Monday, August 31, 2015

BLACK LIVES MATTER: Open Letter to Houston Chief of Police Charles McClelland

In light of deputy's murder, HPD chief gets frank about state of country, crime

Today I spoke with KTRK via Skype from New Orleans about the statement that I released regarding the politicization of the tragic murder of Deputy Goforth. When the story was broadcast during the 5pm segment Chief McClelland said some not so surprising things regarding the movement for Black Lives, offensive and out of touch as usual.
Dear Chief McClelland,

I am writing you this letter to inform you that you are out of touch regarding the movement for Black lives. This letter is a line by line response to the misguided and factless language you have decided to use recently. First you said that "Some of the leaders that have in the past stood up very quickly when it came to police misconduct, their voices are silent..." This is simply not true, most of the media coverage on a local level has not taken into account many reactions due to following the narrative of the Harris County DA and Sheriff. Then you went on to agree with a CLEARLY misogynistic, racist & homophobic Sheriff, "Yes...I do agree with the Sheriff, what the Sheriff has to say. And it's important that all lives matter." Are you really in agreement with this?

"Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said the attack was "clearly unprovoked," and there is no evidence that Goforth knew Miles. Investigators have no information from Miles that would shed light on his motive, Hickman said.

"Our assumption is that he (Goforth) was a target because he wore a uniform," the sheriff said.
Hickman and Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson pushed back against the criticism of police.

"We've heard Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. Well, cops' lives matter, too," Hickman said Saturday.

Well, now we know that you do agree with the above statement, which for you, a BLACK man is problematic in my eyes. It is sad that many people who look like us share the same same sentiments, until it happens to them. The reason why the phrase "all lives matter" is such a triggering flash point is that it is born out of racism. WE say BLACK LIVES MATTER because we live in a legal system designed for, around and to benefit WHITE PEOPLE. The critical infrastructure that supports all levels of government is inherently RACIST.  You, of all people should know this, but I cannot assume that this is part of your thought process. We will say all lives matter when the systems of institutional and systemic racism, classism, and economic discrimination comes to a full and complete halt. 

Then you went on the cosign the worst misconception of all, BLACK ON BLACK CRIME! you inquired, "Why is there not a tremendous outcry of young minority men killing young minority men?" and asserted that "If young black men were dying from some other epidemic, health reason, there would be an outcry. But they're killing each other with firearms and no one seems to matter. It doesn't seem to matter and no one seems to care." First of all, you should leave the sociological aspects of this particular issue to actual experts. Black on Black crime used as a reference to counter the argument of the movement for Black lives to matter is apples to oranges at best. This vitriol is weak at best, Black on Black crime has NOTHING to do with rampant police brutality and abuse of power when it specifically comes to Blacks. What is more sad is that you claim that it does not matter to us, which is weird. Its weird because I don't ever see you out in the communities that tend to be Black for you to know that we do or don't care about Black on Black crime. The FACT is that you are in charge of a police force of the fourth largest city in the country, and that force needs training that is more extensive than six months. Where is that community policing program? Where is that REAL LGBT, especially Trans outreach? You need to reevaluate your thought process and fast.

Then there is this statement, "it's not all on law enforcement," he suggested. "We've got to be better parents. We've got to be better role models. We've got to be better educators. We've got to offer job opportunities. Job training. We do." This statement literally contradicts the statements that you made leading up to this thought. Being better parents, role models, educators and offering jobs plus training does not exempt nor does it erase one's blackness. In other words, one can have all of that and be subjected to the same issues of police brutality, I am so sure that you remember Robbie Tolan. You must recognize that Black Lives Matter will continue to fight for the rights of the Black community until the system changes. Finally, let me say that this movement does not condone nor does it encourage violence toward anyone. We do not want lives lost and we would never commission what happened to Deputy Goforth.

Thanks (I guess)

Ashton P. Woods

Here is a screenshot of his statements to KTRK in full:

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