Saturday, December 22, 2007

West Memphis City Council Shut's Down City Gov't to Hold Police Chief Accountable

Now this is what I'm talking about when I think of black folks coming together to use their political power. Shut Down the City Government! Let's hope this show of political will makes things happen. My good brother, Villager, at Electronic Villager has been following this story of good versus evil. His post reports on how the fallout from the killing of 12-year old DeAunta Farrow continues to mount in West Memphis, AR. Sgt. Erik Sammis resigned his job on the police force four months after he shot the innocent youth [video report]. Francis Holland and the Police Brutality Blog has also been following
The Killing of Deaunta Farrow.
Read more of his post and how the Killer Cop Resigns While City Council Boycotts.

Source: WREG TV

The folks at
WREG TV have also been following this case and have provided great coverage of the case. Here more here and below. don't forget to send any comments you have on the WREG coverage to:

DeAunta Farrow

Is the police shooting of 12 year-old DeAunta Farrow the reason several seats at West Memphis City Hall were empty Thursday? Every black council member was a no-show at a regular meeting of the city council, and some say it was no accident.

There's talk of a boycott to force the resignation of the city's police chief after one of his officer's killed Farrow. The officer was cleared of any wrongdoing, but that hasn't stopped calls for the badge of the city's top cop. Now a threat of a boycott to bring city business to a standstill.

Mayor William Johnson says, "I've been in office nine years and this is the first time that we've had to cancel a council meeting because of a lack of a quorum."

It may be coincidence that every black city council member was a no-show, but operation HELP says it played a role.

"We asked our councilmembers not to participate because of the indifference and the insensitivity of the African American community from the Mayor," says Hubert Bass with Operation HELP. "And whatever other reasons that the council felt that they should not participate, that's on them. But we believe that they responded to us."

Other council members were shocked, and some think a boycott may be underway. Thursday's meeting was supposed to cover passage of a city budget as well as possible discussion of pay raises for council members. More HERE

AAPP: What do you think? Should the black city council membdes shut down a city, in order to get a police commissioner to resign?


Aaron & Alaine said...

Maybe. Is there a pattern here? Does a line in the sand need to be drawn? Because, with regards to police brutality issues, I think if you want to have change, there has to be serious political consequences. So these council members have to be clear that this is the hill they want to die on. Because they can't go this route for every case where there is a complaint. But if the issue is that you got a department that is simply allowing its cops to go cowboy with no accountability and that tone is coming from the top, then maybe they do have to take it to the limit politically. I understand that the cop that killed the boy resigned. It sounds like that is not enough. I don't know how the chief handled it, but maybe he played it so badly that people down there feel like they gotta demand some respect. If you're going to go to the mat, this is probably a good case. The kid was innocent. I don't know what caused the cop's judgment to lapse so bad he killed him, but if that kind of lapse of judgment is happening to black people all the time with this department, then maybe they do need to take this thing all the way. But if thats what they are going to do, then they need to get clear about it and they need to know what their political end game is and what they are willing to settle for, if anything.

- Aaron

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Aaron, I think it's perfectly appropriate to stall all city business for a couple of weeks or more every time something like this happens. Hold up all new zoning permits, building permits, police union negotiations.

That's really what Black people need to do in cities where we have power: reduce the budgets of the police departments until and unless they address our issues and people and communities appropriately.

Aaron & Alaine said...

I would agree that a strong reaction on this order is called for in a case like this. Conversely, we can't go to the wall like that for complaints that don't rise to an egregious level. We have a tendency to get all outraged at the same high level for stuff that warrants it and for stuff that does not. All too often, we have no strategic analysis or thought about what we are trying to accomplish. So I would agree that this is one that calls for a strong reaction, but people should know what the endgame is and play it for the long term, not just the heat of the moment.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Thanks, Aaron. I think what we need is greater control over police departments. I think the way we can get that control is by opposing their budgets.

Aaron & Alaine said...

Now thats an idea that has some legs and the germ of a strategic approach to the problem that would be replicable across communities. Worth thinking through further and spreading around.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Thanks, Aaron. Let's talk it up!