Who can we trust when justice is necessary?

November 6, 2017

Written by Gregory Meriweather

The Aaron Bailey killing took place 5 months ago, and the leadership of Indianapolis, are still trying to figure out how to resolve what seems obvious.

Yesterday, Mayor Joe Hogsett took to the streets, and visited some local churches in the Indianapolis area. The Mayor visited New Direction Church, Eastern Star Baptist Church-Cooper Rd, Eastern Star Church Northeast Campus, Eastern Star Church, Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, and New Life Worship Center.

While there, the Mayor spoke on the next steps in the case, now that Special Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter has moved not to prosecute the officers involved.

The Mayor stated, “My thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by the death of Mr. Bailey, including his family and those who called him a friend. At the outset of this process, I made a commitment to the community that immediately upon conclusion of the criminal investigation, IMPD would launch a full administrative review into the actions that led to this police action shooting. I intend to follow through with that commitment.

Effective immediately, I have asked Chief Bryan Roach to gather all evidence from the Special Prosecutor’s investigation along with any other available materials to begin that process. I have also asked that the review be expedited so that an administrative decision can be rendered as quickly as is responsible.

I offer my heartfelt thanks to faith and community leaders for their patience and leadership over the last four months, and I urge those who have been moved to action by these events to continue to challenge our city to do more to earn and sustain trust between Indianapolis neighborhoods and our police department.”

This sounds all fine, and dandy, but we must remember that in order for these officers to be terminated, there is a PROCESS. This process was in play well before the Mayor made these illustrious speeches to the churches. The Mayor knows that the Firearms Committee of IMPD must do their investigation, and then it must go to the Merit Board. The Merit Board can then issue the disciplinary action which may include termination. The Chief of Police cannot make these decisions alone, and neither can the Mayor.

It takes me back to a time in history on April 4, 1968, when Robert Kennedy made the announcement that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Indianapolis leaders had found a way to give Kennedy the credit for stopping riots from taking place in the city, but for those of you who know the real story, understand how far from the truth that really is.

It seems that the Mayor is doing whatever is necessary to keep the people at peace. It has been said by some that the Mayor really cares about the people, but when you go back and look at the case, you will find that it took the Mayor almost a month to truly speak about the shooting, His first real speech about Aaron Bailey was at the Mayor’s breakfast for IBE Summer Celebration. Before then, he was as quiet as a church mouse. I recall asking on numerous occasions, “Where is the Mayor?”

Furthermore, I want to know what made the Mayor choose these churches? He did not come inside the neighborhood where Aaron Bailey was killed to give his speech. He did not find a community center. He did not come to the “hood.” He went inside the churches that hold some of the most prominent Black citizens of Indianapolis in them. He went to the places that have large congregations, yet soft voices. Let’s just say he went to the megachurches. He went to the places with the “names.” I keep asking, what makes the politicians think we trust the churches? We have been getting robbed by these people for a long time. They have found the code that the slave masters used that said, “I should receive my blessings now, and you will get yours in Heaven.” If I may speak for the community, let me say, “WE DO NOT TRUST THE CHURCH.” I am not saying that all churches or Pastors are bad, but when you see them living well, while most of their congregations are poor, then it is time for some serious questions to be asked, and answered.

This isn’t the first time Indianapolis has had a police action shooting of this magnitude. Many remember the Michael Taylor killing, and how things turned out with that case. Aaron Bailey is another casualty, of a long list of citizens, who have wrongfully died by the hands of carelessness, and in some cases hatred. IMPD knows, that WE DO NOT TRUST them.

The legal system has failed Black people in more ways than I can name. If we just take a look at Mass Incarceration, we already know that the legal system was not built for us. Justice is blind when it comes to Black people. When I say blind, I mean blind to the facts. Facts have never mattered when it has come to keeping us out of the system. WE DO NOT TRUST THE LEGAL SYSTEM.

Mayor Hogsett has done a phenomenal job showing up to make Black people feel good. He has danced with us, smiled with us, sympathized with us, clapped to good ol’ gospel hymns with us, prayed with us. He has also done something that most politicians do. He has showed up in the church for his political party. He has showed up when a vote matters. He has assured us that they are going to do all the right things to help us. He has also done one other thing that most politicians do, and that is leave us hanging. The Mayor is a classic politician. He knows how to keep us in the grey. He knows how to help us remain uncertain on where he stands. I won’t single him out, because I feel that most of our politicians mistreat us. They tell us to call, they don’t answer. They tell us to ask, they don’t respond. They tell us to stand, yet want us to sit down. When we want to sit, they want us to stand. Let me just say, WE DO NOT TRUST POLITICIANS.

Finally, there is the Black elite. There is a group of Black leaders who sit in the seats that hold Black people back. Their positions say that they are about Black people, but their actions don’t. Indianapolis has a way of bragging on certain Black leaders, but when we look around we will find that Black people in Indianapolis are in the same position that we’ve always been in. I find it hilarious when the news shows the politicians going to speak with certain people. They speak to you all because they know that message doesn’t go anywhere after it’s given to you. You get to sit amongst us, because you look like us. You know how to code switch, and talk like us, but when it comes to loyalty, you are more loyal to the dollars than you are your people. You are so loyal to the dollars that you will turn your back on us before the ink on the check dries. Let me say this, WE DO NOT TRUST THE BLACK ELITE.

There comes a time when we must realize that Willie Frank Middlebrook wasn’t wrong when he said, “The Calvary ain’t coming,” and “Something in this milk ain’t white.” There are a lot of layers in Indianapolis, Indiana, and America designed to hold Black people back. We need to develop a segregated mentality in the midst of integration. We are integrated in person only. EQUALITY has yet to be integrated, and we keep waiting on someone to give it to us. They have told us the same lies for over 400 years, and we believe them. I urge us to stop hitting the snooze button, and wake up!

I will not trust this system unless there is visible change. I urge for my people to stand with me on this. Aaron Bailey’s killing is a major problem, but does not scratch the surface of all the injustices we face on an every day basis as Black people in America. We need to love each other more, stop fighting amongst ourselves, and build our nation in the midst of the one that does not want us here. As for the Blacks who do not want to work with us or help, I say we speak candidly with them, and let them know our position. If they can not comply, then they need to be removed from their posts. This does include electing people who are for the people. They have done a lot of things that they claim are for our benefit, yet their hearts are far from us.

This is their system. We have yet to be included in this system as people, and in my opinion we never will. Trust is earned, and they have yet to earn the right to be trusted by us.

Gregory Meriweather is the CEO of Black on Black LLC., and the Talk show host of the Gregory Meriweather Show, and the Expo Show.

Unsolved Homicides Leave Multiple Messages

By Gregory Meriweather March 18, 2016

gmeriweather@blackonblack.network

According to the Violence Policy Center, Indiana ranked No. 1 in Black homicide victimization in 2013. Although I am concerned with the entire state, I must first cut the grass in my own yard. In 2015, 87 percent of homicides of white victims in Indianapolis were solved. Only 50 percent of homicides were solved when the victim was Black. I find these statistics alarming, yet disappointing.

I had the opportunity to speak with a father whose son was murdered in 2015. Unfortunately, his son’s murderer has not been apprehended. When speaking to this father, the first thing that I realized is how lifeless he seemed. Every time I reached out to him, I would ask how he was doing. Each time he answered, I could feel the pains of each day he lived knowing there was someone walking freely with his son’s blood on their hands. Being the father of two children, I could not imagine how I would feel if I were in this man’s shoes. Then my mind began to think about all the messages that are sent when a murder goes unsolved.

The first message I believe was sent is that the murder rate will continue to increase if people believe they can get away with it. What are we saying to would-be murderers? From the looks of the lack of murders solved in the Black community, it seems as if one would stand a good chance of getting away with murder, as long as the person(s) killed are Black.

It also sends the message that someone wants us to kill each other. If this is not the case, why are only 50 percent of the murders resolved when the victim is Black? In most grading systems, 50 percent means you’re failing. We watched the former IMPD chief tell us they were going to utilize every resource they had to solve a homicide when the victim was a white woman. It took them no time to find someone to bring to justice. Are our people not worth the utilization of the same resources to bring their murderers to justice?

When people ask why Black people do not trust the police, the answers are all written in blood or behind prison walls. When you look at all the corruption police departments across the country have taken part in as it relates to Black people, you would think society would understand. Why would I believe you are going to make sure the people who are killing us are brought to justice when you are killing us, too? Nevertheless, this is a relationship that needs to improve by leaps and bounds.

Here are a few things I believe need to happen so there can be a decrease in unsolved murders:

We need to get back to having neighborhood police officers. We need police officers who look like the people they serve the most. We need officers who are not afraid to get out of their police car without pulling out their guns first. When officers talking to people in the neighborhoods become a normal thing, then citizens talking to the police about serious matters won’t seem so strange or as dangerous.

IMPD, you can’t send the message of not caring to these streets. In most cases, your best allies are the people in the community. You need us just as much as we need you. Homicide detectives, answer your phone as best you can. Make a return phone call in at least 24 hours to let the family know the case still matters to you. If there is nothing else you can do, tell them that. Express to the family what you feel is necessary to crack the case, and let them help you.

We need to communicate and engage ourselves with IMPD. I know it may be a challenge, but it’s necessary. If we do our part, and they do theirs, I believe we will see a change.

If neither of us do our part, we will come to the conclusion that we are happy dying and they are happy seeing us kill ourselves.

Gregory Meriweather is the host of The Expo Show, and Chief Executive Officer at Black on Black LLC.