Tuesday, July 17, 2018

From The Final Call Newpaper

Trump blasted for 'treasonous' Putin summit

By Final Call News

President Trump and President Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland. Photo: MGN Online

HELSINKI, Finland—President Donald Trump said the Russia investigation has been a “disaster” for the United States and has kept America and Russia “separated.”

Speaking during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he reiterated that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russian government.

Mr. Trump departed the summit without holding the Russian leader accountable for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think that we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time, frankly, before I got to office,” Mr. Trump said standing with Mr. Putin in a closing press conference.

Offered opportunities multiple times to denounce Russia’s actions, Mr. Trump instead placed blame on the FBI and said that he had “confidence” in both parties—the intelligence community and Russia, CBS News reported. 

Demonstrators gather at Trafalgar Square as they attend a rally against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, including a giant infl atable Baby Trump, in London on July 13. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump, visited Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers and had tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

“All I can do is ask the question—my people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be but I really want to see the server but, I have confidence in both parties,” Mr. Trump said.

CBS reported the president went so far as to say that Mr. Putin’s denial of having been involved in the election was “extremely strong and powerful.” Mr. Putin reiterated past claims that the “Russian state” has never and is not going to ever interfere in U.S. internal affairs, including elections, and offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller an opportunity to request to interrogate and question 12 Russian nationals indicted in his probe on Russian soil.

Mr. Trump hailed the summit as being a success after dialogue between the two nations following a private one-on-one discussion that lasted two hours, said CBS.

Mr. Trump blasted the European Union as a “foe” before the Putin meeting and ignored calls from his national security team to “adopt a more hawkish tone towards Russia going into the summit.”

Democrat Adam Schiff blasted the American president for a “cowardly surrender of American interests” on CNN. The congressman condemned the president for a “despicable act of betrayal of the United States” and branded the Republican Party as “complicit in the surrender to Russia of American interests.”

Chuck Schumer questioned why the president put Russia’s interest over the United States saying the only possible answer is that Russia’s president has something on Mr. Trump. The leading Democrat in the Senate denounced the summit and press conference as “shameful.”

A tweet from Arizona Republican Jeff Flake also called the press conference “shameful.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wisc.) declared there was “no question” that Russia interfered in U.S. elections and congressional committees and intelligence agencies had both agreed on that. The president was widely blasted for undercutting U.S. intelligence and believing Mr. Putin, a former KGB agent.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???” tweeted John Brennan, CIA director between 2013 and January 2017. He also blasted the president’s words as “treasonous.”

Sen. Schumer called for GOP support of the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s election role. He also called on Republicans to demand that the indicted Russians be sent to the U.S. to stand trial, that sanctions be ratcheted up and that Mr. Trump appear before the Mueller probe.

Mr. Putin rejected claims that his government interfered in the U.S. election. There’s “no evidence when it comes to the actual facts,” he said.

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse,” Mr. Trump tweeted early July 16, blaming “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the U.S. indictment as part of a “shameful comedy” they claim has been staged to prevent the formalization of Russia-U.S. ties.

(Compiled from Final Call staff and Associated Press reports.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

From The Final Call Newspaper

Shut'em Down! - No More Deaths, No Business As Usual By Bryan Crawford and Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad

CHICAGO—Father Michael Pfleger is no stranger to organizing marches through communities on the city’s South Side that are most prone to gun violence.

But a Saturday march on a major highway sent shockwaves through the city and attracted national attention. The shutdown of the thoroughfare raised questions about politics, organizing and calls for ending violence and neglect of the city’s Black neighborhoods.

Father Michael Pfleger (middle), longtime activist priest, called for demonstration which drew a huge crowd of young people and elders. Photo: James G. Muhammad

For more than three decades Father Pfleger has led peaceful marches through the Auburn-Gresham community flanked by those victimized in some way by gun violence, and others who simply want the madness to stop so that people, young and old, can feel safe in their neighborhoods.

But July 7 commuters and travelers headed downtown got a taste of inconvenience as traffic stalled and stopped on a section of one of the city’s busiest expressways, the Dan Ryan. “I want people to be mindful of the inconvenience of those who don’t go to work and have to attend funerals or make funeral arrangements or go to the E.R. to go attend to their loved ones who’ve been shot or killed,” said William Calloway, a Black man in his early 20s, who lives in the South Shore community, which has a high violence rate. He was among a couple thousand people who joined the demonstration.

Protestors arrived and made their way down ramps to the highway where Illinois State Police and Chicago cops, led by Supt. Eddie Johnson, had closed a couple lanes to traffic. Traffic barriers and vehicles were used to separate demonstrators from moving traffic.

After about four blocks of walking, the demonstrators made it clear that they wanted to stop all traffic. A tense hour of waiting followed before all northbound traffic was halted and demonstrators controlled the freeway.

Calls for economic investment in Black neighborhoods was a theme. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

“Hopefully, so-called leaders will make a change and stop thinking this is a circus; see me and my husband are not here for a circus, we’re here for the cause of our young Black people, our future,” declared a woman in her mid- to late 30s. “Anytime the non-colored do their thing, it’s not inconvenient to them and they stop traffic and do their thing and everybody says, ‘hello, hello.’ This is for a cause—I think (the opposition), it’s a fear more than anything.”

The shutdown occurred after Father Pfleger told the city police chief there would be a safety emergency if the additional traffic lanes were not stopped.

“This is unacceptable,” Gov. Bruce Rauner tweeted midday of the protest. “We had clear parameters that allowed the protestors to be heard while respecting law and order. Instead, they chose instead to cause chaos.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson participated. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

Later, he blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I’m disappointed in the Mayor. There was an agreement in place,” the governor tweeted. “I am calling on the Mayor to take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos. I will work with him in good faith and urge him to do his job so that the people of Chicago feel safe.”

“It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account,” the mayor responded.

There was no deal with Mayor Emmanuel, who came out late in support of the march, nor Republican governor Rauner who opposed it, said Father Pfleger.

Prior to the demonstration, Illinois State Police, who control the expressway through the city, threatened to arrest anyone who attempted to shut down the thoroughfare. City police brass warned such protests would siphon cops from already suffering neighborhoods.

That changed after the mayor declared the anti-violence protest was proper: His handpicked police chief was on the scene, denying any shortage of resources. And, according to Father Pfleger, the chief told state police his force would shut down the highway out of safety concerns.

Father Pfleger talked about the protest and future plans over the airwaves of WVON AM Black Talk Radio July 9 during the Perri Small Show.

The politicians may have made a deal but the demonstrators were not part of any political compromise, he said.

Anti-gun violence march made national headlines as demonstrators converged on the Dan Ryan Expressway carrying signs calling for policies to solve problems plaguing the Black community. Photo: Tim 6X

It was an emotional day as demonstrators voiced demands for resources to address a myriad of problems. Left Photo: James G. Muhammad, Right Photos: Haroon Rajaee

The next steps are meetings between young people and city officials to work on problems that have existed for far too long, said the longtime activist priest.

Questions loom about what this powerful display could mean for a mayor and governor who have been embattled and face reelection in 2019.

“As with any cause, all it takes is one person to get together, someone will hear us. The theme is again, just like back in the ‘60s, the ‘70s, the ‘80s ‘One voice, one vote,’ ” said Sherri Halldupart, who marched down the expressway.

“They don’t want this rally to take place,” added city resident Robert Willis. “They don’t want the people to express themselves. They are taking a hardline position in order to try and put fear in the people’s hearts and people have gone beyond fear. … This is generating energy, even though they the old heads, they’re generating energy and the young people get encouraged and stand up for themselves.”

“Minister Farrakhan always says that if you’re not willing to accept the risks that come with standing up, then you shouldn’t get involved,” Father Pfleger told The Final Call. “Mass civil disobedience was a key strategy during the civil rights movement,” he noted.

“We wanted to take it up a notch and we wanted to do something en masse that would interrupt business as usual in a larger way. We want to shut it down and inconvenience a large number of people on purpose because when people get inconvenienced, they begin to speak up and call on those who can fix this because now, their lives are being interrupted.”

The Illinois State Police were in full force, along with Chicago Police, during the July 7 demonstration. Photos: James G. Muhammad

In May, Chicago police released data showing gun violence had dropped for 14 straight months. Police said between Jan. 1, 2018 and April 30, 2018, shootings decreased by 27 percent and murders by 22 percent, compared to the same time the year prior. Police reported overall crime decreased 12 percent in 2018.

Some feel those numbers are misleading. Every day there are still too many men, women and children falling victim to gun violence, they say.

Demonstrator lays on ground during Saturday march on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. Photo: James G. Muhammad

“The police have always manipulated numbers to make themselves look good. … To make it look like they’re taking care of business,” Tio Hardiman, president of the Violence Interrupters Initiative, said.

While police report a drop in shootings and murders, the raw numbers are still grisly. Between January and April, 710 people were shot and 146 killed. There have also been 61 children, 15 years old and younger, who have been hit by gunfire this year.

“Conditions of neglect and abandonment on the South and West Sides have gotten like they have because the people outside of those areas have not been concerned, and not only that, don’t seem to care,” Father Pfleger said. “There was a woman who told me that I was forcing her to get off the expressway and go down State St. and that she didn’t feel safe in those neighborhoods. I told her ma’am, we don’t feel safe there either. … We live at risk. We’re trying to force other people to care. That’s the reason we didn’t do another march in the community because this will interrupt a whole other segment of people who use the Dan Ryan to zip through to downtown.”

The goal of the Dan Ryan expressway march wasn’t simply to inconvenience motorists, nor was it a public relations stunt to bring awareness to a widely-reported and politicized problem. Marchers said the city and the state must provide resources to help create long-term, permanent fixes to the problem of Chicago gun violence.

Father Pfleger and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson at July 7 demonstration. Photo: James G. Muhammad

One of those potential fixes was a bill calling for the state to license and regulate gun shops. Some of the provisions in the Illinois bill, outside of already federally mandated background checks and sales transaction records gun shops are required to follow, would call for background checks on all store owners and employees, as well as training on how to conduct background checks on customers, deter deceptive purchases and theft, and gun storage. Before receiving a license to operate, gun shop owners would undergo an inspection and receive written approval to operate from local county sheriffs.

The new rules would have applied to any business that sells, leases or transfers 10 or more firearms annually, requiring licensing by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation at a cost of $1,000 every five years. Gov. Rauner vetoed the measure, arguing state licensing measures would duplicate federal requirements and be too expensive for gun shop owners. And, he argued, there was no evidence that public safety would be improved.

“Gov. Bruce Rauner was wrong for vetoing that bill because it was like a slap in the face to all of those anti-gun and anti-violence activists who are out here putting forth their efforts in the streets,” Mr. Hardiman said. “Too many illegal guns are being shipped to Chicago and they end up in these young brothers’ hands out here. … Reducing gun violence by passing sensible gun legislation makes sense. But Gov. Rauner has disappointed the people of Illinois on many fronts, and this is just one more disappointment to add to his long list.”

Father Pfleger said youth groups involved in the Dan Ryan shutdown, created a list of policies they would like to see enacted to not only limit the number of guns flooding Chicago’s streets, but also create more mental health and trauma services to meet community needs. They would like to sit down with candidates personally to discuss what concrete plans candidates have to offer.

Participants carried signs with images and names of friends and loved ones who have been victims of violence in Chicago. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

“With violence steadily increasing in our city, our elected officials are still not trying to solve our problems,” said 20-year-old Trevon Bosley, who lost his brother Terrell to gun violence in 2006. “We’re not going to vote for Democratic or Republican candidates. … We’re going to vote for issues that affect us.”

Youth involved in the march said if they are ignored by city and state government, other acts of civil disobedience will occur until both parties sit down and hear them out.

“Since the beginning of this, we’ve been saying that the violence has to end with the neglect and abandonment of these communities stopped by the government, and it has to end within the community by us not turning on each other and shooting and killing one another,” Father Pfleger said.

“Both sides play a part, and this gun violence will stop once we get the resources to create more options for people, which will play a part in the decision for them not to shoot each other. We will continue to fight a government that has abandoned these communities, but we must also commit to one another to make each other safe. … And we have to keep doing that. The churches, synagogues and mosques have to be a part of that by getting the word out and getting out into the streets.”

Young people and protest participants used chalk to write the names of loved ones lost to gun violence and encouraging words on the walls of bridges across the expressway. It was emotional with hugging and displays of support.

Mr. Hardiman stated matter of factly, “The only way to stop gun violence in Chicago is the Black community—especially Black men—must unify. Stopping the killing is all about unity amongst our people.”

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

From The Final Call Newspaper

Anger, pain, protests rock Pittsburgh after police killing of unarmed Black 17-year-old By Barrington M. Salmon -Contributing Writer

‘Lethal force should be an absolute last resort, not a first option’

Protestors cross the Roberto Clemente bridge during a evening rush hour march that began in downtown Pittsburgh, June 22. They are protesting the killing of Antwon Rose Jr. who was fatally shot by a police officer seconds after he fled a traffic stop June 19, in the suburb of East Pittsburgh.

The city of Pittsburgh is on edge and boiling hot after an East Pittsburgh Police officer with a checkered past shot and killed an unarmed high school student after police stopped the vehicle the young man was in as a part of an investigation into an earlier shooting.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said officers found two firearms on the floor of the car. He added that they found no weapons on the slain Black teenager. A bystander’s video of the June 19 shooting shows Antwon Rose, Jr. and an unnamed companion jumping out of the car and running away, and Antwon collapsing after being shot three times in the back by an officer identified as Michael H. Rosfeld, 30.

The funeral for the young man was held June 25 and some 200 people came out to show their respects and activists did not protest out of respect for the family’s mourning. His mother told ABC News, in an interview, that the police officer murdered her son.

Antwon’s death set off a series of protests across the Pittsburgh area that drew hundreds of demonstrators, many armed with “Black Lives Matter” signs and shouting “No Justice, No Peace.”

A death and demands for justice

Antwon Rose

Every day or night since the killing of the Woodland Hills High School honor student, angry, determined residents and groups including the Alliance for Police Accountability, NAACP and ACLU of Pennsylvania—seeking #JusticeforAntwon—have either locked down sections of Interstate 376, the main thoroughfare of downtown Pittsburgh, blocked the Rachel Carson Bridge, protested at a Pittsburgh Pirates game, rallied at least twice at the East Pittsburgh Police Department and trooped to the Alleghany County Courthouse which houses the offices of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr.

And, a Pittsburgh activist said, students at several schools June 21 staged walkouts in silent protest of what many in the city are calling the unjustified killing of a humble, affable and well-liked teenager.

Civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, who was hired by Antwon’s family to represent them, said he’s hoping that public pressure will force Mr. Zappala to charge Officer Rosfeld but he’s doubtful.

“If you use history as a guide, there is a low possibility that the D.A. will charge Rosfeld. He has a history of not prosecuting police officers regardless of what they have done,” Mr. Merritt told The Final Call during a June 22 interview. “I’ve come to represent the family because I do a lot of this work, especially in Texas where it’s been 50 years since a police officer has been indicted for murder.”

Mr. Merritt has been involved in a case in Texas where police officer Roy Oliver fired a rifle into a car with four Black teenagers driving away from him, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. He said members of the community and legal and civil rights organizations applied significant political and economic pressure which led to Officer Oliver being fired and charged with murder. His trial is set to start this summer.

Tia Taylor, left, is comforted by her friend Jameira Mosely during a protest of the shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr. in Market Square, June 22, in Pittsburgh. Both attended school with Rose. Protesters demonstrated June 22 for a third day over the fatal police shooting in Pennsylvania of the unarmed Black teen fleeing a traffic stop as they sought to get the attention of a nation engrossed by the immigration debate, and to pressure officials to charge the officer.

The pressure is mounting on District Attorney Zappala with the protests and an announcement by the medical examiner, who ruled Antwon’s death a homicide.

Under Pennsylvania law police officers are allowed to use deadly force to prevent someone from escaping arrest if he or she has committed a forcible felony, is in possession of a deadly weapon or if that person has indicated he or she will endanger human life or inflict bodily injury if not arrested.

But there’s nothing that he’s learned so far that justifies an unarmed young man running away from the police and posing no danger to them, to be shot and killed, Mr. Merritt said.

The executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania agreed, saying in a statement that it appears Officer Rosfeld “disregarded the basic humanity of this boy.”

“Fleeing from a scene does not give law enforcement the right to indiscriminately shoot young boys or anyone,” said Reggie Shuford. “No one, especially children, should ever fear death at the hands of police. Lethal force should be an absolute last resort, not a first option.”

In the days following the fatal shooting, “police sources” have sought to besmirch the name of the young man, leaking to local media that they have video of Antwon firing a gun and that forensic evidence shows gunshot residue on his hands.

“We expected Antwon to be smeared,” Mr. Merritt said. “It’s patently untrue and we’re calling out media for doing this, calling on them to stop spreading lies. Local law enforcement is engaged in spreading these falsehoods and they have been praising the death of Antwon on social media.”

“I haven’t been in situation where I’m so hard-pressed to find any negative on someone. Antwon was known for his generosity and his altruism. He volunteered to work on political campaigns, food banks and such and was known to hang at a skate park in the White part of town. He had crossover appeal. He played the saxophone and was a hockey player. His mom said he had an IQ of 120 and was already admitted to college. He was gifted and extremely intelligent.”

High school Principal Candee Nagy told a TribLive reporter that Antwon competed in academic competitions throughout high school.

“He was a very intelligent, well-mannered, respectful individual that worked hard to do his best,” she said. “He’s somebody you really recognized as a powerhouse, with the gift he had bestowed upon him as a young man.”

District officials said he scored high on his SAT test and was one English class shy of graduating.

Mr. Merritt said Antwon’s mother, Michelle Kenney, planned to have an open-casket funeral, reminiscent of Mamie Till, whose son Emmett was abducted and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 by White men who beat him and tossed his body into a nearby river for allegedly whistling at a White woman.

Antwon Rose, 17-year-old boy who was fatally shot by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Kenney granted ABC News an exclusive interview where she said that Officer Rosfeld “murdered my son in cold blood.”

“If he has a son, I pray his heart never has to hurt the way mine does,” Ms. Kenney said. “But I think he should pay for taking my son’s life. I really do.”

“My son is dead and I keep saying that, but he didn’t die by accident,” she said. “He didn’t fall off a cliff. He didn’t trip and bump his head. A cop killed him. The same person that should have protected him, the same person who I taught my son to respect and always have the most respect for, never be disrespectful, murdered my son.”

A rogue cop allowed to run free?

Shaun King, an investigative reporter for The Intercept and co-founder and lead organizer for the Justice PAC—which seeks to elect reform-minded district attorneys across the country—has been breaking news for the past several days about Officer Rosfeld.

On June 23, he posted a note on social media saying that a high-ranking official from the University of Pittsburgh confirmed that Off. Rosfeld was fired from the university in January after brutally assaulting a Black student and lying about it.

“That student was the son of the university chancellor,” Mr. King said. “The official told (me) that Rosfeld was a known menace on campus for years and had assaulted several Black students. But the school finally took action when the student was the son of the chancellor. He was sworn in at the East Pittsburgh Police Department and three hours later, he shot and killed Antwon Rose.”

East Pittsburgh Mayor Louis J. Payne told a reporter with the Tribune-Review that Off. Rosfeld had been sworn into the department a few hours before the shooting. Off. Rosfeld said in an interview two days after the shooting that he’s been a police officer since 2011, and worked with other area departments for eight years, including the University of Pittsburgh, Oakmont and Harmar Township. Off. Rosfeld is now on unpaid leave.

Mr. Merritt elaborated on the officer’s alleged past behavior.

“Rosfeld has a history of brutality. He beat students and falsified records,” the attorney charged. “It went unchecked until he assaulted the chancellor’s son. The chancellor pulled video records of the incident. Instead of charging him, they quietly fired him and allowed him to go elsewhere and continue his behavior. The University of Pittsburgh bears some of the responsibility for what happened.”

Pittsburgh resident Bomani Howze said the Steel City is a tinderbox.

“It’s 360 degrees here, really hot,” said Mr. Howze, an investor and activist. “It’s hot for multiple reasons. As spring heats up, old beefs start to cook up. (Up and coming Rapper) Jimmy Wopo was killed in Hill District this week. He was about to be signed by Wiz Khalifa. All of this is happening right now.

Protesters chant "Hands up! Don't shoot!" at motorcycle officers near the head of a line of vehicles stuck on Interstate 376 in Pittsburgh on June 21. The highway was shut down by the people protesting the East Pittsburgh police after the June 19 shooting death of Antwon Rose, a 17-year-old boy fatally shot by a police officer in Pennsylvania seconds after he fled a traffic stop. He did not pose a threat to anyone, a lawyer for the family of the teen said.

“You have misguided youth who are disconnected from the OGs. They’re not afraid and they’re carrying heavy artillery. A day or two later, law enforcement is on edge. Elected officials are fearful that a storm is going to blow out.”

Mr. Howze said elected officials are pressing law enforcement hard to keep a lid on the violence because they’re trying to persuade Amazon to bring its headquarters to the city. Politicians like the mayor are “responding with their interests,” the district attorney is standing for re-election and the public is very aware of the political calculus, he added.

Jasiri X, a Pittsburgh-born rapper and activist, said Black people in Pittsburgh are tired of being taken for granted.

“We walk through America with the understanding that we can be killed at any moment and not get justice,” he said. “Trayvon Martin’s mother got no justice, Michael Brown’s mother got no justice, Sandra Bland’s mother got no justice … We’re expected to just take it. The problem is, who else is expected to be peaceful when you shoot us?”

“I had an interview this morning (June 22) and I was asked how we can cool down the anger of the people—you should be upset, you should be outraged,” he said.

Pittsburgh cops and Blacks: Lingering distrust, antagonism

Pittsburgh-born, Washington, D.C. resident Jamila Bey left Pittsburgh in 2000 because she had determined that the city was no place for a Black person to live or to raise a child.

“Pittsburgh has a long and troubled history with police-involved shootings, and rarely has a police officer been held to account,” said Ms. Bey, a journalist, commentator and mother of a son. “What’s going on here is par for the course. This boy was a saint by all accounts. He was the preacher, the choir boy. He may not even have known what was going on when he got shot.”

“This child, this innocent child, with a bright, brilliant future has had his life cut short. All the mothers I’m in contact with are in despair because this is the kid who you would want as a 17 year old.”

Ms. Bey said she happened to be in Pittsburgh to visit her mother who had unexpectedly fallen ill and was in the hospital.

“I stopped in front of the courthouse and I estimate that there were about 1,500 people out there,” she told The Final Call in a June 20 interview. “We have ‘hunting and fishing cops’ who are back from Iraq and see Black people as the enemy. They live outside of the city and have no interest in the city or the people they serve. This is the pattern here in Pittsburgh.

“(But) people seem to be devoted to the idea that this isn’t about the cop who shot this boy but the system. All of us mothers are resolved that this will go beyond the protests. We need to hit this legislatively, change what they’re teaching at the police academy, for example. This D.A. has made a lot of Black people angry. He is not secure in his position.”

The city’s struggles to get a handle on this problem bear Ms. Bey out.

Pittsburgh is said to be the first big city police department to agree to a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice in the 1990s after federal investigators discovered a pattern and practice of police misconduct. The result was more resources, improved training and broader oversight of the myriad activities and operations among the ranks of the police. But Black Pittsburgh residents say police officers never stopped harassing, brutalizing, profiling and killing them with little oversight or accountability.

The issue of the police-involved killings of primarily unarmed Black men, women and children continues to roil the United States. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Korryn Gaines, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Stephon Clark, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner and Natasha McKenna are just a few of the hundreds of Blacks who have died at the hands of the police or someone acting in that capacity. In almost every case, the individuals who pulled the trigger were not charged and served no time for the murders.

According to the Mapping Violence project, police in the U.S. killed 466 people in 2018. Law enforcement killed 1,147 people in 2017 with Blacks comprising 25 percent of those slain despite being only 13 percent of the population. Fox News notes that since the start of 2018, at least 45 law enforcement officers across the U.S. have died while on duty—with 27 of the deaths caused by gunfire. Various studies show that Blacks are nearly three times more likely than White Americans to be killed by police and are five times more likely than Whites to be killed while unarmed.

The cycle of shootings, outrage and district or states attorneys or grand juries opting not to press charges has fueled strident protests nationwide and equally vocal demands for change. In this case, several civil rights organizations are demanding that the attorney general of Pennsylvania handle the investigation into Antwon’s death.

A recent study illustrates that the wider Black community is affected by these killings. Researchers published a study in the Lancet Medical Journal which indicates that police violence has a direct effect on the mental health of Black adults.

Celebrity hair stylist Fela Sekou was equally caustic when sharing his view of police-Black community relations.

“The relationship between minorities and White, Anglo Saxon Protestants is very hostile and tense,” said Mr. Sekou, who was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Washington, D.C., and Cleveland. “The police are very racist. They’re violent and are a threat to people. A lot of people don’t know it but it’s not just police, it’s the school system and the court system. They have no respect for African American men. Pittsburgh is worse than Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s so blatant there.”

He recalled as a 19-year-old how Pittsburgh police officers stopped him and two friends downtown because a White man had been robbed.

“The victim couldn’t identify us and the police got angry,” he recalled. “We were screaming about our rights and the situation escalated. They searched us and when I asked why we were being arrested, a Black cop came over and punched me in my face. I was beating him up and he used a billy club. We were arrested, the charges were dropped but even now at 46 years old, I have to defend myself (because they never cleared my record).”