Jane and Lawrence are not Newark, NJ. It is not Bedford-Stuyvesant, NY. It is not Chicago, IL also known as “Chiraq”. But it is not a location for the soft of hearts. It is definitely a neighborhood that has seen its share of bloodshed and violence. So much so that a task force has been put in place to combat this violence. This task force is called TAVIS.
TAVIS is the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy.
You would think that this task force being created would help in making the neighborhood a safer place for its citizen by neutralizing what would be considered the problem element, but in this case with TAVIS just like any other task force created in regards to law enforcement, the task force itself became the problem element. The new COINTEL-PRO if you ask me.
For those who don’t know; COINTEL-PRO was a secret government entity created by J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI to investigate, spy on and undermine the black leaders of the time. The people investigated were Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X, to name a few.
So maybe TAVIS is not as drastic as J. Edgar Hoover’s creation, but well on its way.
I make this statement mainly because of Mike Miller’s video which was taken in September 2014.
Seeing two young black male being accosted by the police, Mike Miller reached for his phone and started videotaping the situation. And he was well into his rights. Especially since he was told by a very reliable source, Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, that it was his right to do so. During a community meeting about carding, the Deputy told him, “Just whip out your camera and shoot it. You have the right.”
But back to the video…
I watched as he was keeping a safe distance from the other two cops and filmed the arrest taking place. Then another squad car arrived on the scene. As the officers stepped out of their vehicle, their brothers in arms told them to “turn on the camera” on Mike Miller.
This is where things take a turn for the weird. The officers didn’t go back to their cars to pick up a camera. Instead, they made their way towards Mike Miller. At this point, you can see their nametags on the screen; Officer Gill and Officer Smith.
Their demeanor and behavior had nothing to do about protecting and serving unless it was to protect and serve their own interests or maybe protecting and serving their brothers.
No, their approach was bully-like… Actually, let’s call it what it really was. This was an assault. Now, an assault does not require for hands to be placed on people. Their demeanor and approach told that story. They were in the young man’s face so much so that the lines in their angry face could be seen. Protected by the shade of their sunglasses, they questioned Mr. Miller and he asked them to be out of his personal space, but they would not listen. Instead, they pressed on.
Without seeing their eyes or Mike’s eyes, I could place myself in that situation. The cops were looking to start something. Mike was scared. From where I sat, looking onto my computer screen, I wanted to throw a punch as it seemed to be the course of action when you’re about to be in physical danger, except that it’s not if you’re black. But that would be my own feeling.
Mike Miller stayed the course of non-violence and he remained strong in his stance. The cops placed their hands in front of the camera, one of them even started dancing. It’s the same cop who would mention being seen on World Star Hip Hop.
There was no professionalism on the part of the officers. They were looking to help themselves more than serve the community.
Police Chief Mark Saunders encouraged him to file a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
Now all I can ask is the following… When you see the attitude of these officers… When you see the state of affairs with law enforcement in North America (not just the US)…
What is that complaint going to do?