Tags: graham | ferguson | police | racism

Rev. Graham Right on Obeying the Police

Friday, 24 April 2015 03:01 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Congratulations to the Rev. Franklin Graham for being named the No. 1 Christian leader by Newsmax — a well deserved honor!

As pointed out by my fellow Newsmax Insider Dr. Alveda King, Graham’s comments in a Facebook post brought a sharp rebuke from several black religious leaders many of whom thought his remarks “oversimplified a complex and critical problem facing the nation.”
So what did Graham say?

He said, in part: “If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It’s as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong — you obey.”

As a black man who understands concerns about driving, running or bicycling “while black,” I agree—this is good advice. Young black and Hispanic men should comply and not die!

But Graham should have gone further. There is another side of this equation that he, white religious, business and political leaders — and often some black and white conservatives — too often do not discuss or acknowledge: Police must obey the law too and enforce it in an unbiased manner.

Some recent examples:
  • Baltimore — a black man, in custody, winds up dead after suffering a nearly severed spinal chord
  • Fort Lauderdale — three police officers were fired and one resigned after blatant anti-black practices
  • Tampa — according to a Tampa Bay Times investigation, blacks received 79 percent of all bicycle tickets, even though they make up only 26 percent of the population
As I said in Dr. King’s “Civil Rights Today” Newsmax blog: “If he (Graham) tells us to 'obey' he must also tell police to enforce the law in an unbiased and fair manner . . . they too should obey the law . . . history is full of cases where blacks obeyed and still were beaten or died or had evidence planted . . . he should urge a color blind justice system.”

It’s time for law enforcement in our country to do some “self policing” and let it be known that illegal “judge, jury and executioner” actions by police tarnish the vast majority of decent law enforcement officers and will not be tolerated.

And, let’s not leave it to politicians. How about those with “white privilege” who say, “as long as I can drive, ride my bike or go jogging and not be harassed by cops who cares what they do to blacks or Hispanics — just protect my neighborhood?"

As I told a Tampa, Fl., a police academy graduating class several years ago: “If you are white and see flashing lights behind you, you only worry that you will get a ticket. If you are black, you wonder if this will be your last day on this earth."

The Rev. Graham, other white religious leaders, and black and white conservatives should express anger at cases of police abuse, bigotry and targeted violence against any group.

They should remember that one day they might encounter a “bad apple” cop!

Politicians and business leaders should heed the words of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and be proactive on these issues. In asking the Department of Justice to review enforcement of bike laws and their disproportionate impact on blacks, he said: "Racial profiling is not just illegal, it is unjust and immoral.”

Well said. But the question for Buckhorn and political, community and business leaders, black and white, in Tampa is why did it take a newspaper investigation to bring these practices to light. Who was sleeping on the job?

What is needed in Tampa, Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale and most of our urban centers is for members of the black community, elected officials and law enforcement to come together to have a constructive dialogue to address solutions and approaches to fostering better understanding on both sides — not for demagoguery and grandstanding — but to engage in candid behind the scenes conversations.

After all, not only are lives at stake, but also faith in our justice system.

Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.


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Young black and Hispanic men should comply and not die!
graham, ferguson, police, racism
Friday, 24 April 2015 03:01 PM
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