summer’s Eve, the douchiness was overflowing. The even brought in the proverbial “Magic Negro” as a placation tactic.
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Police, who is Black, was brought in to calm all the darkies in the street. His very statesman-like apology for police missteps and overall demeanor may get him a larger post in the future, but did nothing to answer any of the questions about how the surrendering teen wound up dead.
While we can all agree and respect Captain Ron, nobody got no time for that.
More violent struggles ensued in Ferguson and only stopped days later after US Attorney General Eric Holder came on the scene and called for a separate Federal investigation on the shooting.
President Barack Obama joined in and also called for calm.
“As details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,” the President was quoted as saying a statement. “We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”
But as Wilson remained in hiding and his fundraising efforts ratcheted up, more seemingly damning facts continued to emerge.
- The results of a private autopsy by the Brown family found that bullets that struck Mike-Mike were not fired from close range, which seemed to contradict the police account. The kill shot also seemed to be to the top of the head, suggesting Brown’s head was bent forward when the fatal shot was fired.
- A tape also emerged from a video chatter who lives near the murder scene and unwittingly recorded what sounded like gunshots. Initial examination of the video chat found what sounds like 6 gunshots a pause and then four more shots.
- A final tape was also discovered from nearby construction workers who seemed to mimic Brown’s attempt to surrender and their outrage when he was shot for the final time.
As the hot, hot days of August 2014 melted into a faint memory in the endless news cycle, the Brown case was sent to a Missouri Grand Jury.
You Were Put Here To Protect Us, But Who Protects us from You?
We are by no means saying all police are bad, or that the intention of law enforcement is to openly violate the rights of those they have categorized as lawless.
However, in both cases of apparent police brutality, law enforcement reacted the way it has for decades when it comes to Black and Latino men. Shoot first, cover up the details and hide behind the blue wall of silence.
The absolute frequency and consistency of these types of shootings, the almost text book reaction to said shootings and the lack of prosecution for the officers involved, has shaped the way minorities and the police have interacted since slavery ended.
Because the police are always right and the identified unarmed perp is usually dead, it has always been the unwritten law: “No matter what the circumstances, stay away from the Police if you’re Black.” Too often it seems when you’re a Black male, an interaction with authorities can leave you dead or in jail.
Maybe it’s out and out racism, or maybe it’s fear, but either way, the number of unarmed, dead, Black men at the hands police has never stopped or dropped despite time space, region or circumstance.
The time has come for the establishment of a uniformed code of standards for police and how they “execute” their job.
Although no one has said it officially, the most important commonality in all of these shootings is the lack of a weapon for the alleged perpetrator and the arbitrary nature of punishment for the involved officers, who largely get a collective smack on the wrist.
Why can’t it be like in the movies – where police officers shoot to injure instead of kill, when it comes to unarmed perpetrators?.
Police should be expected to be excellent at resolving conflict in a heated situation before they start blasting.
Why have we allowed the standards to be set from person to person, municipality to municipality and state to state?
The ongoing, uneven application of the law has always been evident. It’s what made Mississippi burn in the deaths of Swerner, Goodman and Chaney and why we couldn’t all just get along in Los Angeles after Rodney King was savagely beaten for speeding.
Simply put, no gun must equal no death and “Driving While Black” can no longer be tolerated or ignored.
So policemen put down your firearms and stop being scared of unarmed perpetrators. We all know you have an unbelievably tough job, but no one put a gun to your head and made you join the force. This month’s Douchey McDouche Bag Award is long overdue and can be served retrospectively from the 1600’s to Fruitvale Station in Oakland, Ca. to Newark, NJ’s Branch Brook Park to Ferguson, Mo.
Now don’t be mad or scared and by all means don’t shoot. You’re the Boom Bap Radio Douchey McDouche Bag winner for August 2014. Throw your guns up in the air, you prejudging, scared with a firearm, shoot first, ask questions later, power abusing – douche bags!