Last night I planned a Christmas message for the show. I was going to tell you to watch less news, love on your family and friends, go see Fences and Hidden Figures, and do some good in the lives of the people around you.
Then, late last night, while I was literally writing out my notes, my friend and Morehouse brother Lee Merritt, who is an attorney in Dallas, sent me a video that shook me to my soul.
In Fort Worth, Texas yesterday, a 46-year-old mother, Jacqueline Craig, reported to the Forth Worth Police Department that a fully-grown, bearded white man in her neighborhood put his hands on her seven-year-old son and choked him. Her teenage daughters were with her while she was making the report and had sense enough to record her making the report on Facebook Live.
Clearly, Black folk already know good and well, that something simple like this is never simple with police in our country. It’s good that she filmed it, because what unfolded, and what this racist officer said, would not be believed had it not been captured on film.
As Jacqueline calmly and reasonably explains to the officer what this man did to her seven-year-old son, she tells him that the man said he confronted her son because he threw a piece of paper on the ground. As she tells the officer that he then choked her son, the officer actually asks her, “Why don’t you teach your son not to litter” – then proceeds to basically tell the mother that the man had every right to choke her son.
As any rational human being would, the mother gets upset. She’s holding it altogether, but she’s stumped. And I get it – because when I saw this man, in response to her saying her seven-year was choked, when I saw this officer ask her why she didn’t teach her son not to litter, my blood started boiling. When I first saw the video, I didn’t know what was about to unfold and thought I had seen the worst. I was already so angry I was almost shaking.
I have a seven-year-old. If a stranger choked him, police might be filing a police report for murder. And to hear this cop basically say that Black Lives Don’t Matter, and that it was all because she hadn’t taught him right, infuriated me. Jacqueline then told the officer that his words upset her. He then responds and basically says that if she doesn’t shut up, he’ll be upset.
Jacqueline’s teenage daughter steps in front of her to calm her down and separate her from the officer. In that moment, everything took a terrible turn for the worse. The officer starts grabbing and slamming everybody to the ground. He grabs Jacqueline’s teenage daughters and handcuffs them. He grabs her, wrestles her to the ground, and arrests her as well.
As of early this morning, Jacqueline Craig and her teenage daughters were still in jail.
This is the reality of being Black in America. I wanted to give us some advice on how to de-stress during the holidays, but Black folk are catching hell from coast to coast.
Yesterday, as some of you may have seen, YouTube prankster Adam Saleh was removed from a flight from London to New York. He claimed that it was because he was speaking Arabic, and maybe it happened like that, or maybe it was all a hoax, but here’s what I know. Black folk don’t need to create fake videos to expose injustice. The injustice is real all by itself.