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Hullabaloo


Thursday, August 03, 2017

 

The "Show Me Your Hands" state?

by Tom Sullivan


Branson photo - Missouri Division of Tourism

“How do you come to Missouri, run out of gas and find yourself dead in a jail cell when you haven’t broken any laws?” asked Rod Chapel, the president of the Missouri NAACP.
The national NAACP has issued its first travel advisory for any state after recent violent incidents and threats against people of color. The advisory comes in part as a response to police shootings nationally and in anticipation of immigration legislation in Texas and Arizona:
The Missouri travel advisory is the first time an NAACP conference has ever made one state the subject of a warning about discrimination and racist attacks, a spokesman for the national organization said Tuesday.

Missouri became the first because of recent legislation making discrimination lawsuits harder to win, and in response to longtime racial disparities in traffic enforcement and a spate of incidents cited as examples of harm coming to minority residents and visitors, say state NAACP leaders.

Those incidents included racial slurs against black students at the University of Missouri and the death earlier this year of 28-year-old Tory Sanders, a black man from Tennessee who took a wrong turn while traveling and died in a southeast Missouri jail even though he hadn’t been accused of a crime.
Chapel says police are pulling over drivers "because of their skin color, they’re being beaten up or killed.” And the rate is going up, Chapel says.
The NAACP’s advisory also cites the most recent attorney general’s report showing black drivers in Missouri were 75 percent more likely to be pulled over than whites. Those reports have been showing the disparity since the attorney general began releasing the data in 2000.

In May, the owner of a Blue Springs barbershop found his shop windows stained with racial slurs. The same two words appeared on three separate windows in black paint: “Die (N-word).”
Normally, the State Department issues such advisories for countries facing instability or war. But after police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota in 2016, McClatchy reports, the Bahamas issued a travel advisory for its citizens visiting the United States, advising them to exercise caution, especially when interacting with police. The Bahamas is 91 percent black.

While the Missouri advisory is a first for the NAACP, the ACLU issued a similar advisory for Texas in May.

Sanders told police he suffered from mental illness and ended up in a cell, tasered, and dead after a tragedy of errors including a jail run by a sheriff already facing
... eighteen criminal counts in two unrelated cases. The sheriff is also a defendant in four federal civil lawsuits, including one that involves the 2015 death of an inmate and another in which he is accused of letting a pregnant inmate languish for so long without access to medical care that her baby was stillborn in 2014.
There goes your family vacation in Branson.

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