What’s in YOUR Heart?

Eleanor's Heart

Happy Monday, y’all!

I’m going to say it and mean it … for all of us if necessary!! Just in case you haven’t noticed, I am a “peace-pusher” and a happiness connoisseur. Crazy, right?! I just feel better when I seek those things. Some folks like being loud and boisterous, the center of attention with all the drama they can muster while others just like to be mean and evil. You’ve heard the Capitol ONE credit card commercial about, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, I am posing another question … “What’s in your HEART?”

This past week saw the culmination of an internal affairs investigation of 4 police officers of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. There were four officers – Christopher Sousa – 25; Jason Holding – 31; James Wells – 30; and the master Ku Klux Klan “aficionado” 22 year old Alex Alvarez – who had sent texts with the n-word in them mixed in with “killing”, as well as references to “Blacks” being best suited for slavery!! I wonder … who were their teachers, their parents …. the darn people who hired these … these …. these … whatevers!?! How do people who think like that pass interviews, policies and procedures, even examinations to become officers? Now, I don’t like to dignify people like this anymore than they would dignify ME … So, if you want to know more about the video called “The Hood” produced by Uncle Al’s films, google it. What’s in these creature’s hearts??

Their little quartet was discovered after Alvarez’s ex-fiancee sent a copy of the video which he had been working on while employed by the City’s Police Department, as well as copies of the texts that she had compiled between he and his friends and fellow officers of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. What annoys me most is that 20 years ago when I first came to Fort Lauderdale, I had heard about a shooting off of I-95 of an African American woman by a white driver who saw the woman riding in the car with a white male! So, he began a road rage scenario and ended up killing the woman on the passenger’s side! Not only was I in shock but I realized something was very wrong in a place where this could happen so openly. I began researching the race issue in Fort Lauderdale and found out that until 1975, one year before I graduated from college, African Americans could NOT enjoy the huge strip of beaches in Fort Lauderdale bordering on the Atlantic Ocean! If an African American was seen on the beach by a police officer and it was after 6pm, the African American could be stopped, detained and questioned as to WHAT they were doing on Fort Lauderdale Beach!!!! That was 1975 … just 40 years ago … If a person of African descent told an officer that she/he was working on the beach, they had to produce a “pass” issued by their employer …. The kind of thing that makes you go, “Wt@”!

In my years here, I have been profiled, stopped, had my car searched for drugs while I wore a jacket and tie and drove down Las Olas on my way home from teaching at City College, FTL. At that time, I lived just one block from the beach on Banyan Street. There were constant situations that I experienced from escorting students from a language institute through one way traffic on my street to being detained after 4 or 5 guys tried to “jump” (attack) me until they realized that I was armed!! On one occasion when I was detained by an officer, he decided that I “talked too much” and charged me with “resisting arrest without violence”. All the way from my place on Banyan Street to the FLPD’s holding cells, the officer and I went back and forth. Of course, he used the n-word about 15 times. So, I told him to stop the car, and take the cuffs off, put his gun down so we could fight like two men since the only problem was that he “didn’t like blacks”! He refused, of course, and continued his rant while making comments about Dr. King and arrested me!! I was out in a half hour on my own recognizance and wrote a complaint about Officer Schertler’s comments to me and about Dr. King. Nothing was done. I had one incident with the Broward Sheriff’s Office when 4 or 5 officers came to detain me without a warrant and began pulling and pushing, then touching and punching me because I continued to talk with my sister on the phone while waiting for them to bring the darn warrant for my arrest. Again, I requested an investigation, they did, and nothing was admitted nor done. I asked that the letter be placed in the officer’s personnel file. Sly Stone sang a song once about “my only weapon is my pen”!! I felt like that once I stopped keeping a weapon in my flat. It’s better for me …

So, what do you think was in the heart of Officer Wilson when he shot and killed young Mr. Brown? What do you think was in the hearts of those officers who swung and tackled Mr. Garner on that street corner in Brooklyn where they pounced on him, knees on his head while handcuffed … him yelling, “I can’t breathe!”? What do you think was in the hearts of the officers who killed the 12 year old boy playing with a toy gun (I used to do this all the time … dressed up like a cowboy even!) in a park alone near his home? While between fear and hatred being the first things in their hearts, I believe that they have racist attitudes surging through their veins towards “blacks and other ethnic minorities” here in the USA. So, keep your cellphone handy, keep your eyes open … and keep your brain sharp so that you can not be “suckered” into an uncompromising situation … I hope that the FBI’s investigation of the FLPD is successful because all of this has been going on for a looooong time!


John I. Cook, Director

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