December 26, 2009

SCLC Protest Taser-Killing of Derrick Humbert

The powers-that-be in Bradenton want us to believe that 38-year old Derrick Humbert's death was 'accidental'. One moment Humbert is riding his bicycle home from a trip to the neighborhood store. The next moment he is pounced on by two undercover police officers in an unmarked car ... they chase him ... taser him with 50,000 volts of electricity ... and he dies. Where is the accident in this scenario?

That is one of the questions raised by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during their weekend march in downtown Bradenton to protest the Taser death of Humbert and to raise awareness of the Bradenton Police Department's "quality of life" policies.

The chairman of the SCLC Florida chapter, Arthur Rocker, met with Police Chief Michael Radzilowski to discuss Humbert's death.

"The chief of police says it's 'quality of life.' He stops people for small crimes so they don't commit bigger crimes, such as riding a bicycle without lights or walking on the wrong side of the road," Rocker said.

"We talked with him yesterday and asked, 'If a person in one of these communities was wearing a suit, would he be stopped for riding a bicycle or walking?' We believe these things are happening in low income communities and the reason that people walk and ride bicycles is because they have no other way to get around," Rocker said.
More than 60 people took part in the weekend protest march. "We all feel that it was an unfortunate situation but it gives us the opportunity to make some changes," Rocker said.

Rocker would like the Bradenton Police Department to start sensitivity training for its officers. "We must respect people's cultures and allow them the opportunity to understand them more," Rocker said.

The department of Justice is investigating Humbert's death. Rocker said there is no timetable set. "We're not in a hurry. We just want a quality and thorough investigation."

This blog joins with SCLC leadership around the country whenever they stand up to protest taser-related deaths. These deaths are happening on a weekly basis in America. More of us need to stand side-by-side with SCLC.

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