COMMENTARY: Don’t Snitch: A Mother Mourns While Her Son’s Killer is Free

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  • Michele Dowdy is mourning the loss of her only child. She cries often, she’s tired – and she’s angry.

    She has good reason.

    Ten months after her son, Malcom, was shot and killed in Chicago, his murderer still has not been brought to justice.  There have been no arrests in the case and Michele worries that police will never apprehend her son’s killer.

    Malcom Dowdy, 33, was not in a gang; he was not involved in a fight at the time of the shooting – he was simply a family man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was shot by mistake, which weighs heavy on Michele’s heart.

    “As a parent I did everything I was supposed to do,” Michele told me. “Someone else didn’t do their job and because of that my family’s world has been turned upside down.  We are all still very devastated.  His ancestors are angry.  It only took a second to do this.  He had his whole life ahead of him, a bright future at 33 years old.”

    Police are stymied because nobody in the South Side neighborhood is talking about Malcom Dowdy’s murder. The infamous “No Snitch” rule that has permeated black communities across the country is widely in effect 24/7. Rappers sing about it; black teenagers wear “Don’t Snitch” t-shirts and, for young black kids, talk of snitching has become a dangerous way of life.

    Black residents are understandably afraid to come forward about murders – even anonymously – because they fear repercussions from gang members. It’s a tough thing to ask, but Michele is asking anyway. And at some point, however, black residents must work with police if they ever expect to take back their neighborhoods.

    “The shooter shot in the crowd at someone else and missed,” Michele said. “To this day no suspects have been apprehended, a usual occurrence in Chicago.  Someone saw something, someone knows something.”

    “My son was shot and killed going home from a party that should have never been given,” she added. “There were at least 300 people in attendance in an area too small to accommodate them.  He started not to go but changed his mind to go with three other friends.”

    Malcom Dowdy was murdered on Memorial Day in Chicago last year, a particularly violent weekend where 40 people were shot and 10 died over three days. There were a total of 506 homicides in Chicago in 2012, the majority of shooting deaths involving black men.

    A veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, Malcom Dowdy was the assistant director of security at a Chicago company, a straight-A student at DeVry University, and the father of a one-year-old daughter.

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    10 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Don’t Snitch: A Mother Mourns While Her Son’s Killer is Free

    1. This isn’t a pro-gun statement, but I want a living, breathing person held accountable for this man’s murder. So, why is this refereed to as a “gun crime.” (Do you refer to a DUI-induced driving death as a “car crime?”) “Gun crime” is a politically-inspired statement, to me, that stripes the responsibility of this act from the person who used an instrument to murder someone. As a long as we blame the instrument, we will never find the “cure” to address the actions of the person who commits the crime/action. Plus, we need to eradicate this pro-criminal, “No Snitch” philosophy from our community. The KKK and the Tea Party (I know they’re the same) are enjoying the view as we fail to address the real issue.

    2. Maybe we need to RE-DEFINE Snitching. People have been falsely lead to think snitching is telling anything. When actually snitching is telling Business you are involved in to SAVE yourself when caught. So to that effect pointing out a cold blooded murderer is not snitching. Unless of course YOU DROVE THE getaway car.

    3. One of the MAIN issues that some of us have with snitching is…

      FACT #1: The lack of remorse, moral consciousness, and boundaries that today’s criminals have. They will spit, rape, and kill their own mothers and think that taking a bullet, going to prison, or dying gives them street cred. If they care less about themselves and those whom they are supposed to love and who love them, what makes any of us think that they will think twice about causing us or any of our loved ones any harm?

      FACT #2: Police and the laws are REACTIONARY. They show up AFTER THE FACT.

      EXAMPLE: You get an Order of Protection out against someone who has sworn to cause you and/or your loved ones bodily harm or even death. IT’S A PIECE OF PAPER. If they have made up in their minds to come after you and they don’t care about what happens to them, by the time the police are called to the scene of the crime, you and your loved ones are dead and they may have taken their own lives. Yes, they violated your Order of Protection, but, how protected were you? You hear all the time that basically, LAW ENFORCEMENT hands are tied UNTIL SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS. You can’t even file a police report over a verbal threat and in many cases, HERESAY is inadmissable in a court of law. HERESAY being that you told your girl or your boy that this individual threatened to cause you bodily harm or kill you and shortly thereafter, you’re found dead. HERESAY without any real evidence more often than not will NOT stand up in court.

      FACT #3: It is my belief that 99.9% of LAW ENFORCEMENT are law abiding citizens who take their OATH OF OFFICES seriously and will readily give their lives to PROTECT AND SERVE those whom they swore to Protect and Serve. It’s that .1% that gives many of us REASONABLE DOUBT TO TRUST LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY. Those .1% who are former gang members and still down with that family. Those .1% who would rather hide behind their badge and wield their power and authority over our heads to show us whose boss. Those .1% who would tell the gang leaders and the neighborhood drug dealers who SNITCHED at the monthly CAPS Meeting. You’re wondering why they’re coming around more, staring at you, glaring at you, watching your daughter, your son, your niece, your nephew, your mother, your father, your grandchild…etc.

      There is NO REAL RELATIONSHIP between the community and the law enforcement agencies. We’re like 2 different worlds and if you don’t know any of them personally, you honestly don’t know who to trust. The days of OFFICER FRIENDLY are gone. EVERYONE’S LOOKING COCKEYED AT EVERYONE ELSE, LOOKING OVER THEIR SHOULDERS, WATCHING WHO MIGHT BE WATCHING THEM AND LISTENING TO THEM.

      Me, I’ll SNITCH in a heartbeat, if I didn’t have a husband or children. I personally don’t care about being gunned down because where man and this world can destroy my physical body, my soul and my salvation belongs solely to THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY GHOST. However, I understand that where I might be in the world and not of the world, the rules of this world are very clear and anything that I publicly do or say can have a negative effect on someone I love. They would know that I HAVE NO FEAR OF THEM, but, I have family members that I would die for and that’s who they would go after because that’s how they maintain control over our communities.

      THE SOLUTION!

      BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN COMMUNITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, as much as we possibly can. IT IS MORE OF US THAN IT IS OF THEM, even that .1% of the officers. We have to begin trusting someone sometime, but, it’s not going to happen through osmosis.

      THIS IS A MUST WATCH PRESS CONFERENCE, but, during this PRESS CONFERENCE, Angela Elisa Davis, the niece of ANGELA DAVIS who plays her in the film speaks about her mother, Angela Davis’s younger sister who was inspired by the victory that occurred during the process Angela’s trial, so much so that she became a CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY! Here she talks about RESTORATIVE JUSTICE which alerted me to being THE KEY to the issues we have in the African American Community! 27:43

    4. I understand her pain. My nephew was shot and killed 15 years ago and the killing has never been resolved. He was my sister’s only child also. The police here in St.Louis never tried to find his killer. At the time he was only 17. He was talking with friends when some guys just open fired. He died on the spot, one later on at the hospital. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about this. Yes, we know someone knows who did this, but REFUSE to talk. It hurt so bad to think someone is walking around r maybe someone has killed them, but the pain never goes away.

    5. How come gangsters like Al Capone and John Gotti can be caught but street gangs in the African American community are seemingly like geting rid of roaches? I mean, I can’t knock the hustle, but things have gone waaaayyy left. Does anyone remember how things were before crack cocain and rap music? Chicago is on a whole other plateau of wrong that seems to be invited and glorified by those folks who do well in that life but for the rest of us who cannot survive that cut throat competition atempting to stay out of jail or to compete on this side of the law is suicide! That is why no one wants to say anything. There is no returm Ask Barak Obama. Which way to go?

      • Well, Wrong, it’s not that street gangs in the african american community cannot be caught. As the KKK said: Just leave them alone. They’ll do a good job of killing themselves off. The powers that be are just waiting patiently for the herd to thin itself out. And the gangs don’t realize that by the time everything thing is said and done, they too, will be extinct. And without even realizing their mistake, the non-snitchers are doing an excellent job of aiding the effort.

    6. So very sad. But as long as we have not only young people, because you got some old fools prancing around with pants sagging around their asses trying to emulate the likes of JZ, Lil wayne, and numerous other “gansta rappers”, looking up to and idolizing rappers, gangsters and drug dealers and takeing their word as law, this lunacy will never end. I really feel for this mom.

      • This is very sad indeed. You are correct as long as you have these rappers getting rich off of promoting voilence and don’t snitch messages in their music it will never change. Young and old ignorant people destroying minds all for the all mighty dollar.. These rappers know the influence that they on some of society but they only care about the money and so called fame…

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