Volume 8, Number 24                                           January 30, 2006

The Farmer

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A "Walker Appeal" for Marshallville

By Roze, Black Womenís Network and Dr. Ridgely A. Muímin Muhammad

On January19, 2006 a Black man, Clarence "Clint" Walker was killed while in police custody in Marshallville, GA. Witnesses state that he was killed by excessive force and police negligence.

On September 28, 1829 David Walker, a free black born in 1796 or 1797 in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote and published one of Americaís most provocative political documents of the nineteenth century. Decrying the savage and unchristian treatment blacks suffered in the United States, the Walker Appeal challenged his "afflicted and slumbering brethren" to rise up and cast off their chains. Walker worked tirelessly to circulate his book via underground networks in the South, and he was so successful that Southern lawmakers responded with new laws cracking down on "incendiary" anti-slavery material and a bounty of $10,000 was put on his head.

David Walker was found dead at the age of 33 or 34 in his home in August of 1830 under "suspicious circumstances", but his Appeal transcended his time and with the recent deaths at the hands of the police of Kenneth Walker in December of 2003 and now Clarence Walker in January of 2006 we should be inclined to review the Walker Appeal. Here are just the titles of his chapters or Articles: ARTICLE 1: OUR WRETCHEDNESS IN CONSEQUENCE OF SLAVERY, ARTICLE 2: OUR WRETCHEDNESS IN CONSEQUENCE OF IGNORANCE, ARTICLE 3: OUR WRETCHEDNESS IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE PREACHERS OF THE RELIGION OF JESUS CHRIST, ARTICLE 4: OUR WRETCHEDNESS IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE COLONIZING PLAN.

Mr. Kenneth Walker was shot twice in the head as he was face down on the pavement under the boot of white cops on Interstate Highway 185 on the bloody night of December 10, 2003. A year later a Muscogee County Grand Jury failed to bring charges against the deputy sheriff who killed Mr. Walker, thus producing a wake up call for the sleeping giant of Black people in America that brought 10,000 protesters to the foot of the government building in Columbus, GA on January 15, 2005.

However, if it is one thing that we have learned from history is that most of us never learn anything from history, thereby forcing us to live that history all over again. Now another incident of a Black man being killed by the "authorities" under questionable circumstances has popped up to bite us once again. On January19, 2006 a Black man was killed while in custody in Marshallville, GA.

From witness statements, the Marshallville, GA police department was in shambles before the morning of January 19, 2006. The community is concerned as to how some of that may have played out in what really happened in the incident on the evening of January 19.

The Black community of Marshallville, GA is now wrestling with the next steps to take that will help Marshallville to begin its healing. Will the city authorities move towards a cover-up which will prolong the healing that is essential for all involved?

The Concerned Citizens for Truth met on Sunday, January 29, 2006 to devise an action plan for the prevention of other senseless murders in the Marshallville community. Present at this meeting were citizens from the Marshallville area, Montezuma and Ft. Valley, GA and Terrell Count Georgia. Some of the questions discussed at the meeting included:

Why was the least experienced officer placed in a position of harm apprehending a suspect? Why was the chief not on the scene?

Why was the least experienced officer forced to be the "in charge" person when there was a senior officer present?

Why was the least experienced officer then left with the apprehended subject while the senior officer drove to retrieve the police car? Why was the least experienced officer left at the police department while the chief left town driving an ambulance?

Why was the media more concerned about a house that caught on fire after the death of Mr. Walker, than on the death of Mr. Walker, a human being? Why was the media portraying the Black citizens of Marshallville, like they did the victims of Katrina in New Orleans, as angry and out of control, when in fact all they have been asking for were answers?

These and more questions await answers. One Marshallville resident comments, "There was a human way of apprehending Clint". "The officer should not have been put in that position by his superior", writes another. Where then is the issue of administrative negligence? Was there even failure to ensure the deployment of correct procedure?

Members of the Concerned Citizens for Truth are also worried about future such incidents because the police chief and some of his deputies have just come home from being deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq as members of the National Guard from Georgia. The community wants to know what was done to help these soldiers make the adjustment from a battle front to civilian life as law enforcement officers among a friendly civilian population at home. The community wants to know whether the training and desensitizing effect of warfare has now filtered into how these police officers deal with our Black population at home.

To this extent The Concerned Citizens for Truth developed an action plan which includes holding a community forum to educate and inform citizens of their rights and responsibilities when encountering law enforcement officials.

"We are inviting representatives and spokespersons from the different law enforcement agencies to be on a panel to give instructions and information from the authorities over the community to explain to members of the community how they should respond when approached by law enforcement authorities", says Mr. Argo Winston, president of the Concerned Citizens for Truth.

"We are appealing to our people, especially our young Black men, to come out and find out how to deal with a police force that may see them as enemies to the state," says Sis. Anne Muhammad, concerned citizens member and member of the Nation of Islam in Terrell County Georgia.

As of the writing of this article, the City of Marshallville has refused to meet with the Concerned Citizens for Truth, and they have refused to allow them to rent public facilities to hold public meetings on these issues.

For more information call: Argo Winston at (478)967-2984.