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Parents, leaders cry out against ‘police brutality’

Mike McGee | 7/3/2014, 2:17 p.m.
“Do you know anything about the brutality in our midst?” Dr. Brenda Wall, pastor of Counseling and Christian Education at ...
Dr. Cornel West speaks during a town hall meeting on police brutality at Friendship-West Baptist Church on June 20. Mike McGee

The Dallas Examiner

“Do you know anything about the brutality in our midst?” Dr. Brenda Wall, pastor of Counseling and Christian Education at Friendship-West Baptist Church, asked those seated before her in the sanctuary. “Do you know anything about what it’s like when mothers have to go on the battlefield because of what happened in their families?”

Wall, along with guest speakers Collette Flanagan and Dr. Cornel West, appeared at Friendship-West to address the trend of young unarmed minority men being disproportionately injured or killed by the Dallas Police. The presentation, “Community Matters: A Town Hall Meeting,” was held June 20.

Flannigan, founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, spoke to the audience about the DPD’s use of deadly force and related what she termed her “journey” in dealing with the issue personally. Flanagan founded MAPB after her 25-year-old son Clinton Allen was shot by a Dallas Police officer at an Oak Cliff apartment complex on March 10, 2013.

“Clinton was shot seven times, once in the back, and he was unarmed,” she stated, describing the shooting and similar acts committed by the DPD as “an egregious breach of contract” of the public’s trust.

Like many cases that involve police shooting and killing of a suspect, there are many factors that led to the incident and both sides have different stories. And rarely does the public agree on what the law deems acceptable force.

Later on the day of the incident, DPD officials used its social media page to tell its side, describing that – after having sent violent text messages – the young man arrived on the property but left after the resident refused to let him in and called 911. As police searched for Allen, he attacked Staller but failed to react when the officer fired his Taser.

“… Suspect Allen gained a position behind Officer Staller and began choking him, lifting him off his feet. Officer Staller could not breathe and fearing for his life, drew his duty weapon and fired, striking Suspect Allen,” the webpage cited.

Requests for an interview were made to Sgt. Warren Mitchell, a DPD Public Information officer. The phone messages were not responded to in time to meet the deadline for this story.

West – professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and professor emeritus at Princeton University – was the keynote speaker during the town hall meeting. As he addressed the crowd, he pointed out that young, unarmed men killed in confrontations with police wasn’t just a problem occurring within the Dallas/Fort Worth borders.

“Every 28 hours in America, there’s a priceless, precious, Black or Brown, and also poor White, but disproportionally Chocolate young person [killed].”

Before the event began, photos of the victims killed were displayed on large video monitors in the sanctuary. Statistics were also shown on the screens. One figure released by the MAPB informed the audience that more than 68 unarmed men have been killed by the Dallas Police since 2002; 74 percent of those males were Black or Hispanic.