Regarding Sandra Bland

Another viral video involving a black citizen and a white cop. And another smattering of anti-police rhetoric from the evangelical intelligentsia. It’s becoming a common theme.

This time it’s involving a black woman named Sandra Bland who was stopped by a white Texas State Trooper for failing to signal a lane change. Video here… [WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE]

Now, before I get into the particulars of this case, I need to address something. As usual, there’s the Romans 13 refresher…

Romans 13
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.”

Now, as Christians, is there ever a time that it’s OK to disobey an order from a cop? Yes, there are 2 such occasions and here they are.

#1 – When an officer tells you to do something that violates God’s commands.
Example: An officer tells you to worship Buddha or go to jail. A biblical example of something like this is Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were told by the authorities (Nebuchadnezzer in this case) to stop worshiping God. They obeyed God rather than man. But notice something, they didn’t attack Nebuchadnezzer. They didn’t resist arrest. They didn’t attempt to flee. They simply obeyed God and accepted the consequences, which in this case was to be death in a fiery furnace. The Bible is full of examples like this.

Matthew 26:50 says, “Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant[g] of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Simon Peter was trying to prevent Jesus’ arrest (talk about an unlawful arrest!) and Jesus rebuked him for assaulting the high priest. The apostles were arrested and martyred yet you’ll never find a single verse where Jesus or the apostles encourage resisting arrest, assaulting a Roman guard, trying to stage an insurrection, etc.

#2 – When an order from the officer is unlawful.
If an officer tells you to shoot yourself in the head or be arrested, yeah, that would be a good time to disobey the order. But again, that never grants you the right to resist arrest, attack the officer, try to kill the officer or try to run from the officer. Even if you’re being arrested for something bogus, we as Christians have a duty to respond a certain way. There is still recourse for you. It’s probably in your best interest to still do as the officer asks, and if you were illegally arrested, by all means do whatever you legally can to get justice. That might mean going to the news, that might mean suing the officer for damages, getting him fired, whatever. But fleeing, resisting or assaulting is NEVER the appropriate action for a Christian (or anyone else) to take.

Expounding on point #2, if you’re going to disobey an order from an officer because you think the order is unlawful, you’d better be 110% sure that you know what you’re talking about. I would say 99% of the public doesn’t. They think they do because they watch police dramas on TV, or they have a degree in criminal justice, or they know someone who knows a cop/lawyer/judge who told them they were right. Let me just tell you as plainly as I can: there’s an high astronomical chance that the officer knows the law better than you. So if you’re going to play that card you’d better really know what you’re getting into. If you haven’t spent at least 6 months studying the law (and sometimes years in addition to that practicing it and enforcing it) like police officers do, then chances are you don’t know the law quite as well as you think you do.

Now, having laid that groundwork, let’s get to the Sandra Bland arrest.

She was stopped for failing to signal a lane change. The officer goes back up to her car with a written warning. If she had simply signed it, she would have been on her way in a matter of minutes, and very few of us would even know who Sandra Bland was. Instead, she copped an attitude. She copped an attitude before even knowing what was going to happen. She had no idea that the officer initially had no intention of arresting her or even giving her a ticket. Instead, she’s mad that she’s even being stopped, and it must have been written all over her face as the officer asks, “Are you OK?” Then she vents about how irritated she is about getting a ticket (even though she wasn’t getting one.) Now I can’t read the officer’s mind, but my guess is that after all the attitude he received, he changed his mind about letting her off with a warning.

He asks her, in an EXTREMELY nice way, to put out her cigarette. She refuses and gives more attitude. He then commands her to step out of the car.

This is where most of the confusion comes in. Why was he asking her to put out her cigarette? Is she legally obligated to? Is she legally obligated to step out of the car? The answer is yes, she most definitely IS obligated to step out of the car if the officer asks her to.

Pennsylvania vs Mimms led to a Supreme Court ruling that an officer CAN lawfully order someone to step out of the car during a traffic stop. (Read up on it here if you desire)

Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977), is a United States Supreme Court criminal law decision holding that a police officer ordering a person out of a car following a traffic stop and conducting a pat-down to check for weapons did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

She refused the lawful order to exit the vehicle. Now, back to the cigarette. A cigarette can be used as a weapon to stick into the officer’s eye, especially if the violator then plans to flee or assault the officer further. He was probably thinking proactively when he asked her to put it out, but regardless, that plays no bearing on whether or not she had the right to remain in the car.

And aside from Pennsylvania v. Mimms, he could have arrested her solely for the failure to signal intent to change lanes. Yes, you can be arrested even for a traffic violation. The only exceptions are speeding and open container in the state of Texas. Most of the time an officer will give the violator an opportunity to sign a promise to appear in court (a citation/ticket) instead of arresting them and taking them directly to the magistrate right then and there, but in the state of Texas he’s well within his rights to arrest her so long as the violation isn’t speeding or open container. (Read up on that here should you wish to.)

So there should be no confusion now as to whether or not he had a right to tell her to exit the car.

He asks her multiple times to exit the vehicle. She refuses. He tells her he is giving her a lawful order (and he is, as I just showed you) and if she doesn’t comply he will drag her out of the car if necessary. Once again, she refuses. Finally, after being warned that she will be tased if she doesn’t comply, she complies.

Understand something else, when you’re under arrest, you no longer have the right to hold your phone, to continue video taping, to call your mom or to call your lawyer. Yes, you are allowed to make phone calls, after you’ve been booked into jail. Phone calls are not allowed to be immediately made because suspects can (and have) called family and/or fellow gang members to come and help the arrestee escape custody or kill the officer.

After the handcuffs are on, she continues to move around despite the officer telling her to stand still on the sidewalk. This creates a danger for the officer. You may say, “What danger could she be if she’s in handcuffs?” At which point I would ask you to consider the families of these 8 officers who were killed by handcuffed suspects (and there are many more stories than just these.)

Apparently at some point she attempts to jerk away from him and kicks him in the shin and he forcefully subdues her to prevent further injury to himself. That’s assault on a peace officer, folks. Cut and dry. Simple.

Some have complained that they “illegally searched her car” but officers are required to take an inventory of the vehicle if it’s going to be towed. The purpose is to document all property inside the vehicle so that nothing will “go missing” from the vehicle. It’s to protect the property of the driver and it also protects the officers from false allegations of theft.

Once the officer books an arrestee into jail, the staff at the jail takes custody and the officer leaves. Those who want to blame the arresting officer for Sandra Bland’s death are being absurd. Yes, you can say “Well if he had never arrested her she wouldn’t have ended up dead in a jail cell.” Yeah, we can play the Butterfly Effect game all day. If that TV show I was watching wasn’t so interesting I wouldn’t have stayed up so late watching it and I wouldn’t have hit my snooze button that extra time the next morning, and I wouldn’t have been running late for work, and I wouldn’t have been speeding, and I wouldn’t have ran that red light and T-boned another car in the intersection. So hey insurance company, go after the producers of that TV show OK? It’s their fault!

By that logic any time anyone ever dies in jail, the arresting officer is to blame for their death.

Many have said that Sandra Bland’s death is suspicious and they have already made up their minds that someone murdered her. There’s just no possible way that she would have killed herself they say. But the fact is that by her own admission she was suffering from depression and PTSD, as seen in this video…

In addition, she disclosed that she had attempted suicide in 2014 and reported that she was feeling depressed on the day she was booked in (read more on that here)

Perhaps she was murdered. (Autopsy showed no signs of a defensive struggle and her neck had ligature marks consistent with hanging herself) But to smugly sit there and say “I KNOW she didn’t kill herself, therefore someone HAD to have murdered her” is ridiculous. How could anyone possibly KNOW that unless they were there to witness it? People commit suicide all the time and the unsuspecting family members always say, “I just never saw it coming. Sure, they had some problems. Sure, they struggled with depression sometimes, but I could never have imagined they’d kill themselves.” That kind of story happens ALL. THE. TIME. Did anyone see Robin Williams killing himself? How about Heath Ledger?

Maybe an investigation will show that she was murdered. But don’t you think, especially in light of Ferguson, that we should wait for the facts to come in? Especially as Christians? Shouldn’t we wait for an investigation to be done before we make accusations of racism and murder? Listen, we can mourn with those who mourn without making wild, uneducated accusations. It’s tragic that Sandra Bland died, whether it was suicide or murder, the loss of her life is tragic because yes, her life mattered! But can we agree that officers lives matter too?

As Christians, shouldn’t we be hesitant to demand a pound of flesh from a police officer until there’s some evidence that he is guilty of some wrong doing?

Look, if you want to argue that taking a person to jail for failing to signal a lane change is ridiculous by all means make that argument. But the emotions facts say that the officer was within the parameters established by the Texas Transportation Code to arrest her. If you don’t like it, petition to get the laws changed, but resisting arrest is not the answer. In fact it’s Biblically indefensible.

Edit: Sandra Bland’s autopsy revealed no signs of a struggle, her death has been ruled suicide.

Edit: Many are complaining that Sandra Bland wasn’t read her Miranda rights.  Most people (due to TV) don’t understand the function or applicability of the Miranda warning.  A Miranda warning is usually given if the officer isn’t sure about something and needs to ask the suspect a question.  Any answers to said questions before the Miranda warning is given can be thrown out of court.  The Miranda warning notifies the suspect of their rights to NOT answer any questions if they don’t want to and also warns them that from that point forward, any information that they do give can be used in court against them.  In the case of Sandra Bland, the officer wasn’t asking her any questions pertaining to the offense she committed.  He already had everything he needed to arrest her, he didn’t need to go fishing for clues by asking her questions.

A response to Mike Cosper

This is a response to Mike Cosper’s blog titled “McKinney, Privilege and our Circle of Concern” which can be found here.
The relevant video is found here. (Warning: foul language)
I’m still seeing an alarming number of professing Christians who appear to be either utterly ignorant of the law and the enforcement of that law or they simply don’t care because they’re letting their feelings override good common sense.
Cosper says, “There’s something so stark, so nauseating, so horrific about the video footage of a police officer violently throwing a teenage girl to the ground and planting his knees on her back while she screams for help and cries out for her mother.”
Cosper, like most other Christians consumed with white guilt, completely fails to mention the reason this happened in the first place.  Or perhaps he’s completely ignorant of the reason why, or perhaps he doesn’t care.  The problem is, these things matter.  You can’t ignore certain aspects of a situation like this and focus only on what appears to be a “violent” take down.
So if Cosper is indeed ignorant, I aim to eliminate that excuse from his reasoning.  Since I’m stubborn enough to care about things like facts, truth and reality over raw emotion, let’s look at this objectively.
It’s already been established that the pool party was against the HOA’s rules.  A security officer, who represents the HOA, had already instructed her and the other party goers that they were not allowed onto the private property.  So according to the Texas Penal Code, the party goers were guilty of an offense called Criminal Trespass.  I’ll paste the relevant portion of the Texas Penal Code for you to see…
CRIMINAL TRESPASS  Texas Penal Code Chapter 30.05
(a) A person commits an offense if the person enters or remains on or in property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, or an aircraft or other vehicle, without effective consent and the person:

(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or

(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Entry” means the intrusion of the entire body.

(2) “Notice” means:

(A) oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner;

(B) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock;

(C) a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden;

The security guard (who acts as an apparent authority for the owner of the pool) had notified Dajerria Becton (the young black girl in the orange bikini) that she was not allowed to be on the privately owned property (satisfying condition #1) and requested that she depart, which she failed to do, (satisfying condition #2)  At this point she’s guilty of the offense and can be lawfully arrested.  In case the security guard somehow failed to notify her, Officer Casebolt also commanded her to leave, but she didn’t respect officer Casebolt’s lawful command either.

At this point, officer Casebolt is under no obligation to continue to ask her to leave.  She appears to be thinking about leaving, but stops to linger some more while officer Casebolt tells a separate group of people to leave.  The video doesn’t show what she said to the officer, but even she admitted “i guess he thought I said something rude to him.”  Clearly whatever she said made the officer feel as though Ms. Becton needed to be arrested for Criminal Trespass instead of merely being given yet another opportunity to simply leave.  And again, the officer was under no obligation to give her multiple warnings to leave to begin with.

Just as with the Eric Garner case, this is where most people really get appalled.  The video is too distant, shaky and off-center to capture exactly what happened, but my educated guess is that he told her she was under arrest and she immediately resisted the idea and began to argue.  And this is something that needs to be stressed to everyone: if an officer lawfully tells you that you’re under arrest, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO RESIST THE ARREST.  It doesn’t matter how unfair you think it is.  It doesn’t matter that other people were allowed to leave.  It doesn’t matter what race you are.  It doesn’t matter what race the officer is.  It doesn’t matter if the officer was verbally rude to you.  You comply with the lawful commands.  And if you don’t, you will be physically subdued using whatever force is necessary to effect the arrest.

The officer then moves in to arrest her, and my educated guess is that she pulled away and resisted arrest.  At this point he could have charged her with resisting arrest if he wanted to (and I think he should have).  The officer forcefully takes her to the ground.  Does it look bad?  Sure it does.  Forcing another human being to physically do something they don’t want to do is never going to look “good.”  There’s not a graceful way to physically force someone to do something they don’t want to do.  The bad appearance of this takedown is compounded by the fact that he’s white and she’s a young black female wearing only a bikini.

So to sum up the arrest itself…

  • It was established that Ms. Becton was committing an arrestable offense. 
  • The officer gave her a chance to leave with no repercussions. 
  • She declined that opportunity. 
  • The officer attempted to arrest her. 
  • She resisted arrest. 
  • He used the level of force necessary to effect the arrest.

Did she sustain injury?  Not to my knowledge.  Still, Cosper wasn’t too happy and tweeted this…

It doesn’t matter what any of us thinks is an acceptable use of force, what matters is what the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure tells us is an acceptable use of force.  Here’s what it says….
Art. 15.24. WHAT FORCE MAY BE USED.  In making an arrest, all reasonable means are permitted to 
be used to effect it.  No greater force, however, shall be resorted to than is necessary to 
secure the arrest and detention of the accused.
Mike, could you explain to the class exactly what the officer should have done differently?  Should he have asked her pretty please with a cherry on top to comply with the arrest?  Should he have attempted to somehow perform a Jedi mind trick to get her to comply?  What exactly should an officer do, when someone physically resists his attempts to restrain them, especially when he has no handcuffs?  I eagerly await your answer to that question, Mike.  It would really save both officers and arrestees a lot of grief if you know of a better way.

Back to Cosper’s words, he says, “It’s even more nauseating in the wider context of the video, where boys with black skin are being systemically culled out of the crowd and told to sit while white folks seem free to move about.”  

I’m not even sure what he’s talking about here.  Did you even watch the video?  Are you talking about the guy in the tan shirt and denim shorts?  Pretty sure that guy wasn’t one of the people attending the party and refusing to leave the pool.  Most people don’t show up to a pool party wearing denim shorts and tennis shoes and a button up shirt.  No, I think anyone that has put any thought into this video at all can probably tell that this man wasn’t one of the party goers who was causing a disturbance at the pool, and officer Casebolt probably recognized that as well.  And can you also mention all the other black people that were allowed to leave?  Could it be that certain individuals there were a bigger problem than others?  Must we ignore those possibilities for the sake of detaining an equal number of white people (if there even were an equal number of white people there?)  Could it be, Mike, that you don’t have the full story to know why certain people were detained and others weren’t?  As you said yourself…

You might want to follow your own advice in this instance. 
Cosper says, “And it’s chilling to see the cop pull a gun when the girl’s friends try to step in and help her.”  Help her with what Mike?  Help her break the law?  Help her resist arrest?  Help her escape a lawful arrest?  What you call help is what the Texas Penal Code calls Interference with Public Duties, and it’s a crime.


(a) A person commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or otherwise interferes with:

(1) a peace officer while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted by law;

Cosper then retweeted this gem from notorious race-baiter Deray…
Wrong.  The officer drew his gun because he was out numbered by a dozen angry people that were shouting and moving in on his blind spot.  His holstered gun was exposed and within arm’s reach of these angry people, particularly the man in the turquoise ball cap who lunges towards the officer and appears to be reaching into his waistband with his left hand.  So yes, he drew his gun. 
His actions were reasonable.  And he probably didn’t want to end up like this officer, who was blindsided while trying to make an arrest. Or like this officer who took multiple punches in the face from an onlooker while trying to arrest someone else.
Is this the kind of thing you had in mind when you spoke about a friend stepping in to help her? 
 Mike, if you were surrounded by a dozen people shouting and yelling and cursing at you while you tried to do your job, and suddenly out of the corner of your eye you see one of them bum rushing you while your attention is turned to someone you’re trying to lawfully arrest, do you think that might be a little scary Mike?  Have you given no thought whatsoever to the fact that officer Casebolt is a human being just like you, capable of being injured and killed?  Have you given no thought to the fact that he would like to go home at the end of the day to his family?  Have you given no thought to the fact that he doesn’t want to leave his wife a widow and his children fatherless?  Have you allowed culture to influence your mind to the point that you forget there are human beings, created in the image of God, wearing those uniforms? 
 Cosper continues, “Is her plight – and the plight of those who are subject to the officer’s abusive speech – something we should feel compelled to respond to, or something we can in good conscience shrug our shoulders at?”
 What plight are you talking about Mike?  The fact that she was uninjured while being lawfully and legally arrested for committing a crime after being given every opportunity to simply go home?  And while I will agree with you that the officer shouldn’t have used the foul language he did, let’s not pretend that everyone there was appalled by the language.  Pretty safe bet that the music provided by the DJ at that party had plenty of foul language in it, but suddenly it’s only offensive if a white cop uses those same words?
 Cosper continues, “I think the answer to that question relies, to a degree, on the color of your skin.  If you’re an African American or person of color, she’s the girl in the pond.  Her suffering demands a response not because you can rescue her, but because what she was subjected to is something that you, your family, and your community are at risk of suffering as well.  It’s proximity is very, very close.”
 Again, Mike, what suffering are you talking about?  I’m sorry, but being arrested for committing a crime after being given ample opportunity to leave is not suffering.  Your definition of suffering needs serious revision.  When you use the word suffering in this instance it waters the word down and detracts from ACTUAL suffering.  And I’m not too worried that me or my family is at risk of this “suffering” because I obey the law and respect authority and I teach my children to obey the law and respect authority as well.  Her parents evidently didn’t teach her to respect authority, which is why she ended up in handcuffs.
 Cosper continues, “If, like me, you’re not an African American, then the situation is much different.  One can watch the video, find it horrifying, be moved with empathy at the particulars of the case, and move on with one’s life.  The overarching theme of brutality that targets black skin doesn’t necessarily break through to your circle of concern.”
What is this overarching theme of brutality that targets black skin, Mike?  You speak of it as if it’s an irrefutable fact.  Can you provide any objective evidence that shows police officers target black people and brutalize them today?  Sure, the media will tell you it’s an epidemic, but is it really true?  Can you prove that assertion with anything more than emotion and anecdote?  Furthermore, much like how your definition of suffering needs work, your definition of brutality needs work as well.  Did Ms. Becton suffer any injuries?  Not to my knowledge.  Wouldn’t brutality, at the very least, require some kind of injury?  Or is any arrest where the officer must use force to overcome resistance now defined as brutality?
Cosper continues, “You haven’t experienced similar things in your life and in your community.  You don’t have to warn your children about how they mind themselves with police are around.”
Yes we do, Mike.  That’s the whole point.  We do teach our children to respect authority & obey lawful commands from that authority.  And there are many black parents who do as well, and to no one’s surprise, their kids don’t end up being forced to the ground in a viral Youtube video.  And there are many white parents who don’t teach their kids these things, and their kids end up in handcuffs too.  You see it’s not about race, Mike, as much as you want it to be.  It’s about respecting the law.  Ms. Becton didn’t and she reaped the consequences of that decision.
 Cosper says, “You don’t have to live each day with the subtle legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation that cause a crowd to assume that you don’t belong at a swimming pool in a middle class neighborhood.”
There was no assumption that Ms. Becton didn’t belong at the swimming pool, it was a fact that she didn’t belong.  Much like if I were to walk unannounced into your privately owned home without welcome.  I wouldn’t belong there unless you had given me consent to be there.  The HOA has rules that you must be a resident of the community or a guest of the resident, and each resident is only allowed 2 guests.  It wouldn’t have been any different if she was white.  If she wasn’t a resident or 1 of 2 guests of a resident, she wasn’t allowed to be there.  Period.  Race has nothing to do with it.  Again, you ignore the facts of the case and immediately assume racism.  Yet a black resident (you know, someone who lives there and actually witnessed this whole thing as opposed to watching a 7 minute video from their couch) said the community is diverse and accepting of all races, and that the police were called because fights were breaking out.
Here’s another resident that actually witnessed the whole thing…
The community is accepting of all races.  What they’re not accepting of is their community pool being overrun and over-crowded by people who haven’t helped pay for that pool (and in fact were charging admission) and want to play loud, vulgar music and smoke weed around their kids.  How dare them, I know, the bigotry is astounding!
Cosper continues, “This is what it means to be ‘privileged.’  It means that society assumes some things in your favor.  Or perhaps, it means that you aren’t subjected to certain bias, suspicion or violence.  Privilege is the ability to look the other way.”
Again, Mike assumes that Ms. Becton (and everyone else there that was black) were told to leave simply because they were black.  I would challenge you Mike to support that belief with evidence.  Because I’ve already provided testimony from a black resident and a white resident that the police were called because the party was out of control.  In fact only one person there was even charged with a crime, and that was the friend that interfered with the lawful arrest of Ms. Becton.  Ms. Becton and her parents should be thanking the McKinney Police Department for not following through with charges of Criminal Trespass, but then again, no good deed goes unpunished these days.
Cosper continues, “The video isn’t a threat for white folks because all the white folks in the video walk away unscathed.”  Again, Mike, can you watch the video again and just count exactly how many white folks we’re talking about that trespassed into the pool and were allowed to walk away?  And while you’re counting, can you count the number of black folks who walked away unscathed?  And really, the word unscathed is yet another poor choice.
unscathed (uhn-skeyth d)
1. not scathed; unharmed; uninjured.
Was Ms. Becton injured?  Not to my knowledge, so even she walked away unscathed in the end.  Temporarily detained, yes, but unscathed.
He continues, “They are invisible to the officer who is rounding up black kids because it is assumed that they belong there and black kids don’t.  If you’re white, you can ignore the whole thing and go on with your life, confident that you, your children, your white friends and neighbors aren’t likely to be subjected to overly harsh treatment based on the color of your skin.”
Again, Mike, you’re operating on false assumptions and you’re psycho-analyzing the officer and the people who called 911.  What evidence do you have that the police were called merely because the party goers were black?  What evidence do you have that the officer made arrests merely because they were black?  Could it be that the people officer Casebolt detained had run from the police as soon as he arrived, arousing his suspicions?  In fact the other officer in the video says, “Don’t take off running when the cops get here.”  Could it be that none of the white people at the party had done that?  Could it be that the white people you see in the background of the video were never actually observed in the pool area and thus were never committing a crime?  The point is, there could be a huge number of different reasons as to why the officer detained who he detained, but for you to automatically assume racism makes you ironically guilty of the very bias you speak against.  There hasn’t been a single resident of that community that has said the officers came out there and just started throwing black kids around for no reason.  In fact we see just the opposite.  And this is from people who were actually there.  You, on the other hand, don’t have the whole story, so it’s irresponsible of you to make proclamations of racism as if it were indisputable fact.  I believe that’s what the Bible calls “bearing false witness.”
Cosper says, “For white folks, the girl pinned to the lawn by the knees of a police officer might as well be on the other side of the world.”
Two things wrong with this.  One, not all white folks feel that way (you, Mike, would be a good example of such a person) and two, just because we don’t join the lynch-mob of angry citizens who want the officer to be immediately burned at the stake doesn’t mean we feel as though the whole thing might as well be on the other side of the world.  Believe it or not, some of us believe in a fair judicial process that can be carried out by people who actually have access to the full story and all the facts therein.
Cosper continues, “Privilege can dismiss this as a tragic, but isolated incident.  Privilege can look at this case – and Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner, and Walter Scott, and many others – as isolated incidents where “bad apples” acted with unjustified violence.”
That’s because “bad apples” are isolated incidents.  For every Walter Scott and Tamir Rice there are untold thousands of arrests that go down without anyone getting killed or hurt.  But because only the Walter Scotts and Tamir Rices of the world make the news, you are brainwashed into thinking that these stories are commonplace, every day events.  (By the way, the officers who shot Walter Scott and Tamir Rice will go before a grand jury to give an account for their actions, so don’t act like they got off scott free just because they weren’t immediately hung in the public square like you would probably prefer)
Yep, plenty of arrests go down in America every day without making the news.  In 2012, 9.3 million people were arrested across the country.  Of those 9.3 million, 410 people were killed by justifiable homicide.  That’s 0.004%.  It’s amazing that the media can take a number so miniscule and brainwash the masses into thinking it’s some kind of widespread problem.
Cosper says, “Meanwhile, African American parents have to respond to this incident, like the others, by telling their kids to expect injustice and to go out of their way to comply with authorities.”
Here Cosper actually endorses black parents telling their kids to expect injustice from cops.  Unbelievable!  No wonder cops are so demonized!  When kids are indoctrinated into hatred from a young age it’s easy to see why!  And yes, we should all be teaching our kids to comply with authorities, are you suggesting they shouldn’t?
Does your Bible look like this Mike? bible
If so, I’ll paste the first 5 verses of Romans 13 for you…
“Let every person (that would include Ms. Becton) be subject to the governing authorities (that would be officer Casebolt).  For there is no authority except from God (that would be the McKinney Police Department in this case) and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities (that would be Ms. Becton) resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment (that would be her arrest).  For rulers (that would be the police) are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad (that would be Ms. Becton’s conduct).  Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? (that would be her defiance and resistance towards officer Casebolt) Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval (that would be the people who left when they were told to), for he is God’s servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain (that would be the officer’s pistol).  For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.”
Mike do you realize that every time you excuse and even condone criminal activity you are in defiance of God’s Word?  Do you realize that every time you tweet anti-police rhetoric that you are essentially saying you reject Romans 13?  I’m not talking about corrupt cops Mike.  And you aren’t either. You’re talking about ALL cops when you endorse stuff like this.  The kind of broad-brushing and stereotyping you commit against police officers is exactly what you rightfully hate when it’s done towards black people.  So can you answer why it’s OK to judge all police officers based on the actions of a few while simultaneously condemning that judgment when it’s towards all black people?  Your double standards are blatant and I urge you to repent of it.
Cosper says, “When my brother weeps because his sons are roughed up by cops for no reason, when my sister weeps because her daughter cried out for help and no one could help her, this should lead me to weep too.”
Do you weep for the 216 murder victims that have been killed in Chicago just since January, most of them black victims, most of them killed by black suspects?  Or is something only weep worthy if it’s a perceived injustice at the hands of a white cop?
Another question for you, Mike.  Do you weep for officer Casebolt?  He’s a flesh and blood human being, created in God’s image, who has suffered injustice as a result of this event, even if he wasn’t perfect throughout it.  Do you weep for him because he was essentially forced to resign from his career?  Do you weep for him and his family as they had to uproot their lives and go into hiding for their safety after receiving numerous death threats?  Is there any sympathy for him at all, or have you demonized and de-humanized him in your mind to such an extent that you’ve become either completely apathetic or actually feel that he and his family deserve it?
You started your blog with an ethical question called “The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle.”  Ironically, police officers like Darren Wilson and Eric Casebolt, who have had to quit their careers, uproot their families and go into hiding just for doing their jobs, are drowning.  But I guess your circle of concern doesn’t quite expand to them, does it?

A response to Thabiti Anyabwile

This is a response to Thabiti Anyabwile’s article titled “How Deep the Root of Racism?”  found here.

Thabiti mentions that the DOJ report of the Ferguson Police Department reveals that racism is alive and well.  I would agree with him that racism is alive and well, but Thabiti only tells half the story.  He didn’t mention if it was the 7 racist emails found over the course of 5 years or the fact that there was a disproportionate number of traffic stops made on blacks in the city of Ferguson as to why he believes racism is still strong.

The problem is, he assumes racism MUST account for the disproportionate number of citations.  What other possibility could there be right?  Fine.  If a disproportionate number of traffic stops or citations written to one race is stone cold, air tight proof of racism, so be it.  The problem for Thabiti is that in order to make this claim, he has no choice but to acknowledge the problem exists in reverse, only it’s much, much more severe.

Kevin Jackson, on his website, has some information to add.  The following statistics were taken directly from the Missouri Attorney General’s website…


Racial Profiling Statistics
– Disparity Index = Optimal number is 1, below 1 means group is underrepresented in the sample.  Over 1 means over represented in the sample.
State Average – Disparity Index against African-American – 1.59
Ferguson Police Department
Disparity Index against African Americans – 1.37
63% of population is African-American
86% of the traffic stops are African American
Below are Communities run by black City Councils/Mayor
Pine Lawn Police Department
Disparity Index against Whites – 19.32
1.42% of population is White
27.5 % of the traffic stops are White

[Author’s (Kevin Jackson’s) note:] Here’s an interesting factoid on Pine Lawn: Pine Lawn’s Director of Public Safety (Police Chief) and their City Prosecutor “moonlights” as the Attorney for Michael Brown’s family.

Berkeley Police Department
Disparity Index against Whites – 2.69
15% of population is White
42 % of the traffic stops are White
Looking at those statistics, Thabiti finds himself on the horns of a dilemma.  If a disproportionate number of traffic stops proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the corresponding police department is racist, then Thabiti must admit that Pine Lawn and Berkeley’s police departments are even more racist towards whites than Ferguson’s is towards blacks.

He also must admit that the DOJ is racist towards whites for not applying the same level of scrutiny and investigation into Pine Lawn and Berkeley’s police departments as it did with Ferguson’s.  Has the DOJ begun going through those departments e-mails yet?  I doubt it, and I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening either, it doesn’t fit the agenda.

But could it be… by some stretch of the imagination… (no probably not) but could it be… that blacks are committing more traffic infractions in Ferguson, and therein lies the explanation for the disproportionate number of traffic stops?

I quote from

“Outrageously, the nation’s top prosecutor failed to control for factors that explain the racial “disparity” in traffic stops, such as speeding, DUI, expired license plates, headlight, seat-belt and child-restraint violations and other reasons for being pulled over.

Holder’s own department statistics show that African Americans, on average, violate speeding and other traffic laws at much greater rates than whites.

The Justice Department’s research arm, the National Institute of Justice, explains that differences in traffic stops can simply be attributed to “differences in offending.”

Duh. For another example, “Seat-belt usage is chronically lower among blacks,” the NIJ says in a 2013 study. “If a law enforcement agency aggressively enforces violations, police will stop more black drivers.”

It adds that three out of every four black drivers say “police had a legitimate reason for stopping them.”

The institute cites two major studies on police profiling, one conducted in Savannah, Ga., and another in Cincinnati. Neither “support the perception that a high level of discrimination occurs prior to a traffic stop.”

Perhaps the attorney general should read his own research before making wild accusations of racism based on specious data.

Holder also complains black motorists were more likely than whites to receive multiple citations from Ferguson police, proof in his mind that cops “enforce the law more harshly against black people than others.”

“African Americans experience disparate impact in nearly every aspect of Ferguson’s law enforcement system,” his report finds.

But federal data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that blacks violate traffic laws at higher rates than whites in every offense, including driving with an invalid license.

Yet Holder makes it sound as if Ferguson police target blacks at random for stops for no other reason than “driving while black,” and then pile on the tickets.”

Thabiti goes on to say, “Racism acts far more seductively than that. She prefers men in robes or suits or uniform. She rathers young people wearing the letters of fraternities with power over who can and cannot join their organizations.”

He didn’t specify if he was talking about black mayor of Monticello, NY, Gordon Jenkins who called white cops “peckerwoods” and “crackers” after being arrested for DWI.  Here’s the video on that.

No, somehow I doubt that Thabiti’s comments about robes, suits or uniforms were directed at mayor Jenkins.  Funny, too, that Thabiti mentions the fraternities who have power over who can join their organizations.  If I were to make a list of “black only” organizations we’d be here all day.  And most of them hold more power than some drunken fraternity in Oklahoma.
Or how about the white reporter who was denied access to the annual White Privilege Conference because he was about to blow the whistle on the tax payer money being used to fund the conference, which by the way is rife with anti-white, anti-Western, anti-Christian vitriol.  That story here.
Thabiti says, “The shooting of Mike Brown, the police reactions to protests, the kangaroo grand jury and the aftermath all occur in this context, under this burgeoning cloud of racist stereotype, mistreatment, frustration and anger. That cloud bust and everyone got wet.”
Apparently Thabiti missed the fact that the DOJ, you know, that same entity that was right on top of exposing all of the racism in the Ferguson PD, well they found Darren Wilson innocent of any wrong doing as well.  How many times does officer Wilson have to go through the ringer and be found innocent before anyone will believe it?  Apparently it hasn’t been enough to convince Thabiti, as he’s still promoting the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” farce, as evidenced by the picture of the slogan in his article, despite a mountain of evidence that proved Mike Brown never had his hands up.  Even the DOJ concurred with that, but the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” farce lives on, because there’s that whole “agenda” thing and such.
And the aftermath of the grand jury decision and the police’s reactions?  Did the police put guns to people’s heads and make them burn half of Ferguson to the ground?  No, those actions were fueled by Michael Brown’s step father who was captured on video saying “Burn this b!tc# down!” and the protestors in Ferguson were all too happy to oblige.  Should the police have just packed up and went home while this was going on?  Apparently so.  That or politely ask all the rioters to stop, pretty please with a cherry on top.

Thabiti says, “This point isn’t to be forgotten. When we talk about Ferguson’s criminal justice system or systemic injustice generally, we’re talking about the weight of the State crushing citizens. We’re talking about everyday people being harassed, imprisoned, and further impoverished by a government that’s supposed to be “of the People by the People for the People.”To put it plainly: These things kill Black people. Sometimes slowly. Sometimes suddenly. But it’s always deadly. It could be the death of long sentences or the death of bullets.

Racism kills white people too.  Like Zemir Belgic, who was beaten to death with a hammer by a group of angry black males in southwest St. Louis.  Although, somehow, the murder is not being investigated as a hate crime.  Belgic was simply driving his car when the group walked up to his car and began beating it with a hammer.  When he got out of the car, they turned the hammer on him, killing him.  Racism played no part in it though, right?  If you believe that I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.  (That story found here.)

Thabiti continues, “It could be the lingering death of poverty and resource restriction or the infectious death of disease and few health resources. But it’s death.”

I’m interested in what resources are being restricted from blacks.  Could you provide an example Thabiti?  Could you provide an example of how health resources are held back from blacks?  And don’t play the poverty card.  The government has bent over backwards to address that issue and it’s only made things worse, as proven Jason Riley’s book, “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed.”  Excellent book by the way, and can be found here...

But racism isn’t the only killer out there.  Hatred in general is what kills people.  People like NYPD officers Ramos and Liu.  They were killed because they were hated.  They were hated, in large part, because of a deluge of anti-cop rhetoric found on TV, radio, internet articles, and even out of the mouths of pastors, and sometimes on T-shirts worn by said pastors.

Thabiti concludes his article by saying this is a Christian Discipleship issue as much as it is a Social Justice issue.  I agree wholeheartedly.  So what is discipleship exactly?  Is it hyper-grace given to violent black criminals?  Is it taking a pound of flesh from police officers who are merely defending their own lives?  Pastors like Thabiti, Bryan Loritts and Leonce Crump all seem to want one thing.

And that thing is this:  “Grace but not law for blacks, law but not grace for whites & cops.”  That’s not the gospel, sir.  And if that’s how the gardener’s going to tend his garden, the garden’s going to keep having weeds.

So if racism is going to be uprooted, by all means, throw me a shovel and I’ll get to work.  But let’s dig up all the weeds instead of leaving those behind whose roots have a darker hue.


Buy my debut novel “The Lament of Lucas Slade” for only 99 cents here.  Follow me @RJGarnerAuthor if you have Twitter.

A response to Leonce Crump

This is a response to Leonce Crump’s “Time to Listen” articles found here

Before I start I want to thank pastor Crump for all the good he has done for Christ’s Kingdom.  Make no mistake, he’s done much to bring light to a dark and desperate world. I’m not here to diminish or deny that.  In fact, I don’t even want to write this blog, but I feel compelled to and I pray that he will be receptive to it.  I also pray that any areas of my heart that lack compassion or grace will be exposed and that God will melt them away.

Crump starts with this…
“I’m sorry for being white!” His comment glowed from the computer screen with such weight that for a moment it was as if it was etched there permanently.  What, you may wonder, was the context of this comment? It was written on the Facebook wall of one of my congregants.  It was written by her father in response to her trying to explain why Ferguson has been so painful for so many in the African-American community.  I was truly in disbelief. He was once a Southern Baptist pastor.

What I wanted to write back, but didn’t is “Are you?” Are you sorry for being white? Or are you sick of having the privilege of your whiteness surfaced and challenged by the plight of my (our) collective “blackness?” Are you tired of “us” pointing out the obvious inequalities of our society? Should I, as a Creole, mixed-race, African American, Evangelical leader sit quietly by, not saying a word about what has transpired in Ferguson and many other cities so that your white daughter would not feel compelled to speak out and the comfort of your reality would remain.

Apparently Crump feels the girl’s father actually should apologize for being white.  As if the man had a choice.  And even if he had a choice, is God not the One who chose what color of skin the man would have?  Even if all he meant is that he wishes the man would have acknowledged that throughout American history whites have had an easier time than blacks, his wording was laced with venom, resentment and an accusatory tone that implies the man had a hand in oppression of blacks.

Now, I didn’t read the exact comments in question, but my guess is that the man was not insinuating that Crump should not have an opinion and should “sit quietly by.” He put words in the man’s mouth that he probably never said.

He continues…
This comment is filled with the type of sarcastic, defensive vitriol that has populated the Twitter timelines, Instagram feeds, and Facebook posts of so many white evangelicals.  And it seems to capture the mindset of the majority.  Note, I said majority, not all. I make that point to ensure that I (with my white wife, tri-racial children, and transcultural church) won’t be labeled here, as I have been in other places, a “racist,” “race-baiter,” or “divisive.”

It’s odd that Crump is accusing someone of sarcastic, defensive vitriol when he’s taking the same tone throughout the entirety of these articles.  He then goes on to imply that these kinds of defensive attitudes capture the mindset of the majority of whites. Wow, could you paint with a broader brush pastor?  He then attempts to dull the sting of that comment by saying “Note, I said majority, not all.  I make that point to ensure that I (with my white wife, tri-racial children, and transcultural church) won’t be labeled here, as I have been in other places, a ‘racist,’ ‘race-baiter,’ or ‘divisive.'”  Ok, so broad brushing the majority of white people as harboring resentment or defensiveness towards blacks makes it an A-OK statement, so long as you didn’t say ALL whites were that way?  If a white person was to say something like “the majority of blacks are better athletes than whites” or “the majority of blacks have more rhythm than whites” the person would be labeled racist.  You can’t make sweeping accusations of even a majority of people unless you have some way to prove it, otherwise, yes, you come across as racist or at the very least prejudiced.  And having a white wife doesn’t automatically mean a person can’t be racist or prejudiced towards whites.  There are plenty of racists out there who are married to or are dating someone of a different race, so his point there is irrelevant.  Also take note of how he didn’t appreciate being labeled “divisive” because we’re going to come back to that at the end of this blog.

Crump continues…
This comment captures the very reason why many African Americans feel so alone in this, and why men like my friend and mentor Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile have had to call out our camp for being saved on silent.  This comment, and others that seem to quickly jump to the defense of officer Wilson with disregard for the fact that a human life has been taken, creates a struggle in me that I must diligently work against: the belief that my white brothers and sisters simply don’t care about the African-American narrative in this country or they don’t believe it has enough value to be acknowledged.

This article was written before the grand jury declined to indict officer Wilson, and Crump chastises those that “seem to quickly jump to the defense of officer Wilson.”  But apparently it’s perfectly fine to quickly rush to judgment against officer Wilson and quickly jump to the defense of Michael Brown, as you’ll see from his interactions on Twitter…


That tweet was sent on August 13th, just 4 days after Michael Brown was shot, and long before all of the facts had come in. Yet he’s already demanding justice, which would imply that Darren Wilson had shot Michael Brown unjustly.  This is the height of hypocrisy, for him to judge people that “seem to quickly jump to the defense of officer Wilson” while he quickly jumps to condemn him.

Here’s another conversation he had on Twitter…

That last comment is truly unbelievable.  Did he really type the words “There’s no facts that can persuade me this shooting death was justifiable.”?  That comment is utterly horrifying.  I cannot believe a Christian, much less a pastor, would utter those words publicly or even harbor the thought privately.  This is classic lynch mob mentality.

In this tweet that was retweeted by Crump, Wilson is called a murderer.

And this next tweet might be the saddest one of all, as he is clearly breeding contempt for police officers in his six year old child despite being presented with a perfect opportunity to teach her about respect for authority, and obeying the law…

Returning to the article, he then says this is the reason that he feels white people don’t care about the narrative of black people in this country.  What a tremendous jump in logic!  So because we all didn’t immediately jump on the “Wilson is guilty” bandwagon with him that apparently means no one cares about the injustices that blacks endured in the history of our country?  This line of reasoning is, well, completely unreasonable!

Now Crump moves on to his personal experiences with police….
I am 6’5”. I weigh 270 pounds.  I’ve been called imposing.  The police have stopped me, both walking and driving, nearly once a year since I was 15 years old.  Though I have been asked to leave my vehicle, thrown to the ground and against my vehicle, interrogated, frisked, and cuffed on these occasions, I’ve not been cited. Not once.
Until you feel the humiliation of this moment, particularly as a “decent, civilized, educated black,”—Yes, that’s an actual quote of how someone referred to me once, behind my back of course—then you cannot say that it is an anomaly.  You cannot say that someone was “just doing his or her job.”
The most troubling of these incidents took place just a few years ago in Texas. My wife and I were driving to my childhood home of Louisiana.  We were pulled over, but weren’t speeding.  I wasn’t driving erratically.  I wasn’t intoxicated.  And it was broad daylight.
The two officers approached our vehicle, and when the lead saw me, one immediately placed his hand on his firearm.

I’m not sure why Crump finds it necessary to mention that the officer put his hand on his firearm.  This is not an uncommon practice for officers.  It’s just being cautious.  He didn’t pull his gun out and point it at Crump or something like that.  An officer putting a hand on his gun is simply being cautious.  Believe it or not, sometimes people suddenly start shooting at officers, completely unprovoked as seen here, here, here, here, and here.  Forgive him for caring about his own safety, especially when it’s a man of Crump’s size, 6’5″ 270 pounds and athletic (Crump had a brief stint as an NFL defensive tackle)

Crump continues…
My wife was visibly nervous. We’d just been joking sarcastically about hoping we didn’t get pulled over in Texas for being an interracial couple. Then, in a flash, the joke became reality.

Crump doesn’t realize that he just admitted to being prejudiced against police.  He and his wife were joking about how they might get stopped for being an interracial couple, implying that this is a common practice for police in Texas.  Oh, better watch out for those Texas cops! Bunch of redneck racists! Could stop you for a DWB (driving while black) at any moment!  Imagine if a white pastor said, “My wife and I were driving through a rough black neighborhood and joked about how we hoped we wouldn’t get robbed, then the joke became a reality!”  What Crump is saying is basically the same difference.  Now, it is quite possible that he was dealing with a racist police officer that stopped him for no reason, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this kind of thing doesn’t happen on occasion, although I’ve never personally witnessed a fellow officer do this in nearly 7 years of big city policing.  Perhaps it’s more common in rural Texas, I don’t really know, and Crump didn’t specify what part of Texas he was in.  But he has no way of knowing he was stopped for “no reason.”  I believe him that he wasn’t speeding, driving erratically or intoxicated.  But those aren’t the only reasons police stop someone.  He didn’t specify if the officer ever did explain to him why he was stopped, and if the officer didn’t explain why, he certainly should have, but he could have been stopped for a number of reasons.  His vehicle may have matched the description of a vehicle they were looking for, or he could be right and it could have just been a racist cop looking to harass someone.  The point is, he doesn’t KNOW, and shouldn’t presume to know that he was stopped because he was black.  In the next part he’ll lead you to believe it was the way he was treated which proves he was stopped and harassed for no reason, but there’s more to it than that, which I’ll explain.

He continues…
The officer asked me to step out of my vehicle. I refused.

This is most likely why the officer copped an attitude, because Crump copped one first.  Most people, not everyone, but most people who aren’t doing anything wrong and aren’t hiding something from the police will have no problem cooperating with police.  Most criminals, on the other hand, will be resistive and defiant to anything an officer requests. And most people that start a conversation with attitude can expect to receive attitude in return, that’s just the nature of all human interaction.  The officer doesn’t know Crump from Adam.  He doesn’t know Crump is a law-abiding pastor and Christian.  Officers are trained to view everyone as if they could be a threat, and when they immediately get attitude and resistance from a driver their defenses are going to go up too.  I may have mentioned earlier that some people hate and even kill police officers.  The officer doesn’t know if Crump is a pastor or someone that’s hiding 5 bricks of black tar heroin and a pistol under the seat.  Maybe if Crump had been friendly and cooperative, his experience here would have gone differently.  Maybe not, maybe the officer would have treated him exactly the same either way, who knows, but Crump can’t honestly be surprised when an officer is a bit abrasive when he starts the entire encounter with a defiant attitude towards a lawful request.

He continues…
By this time I’d earned an M.S. in Criminal Justice, my focus in this degree was case law and judiciary process, which of course included an extensive study of policing histories and practices.  So yes, I refused to get out of the car.  But my wife pleaded, and the officer demanded.  So, I complied.

Always love it when people who have a degree in law or criminal justice think they know more about police work than… well… actual police officers.

He continues…
The officer immediately grabbed me and began asking me where I was coming from, where I was going, and if I had anything in my vehicle of “concern.”  Meanwhile, the other officer interrogated my wife, and asked her if she was being held against her will.  Really?  Riding in the front seat, with a tri-racial child in the back.  The lead officer, hand still on his firearm, began to try and frisk me.  Again, I refused.  The law says I should comply (Pennsylvania v. Mimms) and step out of the vehicle.  The law does not allow for illegal search of my person or property.

Funny that he mentions Pennsylvania v. Mimms and how the law says he SHOULD comply with an officer’s request to exit the vehicle, although he admitted to initially refusing the lawful request.  He also mentions that the officer wanted to frisk him and then says he refused and that the law does not allow for illegal search of his person or property.  I guess in the course of earning his M.S. in Criminal Justice they failed to cover the difference between a frisk and a search.  A frisk is a pat down, outside of the clothing, to check for obvious threats like a gun in the waistband.  It’s not about going into someone’s pockets or ordering them to pop the trunk.  And in the Pennsylvania v. Mimms case, which he mentioned, it also states it’s not a violation of the Fourth Amendment to pat someone down for weapons.  So that’s now two lawful requests that Crump has refused to comply with, by his own admission. S o that leaves us with two options, either Crump knew the law, as he claims to, and still chose to violate it, or he didn’t know the law despite earning his M.S. in criminal justice.  Either way, his attempt at justification for his actions falls flat and stinks of rebellion.

He continues…
I stated this to him. He became enraged, breathing threats, and calling me “boy.” It took the other officer to calm him down. Finally, with a lack of any justifiable reason to hold us, they let us go. I’ve never been so angry. My wife never so humiliated.
These experiences are not mere anecdote; this is systemic.

The one thing that leads me to believe that the officer may have been racist is that he called Crump “boy.”  But not everyone knows that this is an offensive term to black men.  I never knew it until I sat in a diversity class in the police academy.  But this officer may have been ignorant of the fact, or he may have very well known about it and chose to use it anyway.  He closes his first article with the claim that this kind of encounter is not anecdotal but is systemic.  If you’re going to make an absolute claim that something’s systemic, you need to provide evidence of that.  You can’t say something’s systemic and not merely anecdotal and then try to prove it by using only anecdotes.

Crump continues in his 2nd article…
Many have asked me in regard to the events in Ferguson, “Where’s the injustice here?  Where’s the injustice in this case?” They follow it with requests for proof: “Has there been an unbiased account of what actually happened?” Or, they angrily rebuke, “You really should wait for all of the facts before you speak on this!”
They have missed the forest for the trees.

So asking for an unbiased, factual account of what happened before jumping on the “Wilson is guilty” bandwagon is missing the forest for the trees?

He continues…
I recently recommended the book Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White by author David R. Roediger (who happens to be…you know…white) to an Italian pastor/friend in Los Angeles.
After reading the first 10 pages, my pastor friend sent this to me:

So for fear of losing control and being tainted by the culture of the immigrant, Anglo-Europeans set up systems of segregation and oppression to protect their own cultural heritage, resulting in the oppression of both immigrants and minority cultures. [These systems include] housing and labor, where conforming brought reward, and not conforming resulted in oppression, hence the injustices dealt upon the ethnic minorities, even today?  Am I reading this correctly?

Yes! A resounding “Yes!”  He was made alive with truth.  You see, this issue is bigger than Mike Brown. It’s bigger even than recently deceased (at the hands of two officers), reportedly mentally challenged Kajieme Powell.  For these situations merely serve to shine a light not only on the systemic inequalities that African-Americans are and have been subject to, but also on what is actually in the hearts of most white Americans, even those who claim to profess Christ as Saviour, Lord, and example.

I haven’t read the book Crump suggests here, but I have no doubt that systems were put in place to oppress minority cultures. (By the way, I would suggest two books to Crump to give him a bigger picture, one is “Black Rednecks & White Liberals” by black author Thomas Sowell which can be found here and “Culturism” by black author Scott Hampton which can be found here that show that much of what he is decrying is based on culture and culture alone, not race.)

But while Crump is quick to point out past injustices, he ignores the fact that much has been done to make amends for these wrongs, and fails to mention that “White evangelicals” were one of the only people groups speaking out against slavery when it was unpopular to do so and that they played a major role in the abolition of slavery.  Furthermore, his attitude seems to suggest that we actually should ignore the facts in regards to the Ferguson shooting and should side with the protestors merely because of these past injustices, despite the fact that there is no evidence that Darren Wilson has ever harbored a racist thought in his career.

See, there’s a difference here that Crump and many other pastors like Thabiti Anyabwile seem to be overlooking.  The black community wasn’t merely asking that we mourn with them that a black man was shot and killed.  If that’s all they were asking for, I don’t think any white evangelicals would balk at that.  It was certainly tragic that a man’s life ended, because Michael Brown was made in God’s image even if his choices didn’t reflect that.  But that’s not all they were asking.  They were asking us to join them in rushing to judgment against officer Wilson.  That’s a huge, huge difference that can’t be overlooked. Most of the social media comments that Crump has taken issue with probably stem from a refusal to rush to judgment, not merely a refusal to mourn with those who mourn.  They’re two distinctly different topics that Crump is wrongfully rolling into one.

He continues…
We live in an oppressive system, strategically engineered to subvert the progress of entire people groups and benefit the progress of another. This is the injustice.

There are parts of this comment that I agree with but for different reasons.  I don’t believe that we still live in a system that is strategically engineered to subvert the progress of blacks.  If we do, the system has a bad strategy because our President is black and got re-elected for a second term.  There are plenty of examples of black people who have enjoyed great success, and the irony is that Crump is one of them.  There are no laws on the books that are different for black people.  On the contrary, there are plenty of systems in place to eliminate discrimination and assist minorities such as Affirmative Action, the Fair Housing Act, minority scholarships, etc.  I agree that the system has a “rich get richer and poor get poorer” aspect to it, but this affects all races, not just blacks or other minorities.  If anything, one might argue that the welfare system has bred a generation of dependents that unintentionally keeps them from realizing their full potential if they would simply work hard and aspire for success.  And that’s true of whites as well.

He continues…
We are still reeling from the effects of slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and all associated behavior.  Before the phrase “Get over it, it’s in the past” begins to form on your lips, consider my position.  Consider that every time I look into my father’s eyes and see the pale blue rim around them, set back in his very dark skin, or, when I look at the texture of my mother’s nearly porcelain skin tone, I still see the residue of what I’m supposed to get over.
It is these injustices that will not allow white evangelicals to admit that they have built their lives on the backs of the oppressive systems that their grandfathers constructed.

I don’t appreciate being accused of building my life on the backs of oppressive systems that my grandfathers constructed.  My father grew up in rural Arkansas, picking cotton at an age and in living conditions that would be considered child abuse by today’s standards.  I can assure you, no one handed him or his dad anything that they didn’t work for, and they never contributed to any racist, systemic structures either.  And this isn’t an exception, there are multitudes of whites who can share similar stories or worse.  I, too, have worked hard for what I have and don’t appreciate that hard work being trivialized as if I had nothing to do with it except that I was born with white skin.

Crump then says…
It is these injustices that would lend their opinion immediately in favor of the officer and against the men whose lives were taken by them.

Crump employs a double standard here.  He has no problem immediately siding with Michael Brown or Kajieme Powell, but condemns others who immediately side with a police officer.  I truly hope that he isn’t suggesting we should immediately side with criminals when they are shot in the commission of a crime merely because of past injustices.  This would be an injustice in and of itself.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea to immediately assume an officer is innocent either, until all the facts are in, but again this wasn’t just about mourning with those who mourn, it was about being accused of racism or siding with officer Wilson merely because we didn’t find him guilty in the court of public opinion like so many others did. I don’t blame anyone for getting defensive when such accusations are thrown at them merely because they didn’t rush to judgment like everyone wanted them to.

Crump continues…
It is these injustices that would legitimize the death of a teenager by calling him a “thug,” “thief,” and an “aggressor.” It is these injustices that would legitimize the death of a 23-year-old mentally challenged man outside of St. Louis; a 25-year-old mentally challenged man blocks from his home in Los Angeles; a new father, holding a BB gun in the toy section of Wal-Mart; and a father of six in New York. All of these just since July.

I seriously doubt that many “white evangelicals” legitimized the death of Michael Brown for any reason other than the fact – yes FACT – that he assaulted a police officer and attempted to take his gun away from him.  And by definition, Michael Brown very much was a thug, a thief and an aggressor.  The convenience store video proves it.  Yet Crump retweeted this picture, which is nothing but divisive rhetoric…

Both Klebold and Mike Brown were violent criminals.  I’m sure, somebody somewhere tried to excuse Klebold’s actions by saying he was merely a misunderstood teenager, but that doesn’t mean that all white people did.  I just can’t understand why a pastor would promote this kind of one-sided, divisive propaganda that is completely biased and has no hint of being objective.

Crump then defends Kajieme Powell by saying that he was mentally challenged.  Yes, he was mentally challenged. Anyone that advances on two police officers, while holding a knife, and refusing multiple orders to drop the knife, while saying “kill me” HAS to be mentally challenged. Just because he’s mentally challenged doesn’t make him any less of a threat to those officer’s lives. If anything it makes him MORE of a threat.

Crump retweeted this…

and this…

I guess because the man didn’t attack civilians that means he’s completely harmless right?  Could it be that he doesn’t have animosity towards his neighbors but does towards police officers?  Could it be that he was attempting “suicide by cop?”  What Crump fails to realize is that the officers actually showed more restraint than was legally required of them.  Police are taught that a suspect with a knife poses a serious danger when he gets within 21 feet of the officer (some departments now train that 30 feet is the minimum distance for maximized safety).  They waited until Powell was around 7 to 8 feet away before firing.  This is the danger of thinking that you know how to do police work better than police officers do just because you hold a degree.  It’s like saying you know how to drive a car because you’ve read the owner’s manual even though you’ve never gotten behind the wheel.  And if Crump or anyone reading this thinks that a knife wielding suspect isn’t a danger at 8 feet away, I invite them to see for themselves with a simple exercise that anyone can do at home. Simply have a friend pose as the suspect and hold an uncapped, red magic marker and then the person in the officer’s shoes can wear a cheap white T-shirt. Ideally the officer could use a paintball pistol, and have them holster it (would need a holster & the suspect would need protective gear) but if that’s not possible just have them use a cap gun or something similar. Then, without warning, have the “suspect” charge the “officer” with the red marker and see if the “officer” can unholster his pistol and land a stopping shot (head or heart) before the suspect is able to get any red marker on the officer’s white T-shirt.  You’d be surprised just how fast someone can cover 30 feet, and if you fail to react in time or you land a non-lethal shot instead of the head or heart, the suspect is on you with a knife.  And it only takes one second to cut the carotid artery, jugular vein or put an eye out.

Here’s a video to better show how fast a charging suspect with a knife can close the distance.

These are real dangers that officers face daily.  These are dangers that the officers that shot Powell faced.  Or perhaps Crump is one of those that believes a man with a knife does not pose a strong enough danger to warrant being shot, and that an officer should attempt to disarm them before resulting to using their gun. To which I would reply with these pictures of an officer that attempted that very thing, thinking that because he was bigger, stronger and had combat training that he could disarm the man without getting hurt ***WARNING: GRAPHIC VIOLENCE*** image001knife cuts1

image002knife cut2

image003knife cut 3.

It doesn’t matter if the knife is being held underhand or overhand, this is what a knife can do to a human flesh.

Crump also used Eric Garner’s death to speak some biased, one-sided, anti-police rhetoric…

The tweet about Garner would have his followers believe that the kid was indicted merely for filming the incident.  He fails to mention that it was a completely unrelated weapons charge that he was indicted on.  But that didn’t stop Crump for using it as an opportunity to drive another wedge.  A wedge that was re-tweeted 873 times, spreading more wedges like an infection. When someone on Twitter called him out on it, he made a follow up Tweet to cover himself and then was rude to the person that did so…


So yes, Crump did finally make the distinction that the kid wasn’t indicted for merely filming the incident, 20 minutes later, but his followup tweet was retweeted 5 times, whereas the original, inflammatory post was retweeted 873 times.  I understand that Twitter’s limitations make it hard to convey full thoughts, which is why Crump was irresponsible to post the original divisive comment without bringing in the full, fair, factual story.  His original post made no mention of a part 2 or that there was more to the story coming in a future tweet.

I will give Crump credit for one thing, he did condemn the ambush murders of NYPD Officers Ramos and Liu…

So for that, I thank him. Unfortunately he then made the puzzling statement that their murders were not in retaliation for Mike Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths…

Despite CLEAR evidence from the shooter’s Instagram account that it WAS a retaliation…

Crump’s rationale is apparently that it wasn’t technically retaliation since he targeted two random officers instead of Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo specifically.  He then accuses a person on Twitter of being illogical for thinking it was retaliation…

Even if he’d like to make a case that it wasn’t technically a retaliation, he can’t deny that the sudden flood of anti-police rhetoric in the media, that he has unknowingly contributed to, has caused a spike in the deaths of police officers…

Back to Crump’s article…
Since these victims, like most from where they sprang, are “this way,” apparently they “deserve to die.” Since the justice system is not perfect, but is fair toward all people, this is apparently the outcome of “their choices.” These sentiments are sickening (and are actual quotes, by the way). These sentiments seem to be carried by most in majority culture. These attitudes lack any aroma of the gospel. They lack any essence of the great grace of Christ, upon which we say our faith is built.

I’m not entirely sure what Crump is trying to say here. Is he trying to say that these “victims” had no say whatsoever in what happened to them?  Did the police kick their door in and drag them out into the street and execute them while they were minding their own business?  Is personal responsibility no longer allowed to be even discussed or even considered without being accused of being racist or at the very least insensitive?  Should police officers simply allow a minority to take their gun from them or stab them for the sake of showing sympathy for the injustices of days gone by?  This kind of logic is madness! That he says “these attitudes lack any aroma of the gospel and lack any essence of the great grace of Christ” is probably the most baffling statement he makes.  Apparently grace should be shown to everyone except police officers.  It’s interesting that while the thief hung on the cross next to Jesus, and Jesus forgave him, He didn’t miraculously remove the man from the cross and heal his wounds.  No, the thief still died on the cross.  The thief still paid for the consequences of his choices.  Was he given grace and allowed into Heaven?  Yes.  But the wages of sin is still death.

Crump continues in his Closing Thoughts…
I am nearly positive that this article will divide, and in that I am perfectly comfortable.

Hold on, didn’t he just get done complaining that people have wrongfully labeled him as “divisive?” No one needs to label him divisive, he’s now done that all on his own!

My minority brothers and sisters, in almost melodic unison will read this and feel heard, valued, and appreciated. They will feel as if they can breathe again.
Meanwhile, from what I can see in social media, and from a history of being willing to wrestle with these things among people in the majority culture, there will be a resounding cacophony of either silence or rebuke, ridicule, or complaint from others.

In other words, “listen and agree with me, but don’t dare have a differing opinion, and if you do, just stay quiet about it.” Got it.

He continues…
But where I am presently is where I was on last Monday when I tweeted, “I have two daughters. I daily pray for a son. But if he’ll be in danger for being black and large, perhaps I should stop praying.” That is how I feel down to my soul. Disowning those feelings will not produce the “progress” my white evangelical friends say they want.

This statement is absurd.  Yes, if you have a child, and you don’t teach him things like accountability, personal responsibility, respect for authority, and not to attack police officers, or even worse if you raise your child to hate police officers, yes you should be very afraid, whether your child is male or female, black or white, small or large.

Here’s another tweet that Crump retweeted on this issue…
This man is asking what he should tell his daughter, and Crump, a pastor and leader, completely drops the ball just as he did with his own daughter.  What an ideal moment to speak wisdom into these children’s lives, and instead they punt and allow seeds of hatred towards police to be planted in their young daughters’ minds. Absolutely shameful.

Romans 13:3-4 says, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority?  Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.  For he is a servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”  I wish that pastors like Crump, Anyabwile and Bryan Loritts would exegete this passage publicly just once.  That’s what baffles me about their logic on this issue.  They act as if all black men are likely to be hunted down by racist white cops, as if the only factors that would ever play into such an event are being male and being black.  Which begs the question, why is Crump alive today?  Could it be because he’s never assaulted a police officer, tried to take his gun or advanced on an officer while holding a knife?  Why does the conversation have to terminate on the color of someone’s skin?  Why are no other factors allowed to even be brought into the discussion without them being considered racist, ignorant or insensitive?  How long must one wait silently, while police officers are criticized, despised and dragged through the mud, before they’re allowed to speak a differing opinion?

When Voddie Baucham, a black pastor who was invited to be part of a panel at the “A Time to Speak” conference, emphasized the importance of teaching children to avoid living a thug lifestyle, his opinion was condemned and he had to go on the defensive from some of the other speakers on the panel such as Bryan Loritts, Thabiti Anyabwile and Ed Stetzer. Loritts and Stetzer continually try to interrupt and change the subject while Voddie is speaking because he’s calling them out on their hypocrisy regarding having no empathy for Darren Wilson (see 27:00 through 28:15 mark of the video which can be found here)

I digress & Crump continues…
In an interview, Dr. King once said these words with respect to the civil rights movement:

… The most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid.  I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures.  I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned.

Again, Crump fails to recognize that white evangelicals played a major role not only in the abolition of slavery but in the civil rights movement as well.  Not that anyone deserves a Thank You for doing what should have been done all along, but for Crump to act as if every white person or white pastor was against equal rights is unfair to say the least.

He continues…
I am praying that here, now, this mistake will be rectified.  I want to believe that you will rise to our aid, and that you would agree that a silent Christian who avoids applying the gospel to issues of injustice—though those issues may be uneasy, unclear or politicized—upholds the very structures that purport and perpetuate injustice.

So that’s the end of Crump’s second article.  I’d love to know what systemic injustices he believes still exist.   Is the system perfect?  Of course not.  We live in a fallen world.  Is the system rigged against black people?  No.  Is racism still out there today? Of course. It probably always will be.  That’s the result of a fallen world and the sinful, depraved heart of man.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t still work towards ending racism through sharing the gospel and making disciples, so don’t get me wrong. In fact, I’m saying quite the opposite.  But when pastors like Leonce Crump, Thabiti Anyabwile and Bryan Loritts hurl accusations at police officers and white evangelicals, they’d better come with some strong evidence (not anecdotes) to back those accusations.  Otherwise, yes, people are going to get defensive, can anyone blame them?

Having said that, let me address some of Crump’s concerns with facts and statistics (not only anecdotes).

Between 2003-2012, of police officers killed in the line of duty, 43% of the offenders were black, although blacks account for only 13% of the country’s population.  Source for this stat is found here.

Despite this disproportionate number, there is no statistical evidence that officers have killed a disproportionate number of blacks compared to other races during arrests.  Statistics show that in 2012, 28.1% of all arrestees were black, and 31% of all people killed by police were black, a difference of less than 2%, proving there is no disproportionate number of blacks being killed by police, but showing the percentage squares with how many blacks are being arrested.

And this study found that officers are actually more hesitant to pull the trigger when the suspect is black, for fear of racial harangue… (Study can be found here.)

Between 1976 and 2011 across the United States, 7,982 blacks were murdered each year, on average, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  About 227 blacks (2.8 percent) were shot by police each year, according to a study by Pro Publica.  And although the exact number of blacks shot by the police each year is difficult to pin down because some cities don’t report their statistics, the number is probably accurate to within 1 or 2 percent, give or take.

In 2012, of all black murder victims, 91% were killed by other blacks, while on average only 2.8% are killed by justifiable homicide at the hands of police since 1976.  Which begs the question, why are whites and white police officers the target of so much hatred and criticism when it’s actually other blacks that are committing the overwhelming majority of the murders of blacks?  This is normally where someone will make accusations that I’m trying to reduce black lives to statistics, but the facts have to be examined if we’re going to have this conversation.  You can’t simply ignore these facts in this discussion.

I’ve mentioned once that racism still exists in this country, but it’s absolutely a two way street, in fact statistics show that black-on-white crime is exponentially more prevalent than vice versa, which is shown here.

These are facts that Crump will likely either ignore or attempt to trivialize for some reason or another, but they’re facts all the same. But now that we’ve covered the legal and social aspects, let’s focus again on the theological ones.  As I mentioned, pastors like Crump, Anyabwile and Loritts won’t touch Romans 13 with a 10 foot pole, which is tragic because this is the very chapter that they should be preaching the loudest and most often.

You see, as tragic as Mike Brown’s demise was, there’s something even more tragic that I haven’t heard a pastor mention yet. What of the destination of his eternal soul?  Why hasn’t this been discussed by pastors?  Why is all of the focus on the earthly and temporal, with nary a mention of the eternal?  Yes, it’s important to fight for justice on earth, but it’s infinitely more important that these young black men (and all other men & women as well) are ready to meet their Maker if and when they breathe their last breath on this earth, whether that’s a result of being shot by the police or otherwise.

That’s the most sorely needed aspect of this entire conversation and it’s gone completely unmentioned by Crump and others! There’s a common theme that I’ve seen from the pastors that are Michael Brown apologists.  They want grace but not law for black men, and law but not grace for police officers and other whites.  That’s not the gospel.  That’s just enabling sinful lifestyles for one group and being legalists towards the other.

I like a tweet I saw that said, “Show grace absolutely, but grace without guidance towards repentance is not grace, but encouragement to sin.”

Another quote by John MacArthur… “Gospel without Law produces faith without repentance.”

There’s a verse you can pair with that from Romans 6:15 that says “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!”

The point of this blog was not to pile on pastor Crump.  As I said, I didn’t even want to write it but I felt compelled to.  I believe his one-sided, anti-police rhetoric is contributing to the very problem he wants to eliminate and it’s doing more harm than good. It’s important because when our most visible pastors are perpetuating myths that police officers are all out for black blood, it leads to officers getting killed.  We already saw it with Ramos and Liu, as well as the 40% increase in officer deaths in 2014.  And one token tweet of how it’s wrong to kill cops does very little to stem the tide of all the other anti-police rhetoric that’s being spread like wildfire.

But again, as important as that is, it’s even more important that they stress the importance of repentance from sin, not enabling of it.  There are lives at stake yes, but more importantly there are souls at stake.

In closing, I truly hope that Crump can learn forgiveness and grace for all, not just for those that look like him. And I hope that going forward he will declare the importance of abstaining from sinful lifestyles instead of wrongfully enabling and excusing them under the guise of grace.  I hope that he will use his position of influence and leadership to teach young men a better way, instead of perpetuating division and resentment. I also pray that God will reveal any areas of my heart that hold resentment or racism, and pray that He would melt them away. I know that this blog was pretty blunt, and I apologize if I have offended or hurt anyone, but it’s an important message that needs to be spoken. Young men need the FULL gospel, not just one aspect of it.


Thank you for reading this blog, and please check out my debut novel, on sale for only 99 cents! You can find it the novel here!

When a Houston cop kills a black teenager in self defense, the ensuing media windstorm creates a frenzy of outraged citizens. In an act of retaliation, the officer’s wife is raped and murdered, and the officer unceremoniously fired. With his life in shambles and his faith destroyed, the officer joins the other side of the law and vows bloody vengeance on everyone responsible. Taking no prisoners, the officer embarks on a mission of revenge, with the fate of his soul hanging in the balance.