November 26, 2009

SCLC President Kyev Tatum Seeks Dignity and Respect in Fort Worth

Villagers are fully aware of the taser-related outrages in Ft. Worth TX that were brought to our attention by the death of 24-year old Michael Jacobs. Pastor Kyev Tatum is the president of the SCLC chapter in Ft. Worth. He shared his thoughts on these matters in the following open letter:

To whom it may concern:

On yesterday I met with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner Dr. N. Peewani in what I consider to be a candid conversation on the cause of the taser shock death of mentally challenged Michael Patrick Jacobs, Jr., a 24 year-old African American man who lived in east Fort Worth on April 18, 2009.

The reason I met with him was because I wanted a copy of the "complete" medical report he submitted to the Tarrant County District Attorney justifying his homicide ruling as the cause of death with a taser and at the hands of Fort Worth Police Officer Stephanie A. Phillips, a white female with 17 years of experience as a FW police officer.

My concerns of a "Cowtown Cover Up" was confirmed when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial Board published the details of a portion of Dr. Peewani's report that was "suppressed" by the District Attorney Joe Shannon in an effort to "keep the public peace" and to not taint the grand jury process.

What is of great concern is that Mr. Shannon and Fort Worth City leaders in August decided to keep this information away from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference leadership and the local media. In fact, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has to sue in District Court in order to get the report released. District Judge Mike Thomas should be commended for his wise judgment in ordering the release of the complete report last Friday, November 20, 2009.

While the Southern Christian Leadership Conference still awaits a complete copy of the report, I found reason to pause when it was mentioned in my conversation with the Medical Examiner that the two barbs from the taser torture tool hit Michael Patrick Jacobs, Jr., inches from his juggler in his neck and heart.

I can not imagine what pain and torture he experienced with "54 Seconds" of 50,000 volts of painful electricity flowing through his body as Stephanie Phillips executed him in from of his mother and father.

Yet Mayor Mike Moncrief, the City Council and Police Chief have found no fault in Ms. Phillips' actions. The tainted grand jury refused to indict because Taser International was allowed to purchase testimony before the grand jury. Now the entire community is ordered by the Mayor and Police Chief to shut up and sit down because, "this case is closed."

As president of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, I am outraged, insulted and offended by the actions of the leadership in my hometown.

Fort Worth, in my humble opinion, is one of the most dangerous cities in America if you are an African American male, especially if you have mental health and wellness issues.

Our civil rights are completely ignored and our right to dignity and justice are disregarded. What should be handled as a medical issues have been handled as a criminal justice issue and many young black men and boys are forced to live a life of second class citizenship without hope or directions.

With African American infant mortality rate in certain zip codes in Fort Worth the highest in the nation; the highest black failure rate in public schools and the highest incarceration rate of any social class within the City of Fort Worth, black men and boys are dying in Fort Worth and no one seems to care.

We need immediate relief and we are calling on Governor Rick Perry and President Barack Obama to put aside political positions and parties and come to Fort Worth and provide us with state and federal relief. Our civil rights are being violated without cause.

The criminalization of the black man in Fort Worth is out of control and is adding to the burden of society.

As a native son of this city and community, I know first hand how the governmental authority abuse, intimidated, punish, control, inflict fear, pain and even death in order to "keep us in our place."

On this Thanksgiving day, I send out this cry in faith and hope that someone will have enough compassion and courage to hear my plea and come offer us some relief.

We are not criminals but citizens of this great country. We do not want a hand out but a healthy hand up so that we can live our lives free from fear, threat and death.

Michael Jacobs, Jr., did not have to die in the most undignified barbaric way know to man. His mother cried out for medical help but witnessed his execution along with his father in their front yard at 6266 Ava Court Drive.

The City may have closed its case locally, but rest assure, the SCLC will continue to speak up and out until something is done about the unsafe, inhumane way Fort Worth treats its African American men and boys.

We need immediate relief.

In complete humility,
Rev. Kyev Tatum, Sr.
1333 East Magnolia Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76105
(817) 966-7625

I plan to join Rev. Tatum and others on December 4th in a Day of Blogging for Justice: Stop Taser Torture. I hope you support this effort as well.

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