2000-03-04 / Columnists

From The G-Man....by Gary Toms

From The G-Man

A Fire Is Burning Inside G-Man

Hey people! Man, where the hell do I start? I guess you all are expecting me to explode about the Diallo verdict, and it would be very easy for me to do that. I’m not going to do it. It would be too easy for me to lodge an attack against the mayor and the police commissioner. I’m not going to do it. I will say one thing about the case. I don’t care who you are or what you may think. Forty-one of anything is excessive. Guys, just imagine being in the groin that many times! Mothers, would you punish your child by slapping them in the face that many times? No. Pet owners, would you hit your dog, or cat, that many times if they "made" on the carpet? No. Imagine someone shoving that many oranges down your throat! I think you get the point. How in the world do you justify 41 shots?

I’m going to make three critical points, and one of them will be extremely painful for me because I’m going to reveal something that I’ve hidden for 20 years. In the end, I hope the white and minority communities will have a different outlook on how we interpret and address the issue of policing in this state.

In a past column, I mentioned that I was a member of the Guardian Angels during my high school years. One night I was placed in command of the patrol, and we boarded the Far Rockaway A train bound for Brooklyn. While in route, four transit police boarded the train. They approached me, and they told me to take my patrol off the train at the Lafayette avenue station. I did as they instructed because I felt threatened.

When we got off the train, they followed and told us not to move. One of my men asked why we were taken off the train, and he was the recipient of a blow from a nightstick. He fell to the floor with blood pouring from his mouth and nose. I started to walk over to him, and the officer in front of me rammed his nightstick into my ribs. "You guys think you’re some f…..g vigilantes? These are our streets! Now get your a…. back on the train to Rockaway before we really kick your monkey a...!" Once we arrived at the Mott avenue station, we called in to the Guardian Angel headquarters, and we informed "Rock", Curtis Sliwa, of what had happened. He told us to discontinue patrolling and go home. For trying to make a difference, and helping people feel safe, I got a cracked rib, and the other member had some teeth knocked out. Complaints were filed, but nothing ever happened to the officers. So to all those who say police officers can do no wrong, and they need to be really aggressive, my example shows that some of them go too damn far, and racist cops do exist. Don’t kid yourselves!

I have spoken to seven members of the police department, and each was from a different area. They were all veterans who had different interpretations of what could’ve happened that night. The surprising thing I learned was that five of them had 25 years on the job, and not one of them had ever discharged their weapon. They stated how they patrolled some of the worst crime areas in the city, and it was never to the point where it is now in the city. Each member also admitted that quotas are part of policing in the city, and there is enormous pressure, from higher chains of command, on the station house captains to get those numbers up. "Pressure, man! Everybody’s feeling stress and pressure. It all comes from the top, and it trickles down to the officers. I know that’s what caused all that bull…. in the Bronx! That man is dead for no reason." As per the officers' request, I did not, and will not, print their names.

Many people in the African-American community sent me e-mails regarding the verdict, and they wanted to know what I thought Blacks should do to channel their anger and address this volatile issue. I strongly believe a five-step plan is needed. If these things are carried out, Black people may start getting the respect they deserve, and a new Black Power movement may emerge. They are as follows:

  1. Initiate an economic boycott of every single item sold in this country one day out of every month. Minority communities have enormous buying power, and people from Madison avenue to Wall Street know this. Buy some air time on a major network, and have celebrities stress unity, voter registration and empowerment. Hold people accountable, and watch what happens after that!
  2. Hold a "rap summit"! Get more of these rappers to come together and address police brutality and the other issues that affect the communities they came from. They don't realize the power they have because they’re blinded by the flash and cash. They have a strong voice in this country, and the youth clings to everything they do and say. If more of them could step up, like Queen Latifah, some serious changes would take place in the inner cities of America.
  3. Start registering and start voting! If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the damn problem. You want to change the system, then get out there and vote! Put down the guns, and pick up a book! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. There are laws on the books to deal with a man with a gun, but a man armed with knowledge is stronger than any gun. Don’t fall into the trap! Yes, it is a trap.
  4. Have a contingency of African-Americans, and people invited from West Africa, march to Washington to voice their anger. That’s a lot of people folks, and they would definitely be taken seriously. The death of Amadou Diallo is a call for Africans to unite no matter where they are!

You can reach out for me at GeeMan1025@aol.com.Keep it together everybody, and I'll see you next week!

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