WHEN BLACK ATLANTA REMAINED SILENT: Was This a Technological Lynching of a Black Police Officer? May 18, 2006 Atlanta, GA - On November 2, 2004 Officer Terence Alexander was performing his job patrolling traffic at the Atlanta Airport. Officer Alexander asked a white female driving a SUV to move her vehicle. When she refused and indicated that she was not going to "fu*king move" and stated, "you police officer are always shi**ing people." Officer Alexander explained to her that with homeland security requirements no one could park at the curb unless they were loading or off loading. She still refused to move. Officer Alexander asked for her driver's license, registration and insurance in order to write a citation. Without warning Dietrich-Barnes began to back up her SUV striking officer Alexander with the mirror. Officer Alexander sustained muscle injury to the elbow and a torn rotator cuff injury. Officer Alexander commanded Dietrich Barnes to stop. He then told her to get out of the vehicle. She refused, indicating that she didn't do anything wrong. When she refused to get out, officer Alexander removed her and took her to the back of the vehicle. He then asked her to get on the ground. She refused. Therefore, Officer Alexander picked her up and laid her on the ground. There were two witnesses to this incident one white male and one black female. One was within 5 feet and the other within 10 feet of the exchange between Officer Alexander and heard and saw the incident. The witnesses said that officer Alexander was professional, remained calm and did not raise his voice nor slam Dietrich Barnes to the ground as she would later indicate. Three white male supervisors, Lt. John Mathis, Lt. Anthony Biello and Sergeant B.C. Williams while treating Officer Alexander like he was sub human allowed Dietrich Barnes to walk around the precinct against police policies. They subsequently released Dietrich Barnes, which is also against police policies, while refusing to allow Officer Alexander to be transported to the emergency room for treatment although the ambulance came twice. Officer Alexander and other officers reviewed the video of the incident on November 2, 2004 and the tape was close to real time of 30-32 frames per second. However, subsequently, the police department produced a video that is only 2 frames per second. This sped up video was taken to the Clayton County District Attorneys Office by Lt. John Mathis in an attempt to obtain the declination of prosecution of Dietrich Barnes and attempt to bring charges against Officer Alexander. It was later discovered that Dietrich Barnes' attorney, Steven Lister used to work as an Assistant District Attorney for the District Attorney, Robert Keller, who declined to prosecute Dietrich Barnes although he had the two independent witness affidavits. Mayor Shirley Franklin and police chief, Richard Pennington, African Americans, were personally aware of the grave issues in this case receiving the sworn Affidavits of the two witnesses who indicated that Officer Alexander did not slam Dietrich Barnes to the ground. The Mayor and Police Chief could have stopped the tragedy if they did what was right and what was in their power to do. However, they took the most expedient political route and did nothing. As a matter of fact, when the police department under Chief Pennington realized that there was no slamming as the doctored video indicated and as Dietrich Barnes contended, Chief Pennington terminated Officer Alexander for placing his knee in Dietrich Barnes back as he handcuffed her. A practice taught during police survival training. Further this is the same police chief who refused to fire a white officer who blungeoned the eye and fractured the jaw of a black female, Lile Lavender who scratched the officer. What should this mean to black women? The Atlanta Civil Service Board, which is appointed by the Mayor, reversed the termination of Officer Alexander. However, as soon as the white press began to report the story, the police department appealed the decision. Although, the Atlanta City Council refused to settle with Dietrich Barnes, who boldly demanded damages against the city, someone in the city authorized payment of over $350,000.00 while there are families who are still attempting to get $1.00 for the death of their black loved ones at the hands of white officers. Further, there is a question of whether the $350,000 was appropriately authorized in that the Atlanta City Council is the only body that could approve a sum that large and they specifically declined to do so. The question should be asked and answered, "why do black people elect black officials if they refuse to do what is right for the benefit of black people when it is in their power to do so?" If they are afraid to do what is right for political reasons what makes it better for black people to vote them into office? Black Atlanta remained silent while officer Alexander was technologically lynched from the highest technological tree there was by the white press. While he dangled in mid technological air, the mayor of the city received acclaim. What a price to pay. If you are concerned about how the City of Atlanta has treated Officer Alexander send an email to [email protected]; write or call Mayor Shirley Franklin at Atlanta City Hall, Suite 2400, 55 Trinity Avenue SW, Atlanta, Ga. 30335, (404) 330-6100 fax (404) 658-7361 and the President of the Atlanta City Council, Lisa Borders at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue SW, Atlanta, Ga. (404) 330-6030, fax (404) 658-6454; Call your branch of the NAACP, Operation PUSH and SCLC and tell them that you want them to investigate this matter; Call the black press and ask them to report on this issue; if you live in the Atlanta area call the city and express your opinion about this matter and call your state and national representative and have them inquire; start a grass root campaign to pass out flyers on this issue or discuss with your family and associates about calling or writing; pray for Officer Alexander. Just don't remain silent. Silence has never served the best interest of black people in the past and undoubtedly it never will.