by Chris Stevenson
There is a black political fear factor that few in office attempt to cross, the fear of the black Police Chief to try firing racially-abusive white officers, the fear of black elected officials spending too much time trying to solve black community issues, and the big one; the fear of a black Governor pardoning a black unjustly incarcerated or political prisoner. This fear is based on insecurities manifested by white backers and voters who don’t want their black candidate to remind them that he’s is black, especially by reopening the prison gates to allow a black convict to walk through years of police and DA cover-up, coercion, evidence tampering and confinement, and go free.
Outgoing New York Governor David Paterson has one high-profile clear cut case like that in his state. The 8/9/06 case of a man who was awaken from his sleep at around 11pm one nite by his teenage son who told him some angry teens had gathered outside of his home shouting threats and expletives. Just imagine waking to such a nightmare; a group of white youths coming from a party and no-doubt inebriated enough to choose not to go home, but to instead go to the White house, looking for trouble.
John White leap out of his bed, found his loaded Beretta and confronted what he described later as a “lynch-mob.” Usually a father just displaying a holstered gun to a group of rebels without a cause is enough to suddenly remember their own home address and turn around. But, this bunch had colonial spirit in spite of White’s pistol being pointed at them and were probably even more pumped-up by their parents race-dogma. You can just imagine how freely the racial epithets and profanities flowed. One lunging youth-17-year-old Daniel Cicciaros-would never go home again.
White was at first sentenced to 5-15 years almost a year and a half later. A judge gave him 2-4 years on 3/19/08 based on his having no prior arrest and his record of honesty. He was unsuccessful in his appeals. The prevailing reasoning is that he should have called 911 on the date in question. According to attorney/activist Alton Maddox; co-founder of the Freedom Party and United African Movement (UAM): “Since John White is a descendant of enslaved Africans, he forgot his place in society when he attempted to protect his family from a lynch mob which had threatened to do bodily harm to him and his family in general. The all-white mob also threatened to rape his wife… white policemen have never sided with black victims against a white mob.”
This scenario is being played out in various cities. This writer is currently working on a story in Buffalo NY where a black family is being threatened and harassed by a white female and members of her family highly upset that her daughter is dating their son. This is that woman’s 2nd trip there in 2 years and this time she approached the young man in front of his home and allegedly began swinging a knife at him until he pushed her away. The mother of the young man called the police and two squad-cars arrived with two white female officers with one officer bent on arresting the young black man and refusing to lock up the white female, who was way outside of her neighborhood.
I don’t have to tell you that not only did this officer refuse to charge the middle-aged woman with a hate crime, she was eventually talked into arresting her but refused to lock her up overnight. It took a black Sheriff’s Deputy to prevent the black man (who has no criminal record) from being arrested.
John White’s family history is laced with this type of old-southern treatment, once many of these black families moved up north, after a while some of them began measuring success by how white their neighbors are. You reach a political albatross if your black politician begins measuring success by how white his or her policies are. Paterson is considered a liberal democrat but his budget policies are very conservative. So far President Obama has pardoned 9 people and yet some may consider that a lot. But not compared to his predecessor George W. Bush commuting or rescinding 200 and Bill Clinton’s 459. L. Douglass Wilder is the only one of the 4 black governors of history that I know of to date, that has pardoned a convict when he released a well-known high school basketball star named Allen Iverson who was just five months into a 15-year-sentence for assaulting a woman in a bowling alley. While a president can only pardon offenses recognized by federal law, a governor can grant pardons under state law. The story goes that Paterson was able to become appointed Lt. Governor on a promise that he would stop pursuing a bill based on one of the race-issues whites are so commonly fearful of; a bill limiting the police use of deadly force and anti-racial profiling that future Governor Elliot Spitzer refused to support. Spitzer prided himself on being anti-corruption, evidently he sees police misconduct and brutality as no more corrupt than interstate prostitution.
So I am urging Governor Paterson during the remaining days he has left to grant this family man/family protector the freedom he rightfully deserves. I’m aware some may be saying 2-4 years isn’t that long, he’ll probably get out before then. But consider it a test of full political manhood, and not let down a Long Island man who exercised his full manhood by fearlessly defending his family from attack irregardless of whom it was coming from or the odds against him. You too can get involved by signing this John White Petition.
Chris Stevenson is a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, Btweetz.com blackcommentator and Facebook, you don’t have to join either. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice and The Network for clbTV. Respond to him on the link below.