The buzz around Atlanta for the past 2 weeks has been around the police involved shooting of an 88 year old woman during a drug raid. Kathryn Johnston heard someone breaking into her front door. She had iron bars over all of her windows and doors and assumed that someone was raiding her house in the cover of darkness and she responded accordingly. Her gun shots in defense of her property resulted in her life being taken by the City of Atlanta Police Narcotics Squad who figured that she was a drug dealer, firing upon them.
The resulting outrage in the metro area to the news that the police have killed an innocent woman based on some fraudulent information given by a police informant has been eye opening.
In response to this situation there has been several protests on the streets as well as a heated meeting with the mayor of Atlanta and her police chief who attended a community meeting at a church to explain the actions of their police agents.
The key difference about this situation is that in they year 2006 the municipal administration in question is Black, Democratic, Progressive, and female headed. This is hardly comparable to the old antagonist that was labeled as White, racist and set in their ways.
The major irony that I took note of, however, was the report that I heard about an old style civil rights era preacher in attendance at the church meeting attempting to get the crowd together to sing "We Shall Overcome Someday" in the face of the Black mayor and her Black police chief. This song had long been the battle cry used against various racist White Southern forces that sought to oppress the Black community using their fire hoses, police dogs and batons to beat upon Black folks who simply wanted their rights. The use of this song to rebuke an administration which otherwise seems to be evidence that the Civil Rights Movement has born fruit is particularly out of sync with reality.
In truth this tactic is in line with the old notion "When you are an expert with a hammer - everything looks like a nail to you". The tactics of the Civil Rights Movement was most comfortable to this gray haired pastor who obviously missed the dynamics of the situation.
It is time for the Black community to adopt a new set of tactics that are updated for 2006 to deal with the reality that in majority Black voting districts - BLACK PEOPLE are often in the seat of power. If not Black people then certainly people who have been put in office by popular mandate from the Black community. To continue to act as if "George Wallace" type figures are lording over the Black community and the police forces that "occupy" the community is out of step with reality.
It is also interesting to see local and national civil rights leaders call upon the Federal Government to investigate the Black Democratic Progressive administrations in the City of Atlanta and neighboring Dekalb County for possible Civil Rights violations. Add to this that the current Federal administration is a conservative Republican one.
This was a flaw in police policies. It should be managed as such.