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When Police Kill Our Children Part One



Dear Friends,


With this post I will begin a series, I am naming “When Police Kill Our Children”. The idea came to me as I reviewed the following month and realized that I was involved with the families and friends whose loved ones, unbelievably, were killed by the police (the people we pay to protect us) and even more unbelievable, they were all children:

Clifford Glover, 10, shot in the back, Jamaica, Queens, NY

Phillip Panell, 15, shot in the back, Teaneck, NJ

Randolph Evans, 15, shot in the head, Brooklyn, NY



These three by no means exhaust the list of children and adolescents killed by the police.


But I’ve chosen these three to tell the story because I have been interacting and will continue to interact with the loved ones of the slayed youth. In my thinking, and hope you feel the same, these three will represent all the others, most of whom I was there when their lives were cut short by people who represent law and order.


It has been my practice to involve the grieving loved ones in some action that will keep the name and the memory of these murdered youths alive.

  • Clifford Glover, we promised a tombstone at the 50th Anniversary. He was killed April 28, 1973.

  • Phillip Panell, we planted a memorial tree and the book is in the process of being written.

  • Randy Evans, scholarship program. The scholarships will be awarded June 25th virtually. For further information, contact ksdmin@gmail.com or visit our website www.randyevansscholarship.org

Usually when the dastardly deed was done, or when the murder took place. Two things with these killer cops, they were always white or Euro ethnics, secondly, they all were exonerated. Robert Torsney killed Clifford Glover, he was sentenced to psychiatric treatment and weekends home, tantamount to a slap on the wrist. There were marches, demonstrations, rallies, boycotts, seminars, and civil disobedience. Innumerable articles were written, news media, and even videos were made.


I will start with Clifford Glover, only because his story is what I am dealing with now. On April 28, 2022 (my 60th wedding anniversary), we, myself, Minister Lorenzo and Kefentse were at the gravesite of Clifford Glover. There was no marker. We promised his sister, Mrs. Darlene Armstead, we would raise the funds to erect a tombstone for Clifford next year.


Following are the excerpts from a newspaper article:


At 3am on April 28, 1973, Clifford Glover, 10, was shot in the back by Police Officer Thomas Shea as he walked with his step-father, Mr. Armstead, to a junkyard as was his custom on Saturday mornings. The killer cop went to trial and was acquitted on June 12, 1974 by a jury of 11 whites and 1 Black. At the time, Officer Shea was the only police officer to be tried for murder while on duty.


As little Clifford Glover lay dying, Officer Shea and his partner, Officer Walter Scott, were quoted as using foul language. Mr. Scott was overheard saying, 'Die, you little bastard.' It was one of the first killings of adolescents by the police. It would not be the last! The killing and subsequent expression of foul language rank among the most cowardly inhuman acts of homicide ever committed in history.


The following are excerpts from an article I wrote at the time in which I tried to put the killing of Clifford in the context of racism in America.


Several months ago, a ten-year-old lad named Clifford Glover was shot in the back by a policeman named Shea. Shea claims that he shot Clifford in self-defense; that the boy had a gun which he gave to his stepfather. The gun was never found. The jury believed Shea and exonerated him, calling this killing justifiable homicide.


At this late date in American history, a history replete with innumerable acts of Black dehumanization and murder, I suppose I should not have been surprised. However, I was. I had hoped that a modicum of decency and fairness existed in the nations' consciousness and that the American society was not absolutely corrupt and indifferent.

Once a climate of non-humanity for Blacks and other powerless people prevails, then the decisions, whether they come from politics, schools or juries, will be made with reference to that climate.


In other words, if the prevailing attitude towards Blacks is that they are nobodies, non -entities, then when a jury retires to think through a verdict, its deliberations, unconsciously or consciously will be influenced by the frame of reference which equates Blacks with nothingness.


Hence in the mind of these jurors, Clifford Glover was less than human. He didn't run, jump and play. He wasn't like white children his age. His mother didn't feel about him as European mothers do for their children. He was sub-human, or non-human, Therefore, Shea was justified in killing him.


It is the same mentality which justifies lynchings. Blacks are not human, so it's alright to string them up by the neck. Its alright to rape them. Its alright to bomb their homes and Churches. It's alright because they are not really human. It's alright to confine them in ghettos, humiliate them because they don't feel it.


At 3am on April 28, 1973, Clifford Glover, 10, was shot in the back by Police Officer Thomas Shea as he walked with his step-father, Mr. Armstead, to a junkyard as was his custom on Saturday mornings. The killer cop went to trial and was acquitted on June 12, 1974 by a jury of 11 whites and 1 Black. At the time, Officer Shea was the only police officer to be tried for murder while on duty.


As little Clifford Glover lay dying, Officer Shea and his partner, Officer Walter Scott, were quoted as using foul language. Mr. Scott was overheard saying, 'Die, you little bastard.' It was one of the first killings of adolescents by the police. It would not be the last! The killing and subsequent expression of foul language rank among the most cowardly inhuman acts of homicide ever committed in history.

The following are excerpts from an article I wrote at the time in which I tried to put the killing of Clifford in the context of racism in America.

Several months ago, a ten-year-old lad named Clifford Glover was shot in the back by a policeman named Shea. Shea claims that he shot Clifford in self-defense; that the boy had a gun which he gave to his stepfather. The gun was never found. The jury believed Shea and exonerated him, calling this killing justifiable homicide.

At this late date in American history, a history replete with innumerable acts of Black dehumanization and murder, I suppose I should not have been surprised. However, I was. I had hoped that a modicum of decency and fairness existed in the nations' consciousness and that the American society was not absolutely corrupt and indifferent.

Once a climate of non-humanity for Blacks and other powerless people prevails, then the decisions, whether they come from politics, schools or juries, will be made with reference to that climate.

In other words, if the prevailing attitude towards Blacks is that they are nobodies, non -entities, then when a jury retires to think through a verdict, its deliberations, unconsciously or consciously will be influenced by the frame of reference which equates Blacks with nothingness.


Hence in the mind of these jurors, Clifford Glover was less than human. He didn't run, jump and play. He wasn't like white children his age. His mother didn't feel about him as European mothers do for their children. He was sub-human, or non-human, Therefore, Shea was justified in killing him.


It is the same mentality which justifies lynchings. Blacks are not human, so it's alright to string them up by the neck. It's alright to rape them. It's alright to bomb their homes and Churches. It's alright because they are not really human. It's alright to confine them in ghettos, humiliate them because they don't feel it.


It is significant that six of the jurors were for acquittal on the first ballot. In other words, there was no doubt in their minds that Shea was innocent.


There was one Negro woman, the only woman, and the only Black employed in the probation department, sitting on the jury. She was the last to vote for acquittal. It would have taken an awfully strong person to stand alone against the others who wanted Shea exonerated. It always requires strength to stand against the majority. Obviously this woman was not that strong person.


Now that is why I believe the Church must always exercise great care that it does become the sanctioner of all things present. For to do so would make the Church guilty of actions from the same corrupt context from which the rest of society acts. Not only so, but the Church must be actively engaged in questioning the prevailing sentiments, attitudes, acts and the institutions in which those sentiments, attitudes and acts become collectively crystalized. The Church can't take a passive indifferent stance. For to do so is to give substance to the status quo, to “things as they are.”


But the decision rendered by the jurors – keep in mind a jury simply reflects the larger community consciousness – which is one further along the road of cynicism. But this is the generation of Richard Millhouse Nixon. Understand the meaning of the jury’s decision, you have to understand the meaning of Nixon. And to understand the meaning of Nixon, you have to understand the meaning of the American society's attitudes towards its Black citizens.

An act is never an isolated phenomenon. An act rose out of past acts, and is related to contemporary acts in other places, and by other persons. Moreover, an act is tied into proposed future acts. It springs out of a person, or group, or nation’s value system, assumptions and expectations. Acts then growing out of the aforementioned created a climate or ethos, which in turn influences further action, thus creating a cycle.

Acts flowing from a certain mentality or way of looking at evaluating people, things and events, send forth a pattern of vibration. It is in this connection that I disagree with many of my fellow believers. I don't believe you can tie up a nice, neat bundle of religious language and say, "this is the Gospel" and because other unfamiliar words and references are used, say, "that is not the Gospel.”


I just find it hard to believe that God makes the kind of distinction we make. Our actions are so interrelated that where so-called religion ends and so-called secular begins, or where the secular begins and the religious ends, is pretty difficult to determine, if indeed a distinction exists at all.


It is the habit of man to ascribe sanctity to places, words, and so on. And even when these very things have lost or outlived the sacredness of their origin, man would still sanctify them. Now, by acting, the mind is further confirmed in what gave rise to the action in the first place.


This jury's decision to exonerate Shea was not done in a vacuum. It must be understood in the light of other things. It must be understood in the context of Black emasculation by the institutions of schools, industry, etc. It must be understood in racist housing patterns.


When we look carefully at the events and the mores and institutions of this society. We are driven to the conclusion that Black humanity and the inalienable rights inherent in that humanity are open to question. What is bequeathed to other ethnic groups by virtue of their birth, must be strenuously fought for by Blacks.

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