Timeforanawakening.com

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today." - Malcolm X

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro. Elliott 12-16-18 guest Historian Charles W. White

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 12/16/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) 6:00 PM (CST) our guest was Author, Historian, Charles W. White. Our guest discussed his book “The Hidden and the Forgotten: Contributions of Buckingham Blacks to American Historycentering around the life of Cater G. Woodson from Buckingham Co. Virginia

 

 

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro. Elliott 12-9-18 guests Dr. Kmt Shockley and Kofi LeNiles

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 12/09/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) 6:00 PM (CST) our guests was Author, Cultural Historian, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy studies at Howard University, Dr. Kmt Shockley and Educator, Activist, Kofi LeNiles. Our guest discussed their recent documentary centering around an extensive study of the Maroons in Colombia, South America, the descendants of enslaved Africans who escaped bondage and created free villages for themselves and their families, and the lesson we might learn from them.

“Time for an Awakening”with Bro. Elliott 12-2-18 guest Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 12/02/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) our guest was Activist, Organizer, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. The Chairman of Prisoners of Conscience Committee/ P.O.C.C, and Black Panther Party Cubs/B.P.P.C, joined us in conversation on various and topics that affect the Black Community.

Oil industry woos SC African-Americans to support offshore drilling

John A. Carlos II (copy)

 

 

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-Daniel Island, speaks to the crowd at a rally against off-shore drilling held in Columbia in February. File/John A. Carlos II /Special to The Post and Courier

 

 

It’s an affront or an opportunity, depending who you ask.

The oil interest lobbying organization American Petroleum Institute has launched a campaign targeting minority communities, including African-Americans, to promote offshore exploration and drilling for natural gas and oil. The pitch is it’s a job creator.

The effort is gauged to counter massive opposition to the offshore alternative that numbers in the millions of individuals and groups.

That opposition is largely people who are white — one of its acknowledged weak points.

But the institute’s Explore Offshore campaign has sparked some outrage.

“I’m not surprised in this political climate,” said Marquetta Goodwine, a Beaufort County resident who goes by Queen Quet. She has been dubbed chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

She is among the more prominent drilling opponents who are African-American. “Those things make me highly irate,” she said.

But the campaign has won some support.

“Quite frankly, what I was concerned about was there were a whole lot of white people (at a public meeting on the issue) and not a whole lot of black people,” said Stephen Gilchrist, chairman of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce and the Explore Offshore effort in South Carolina.

“African-Americans are economically disenfranchised on the coast,” he said.

The campaign has been taken up by the African-American chamber as well as at least 68 other businesses, pro-business groups and anti-tax groups in the Southeast, from Virginia to Florida. In South Carolina, they include the Palmetto Promise Institute and S.C. Association of Taxpayers.

Industry analyst Offshore Technology reported the campaign specifically focuses on minority communities and that its support reflects the focus.

“These groups include a large representation from black, Hispanic and minority communities, which historically have shown less support for offshore oil and gas exploration than others — something the API is keen to change,” the report said.

How many jobs at stake?

The Explore effort has drawn controversy as drilling opponents brace for a long-expected Trump administration announcement of where federal leases will be offered. These leases will permit seismic blasting exploration for natural gas and oil offshore.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, an early supporter of Trump, has joined leaders of other Southeast Coast states lobbying the administration to be excluded from those leases.

Oil industry and conservation opponents have fought for more than six years over opening the Southeast coast to exploration. The Obama administration closed the waters in 2016. President Donald Trump restarted the process for the years 2019 to 2023.

The issue pits a concern for the environment and a billion-dollar tourism industry against potential revenue and jobs.

The millions opposed to the work on the East Coast include more than 120 municipalities, 1,200 elected officials and 41,000 businesses. Nearly every coastal government in South Carolina, hundreds of businesses and thousands of residents have publicly opposed the move.

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Trump Offshore Drilling (copy) (copy)
Pelicans float on the water with an offshore oil platform in the background in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 13, 2010. File/Mark J. Terrill/AP

With federal momentum now shifting toward the leasing, they have been trying to rally against an intensified public push by drilling proponents who advocate “offshore energy exploration and production that can increase jobs, investments, and reliable, safe, and affordable energy,” Explore Offshore says in part on its website.

The jobs issue has been a sticking point from the beginning of the controversy. Drilling proponents say the work could bring $3.8 billion to the state’s budget and $2 billion in industry and support industry development, creating as many as 34,000 jobs, including jobs that could pay more than $100,000 per year.

Opponents say that’s wildly inflated.

“Seismic testing won’t bring the first job to South Carolina,” said Frank Knapp, president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. The oil industry brings in its own crews from out-of-state, he said.

“The only way you can justify thousands of jobs is to industrialize a portion of the South Carolina coast” at the cost of tourism revenue, existing coastal industries such as fishing and the environment, he said.

Gilchrist acknowledges the numbers might be best-case and the threats could well be real. But he doesn’t think that should “stop the conversation” about what economic benefits the work might bring.

“I’m just as concerned as anyone else. I don’t see this as an either-or. It’s a both-win. Let’s see if we can do this and protect the coast,” Gilchrist said. “We can be proactive rather than reactive here, figure it out on the front end.”

‘Have to get educated’

The shortfall of vocal participation among people of color in the controversy remains a problem for both sides.

“We are always looking for ways to increase diversity within the coalition,” said Samantha Siegel, a Charleston-based senior organizer for the environmental group Oceana, which is among the leaders of the opposition coalition. “We think it is important that decision makers hear from a diverse group of citizens.”

The coalition includes a diverse array of community, political and business groups, she said.

“But I do think there is more work to be done in terms of educating more folks in the state and particularly the folks that live in vulnerable communities where an oil refinery could be built one day if we don’t stop it,” Siegel added.

Gilchrist doesn’t see the Explore effort as exploitative. Asked about that, he said the work could be a shot at economic opportunity and training for a community that needs it.

“The people I know are barely making it,” he said. “We’re talking about the plight of 40 percent of our state.”

Many in the the “target” audience might just be waiting to see.

“They have to bring me something to back up (job creation),” said Awendaw Mayor Miriam Green, a town in the rural, relatively lower-income stretch of northern Charleston County. She has not been contacted by Gilchrist or the Explore Offshore effort.

One reason why her phone has been quiet? She is anti-drilling.

“People really have to get educated to what’s going on in the world today,” she said. ”(Groups) will single you out for their purposes.”

READ MORE AT: https://www.postandcourier.com/news/oil-industry-woos-sc-african-americans-to-support-offshore-drilling/article_1797390c-d3b7-11e8-84e9-4fe71b9765a0.html

‘They was killing black people’ In Tulsa, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history still haunts the city with unresolved questions, even as ‘Black Wall Street’ gentrifies

September 28, 2018

The black city council member driving a black SUV came to a dead stop along a gravel road.

Vanessa Hall-Harper pointed to a grassy knoll in the potter’s field section of Oaklawn Cemetery. “This is where the mass graves are,” Hall-Harper declared.

She and others think bodies were dumped here after one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history: the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

For decades, few talked about what happened in this city when a white mob descended on Greenwood Avenue, a black business district so prosperous it was dubbed “the Negro Wall Street” by Booker T. Washington.

For two days beginning May 31, 1921, the mob set fire to hundreds of black-owned businesses and homes in Greenwood. More than 300 black people were killed. More than 10,000 black people were left homeless, and 40 blocks were left smoldering. Survivors recounted black bodies loaded on trains and dumped off bridges into the Arkansas River and, most frequently, tossed into mass graves.

LEFT: A man with a camera looks at iron bedframes rising above the ashes of a burned-out block in Tulsa. (Oklahoma Historical Society/Getty Images) RIGHT: National Guard troops escort unarmed African American men after the massacre. (Oklahoma Historical Society/Getty Images)

Now, as Tulsa prepares to commemorate the massacre’s centennial in 2021, a community still haunted by its history is being transformed by a wave of new development in and around Greenwood.

There’s a minor-league baseball stadium and plans for a BMX motocross headquarters. There’s an arts district marketed to millennials, and a hip shopping complex constructed out of empty shipping containers. There’s a high-end apartment complex with a yoga studio and pub.

While almost two-thirds of the neighborhood’s residents are African American, the gentrification has surfaced tensions between the present and the past. Questions about the scope of the rampage have never been resolved. Even the description of the violence is a point of contention, with some calling it the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and others referring to it as a massacre.

“Before my grandmother died, I asked her what happened,” said Hall-Harper, whose council district includes Greenwood. “She began to whisper. She said, ‘They was killing black people and running them out of the city.’ I didn’t even know about the massacre until I was an adult. And I was raised here. It wasn’t taught about in the schools. It was taboo to speak about it.”

Vanessa Hall-Harper, a Tulsa city council member, and local activist Kristi Williams visit Oaklawn Cemetery, where many think there is a mass grave for people killed during the rampage. (Shane Bevel/for The Washington Post)

Though Tulsa officials decided years ago not to excavate the site of the alleged mass grave, arguing that the evidence isn’t strong enough, Hall-Harper plans to ask the city to reconsider.

“In honor of the centennial,” she said, “I think we, as a city, should look into that and ensure those individuals are laid to rest properly.”

A century ago, Tulsa was racially segregated and reeling from a recent lynching when Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old shoeshiner, walked to the Drexel Building, which had the only toilet downtown available to black people. Rowland stepped into an elevator. Sarah Page, a white elevator operator, began to shriek.

“While it is still uncertain as to precisely what happened in the Drexel Building on May 30, 1921, the most common explanation is that Rowland stepped on Page’s foot as he entered the elevator, causing her to scream,” the Oklahoma Historical Society reported.

The Tulsa Tribune published a news story with the headline “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator” and ran an ominous editorial: “To Lynch Negro Tonight.”

Soon, a white mob gathered outside the Tulsa courthouse, where Rowland was taken after his arrest. They were confronted by black men, including World War I veterans, who wanted to protect Rowland.

A struggle ensued. A shot was fired. Then hundreds of white people marched on Greenwood in a murderous rage.

“They tried to kill all the black folks they could see,” a survivor, George Monroe, recalled in the 1999 documentary “The Night Tulsa Burned.”

There were reports that white men flew airplanes above Greenwood, dropping kerosene bombs. “Tulsa was likely the first city” in the United States “to be bombed from the air,” according to a 2001 report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

B.C. Franklin, a Greenwood lawyer and the father of famed historian John Hope Franklin, wrote a rare firsthand account of the massacre later donated to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“The sidewalk was literally covered with burning turpentine balls,” he wrote. “For fully forty-eight hours, the fires raged and burned everything in its path and it left nothing but ashes and burned safes and trunks and the like that were stored in beautiful houses and businesses.”

On June 1, 1921, martial law was declared. Troops rounded up black men, women and children and detained them for days.

Olivia Hooker was 6 years old in 1921 — the year she witnessed the massacre. (Family photo)

Olivia Hooker, now 103, is one of the last survivors of the massacre. Hooker was 6 when the violence erupted.

Her mother hid her and three of her siblings under their dining room table. “She said, ‘Keep quiet, and they won’t know you are under here.’ ”

From beneath the oak table, she and her siblings watched in horror.

“They took everything they thought was valuable. They smashed everything they couldn’t take,” Hooker said. “My mother had these [Enrico] Caruso records she loved. They smashed the Caruso records.”

Hooker, who later became one of the first black women to join the Coast Guard, has always lived with her memories of that racial terrorism.

“You don’t forget something like that,” said Hooker, who lives in New York. “I was a child who didn’t know about bias and prejudice. . . . It was quite a trauma to find out people hated you for your color. It took me a long time to get over my nightmares.”

It wasn’t until 1998 that authorities began investigating the claims of mass graves. Investigators used electromagnetic induction and ground-penetrating radar to search for evidence at Newblock Park, which operated as a dump in 1921, Booker T. Washington Cemetery and Oaklawn Cemetery.

At each site, they found anomalies “that merited further investigation,” according to the commission’s report.

Olivia Hooker, 103, poses at her White Plains home. Hooker is one of the last surviving witnesses of the Tulsa Race Massacre. (Michael Noble Jr. for The Washington Post)

Then in 1999, a white man named Clyde Eddy, who was 10 at the time of the massacre, came forward and told officials he was playing in Oaklawn Cemetery in 1921 when he spotted white men digging a trench. When the men left, Eddy said, he peeked inside the wooden crates and saw corpses of black people.

Based on Eddy’s story, state archaeologists began investigating the section of the cemetery Eddy cited. The effort was led by Clyde Snow, one of the world’s foremost forensic anthropologists who had helped identify Nazi war criminals and had determined that more than 200 victims found in a mass grave in Yugoslavia had been killed in an execution style of ethnic cleansing.

Using ground-penetrating radar, they made a dramatic discovery: an anomaly bearing “all the characteristics of a dug pit or trench with vertical walls and an undefined object within the approximate center of the feature,” the commission concluded. “With Mr. Eddy’s testimony, this trench-like feature takes on the properties of a mass grave.”

This is sacred ground. The history is being ignored, and I think it is intentional.
Vanessa Hall-Harper

The commission, created by the Oklahoma legislature in 1997 to establish a historical record of the massacre, recommended “a limited physical investigation of the feature be undertaken to clarify whether it indeed represents a mass grave.”

It never happened.

Susan Savage, who was mayor of Tulsa at the time of the proposed excavation, said in a recent interview that she had numerous discussions with officials and raised concerns about the excavation.

“Oaklawn Cemetery is a public lot,” Savage recalled. “I asked, ‘How do we do that without disturbing graves of family buried there?’ I wanted to know how we [could] protect and preserve the dignity of people there.”

A drone image of the Oaklawn Cemetery shows the southwestern corner of the property. (Shane Bevel/for The Washington Post)

Bob Blackburn, who is white and served on the commission, said he agreed with the decision not to dig at Oaklawn.

“Based on all the evidence Clyde Snow looked at, we never could pinpoint something,” he said. “In my mind that is not an unresolved issue. In terms of proving there was a mass grave, there will always be people thinking one way or the other.”

The refusal to excavate was a blow, Hall-Harper said, along with the city’s decision to ignore a recommendation for reparations to survivors and descendants of survivors.

She worries that the gentrification underway does not include efforts to resolve lingering questions about the violence.

“This is sacred ground,” Hall-Harper said. “As developers are making decisions about the Greenwood district, the history is being ignored, and I think it is intentional. They want to forget about it and move on.”

J. Kavin Ross, who wrote about the mass graves for the Oklahoma Eagle Newspaper, a black-owned publication that has been headquartered in Greenwood since 1936, said gentrification has pushed many black residents and descendants of massacre survivors out of Greenwood.

“With gentrification—we say, ‘Now you want to take an interest in Greenwood and pimp our history? And you are going to build these apartments down here, and you know darn well we are not going to spend $1,000 for a closet room,” Ross said. “We will never be able to afford to live in Greenwood.”

At Greenwood and Archer, in the heart of Negro Wall Street, sit 14 red brick buildings that were reconstructed soon after the 1921 massacre. They are all that’s left of the original Greenwood.

Tulsa Drillers fans head to the ballpark downtown. The stadium sits at the edge of the Greenwood Historic District. (Shane Bevel/Shane Bevel Photography)

On a hot summer afternoon, David Francis pushes open the door at Wanda J’s Cafe, a soul-food restaurant where black and white residents mingle.

Francis, 32, lives nearby and loves Wanda J’s chicken-fried steak and green beans. A white man born and raised in Tulsa said he first heard about the massacre when he was in high school.

“It’s unbelievable to think the genuine atrocity took place right here,” said Francis, looking outside the restaurant window onto Greenwood Avenue. “A white woman told me she remembered seeing bodies dumped into the Arkansas River off a bridge.”

The African American diners at Wanda J’s fear the changes in Greenwood, including OneOK Field, the minor-league ballpark that opened in 2010, and the luxury GreenArch apartment complex, which features a yoga and indoor cycling studio. The BMX headquarters and track are set to open next year on the edge of the historic district at Archer and Lansing.

Bobby Eaton Sr., 83, orders a cup of coffee and calls the influx of white businesses and residents “a tragedy.”

Junior Williams, 56, said gentrification is driven by the same forces that fueled the white mob nearly 100 years ago. “There was economic jealously that caused them to destroy Greenwood.”

At Lefty’s on Greenwood, where the crowd is overwhelmingly white, Nicci Atchoey said she moved into the GreenArch apartments because of its history. But Atchoey, a 39-year-old white Realtor who grew up in Tulsa, learned the details of the massacre only six years ago.

“It is really not something taught in schools,” said Atchoey, adding that many white people move to Greenwood oblivious about the history.

“I think that is unacceptable. People come to the area and go to the bars and ballgame,” she said. “The stadium is like building a Whole Foods at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing.”

As evening falls, the crowds heading to the baseball game walk over the plaques in the sidewalk dedicated to businesses destroyed in the massacre.

Near the stadium’s entrance, under Interstate 244, a mural is signed “Tulsa Race Riot 1921.” Someone has crossed out “riot” and written “massacre.” Someone else has crossed out “massacre” and left a scribble of black spray paint.

Petition Launched by conservative White Media Firm to Include Clarence Thomas into African American Museum After Exclusion

Corporations Boycotted North Carolina over the Bathroom Bill, When Will They Stand Against Racial Injustice?

As the events unfold in Charlotte in the aftermath of the murder of Keith Scott — another Black man by police — questions arise as to what it will take to bring about real change in the realm of racial justice in North Carolina, and the role that corporate America will take.

As part of the so-called “new” South, with a large corporate presence and urban professional transplants from the North, the state wants to have it both ways.  President Obama won North Carolina in the 2008 election, and a city such as Charlotte represents growth, progress and diversity, as The Washington Post reported, with “buttoned-up business (a banking center, an airline and retail hub), a multicultural melting pot and a farm-to-table haven.”

And yet, the state has elected a Republican-led, white supremacist state government, with a governor and a legislature that has sought the wholesale deprivation of Black voting rights, leading to the NAACP-led Moral Mondays movement.

Then there is the so-called “bathroom bill” known as HB2, which challenges a Charlotte city ordinance regarding gender-neutral bathrooms.  And while the legislation has been known as an anti-LGBT law, it also eviscerated local ordinances, making it illegal for localities to expand the protections of state laws governing minimum wage standards, job discrimination and public accommodations, as the Charlotte Observer noted.

nc-state-1So while North Carolina had positioned itself as more cosmopolitan, progressive and tolerant than its neighbor bordering to its South — South Carolina, which had been embroiled in a Confederate flag debate of late — the state has paid a price with HB2.

According to Facing South, while state officials wish to downplay its impact, a corporate boycott of North Carolina has led to losses in the tens of millions of dollars.  Over 200 companies and organizations have expressed their opposition to HB2, and they are taking their business out of the Tar Heel state.  For example, PayPal canceled its planned $3.5 million complex, Deutsche Bank placed a corporate expansion on hold, and the NBA will take its All-Star Game elsewhere.  The purpose of this and other boycotts, Facing South noted, is “to raise the economic and political costs of doing business as usual, to the point that decision-makers — whether lawmakers or corporate CEOs — are forced to change course.”

But what will it take for corporate America to respond to the calls for racial justice, in the midst of police violence against Black people?  If they can take a stand against HB2, certainly these companies can demand that local and state governments do more and enact reforms if they want the dollars to continue flowing.

With a high-profile police killing and a continued effort at Black voter suppression — despite a Supreme Court decision rejecting North Carolina’s voter ID law and other voter restrictions — the time seems perfect for corporations to use their political muscle to benefit Black folks.  White reactionary lawmakers believe they can get away with disrespecting African-Americans.  For example, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, who represents parts of Charlotte and its suburbs, said Blacks are protesting in Charlotte because “they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” as NBC News reported.

And in some cases, with blood on their hands through their role in profiting from slavery, these North Carolina-based companies have a debt to pay Black people.  For example, Bank of America admitted its ties to slavery, as two of its predecessor banks had dealings with the slave trade, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Further, a third predecessor accepted slaves as collateral on loans, as Your Black World Today reported.  Two companies that were incorporated into Wachovia — now owned by Wells Fargo — owned slaves and accepted them as collateral on loans or mortgages.  And the founder of R.J. Reynolds, Richard Joshua Reynolds, came from a large slave-owning family of tobacco farmers.  These companies can, at a minimum, support a boycott in North Carolina and a movement around racial justice, and provide support to the descendants of enslaved people in the form of employment, scholarships and community programs.

Writing an editorial in NBC News, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II — president of the North Carolina NAACP and founder of the Moral Mondays movement — summed it up best when he called the riots in Charlottethe predictable response of human beings who are drowning in systemic injustice.”  It is not about Black people hating the police, he noted, but rather people of all races “rising up against systems of injustice that shield officers who kill but leave millions defenseless.”

Declaring that “it’s the ballot or the riot,” Rev. Barber wrote that as hopeless as things may seem, we know what needs to be done to change the conditions that led to Keith Scott’s death.

“Right here in North Carolina, we have seen how people impacted by unjust policies can come together in coalitions across color and lift up a moral agenda that embraces the good of the whole,” he said. “This kind of coalition movement building is not easy, and we cannot win the change we need in a single election. But every step forward in this nation’s history has come from movements like this one.”

Report: Black men, boys shot most by Chicago police

CHICAGO (AP)

Every five days, on average, a Chicago police officer fired a gun at someone.

In 435 shootings over a recent six-year span, officers killed 92 people and wounded 170 others.

While a few of those incidents captured widespread attention, they occurred with such brutal regularity — and with scant information provided by police — that most have escaped public scrutiny.

Now, after months of struggles with Chicago police to get information through the Freedom of Information Act, the Chicago Tribune has compiled an unprecedented database of details of every time police fired a weapon from 2010 through 2015.

Analysis of that data revealed startling patterns about the officers who fired and the people they shot at.

Among the findings:

•At least 2,623 bullets were fired by police in 435 shootings. In 235 of those incidents, officers struck at least one person; in another 200 shootings, officers missed entirely.

•About four out of every five people shot by police were African-American males.

•About half of the officers involved in shootings were African-American or Hispanic.

•The officers who fired weren’t rookies but, on average, had almost a decade of experience.

•Of the 520 officers who fired their weapons, more than 60 of them did so in more than one incident.

•The number of shootings by police — hits and misses — declined over the six years, from more than 100 in 2011 to 44 in 2015.

The analysis comes at a time when police in Chicago and throughout the country face heightened scrutiny after several controversial police shootings, often of minorities, have been captured on video and gone viral.

The Tribune’s study encompasses high-profile cases such as the McDonald scandal as well as scores of incidents that were not caught on video and received little or no attention. It begins on New Year’s Day 2010 with a teen shot in the stomach while handcuffed to a security fence in the Park Manor neighborhood. It ends six years later, on the day after Christmas 2015, when an officer wounded an armed suspect on the Far South Side.

For years, examining the full scale of the problem in Chicago was impossible because the city refused to release most details about police-involved shootings. Before the release last year of the video of Laquan McDonald’s killing brought pressure for transparency, the only information made public in the hours after a shooting came in comments from a police union spokesman at the scene and perhaps a short statement from the Police Department. As investigations dragged on for months or years, the details remained hidden.

The data on officer shootings were released to the Tribune only after a seven-month battle with the city over its failure to fulfill public records requests. The department finally produced the data in July after the Tribune threatened to sue. Reporters then spent weeks comparing the data with information that was gathered earlier this year from the city’s police oversight agency as well as with other records, including autopsies and court records.

To be sure, policing the city’s most dangerous streets can be harrowing. Nearly 6,000 illegal guns have been seized in the city so far this year — a staggering amount of firepower that far outpaces other big cities. The dangers were on display in graphic detail earlier this month when the department released dramatic dashboard-camera video of officers being shot at while pursuing a carjacking suspect in their squad cars on the South Side. One officer suffered a graze wound to his face.

“As a police officer, you don’t wait for the shot to come in your direction,” Dean Angelo Sr., president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, told the Tribune recently about the database findings. “You might not get a chance to return fire.”

But for many of those who live in the largely African-American communities where police most often open fire, the narrative of self-defense seems like a familiar script.

At a recent rally protesting police shootings, Charles Jenkins, a 61-year-old community activist who has spent his entire life on the city’s West Side, said he believes race plays a role in how authorities investigate shootings by police.

“It’s easier to believe, because they’re black, that an officer was in fear of their life and get(s) off,” he said

Those shot by Chicago police ranged in age from early teens to the elderly, the records show. The youngest, Dejuan Curry, was 14 when he was wounded in the leg in August 2015 after police said he refused to drop a weapon he held in his hand as he ran. A federal lawsuit is pending against Victor Razo, the officer who allegedly fired the shots. The Tribune’s records show that Razo was involved in two other shootings between 2010 and 2015.

The eldest victim, Hazel Jones-Huff, 92, was wounded when off-duty Officer Courtney Hill opened fire during a quarrel between neighbors, killing Jones-Huff’s 86-year-old husband. Jones-Huff was charged with battery for allegedly going after the officer with a broom, but a judge later acquitted her of all counts.

The records show the shootings in which a civilian was injured or killed were concentrated in a handful of high-crime police districts, all with largely African-American populations.

Leading the list was the Gresham District, which had 30 police shootings in which someone was injured or killed in the six-year span. Next were two other South Side districts — Englewood with 27 and Grand Crossing with 18. The Calumet and Harrison districts on the West Side each had 17, according to the records.

By contrast, the Jefferson Park and Near North districts, which have majority-white populations, each had four police shootings over the six years. The Town Hall District, which includes part of Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, the rest of Lakeview, Lincoln Square and part of Uptown, had none, the data show.

The officers who shot

From the data, the Tribune was able to identify the race of 300 of the 324 officers who opened fire in shootings that resulted in injuries or death.

Although white officers make up a larger portion of the police force, they don’t shoot citizens at a higher rate. Hispanic officers, meanwhile, make up only 19 percent of Chicago’s police force but fired in 26 percent of officer-involved shootings.

A little more than half of the officers who fired shots at people were minorities — 84 Hispanics (28 percent) and 69 blacks (23 percent). White officers made up 45 percent of the total — 136 officers in all. The other officers were listed as Asian/Pacific Islander.

The officers also tended to be experienced, not rookies who suddenly found themselves in over their heads. The records show officers who have shot at citizens had an average of about nine years on the job.

Not surprisingly, 87 percent of the police officers who fired their guns in fatal or nonfatal shootings were on duty, the analysis found. Yet that meant 31 shootings involved off-duty officers who wounded or killed people.

Over the six-year period, 520 officers fired a gun at a citizen. The force generally has about 12,000 members. But the Tribune found that 64 of them were involved in at least two separate shootings.

Several of the repeat shooters have been featured in Tribune stories in recent years. At least two of them, Marco Proano and Gildardo Sierra, have been the targets of criminal investigations by the FBI, although no charges have been filed against either.

Proano, who remains on the force on paid desk duty, killed a teenager during a struggle outside a South Side dance party in 2011, then was captured two years later on dashboard camera video cocking his gun sideways and firing into a car full of teens as it drove away, wounding two. Sierra was profiled in the Tribune in 2011 after he was involved in three shootings, two of them fatal, during a six-month span. Sierra resigned from the department last year.

In the past, the Independent Police Review Authority has not tracked officers involved in multiple shootings if the shootings were deemed justified.

Guglielmi, the police spokesman, said the department is now developing an early intervention system to identify and mentor officers who may be at risk, including officers who were recently involved in a shooting or other high-stress situation. The system “will not be designed to be punitive” but will function more as a “risk management” plan to get to an officer’s issues before they manifest on the street, he said.

Officers who have fired their weapons in multiple incidents also avoided public scrutiny in part because the police union contract bars the department from identifying officers after a shooting. In most cases, no information about the officers involved was ever made public unless a lawsuit was filed — and even then the city typically fought in court to keep records sealed.

Meanwhile, the Independent Police Review Authority’s investigations of officer-involved shootings often included testimony and reports from other officers who backed up one another’s accounts — a “code of silence” that has been criticized for years.

In all but a handful of shootings that IPRA investigated over the six-year span, the agency ruled the officers were justified in their use of deadly force.

The Tribune’s analysis showed that Chicago police are the only witnesses listed in most of the shootings, with civilian witnesses identified in just 83 of the incidents.

Alexa Van Brunt, an attorney with Northwestern University’s Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, said it’s often challenging to prove misconduct or a cover-up when it comes to an officer’s word against that of a civilian.

“We don’t have video evidence often,” Van Brunt said. “And if you have police officers lying on reports, that becomes the official record.”

‘He put me in that position’

No officer has fired at citizens more during the time period examined by the Tribune than Tracey Williams, an African-American tactical officer with nearly a decade on the job.

Over five years, Williams fired her gun five different times in various neighborhoods throughout the city — from North Lawndale to Fuller Park, the Tribune analysis shows.

Each time, she fired at a black male. The targets ranged in age from 17 to 45. One died, one survived with a gunshot to the leg and three others were not hit.

The only investigation to capture public attention involved the Dec. 4, 2010, killing of Ontario Billups in the South Side’s Gresham neighborhood.

Billups, 30, was sitting in an idling minivan with two friends in the 8100 block of South Ashland Avenue when Williams and her partner pulled up in an unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe, according to IPRA records.

In a statement she later gave to investigators, Williams said the car looked suspicious so she shined a spotlight into the van and ordered the occupants to show their hands. She was running up to the passenger side of the vehicle with her gun drawn when she said she saw Billups with a “dark object” in his hand.

“He turns,” Williams said. “As he’s turning towards me quickly his hand is coming out quickly with this dark object. I immediately fire a shot.”

Billups was shot once in the chest and died. The dark object turned out to be a bag of marijuana. Even though Billups was unarmed, Williams defended her use of force in her interview with IPRA investigators.

“His actions led to my actions,” she said. “He put me in that position.”

Meanwhile, Williams remained on the street. In one six-month period, from July 2012 to January 2013, the officer fired her gun in three separate incidents but missed. The next year, she wounded an armed 17-year-old boy in the leg. A review of that incident is pending, though most of the records have been sealed by IPRA and the Police Department because the boy was a minor.

In November, the city agreed to pay $500,000 to settle an excessive force lawsuit brought by Billups’ family. That brought the total cost to $643,000 for taxpayers to settle four lawsuits related to Williams since 2010, court records show.

The Tribune’s analysis found that most of the officers involved in multiple shootings over the six years were involved in two each.

Holding a socket wrench

The data compiled by the Tribune show how police calls turned into confrontations — ranging from seemingly benign calls such as trespass or drinking in the public way to extremely dangerous situations such as hostage standoffs or gang shootings.

Police released information about why officers were initially at the scene in 185 shootings over the six-year period. About a third of the incidents — 63 in total — began with officers responding to a report of shots fired or a person with a gun, according to the data. Fifteen shootings happened after police responded to a report of a robbery.

At least 40 shootings began with a traffic or street stop, either because of an alleged violation or after officers stopped and questioned a group congregated in public. In more than a third of the stops, officers gave chase on foot, pursuing suspects through residential backyards, alleys or over fences before opening fire, the data show.

In statements issued by police after the shootings, six of every 10 cited a suspect either pointing a gun or shooting at police as the reason officers opened fire. But of the 74 autopsy reports reviewed by the Tribune, at least 11 showed the shooting victims had been struck only in their back, buttocks or back of the head. The data show police also shot people who wielded other types of weapons, including knives — such as in the McDonald case — but also tire irons, screwdrivers, baseball bats and crowbars. In some cases, the gun police thought they saw turned out to be something else entirely — a wrench or a watch, a cellphone box or wallet.

4

Georgia Utendhal comforts one of her granddaughters, whose 16-year-old brother was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in the 8700 block of South Morgan Street in Chicago on July 5, 2014.

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Bro Elliott

Host

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Bro Richard

co-host

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