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Another Black Man Targeted, Tasered and Beaten by Police

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Slightly before midnight on the evening of July 6th, an unarmed Black man, Kedrick Crawford, 45, is seen on camera being unsuspectingly and undeservedly assaulted by Baytown Police officers that left him having to be treated at Ben Taub Hospital for significant injuries to his face, chest, right eye, head and hands.

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Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump and Baytown, Texas beating victim Kedrick Crawford at press conference held at Harris County Civil Courthouse in Houston, Texas.

Incident Caught on Camera Months after Tragic Shooting of Black Woman in Same Texas City

By Jeffrey L. Boney, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Police brutality…Will it ever end?

All eyes across the nation have been on the city of Baytown, Texas, ever since an unarmed Black woman, 44-year-old Pamela Turner, was shot to death on video by Baytown Police Officer Juan Delacruz back on May 13, outside of her apartment complex on Garth Rd. in Baytown.

Since the incident, no charges have been filed against the officer, although the killing was squarely caught on video. Nothing has been done about the police killing of Turner since that time, except that Officer Delacruz returned back to work after being on paid leave for three days.

Fast forward a few months later, and another high-profiled incident was also caught on camera, not too far from where Pamela Turner was fatally shot at close range by Officer Delacruz.

Slightly before midnight on the evening of July 6th, an unarmed Black man, Kedrick Crawford, 45, is seen on camera being unsuspectingly and undeservedly assaulted by Baytown Police officers that left him having to be treated at Ben Taub Hospital for significant injuries to his face, chest, right eye, head and hands.

Crawford states that he pulled into a local H-E-B parking lot on Garth Rd. to put an address into his GPS navigation app to get directions on his cell phone. As he was parked, he states that Baytown Police officers pulled up and approached his vehicle. After being confronted and questioned by police after claims that he looked suspicious while sitting in his parked vehicle, Crawford says that he gave police permission to search his vehicle upon their request.

Crawford said he was not worried about giving police the consent to search his vehicle, because he was confident he had done nothing wrong.

In the video, released by the Baytown Police department and obtained from the dash cam video of one of the officers, you can hear Crawford tell the officer that he had insurance and whatever else they needed to verify his identity and legitimacy, to which the officer is heard on camera responding, “And what does that have to do with anything?”

After the officers’ response, Crawford then asks the officer, “So when am I free to go?” to which the officer responds, “Whenever man!”

Crawford then asks a clarifying question to confirm that the officer told him that he was free to go whenever he wanted to, and as he continues to look on in confusion as to why he was stopped, five seconds later, the officer who told him he was free to go, comes up behind him and commands him to “put your hands behind your back.”

Confused and afraid for his life, Crawford asks why he is being asked to put his hands behind his back and why he is being handcuffed, repeatedly asking the officer, “What did I do?”

The officer, seemingly hostile, sternly notifies Crawford not to resist and emphatically makes a threatening statement saying, “I will drop you!”

According to a statement released by the Baytown Police Department, officials described the encounter as justified, proclaiming that Crawford’s “demeanor changes as he becomes increasingly nervous even though officers are being polite and cordial.”

In looking at this disturbing video footage, it is clear that Crawford is visibly confused and extremely unaware of why he is being treated this way by the officers.

Crawford then is seen on the video continuously asking the officers “What is going on?” until out of nowhere the officer is heard screaming out that he is about to use the Taser on him.

In the video, you hear Crawford screaming and emphatically crying out that he was going to get killed, while continuing to profess his innocence, along with a plea to the officers to be told exactly what he did wrong.

One of the most shocking things about the video footage, is when a third party in civilian clothing (blue shirt and blue jeans) is seen on the video appearing to place Crawford in a chokehold while wrestling with him on the ground.

The Baytown Police officers do nothing to stop this individual from physically interacting with Crawford, nor do they identify the person in the video as being a member of law enforcement. To date, that person’s identity has not been publicly disclosed.

After a few minutes of Crawford being tasered and beaten, the officer’s body camera goes dark, where at this point, all you can hear is audio of him continuing to scream and demand answers.

After the incident, Crawford reached out to nationally-recognized civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to take on his case. Crump is already representing the family of Pamela Turner.

Crump, along with Crawford, his family and supporters, and the family of Pamela Turner, held a major press conference in front of the Harris County Civil Courthouse, where they demanded justice for Crawford, Turner and for there to be accountability for what Crump is calling a “pattern of excessive force” by the Baytown Police Department.

“We are here to make this plea and this demand, that this pattern of abuse by the Baytown Police Department on minorities must cease immediately,” said Crump. “Baytown, you cannot continue to attack American citizens just because of the color of their skin.”

According to a released statement by the Baytown Police Department, they state that, “at one point the officer searching the vehicle locates several small pieces of plastic bag, each of which contained several pills. Recognizing this to be consistent with narcotics packaged for sale, officers attempted to place Mr. Crawford in handcuffs at which time Mr. Crawford began resisting by pulling away from the officer.”

Crawford states that the items found in his car were actually antibiotics prescribed to him and not drugs for sale.  Crump states that Baytown Police Department has not provided any proof of their claims to justify the instantaneous ramped up attack on Crawford.

“Remember, he (Crawford) committed no crime,” said Crump. “So the question is, how can you justify doing him (Crawford) like this after you just told him that he was free to go? It is unjustifiable and they (Baytown Police Department) haven’t offered anything to justify that because they cannot.”

The Baytown Police Department acknowledged the physical claims brought forth by Crawford in their released statement, saying that “due to Mr. Crawford’s persistent resistance, and the fact that the Taser failed to momentarily incapacitate Mr. Crawford, one of the officers delivered a series of elbow strikes and a closed fist strikes to Mr. Crawford’s head area in an attempt to disorient him so they could get him into custody.”

Crump says that the assault on Crawford was unnecessary and plans to exhaust all measures to get down to the bottom of how the assault transpired and what led to that action in the first place.

“We are going to analyze the video, once we hopefully get all the video, and allow our experts to look at every angle of it,” said Crump. “Once we finish our review, we hope that we don’t see police doing inappropriate maneuvers, as I have seen in other cases around America, where they try to create a scenario to seem like a person is resisting when they are not resisting.”

The daughter and sister of Pamela Turner called on Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg to do something about the killing of their loved one and get involved before more things happen as a result of the actions of Baytown Police Department officers.

“This is what happens when you stall District Attorney Ogg. When you push it to the side and sweep things under the rug, you keep getting instances like this,” said Chelsie Ruben, daughter of Pamela Turner. “The brutality keeps going on. It happens over and over, and it will keep happening until you do your job and do what you say you’re going to do. Thank God it’s not as worse as what happened to my mom.”

“I’m asking you to do your job Attorney Kim Ogg,” said Antoinette Dorsey-James, Turner’s sister. “When we met with you D.A. Ogg, you told me that there will be an investigation and to be calm and to take one step at a time. How long does an investigation take?  It is clearly on the video, that my sister’s life was wrongfully killed and her life was taken away from her. My sister’s blood is already on Officer Delacruz’s hands. Don’t let it be on yours too.”

Crawford was subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, to which the Harris County District Attorney’s Office ironically has chosen to accept those charges.

The Baytown Police Department says its Internal Affairs Division is still investigating the incident.

All in all, Crawford states that he is just happy to be alive after seeing many other incidents like his end up with the loss of life, but remains focused on continuing his quest for justice due to the assault committed against him by the Baytown Police officers.

“First of all, I am grateful to God that I’m still alive,” said Crawford. “I was, and I am, hurting all over my body. My chest is bruised. My ribs hurt. My face was all messed up. All you have to do is watch the video to see what happened to me. I just don’t know why they did this to me.”

Both Crump and Crawford are calling on the federal government to look into this matter.

Jeffrey Boney is a political analyst and frequent contributor for the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com and the associate editor for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is an award-winning journalist, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur and business development strategist. Follow Jeffrey on Twitter @realtalkjunkies.

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Black Woman to Lead United States Park Police

 Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

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Pamela A. Smith

Pamela A. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the United States Park Police, will lead the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

Smith, who became the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency, immediately remarked that she would establish a body-worn camera program for USPP within 90 days.

The program will initially begin in San Francisco and be implemented across the country by the end of the year, Smith said.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” Smith offered in a statement.

 “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and graduated from the FBI National Academy. She is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During her law enforcement career, the proud Zeta Phi Beta Sorority sister has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, and academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

 According to a news release, Smith also served as executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division, and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division.

Smith was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

At the USPP, she will lead a 560-member workforce that protects the public, parks, and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in Wash., D.C., New York City, and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

“Chief Smith’s commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country,” Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the NPS director, noted in a statement.

 “Over the coming months, the leadership of the National Park Service will explore opportunities with Chief Smith designed to strengthen our organization’s commitment to transparency. Her personal and professional experience make her acutely aware of and ready to meet the challenges and responsibilities that face U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies across the nation.”

 Jennifer Flynn, the associate director for Visitor Resource Protection at the National Park Service added that she’s looking forward to Smith’s leadership.

“Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

 “As federal law enforcement officers, the U.S. Park Police officers have a new opportunity each day to give their best to the American people. Chief Smith exemplifies that approach as a colleague and mentor, and she will be instrumental in refining and shaping the future of the organization,” Flynn said.

Smith declared that she would lead by example and expects all officers to display integrity.

 “I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as chief of police,” Chief Smith declared. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”  

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Children’s Defense Fund: State of America’s Children Reveals that 71 Percent of Children of Color Live in Poverty

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

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Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)
Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

Part One of an ongoing series on this impactful and informative report.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The child population in America is the most diverse in history, but children remain the poorest age group in the country with youth of color suffering the highest poverty rates.

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Dr. Wilson’s remarks come as the Marian Wright Edelman founded nonprofit released “The State of America’s Children 2021.”

The comprehensive report is eye-opening.

It highlights how children remain the poorest age group in America, with children of color and young children suffering the highest poverty rates. For instance, of the more than 10.5 million poverty-stricken children in America in 2019, approximately 71 percent were those of color.

The stunning exposé revealed that income and wealth inequality are growing and harming children in low-income, Black and Brown families.

While the share of all wealth held by the top one percent of Americans grew from 30 percent to 37 percent, the share held by the bottom 90 percent fell from 33 percent to 23 percent between 1989 and 2019.

Today, a member of the top 10 percent of income earners makes about 39 times as much as the average earner in the bottom 90 percent.

The median family income of White households with children ($95,700) was more than double that of Black ($43,900), and Hispanic households with children ($52,300).

Further, the report noted that the lack of affordable housing and federal rental assistance leaves millions of children homeless or at risk of homelessness.

More than 1.5 million children enrolled in public schools experienced homelessness during the 2017-2018 school year, and 74 percent of unhoused students during the 2017-2018 school year were living temporarily with family or friends.

Millions of children live in food-insecure households, lacking reliable access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food, and more than 1 in 7 children – 10.7 million – were food insecure, meaning they lived in households where not everyone had enough to eat.

Black and Hispanic children were twice as likely to live in food-insecure households as White children.

The report further found that America’s schools have continued to slip backwards into patterns of deep racial and socioeconomic segregation, perpetuating achievement gaps.

For instance, during the 2017-2018 public school year, 19 percent of Black, 21 percent of Hispanic, and more than 26 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native school students did not graduate on time compared with only 11 percent of White students.

More than 77 percent of Hispanic and more than 79 percent of Black fourth and eighth grade public school students were not proficient in reading or math in 2019, compared with less than 60 percent of White students.

“We find that in the course of the last year, we’ve come to the point where our conversations about child well-being and our dialogue and reckoning around racial justice has really met a point of intersection, and so we must consider child well-being in every conversation about racial justice and quite frankly you can only sustainably speak of racial justice if we’re talking about the state of our children,” Dr. Wilson observed.

Some more of the startling statistics found in the report include:

  • A White public school student is suspended every six seconds, while students of color and non-White students are suspended every two seconds.
  • Conditions leading to a person dropping out of high school occur with white students every 19 seconds, while it occurs every nine seconds for non-White and students of color.
  • A White child is arrested every 1 minute and 12 seconds, while students of color and non-whites are arrested every 45 seconds.
  • A White student in public school is corporally punished every two minutes, while students of color and non-Whites face such action every 49 seconds.

Dr. Wilson asserted that federal spending “reflects the nation’s skewed priorities.”

In the report, he notes that children are not receiving the investment they need to thrive, and despite making up such a large portion of the population, less than 7.5 percent of federal spending went towards children in fiscal year 2020.

Despite Congress raising statutory caps on discretionary spending in fiscal years 2018 to 2020, children did not receive their fair share of those increases and children’s share of total federal spending has continued to decline.

“Children continue to be the poorest segment of the population,” Dr. Wilson demanded. “We are headed into a dark place as it relates to poverty and inequity on the American landscape because our children become the canary in the coal mine.”

Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children.

The $1.9 trillion plan not only contained $1,400 checks for individuals, it includes monthly allowances and other elements to help reduce child poverty.

The President’s plan expands home visitation programs that help at-risk parents from pregnancy through early childhood and is presents universal access to top-notch pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds.

“The American Rescue Plan carried significant and powerful anti-poverty messages that will have remarkable benefits on the lives of children in America over the course of the next two years,” Dr. Wilson declared.

“The Children’s Defense Fund was quick to applaud the efforts of the President. We have worked with partners, including leading a child poverty coalition, to advance the ideas of that investment,” he continued.

“Most notably, the expansion of the child tax credit which has the impact of reducing poverty, lifting more than 50 percent of African American children out of poverty, 81 percent of Indigenous children, 45 percent of Hispanic children. It’s not only good policy, but it’s specifically good policy for Black and Brown children.”

Click here to view the full report.

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She Bought Freedom for Herself and Other Slaves Today a Park is Named in Her Honor

Alethia Browning Tanner saved enough money to purchase her freedom in 1810. “The total amount, thought to have been paid in installments, was $1,400. In 1810, $1,400 was a significant amount; about the equivalent of three years’ earnings for an average skilled tradesperson,” attucksadams.com researchers surmised. 

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Alethia Browning Tanner worked to purchase the freedom of more than 20 of her relatives and neighbors, mostly the family of her older sister Laurana including Laurana herself, her children, and her grandchildren.

In her early years, Alethia Browning Tanner sold vegetables in a produce stall near President’s Square – now known as Lafayette Square – in what is now Northwest Washington, D.C.

According to the D.C. Genealogy Research, Resources, and Records, Tanner bought her freedom in 1810 and later purchased several relatives’ release.

She was the first woman on the Roll of Members of the Union Bethel AME Church (now Metropolitan AME Church on M Street), and Turner owned land and a store at 14th and H Streets, which she left to her nephews – one of whom later sold the property for $100,000.

Named in her honor, the Alethia Tanner Park is located at 227 Harry Thomas Way in Northeast DC.

The park sits near the corner of Harry Thomas Way and Q Street and is accessible by foot or bike via the Metropolitan Branch Trail, just north of the Florida Ave entrances.

“The first Council legislative meeting of Black History Month, the Council took a second and final vote on naming the new park for Alethia Tanner, an amazing woman who is more than worthy of this long-delayed recognition,” Ward 5 Councilman Kenyan McDuffie said in 2020 ahead of the park’s naming ceremony.

“[Her upbringing] itself would be a remarkable legacy, but Ms. Tanner was also active in founding and supporting many educational, religious, and civic institutions,” McDuffie remarked.

“She contributed funds to start the first school for free Black children in Washington, the Bell School. Feeling unwelcome at her predominately segregated church, she & other church members founded the Israel Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. When the church fell on hard times and was sold at auction by creditors, she and her family stepped in and repurchased the church.”

Born in 1781 on a plantation owned by Tobias and Mary Belt in Prince George’s County, Maryland, historians noted that Tanner had two sisters, Sophia Bell and Laurena Cook.

“Upon the death of Mary Pratt (Tobias had predeceased his wife) in 1795, the plantation, known as Chelsea Plantation, was inherited by their daughter Rachel Belt Pratt,” historians wrote.

“Mary Belt’s will stipulated that Laurena be sent to live with a sibling of Rachel Pratt’s while Sophia and Alethia were to stay at the Chelsea Plantation.”

Tanner sold vegetables at the well-known market just north of the White House in Presidents Park. It is possible – and probable – she met Thomas Jefferson there as he was known to frequent the vegetable markets there along with other prominent early Washingtonians, according to historians at attacksadams.com. 

“There are also White House records suggesting she worked for Thomas Jefferson in some capacity, likely doing various housework tasks,” the researchers determined.

Tanner saved enough money to purchase her freedom in 1810. “The total amount, thought to have been paid in installments, was $1,400. In 1810, $1,400 was a significant amount; about the equivalent of three years’ earnings for an average skilled tradesperson,” attucksadams.com researchers surmised.

“Self-emancipation was not an option for all enslaved peoples, but both Alethia and her sister Sophia were able to accomplish this, almost entirely through selling vegetables at the market,” the researchers continued.

“Alethia Tanner moved to D.C. and became one of a significant and growing number of free Black people in the District. In 1800, 793 free Black people were living in D.C.

By 1810, there were 2,549, and by 1860, 11,131 free Black people lived in D.C., more than the number of enslaved peoples.”

Historians wrote that beginning at about 15 years after securing her manumission, Alethia Tanner worked to purchase the freedom of more than 20 of her relatives and neighbors, mostly the family of her older sister Laurana including Laurana herself, her children, and her grandchildren.

All in all, Tanner would have paid the Pratt family well over $5,000. All accomplished with proceeds from her own vegetable market business, they concluded.

“Alethia Tanner, it’s an amazing story of resilience, hard work, and perseverance,” D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Director Delano Hunter said at the park’s dedication.

“I just learned about this history through this, so it shows how when you name a park, you really educate people on the historical significance.”

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