The Unspoken Brutality

root - Posted on 31 December 1969

by Leroy Moore

As we enter the 21st century, Americans of color still live under the racist oppression that created many victims of physical abuse and harsh brutality in the
nineties. In the last decade we witnessed the cases of Rodney King, Amadou AHHMED Diallo and Margaret L. Mitchell, to name only a few. Racially motivated physical abuse often results in physical disability among people of color, an issue that has been overlooked, especially by African Americans.

We can look at the news to see and read about brutalities against people
of color that result in physical disability. After Rodney King's beating in LA., he was pushed in a wheelchair into court. On February 17, 1999, the San Francisco
Chronicle ran an article entitled; Black Marine Disabled in Brawl to Face Attackers.
Five White men broke Lance Capt. Carlos Colbert's neck and left him paralyzed
during a drunken racist attack. The abuse or brutality doesn't stop if the victim is disabled.
Racist attacks and brutality are not given visibility when it comes to disabled people of
color but it has been a reality in our communities.

In the last three years, cases of racist attacks and brutality on disabled people of color
have been in the news but the disabled and ethnic communities and leaders have
not rallied around or spoken openly about this issue. The abuse and brutality that disabled
people of color are victims of have led to more severe disability or death. Take the James Byrd's case.

The Washington Post of June 10, '98 published an article entitled Disabled Man
Dragged to Death. James Byrd's sister told the Post that her brother had a seizure
disorder. In the case of Ya Fang Li, an elderly Asian women with arthritis and
Alzheimer disease filed a compliant of excessive force against a San Francisco
cop causing bruises on her knees and her arthritis to flair up.

In July of 1997 the New York Times reported on a cross-country operation to force deaf Mexican immigrants to sell dollar trinkets by abusing them, including using electric shock, slamming heads against the wall and chaining others to a bed for weeks just to keep them in fear and to sell more trinkets.

The above cases are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to racist attacks
and brutality on disabled people of color. These cases and more like them are nine
times out of ten not brought to light by the disabled rights movement and
the ethnic press more often than not does not recognize the victims disability as part of
his or her identity leaving this issue undeveloped. James Byrd and Ya Fang Li are good
examples of the lack of acknowledgement of the victims' disability in ethnic press.
Although the New York Times and the Washington Post mentioned James Byrd's disability Jet and emerge magazine has not.

The same situation holds true for Ya Fang Li. The San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Beacon both mentioned Li's disability but Asian Weekly has not mentioned her disability to date. This admission is misleading to the general public especially the communities of people of color and it continues to overlook the issue of brutality and abuse toward disabled people of color.

To begin to tackle this issue, society, the disabled and ethnic communities have to realize that disability should and must be identified when looking at and reporting on racist attacks, brutality and abuse.

Check out my list of disabled men of color who have been under attack! I am working on a list of disabled women of color.

Latest news is in California, Dan Sorenson, an Empowerment Team Leader of the California Foundation of Independent Living approached Senator Dianne Feinstein with this issue in January of 1999 now Feinsteinís office is collecting stories of crimes against people with disabilities. She is looking into introducing legislation on this topic. Write or fax her at HYPERLINK Yael is a staff person in the Washington office of Feinstein. You can also fax at (202) 228-3954 attn: Yael.

Disabled men of color who have been under attack!

** 1988 Tony (G.) a 13-year-old Samoan boy with Down syndrome was walking home with a toy gun. SFPD thought the gun was real so they shot and killed him.
# June of 1996 Rogelio Munoz, a diabetic andx paraplegic inmate in the Taxes
Department of Criminal Justice system was punched out of his wheelchair. While on the floor two guards continue to kick him and twist his left arm around his back up toward the back of his head. Rogelio suffered fracture to his right and left arm. He is looking for legal help.

3)** December 20th of 1995 Seth Woods, a Black disabled young man of San Francisco
was walking home from his sisterís house. Seth came across a group of Samoan teenagers that he knew. Seth wanted to be apart of the group. But the teenagers and Seth had been drinking and couldnít understand each other. The teenagers told Seth to go away but he didnít listen. That is when the teenagers started to beat and stomp on Seth. In minutes Seth face was down in the streets, and had stop fighting back. His bloody and broken body was left on the sidewalk. After five days in a coma Seth died on Dec. 26, 1995

** October of 1997 Kelvin Robinson, a Black deaf man of LA. Was shot three times in the back by LAPD cops of the Newton St. Division. He was then denied medical attention when the police refuse to call the paramedics, so he bled to death.
** May of 1997 Jonah Drisdom of Niagara Falls, NY a black man with a history of emotional illness was shot to death by an off duty officer. He was shot while leaving the hospital. Police claim he had a knife. A butter knife was found.
**March of 1998 Mr. Thai Pham, a Vietnamese mentally impaired man of Kansas, MO. was shot to death by an unidentified officers who had come to arrest his brother on a theft charge.

* *April of 1998 an Ethiopian man of Gaitherburg, Maryland had a history living in a mental institution, he was shot and killed by police officer George Boyce, a White cop with a history of racism and hostility toward mentally impaired people.

** June of 1998 James Byrd, a Black disabled man was tied to a back of a pick-up truck and dragged to his death in Texas.

* *July of 1998 (Nassau County Jail) Christopher Jackson, a Black young adult with sickle-cell anemia of Long Island NY became ill and asked for treatment he was denied. He was awaiting trail on a minor drug charge. He died two days later.

** January of 1999 Dion Goodlow, a Black ten of South Central LA was disabled after a car accident. Officers claim that he got out of his wheelchair and run away. They saw him running around the corner pointing a large gun at them. But his grandmother wrote that Dion just got out of the hospital and had broken bones. She said the cops pushed him out of his wheelchair and shot him 28 times.

**Feb of 2000 LAPD raid a neighborhood and tipped over a Hispanic wheelchair user and left him there in the street.

** June of 2000 Marcus Hogg, a Black teenager with cerebral palsy of Taxes was approached by two white teen during class and asked him if they could tie him up. Marcus said no but the boys proceeded to tie Marcus hands behind his chair and his feet to the legs of his chair, before tying the rope around his body. Then they slipped a noose around his neck. One student threatened to throw the rope over a ceiling pipe to hang him. The teacher watched the whole thing. Marcusí mother is contemplating a civil suit.

** On July 11th 2000 Rivera-Reyes, a deaf Hispanic youth, of Oxanard, CA. was shot during what police called a gang-style attack. Reyes very likely did not hear the attackers and could not react before being hit once in the chest during a hail of bullets authorities said.

** On July 13, 2000 Atonio Wingate, a Black disabled man of South Central LA was gunned down. There has been no leads in the case and the Mayor of LA, Richard Riordan still remain silent of the violence in South Central.

** On July 31st , 2000 Dennis Ray Hunt, a Black deaf homeless man was beaten by a Fayetteville, N.C. Police Officer, Alfonzo Whittington, while he was handcuffed. Whittington pushed Hunt off a bench and punched him several times as he was arresting him for allegedly assaulting a woman

** On August 30, 2000 Erroll Shaw, a Black deaf man of Wayne County of Detroit, MI. was shot to death by Officer David Krupinski cause Shaw was waving around a four foot garden rake. Before the shooting Shawís family screamed that he canít hear. ìHe is deaf but the bullets continued to ring out. The day after the shooting a director of programs for the deaf said that the Detroit police Dept. failed to use a $34,000 grant to train officers how to deal with hearing-impaired people.

**On January 5, 20001 A 28 year old San Francisco man sat helplessly in his wheelchair as the attackers walked up to him on Fillmore Street and shot him seven times at close range with a semiautomatic weapon. The man was already paralyzed from a former shooting. Police said the shooting was part of gang-related retaliation.

* Book entitled: Stolen Lives, Killed by Law enforcement 2nd edition 1999

** Newspaper articles i.e. LA Times, SF Chronicle, The Washington Post and The
Detiort News. etc.

# A letter to Disability Advocates of Minorities Organization, DAMO Feb. 12, 200

$ June 2000 issue of emerges Black Americaís News magazine Race Matter Section


Sign-up for POOR email!