I flew into a rage after reading about Brennan Walker, a 14-year-old black boy, who knocked on the front door of a home, seeking directions to school when the homeowner fired two shots from a shotgun at the teenager who ran fearing for his life.
The homeowner, Jeffrey Ziegler, 53, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, was awakened by his wife, Dana, who screamed at Brennan, “why are you trying to break into our house?”
Ziegler jumped out of bed, grabbed his shotgun, ran to the front porch and fired two shots, missing the teenager, but scaring him.
Last week, a jury convicted Zeigler for assault with an attempt to do great harm and for possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He will spend the next two years in prison.
The next morning over breakfast, my wife, Susan, and I discussed the incident. I asked Susan why wasn’t Ziegler’s wife arrested or fined for causing all this trouble. I admit it’s a somewhat novel angle on the matter.
Susan is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice and she reminded me many people fear others, especially black men, because of previous negative experiences, or, more likely, because of racist, demonizing news media portrayals. I didn’t have to be reminded of that. Along with other black men, I watch women everyday as they clutch their purses in fear when they see a black man in their midst.
I didn’t let it go at that.
It costs taxpayers’ money for the police to turn on their Mars lights and speed to the scene of a reported crime.
Walker’s mother said her son has been in therapy receiving treatment since Ziegler shot at him.
Dana Ziegler claimed she was frightened when she saw Walker standing on the porch behind the screen door. But no one is more frightened than black men and black boys when we are made to feel even in the most mundane of circumstances that we are engaged in some kind of criminal activity in the minds of white people and that our lives and or freedom hang in the balance.
In 2013, Randall Kerrick, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, shot to death Jonathan Ferrell, a former student at Florida A&M University, who was seeking help following a one-car accident.
Ferrell knocked on the front door of Sarah McCarthy’s home. She called the police and reported that a black man was trying to burglarize her home, which is exactly what Dana Ziegler said about Walker. Police arrived and Kerrick shot Ferrell 10 times, killing him. Kerrick fired most of his shots as Ferrell lay on the ground.
The next day police found Ferrell’s car in a ditch. He was unfamiliar with the area and veered off the road, running his car into a ditch.
One of the worst cases of a white women lying about black men occurred in Duluth, Minnesota.
On June 15, 1920, a mob dragged Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie, employees of the John Robinson Circus, from their jail cells and lynched them for allegedly raping Irene Tusken, a 19-year-old, although Dr. David Graham’s examination of Tusken found no evidence of sexual assault. That didn’t stop newspapers from publishing stories that she had died during the assault. She was very much alive. Her great grand daughter described Tusken as a devout Catholic who never expressed sorrow about the past.
That information did not prevent newspapers from publishing numerous stories about the alleged rape. The story about the lynchings is told in the 1979 book “The Lynchings in Duluth,” by Michael Fedo. A photo of the three men who had been lynched was made into postcards at the time and shown throughout Duluth.
I feel as though I am always viewed as a criminal.
I live across the street from a Whole Foods Store in Chicago, and as I was walking out after paying for my groceries a Hispanic guard in a Chicago Cubs baseball cap and T-shirt started taking my picture with his cell ‘phone. I asked him if he was a security guard. He said “no” and quickly disappeared down the aisles.
Lately, I have read several news articles about white women calling the police on black men and black children for the most mundane behaviors.
One woman called the police on an eight year old girl who was selling bottled water outside of AT&T Park in San Francisco. The child said she was trying to earn money for a trip to Disneyland.
In another instance, a white woman called the police to report a black man driving two white children around. A brief query revealed he was the children’s regular babysitter.
Another woman called the police charging that an 11-year-old boy groped her. It turned out his backpack accidently brushed against her as he squeezed past her in a narrow grocery store aisle.
In most instances when a white woman calls the police on a black man or black boy for some minor incident, the woman is rarely identified but is unquestioningly taken at her word.
Not only should these accusers be identified, they should be fined for wasting taxpayer’s money and public servants’ time. And they should be taken off their pedestals.