Betty Shelby Uninvited To Police Conclave To Discuss Crutcher Shooting
Betty Shelby is a crowd favorite among local law enforcement when they need someone to explain how to handle a racially charged police shooting of an unarmed African American. However, she was uninvited from the 2018 Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association Conference in Baton Rouge this week after a large backlash. Even the deep south understands she is no crucible for proper law enforcement professionalism.
Louisiana has their own racial problems and they have also had their advances in race relations. Part of that progress involves listening to people of color when acts of insensitivity arise. These efforts are planned with public funds. In this case, civil rights groups let the conclave of homicide investigators know that Shelby is a lightning rod for what is wrong not right with modern law enforcement.
Shelby was the beneficiary of a largely white jury that was not about to charge a female white policewoman with manslaughter no matter her extremely questionable actions. Most people and most of the jurors thought of her guilty and asked that she not be allowed to patrol the streets anymore. Shelby and her husband are personal friends with ex-Tulsa police officer and current Sheriff of Rogers County, Scott Walton. Walton callously first appointed Shelby as a reserve deputy and later hired her as a deputy. She is back armed with a lethal weapon in a county that has a reputation for jailing African Americans in disproportionately high rates. African Americans make up less than one percent of the population of Rogers County but make up ten percent of the jail population.
The jurors who acquitted Shelby were right about one thing: Betty Shelby should not patrol the streets looking for criminals. And she is certainly no expert on proper police conduct.
Mid-Term Election Sends Women Of Color To Congress As Problems Still Fester
Over 100 women will be going to congress including Oklahoman Kendra Horn in what can only be called an amazing victory for gender and racial equality. Of the 100 women, 43 are women of color. Muslims, Native Americans and African American women are kicking in the door of what was once and all white, all male club of rich men. Their ascension to power was in large measure a response to President Donald Trump’s poor treatment of women and people of color. There is the anticipated ugly reaction to positive change.
Trump first congratulated all the winners then proceeded to threaten to use the U.S. Senate to attack the House of Representatives firmly in Democrat control. The House and their new members were unimpressed by the threat. Trump then found a way to further damage his relations with the press by attacking three African American female reporters who had the unmitigated gall to ask him uncomfortable questions. Yamiche Alcindor, Abby Phillips and April Ryan, were called stupid, losers and racist. It’s as if they, of all people, were not able to ask questions. While it’s true Trump seems to hate all journalists, he reserves his greatest disdain for African American females for public scorn. But why is Trump heaping so much hatred toward African American women now?
Who can say why he’s directing so much hatred toward black female reporters? Some have theorized it has to do with the results of the November elections where the House of Representatives flipped to Democrat control. This outcome could possibly spell the end of his presidency and he is enraged about the prospect. Instead of changing to a smarter more conciliatory demeanor, Trump does what he always does and that is to double down on his anger. To bully and threaten his way out of trouble. That may work in real estate and it even works in campaigning it seems. However, tirades against protected classes of people is unwise for a myriad of reasons. Trump may well be desperate and doesn’t know how to remedy the mess he is in. Trump maybe scared because not only is his legacy probably ruined, so are the reputations of everyone around him.
Perhaps when he saw the faces of female African American reporters, he was reminded he will soon face congresswoman Maxine Waters. She has gotten under his skin for the last two years and he often refers to her as “low IQ” and other names. She will chair the powerful House Financial Services Committee and she no doubt will be investigating Trump and Russian money laundering with Deutsche Bank. Congressman John Lewis will chair the House Oversight Committee which has responsibility over fraud and other abuses of government. Perhaps that is what has the president so upset.
Trump wasn’t the only politician who lacked civility and class. United States Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is in a run-off for her bid for re-election against African American Mike Espy. She recently accepted the endorsement of a local rancher she thought was important to her campaign. In this case she said she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” if the cattle-rancher supporter invited her. This would be outrageous if she was running against anyone. However, she is running against an African American man. She also is running for public office in Mississippi. Mississippi does not just have a poor record of racist behavior; it is the state with the most hangings of African Americans anywhere in the United States. She of course said the comment was a joke, but jokes are usually funny. This lacked humor and decorum.
As committee assignments are made for the new congress, women of color will take their seat and there will be new voices. Many of these voices ran for public office because of Trump’s harsh and often racist actions. Muslim, Latino, African American and Native Americans will be among those seeking the truth. The truth is a rare commodity these days as republicans have tried to shield the president from the bright light of justice. And perhaps Trump knows that now. Perhaps the times they are a changing.