I am a 4th generation Washingtonian, youth advocate and a DC radio and television sports talk show pioneer. On Saturday August 20, 2016 I was the host of a one of a kind police and community relations forum held in Washington, DC. The forum was held at the world famous Ben’s Chili Bowl.
The restaurant is known world-wide for its famous chili half smokes, hot dogs and comedian Bill Cosby who help put the restaurant on the world map. The forum menu not only served up good food but good advice relating to the history of police departments and the black community.
I have been called the Godfather of sports talk and now people are calling me the Godfather of Police Community Relations. Life on the streets in the past 50 years I have seen the Good, the Bad and the Ugly when it comes to the police and the community.
I worked closely with the original Godfather, the late and former New York City Police Commissioner, Patrick Murphy. I met Mr. Murphy when he was the Director of the DC Police and Fire Departments and I was a Roving leader for the DC Department of Recreation (Youth Gang Task Force). He was hired in the late 60s by DC’s first black Mayor, Walter Washington.
The Police and Community Relations forum attracted law-enforcement officers from around the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) and as far away as Philadelphia and LA (Bernie Chavis and Ken Price respectively).
The lack of understanding of Black America’s history of police and community relations can be found at the doorsteps of Black Media. You cannot report it if you don’t know it.
It was 20 years ago 1996 when Minister Louis Farrakhan exposed the National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) as “The Bad News Bears” of media. In summarizing his speech after the President of the organization asked him to take 10 minutes for his presentation—-he took 40 minutes instead.
In summarizing his blistering take-down of NABJ, he said, “The only thing black about you is your name”.
To be very honest Minister Farrakhan lost me during The First Million Man March here in DC. He lost me because of the appearance of fraud with the donations made by the participants, including me. I have yet to see the fruits of the monies collected. (see link below).
I remember NFL legend Jim Brown a Farrakhan friend and confidant sitting down with me to talk about the rumors swirling around as they related to the nation and Minister Farrakhan. His response, “The nation and the Minister have problems just like anyone else.” I let it go!
I have been an eye witness to the good works of the Nation of Islam in the black community. I have seen their great work of cleaning up my old DC NE neighborhood of Mayfair/Parkside of drugs and violence. They were rewarded by having the federal government cut off the funding for the program. The real reason; Minister Farrakhan being true to himself, speaking truth to power. People always want to hear the truth as long as it is about someone else–never about themselves.
Black media dropped the ball again at the forum. The only media invited to attend the forum was the Washington Afro- American, the DC editor, Ms. Latrina Antoine requested press credentials and was a no-show.
The only reason I granted her request was because my writing career started with the Afro-American newspaper as a free lancer. The late Ms. Frances Murphy the family matriarch was my mentor and encouraged me to write my first community/sports column for the Afro in 1974, but since her death the paper has been a day late and a dollar short (see link below).
Some of the most brutal police departments when it comes to African-Americans are found in Chicago, LA, NY City, Philly, Baltimore and Princes Georges County.
They are all in the Top Ten. Each has been under intense scrutiny by the FBI in the past several decades, but still many of us are standing or sitting around with our heads in the sand, especially, close to home. The leadership in Baltimore and Prince Georges County is a big part of the problem. Our dilemma, we are at war with the wrong people, AMERICAN people of color. The benefactors, ISIS, China and haters unknown!
In Maryland the lack of leadership starts with Governor Larry Hogan, PG County Executive Rushern Baker, the Police Chief, the State’s Attorney and Pimps in the Pulpit like John Jenkins.
In the final analysis, the black females in Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and the Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby were the heroes as it relates to the recent riots in Baltimore and were responsible for saving black lives, because “Black Lives Mattered” to them.”
The Department of Justice’s report on the decades of corruption and brutality in the police department of Baltimore City proved they did not jump to conclusions in charging the six cops in the killing of Freddy Gray.
The Criminal Justice system and the black judge let the people of Baltimore down and not Ms. Blake or Ms. Rawlings. Did anyone, but me notice the timing of the release of the report? It was released days after all the accused cops were cleared by the court.
Rushern Baker it is said, has his eyes on the Governor’s Mansion despite the seemingly popularity of Governor Hogan. This is what you call a false/positive, meaning; “a test result (pregnancy) which incorrectly indicates that a particular condition or attribute is present”.
Governor Larry Hogan should be a false/positive when it comes to approval in the black community. He has traits of Donald Trump that are well hidden and Baker is not far behind him. They are what you would call, “two of a kind” in black and white.
For example, when the notorious PG County Executive Jack Johnson now serving time in jail for taking brides was thinking about running for re-election in 2006, one of Baker’s cronies approached me about supporting him in his bid to unseat Johnson.
But I had gotten word that Johnson had made Baker back down (gangster) and re-think his position, I knew then that he would be a go along to get along politician and his two terms as County Executive has proven me right.
The proof is always in the pudding; Baker was County Executive in 2013 when a prison guard pleaded guilty in Federal Court for covering up what was called a homicide by the state coroner’s office.
Nineteen year old Ronnie White an accused cop killer was found in his Upper Marlboro jail cell hanging by his neck KKK style. But the ruling was changed as a “Possible Homicide” by the State Police? Did anyone read how the State Police lab in New Jersey has been accused of falsifying thousands of drug test to show positive results when there was no test? There is no need to guess who the victims were and now serving time—people of color!
In Upper Marlboro a black jail guard Anthony McIntosh took the fall for the KKK style lynching. He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges (lying about what took place on the night of the hanging).
A Federal Judge Alex Williams resided at the trial (former Kids In Trouble, Inc board member). Judge Williams was quoted saying, “Something does not smell right about this case”. He said, “I followed the federal guild lines in sentencing McIntosh to the maximum two-years.”
How could a black man as a County Executive in good conscience promote and reward the same officials who were a part of decades of police brutality, murder, cover-ups and corruption in the county promote them to a higher office? These were the same law-enforcement officials in 2008 conspired to hang the nineteen-year old Ronnie White by his neck without due process. This is also the shades of the KKK and Emmitt Till in Mississippi in 1955.
This jailhouse justice took place on the watch of a black Police Chief, Melvin High (a former DC Assistant Chief). The Prince Georges County Police Chief’s office kitchen was too hot and the Chief got out. The interference by County Executive Jack Johnson was over the top. He was trying to be the County Executive and Chief of Police all in one. Johnson as State’s Attorney was anti-police until he found a deadly rattle snake waiting to say “Good Morning” in his office before running for County Executive.
One of High’s trusted staffers, Barbara Hamm (Public Relations) said “enough is enough.” She resigned and headed back home to the peace and quiet of Tide Water Virginia. She now is the host of her own radio talk show and making sure folks are aware ‘That Black Lives Matter.’
Chief High was not far behind her, but he stayed around long enough to have the Ronnie White hanging attached to his watch. He retired and then un-retired and landed on his feet as the new sheriff in town in Prince Georges County—the cycle continues!
On Baker’s watch he has named a white Chief as head of Homeland Security, the chief’s assistant was named the new Chief and the partner of the assistant chief, is now the new Assistant Chief (who’s on first). I hate to be redundant, but I am going to quote Judge Alex Williams, ‘Something does not smell right about these in-house promotions’.
Instead of kissing ass, it looks like Baker has decided it is best to kiss the ring of political Godfather Mike Miller in the State Capitol of Annapolis. You can bet these were all Miller appointments.
Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. is the current president of the Maryland Senate. He has been a state senator representing the 27th District since 1975 and has served as president since January 1987.
Miller practically owns his hometown of Clinton, Maryland. According to my mentor the late State Senator Bucky Trotter, if you want to survive in Maryland politics, you have a choice of either, kissing Miller’s ass, ring or both. “The Good Old Boys” are still in charge.
Some white folks are racist and don’t know and sometimes you have to give them a free pass, but there is no excuse for black folks not knowing racism when they see or hear it.
The question was asked at the Ben’s Chili Bowl forum, “Why are there no white people here at the forum”?
I learned a long time ago “That every black face you see is not your brother and every white face you see is not your enemy.”
Invitations went out to white, Hispanic and black officials, for example; recently elected white Congressman Chris Von Hollen out polled the incompetent black Donna Edwards to represent the 8th Congressional District. During his run for the 8TH District seat I was corresponding with a young man by the name of Ely who was working in his media department.
I related to Ely that I was interested in supporting Mr. Van Hollen because there was mass dissatisfaction with Donna Edwards in the Suitland Community. I was in need of a bio on him. He e-mailed the bio the next day.
First, Ms. Edwards was indifferent and not accessible to our needs (she didn’t think Black Lives Mattered). I remember I tried to get her to open up an investigation into the unfair treatment of senior citizens in the nasty and filthy nursing homes in the state, she never returned a call. Her office staff was in over their heads. She was always running late or a no-show at too many community forums during her tenure. And many thought it was time for a change and I agreed.
Ely, the Von Hollen staffer followed the email up with a telephone call and did a great job in selling me on Mr. Van Hollen, but I was easy prey because I was sick of a do-nothing Donna Edwards, but as they often say, “Be careful for what you wish for”!
I wrote lionizing blogs on Black Men In America.com and on The Original Inside Sports supporting Von Hollen in the election.
I contacted his office two weeks before the forum to inquire about his participation. I asked for Ely, but was told that he was no longer on staff and I was referred to a young man by the name of Jonathan. He referred me to a young lady whose name escapes me, but she promised to get back to me. She never did.
Finally, I contacted a staffer by the name of Blain Nolan after several attempts of leaving voice mails with no response. I was beginning to wonder according to comedians Albert and Constello’s famous skit “Who was on first”? (see link below). That is how I felt after receiving the email response from his office below on Monday August 15, 2016
Good afternoon Harold,
Thank you for following up. Unfortunately, at this time the Congressman’s schedule does not allow for him to attend. If something should change this week I would be happy to let you know.
Director of Scheduling
Office of Congressman Chris Van Hollen
1707 Longworth House Office Building
In conclusion, it looks like he is another Donna Edwards in the making—stay tune. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg
I send an Invitation to the white Governor Larry Hogan, No response. This was expected, because I had send a Priority Mail letter to him last year regarding “Cowboy Cops” in Prince Georges County. The letter was mailed in September of 2015 and with September 2016 fast approaching there still has been no response for a man who calls himself a leader of people. His plantation mentality still has him stuck in the 1920s and I guarantee, it will come back to bite him in his ass (see link below).
The white PG County Police Chief Henry P. Stawinski was also invited, the response I received from his office one day before the event, read as follows;
I apologize for the late response. Chief Stawinski is appreciative of the invitation for the Kids in Trouble, Inc. Breakfast Forum but due to prior commitments, he will not be able to attend. Please let us know if you should need anything in the future. Beverly
Beverly A. Coppock
Executive Administrative Aide
for Chief Henry P. Stawinski III
Prince George’s County Police Department
7600 Barlowe Road
Palmer Park, Maryland 20785 / 301 772-4740
No stand-in suggested
Invitation to white Commander Stuart Emerman of the 3rd District (Cardozo/Shaw).
From: “Stuart Emerman (MPD)”
Sent: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 12:45:15 PM
Subject: RE: INVITATION ONLY: POLICE COMMUNITY RELATIONS FORUM
Thank you for the invitation Mr. Bell, but unfortunately I will be on vacation that week and unable to attend. Thank you and be safe.
Commander Stuart Emerman
Metropolitan Police Department
Patrol Services Bureau
1620 V Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think”. Ralph Waldo Emerson
My response, ‘Is there a second in command or community relations officer who could sit in your place? His follow-up response was;
“I will have to check the schedule to see which of my captains are on vacation, but normally on a Saturday we do not have a captain on the day work shift.”
Commander Stuart Emerman
Metropolitan Police Department
Patrol Services Bureau
1620 V Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think”. Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘Never got a follow-up response’, but several days before the forum a white officer working under his command was caught on video in walking distant of Ben’s Chili Bowl physically abusing a young black woman and never charged her with a crime.
The officer in question was seen picking up the young woman by her shirt collar and body slamming her against his police cruiser with her feet dangling off the ground. He looked to be over 6 feet tall and weighing in the neighborhood of 250 pounds. The young woman in question was barely 5 feet tall and weighing less than 100 pounds (see link below).
Is this the type of Police training being taught in the 3rd District by Commander Stuart Ermerman. Remember, this is a man, who quotes poet and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson with; “Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well”
I then invited white DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier, I received a timely response from Lt. David Augustine stating;
Thank you for this information. Unfortunately, Chief Lanier is unable to attend but she thinks this is an important dialogue to have. The Chief would like for Commander Taylor to attend on behalf of MPD. He serves as the Commanding Officer of the Sixth District and she thinks he would bring a lot to the table. I have included him on this email so the two of you may connect. The Chief thanks you for the invitation and we look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Commander Dave Taylor was an excellent choice for the forum and he did bring a lot to the table and hopefully, he took away a lot.
While we are playing “The Race Card” let me back-track and list the black officials who received an invitation who were no-shows with or without a response;
I extended invitation to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (I dropped the ball)
An invitation went out to black Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, we received email saying, there was a conflict in her schedule.
Thank you for inviting me to your Police Forum on
Saturday, August 20, 2016. I am pleased and honored by
your request, and would very much like to participate.
I regret that my schedule makes it impossible for me to
commit at this time due to a prior commitment. I
appreciate your kind invitation and hope that I will be able
to participate in the future.
Again, may I express my sincere regrets that my
schedule prevents my coming. Please also accept my very
best wishes for success.
Eleanor Holmes Norton
An Invitation went out to Ward 6 Councilman John Allen, but due to schedule conflict he was unable to attend, but his Constituent Service rep Ms. Naomi Mitchell sat in on the forum in his place and made a observation and contribution.
Invitation to black Montgomery County Executive Isacc Legett: Received a call from staffer saying there was a conflict in his schedule, but Human Resources staff member Luis Cardona would be in attendance.
Invitation to former member of Kids In Trouble Board of Directors, Federal Judge Alex Williams, Jr. No response
He was the sitting judge in the mysterious hanging of 19 year old Ronnie White in the Upper Marlboro jail in 2008 (still unsolved)
Invitation to First Baptist Church of Glen Arden, Pastor John Jenkins, No response
John Jenkins is one of the Game Players in the county who is killing black folks softly. He best can be described as a “Pimp in the Pulpit.” On several occasions I have sought his help in regards to me and my struggles and the community. In regards to me, he has reached out and back on occasion, but lives have been lost and are still being lost, because he puts power-based politics before life.
For example; this is the response I received from him after I had brought to his attention the problem of “Cowboy Cops in the county”.
Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 1:09:44 AM
Subject: Fwd: URGENT OPEN LETTER: COW BOY COPS IN THE DMZ
Hi Pastor Jenkins,
I need your support on this important project that will hopefully save some lives (including mine) in our cities around this country where black men and boys’ blood is flowing in our streets because of “A War on Black Men” by police departments across this country.
Two months ago I wrote a letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan relating to Cowboy Cops patrolling the streets here in PG County in cars of three harassing black men. After he failed to respond I wrote him an “Open Letter” that hopefully the world will see (see link below).
I asking you to forward the Open Letter on to family and friends here in PG and across the country asking them to call the Governor’s office at the two numbers found at the conclusion of the letter. They should ask him the question, why has there be no response to my letter of concern?
Pastor Jenkins, we no longer have to take to the streets to march, we can now do our marching with the new technology, internet, text, e-mail, etc. PG County is on the bubble of becoming a Ferguson, NY City, Phila, LA, Chicago, etc. We need to make the Governor aware that folks are watching him from all over America. This is a very dangerous stand I am taking, but our children’s blood is flowing in our streets, enough is enough! I am looking forward to your response. Thanks and God bless.
From: “John Jenkins”
Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 7:40:24 AM
Subject: Re: URGENT OPEN LETTER: COW BOY COPS IN THE DMZ
I am aware and concerned about these incidents happening nationwide as well. I have approached the issue by dialoging closely and personally with the chief of the police department of Prince George’s County. I strongly believe that dialog and accountability is the best strategy to address this troubling challenge. I am also in close relationship with the county’s states attorney.
I agree with your assessment that we have new avenues to speak to injustice in our society. I am prayerful and hopeful that our efforts will address and change the injustices that our communities have been facing.
Note Worthy: I had previously tried to get him and others ministers who followed his lead to investigate the horrible conditions of nursing homes in the state, no response. My only living brother Earl a 14 year vet of the DC Police Department died in one August 1, 2014.
I e-mailed Pastor Jenkins’ response to 30 friends, family, church leaders, and community activist. Twenty-six responded and almost to a man and woman, agreed he was setting up his own Power-Base. They were not surprised by his response. The church is second behind him. His recent promo with TV 9’s Bruce Johnson was all about “Look at me” and many think that Johnson is on his payroll. Johnson was once known in the black community as “Dr. Death”, because when you saw him with a camera crew you knew someone was dead.
You would think a man of the cloth would take this suggestion and invite community activist and law-enforcement officers to First Baptist Church of Glen Arden for a pow-wow, but nine months later, nothing. Maybe he was having breakfast with the Chief and the State’s Attorney on Saturday out of sight.
Invitation to Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker, No response
Invitation to black Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks: Response,
Dear Mr. Bell,
Due to multiple scheduling conflicts, State’s Attorney Alsobrooks is unavailable to participate in Kids In Trouble, Inc. Police Community Relations and Justice Forum on August 20th. It’s critically important that such dialogue occur in our communities and I applaud your efforts.
Although the State’s Attorney is unable to participate at this forum, please consider us for future engagements.
Ola M. Hill
Community Affairs Liaison
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Office
14735 Main Street, Suite M3403
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Note Worthy: No stand-in suggested and if she has partnered with John Jenkins of First Baptist Church of Glen Arden and her mentor is former State’s Attorney Glen Ivy, black folks in Prince Georges County are in Big trouble. See my column in the Washington Post’s “Close To Home” section in 2007 relating to how incompetent Ivy was as the State’s Attorney.
The Department of Justice’s recent findings as it related police corruption and brutality in the Baltimore Police Department came as no surprise to those of us who have devoted our lives to working in the “War Zones” of the inner-city.
The Police Community and Relations forum was more than about Chili half smokes, hot dogs or Bill Cosby. It was about saving lives in our community. The Chili Bowl has been on the front-lines on the U Street/aka Black Broadway corridor for the past 58 years.
The forum was definitely a wake-up call for the law-enforcement officers and community activist in attendance. They came from all different directions as close as Maryland, DC, Virginia, and as far away as Philadelphia and California (Bernie Chavis and Ken Price respectively). Many of them hung around to talk “Shop” long after the forum was over. I was impressed.
I cannot believe it when I hear people say how surprised they are with the unrest in the black community.
The Kerner Commission was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 to look into and discover why was race relations so bad in America?
The report’s findings; “We are headed in two different directions, two separate Americas, one black and one white—separate and unequal!”
We were forewarned. The benefactors from this unrest within will be our enemies, ISIS, China, Russian, etc.
As we watch this great country self-destruct, to understand why, we have to look no further then the CBS 60 Minute segment aired on Sunday August 21, 2016. The show was titled “Slave Ship.” Lonnie Bunch the Curator for the Nation Museum of Black History and Culture was the special guest.
It is estimated that over 12 million slaves were shipped from the port of Mozambique by the first slave owners, who where Portuguese followed by other slave owners the English, French, Spanish, and Dutch. The Portuguese did not have a GPS to lead them to the African Villages, it was other greedy Africans who led the white slave traders to those villages.
Does that sound Familiar?
In 2016 the new slave owners have names like the 1%, NRA, KKK/FOP, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX NEWS, ESPN, NCAA, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Republican and Democratic parties.
In 2016 their partners on the new Slave Ships are armed with GPS are as follows; Congressional Black Caucus, the Urban League, NAACP, the Black Church, NABJ and any other person of color who thinks they have made it in America–wake up everybody!
The most interesting part of the forum came when I tabled the questions; How can supporters of police departments who shoot and kill unarmed people of color say that 99% of police officers are good and hard working people and it is just the 1% that taints the department? No response. Or when I followed up with the early history of the department proving it was controlled by the KKK and the FOP is now the affiliate of the KKK.
The KKK established “The Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence” to protect white officers who brutalize people of color. The FOP never encouraged black membership, but we joined anyway to go along to get along.
When I followed-up with the question; How many people in this room can name a Fraternity Order of Police President in the history of the department whom has ever step forwarded in any platform and declared “That was a bad shooting!” The silence was deafening. You could have heard a mouse piss on cotton, the standing room audience went totally mute. Remember, the proof is always in the pudding!
“Never allow a man who has never been in your shoes to tell you how to walk”