I would like to answer a question put forth to us regarding whether or not we are supporting the removal of El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen regarding his statement about a #BlackLivesMatter group, in 2016 and supposedly something during these recent protests.
As the publisher/founder of Black El Paso Voice, I am transparent and blatantly, un-apologetically vocal regarding my personal views regarding politics, the current state of our nation, including living here #BlackOnTheBorder, and from the cradle to the grave advocate for the rights of MY BLACK PEOPLE.
Let me introduce myself: proud unapologetically Black God-fearing | woman | mother | grandmother | military family member businesswoman | community activist & advocate | Independent voter (non-partisan) | Veterans’ rights supporter (the VA needs an overhaul. RIP ROCK PINCKNEY) | military spouse & youth supporter | Proud #BlackLivesMatter MOVEMENT supporter!
I was told that it was likely that the community would not support Black El Paso Voice if we did not share the petition that is circulating to remove Chief Allen. We have not received support in over 15 years so that did not bother me.
What did bother me was the fact that I openly support Black Lives Matter as a MOVEMENT…BECAUSE I’M BLACK. The other thing that bothered me was I believe that was a threat.
Even though I don’t agree with everything Chief Allen says or does, there is no way you’re going to…on purpose… use my Black face and our Black initiatives to remove that Black man when YOU ARE M.I.A. from all of our issues.
WHAT STARTED ALL OF THIS…
It is coming upon the 4-year anniversary in which 5 Dallas police officers were killed, 9 were injured, and two civilians were also injured, in an ambush during a protest for our brothers, #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastile, who were MURDERED by police officers…and still no justice for them, and four years later, we’re demanding justice for more of our brothers and sisters who have been murdered by rogue cops, since then.
The person who killed the police officers on July 7, 2016, was Micah Johnson. He carried out the act because he was frustrated and fed up with the murders of our innocent Black men and women across the nation, by trigger happy bad cops. His anger was warranted, but his actions were not. He murdered innocent officers and injured innocent civilians. He stated he was a part of the Black Lives Matter group prior to that.
Coming from a person whose very close relatives and friends -Black or otherwise- are law enforcement officers, my heart was broken. I was already in mourning over the murder of our brothers Alton and Philando, and still reeling in disbelief over the not guilty verdict of that demon seed zimmerman that killed Trayvon Martin, when the ambush occurred. I immediately thought about my loved ones who are on the force and in the field. It was mentally exhausting and painful.
During a local press conference in which local leaders offered their condolences to the city of Dallas on the loss of their officers (still waiting on their response about our brother #GeorgeFloyd), a reporter asked EPPD Chief Greg Allen about his thoughts. He had previously declined to speak during that conference, and hindsight being 20/20, I wish he had not said a word…but… the reporter kept asking.
After the conference, the reporter asked again.
An already visibly mournful Chief Allen answered the question just like this: “Black Lives Matter, as far as I am concerned, is a radical hate group, and for that purpose alone, I think the leadership of this country needs to look a little bit harder at that particular group. The consequences of what we saw in Dallas is due to their efforts.”
Yeah, I know, long sigh. BLM GROUPS/LEADERS were not at fault. We all knew that. Of course, his statement may have been untimely, but at the same time, the last thing he heard as truth was that it was a BLM member. Still, no excuse.
I shook my head and said to the TV, “Bro, they are about to try to remove you from your position as chief.”
Sure enough, the attempted removal process began. More on that later. KEEP IN MIND: He said something about the group, NOT the movement. A movement can’t be an organization, so technically… nevermind.
Let me give my thoughts about his comments and the microphone being shoved into the face of an already grieving man. And no, I do not agree with a lot of what Chief Allen says and we definitely have different views on politics.
I stepped back and looked at the fact that all of a sudden, some of these local reporters were interested in our Black lives, but didn’t want to cover our Black Roundtable to talk about our Black lives here on the border. El Paso Times was the only news organization that showed up to everything we did, but after Bob Moore left, the care and concern left too.
Anyway, did the reporter ask him because she knew it would trigger a negative response?
Me thinks so.
Everyone already knew how he felt about BLM groups, months prior. What was the purpose of the reporter questioning him again?
Chief Allen’s response led to him having to meet with local Black citizens and groups to quell the notion that Black lives did not matter. One of our representatives attended that meeting as well.
To make a long story short. I decided to sit down with Chief Allen. That was not my first-time meeting with him. I spoke with him previously about being a part of The Black Roundtable discussion to empower Black people to start at home when it came to making change.
I asked him to participate and at first, he was hesitant, but after meeting with me and listening to my purpose for the Black community, he agreed.
We had to cancel that event. Why? Glad you asked. I invited elected officials because they were supposed to answer questions from the community. Either they declined or ignored the emails.
Chief Allen was the ONLY ONE willing to sit down and answer questions and he is not even an elected official.
Does him agreeing with sitting to meet with me make me automatically agree with him? Absolutely not.
My third meeting with him, I asked about his statement. What I already knew when viewing that
“setup” news conference, was that he had no problem with the fact that our (and his) Black lives mattered; he had issues with SOME of the BLM members and groups who used violence to get the point across and who were not speaking openly to encourage members to not use violence at the rallies.
He reiterated to me that he is a Black man who cares about Black issues while keeping those on the force and citizens at protests, safe during situations like the one that occurred in Dallas. He is the type of person who believes we should all try to combine efforts regardless of color, even though he knows that is difficult to make happen.
I have sat with him and talked about life back in the day.
I have shed tears with him about the state of this country. Those talks are private, but I learned a lot from him that particular day.
If anything, I believe the reporter should have asked, how can we avoid police shooting innocent people? How about that? How about digging deep for answers on what can be done to change policies and identifying who is accountable for doing so?
During the time of the press conference, Wiles, your sheriff of El Paso County, said he disagreed with the chief’s opinion and stated that there needed to be more communication between LEOs and community organizations to prevent future situations.
Right after that, I invited everybody, again… even the sheriff…
Chief Allen agreed to meet with us, but I preferred it be along with other leaders in position who were elected.
Do you want to know what happened?
You guessed it.
We canceled again. They were not interested. At all. Not even the sheriff.
None of that excuses the statements from Chief Allen, but maybe if the local elected officials had shown up, we would be having a different conversation right now.
During that time, Black organizations received a letter wanting them to sign a letter to remove Chief Allen. At that time, I was assisting one of the local organizations with correspondence. I had to submit a signature from one of the members and unknowingly, I said thank you all for doing this, thinking that it was something positive. After viewing the final letter, I was done.
The same ones who signed the letter for removal, elected officials, didn’t call for the removal of the man who was in charge on the weekend of July 13, 2012.
Say his name: Sergeant James Brown, Active Duty U.S. Army Sergeant.
Active Duty U.S. Army Sergeant, James Brown, A BLACK MAN, was MURDERED in the El Paso County Jail. There is video proof.
Was that on Chief Allen’s watch?
But I can tell you whose watch it was on… Sheriff Richard Wiles, County Sheriff. I’m still waiting for the same County officials and other elected officials who wanted Chief Allen gone, to attend a vigil or protest in his name and decry how his murder was unjustified. If they did, and I missed it, please, someone tell me.
UNARMED, Sgt. James Brown was murdered by law enforcement officers INSIDE THE COUNTY JAIL.
The murder was blamed on a pre-existing condition…typical.
Where were the protests? Not one Black “established” group stood up for our brother.
Again, I ask, where were the protests and calls to remove the sheriff?
It is coming up on the 8th anniversary of when our brother was murdered… but you’re trying to remove the chief of police for something he said.
When you’re ready to truly fight for rights of BLACK PEOPLE MURDERED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT, LIKE OUR BROTHER SGT. JAMES BROWN WAS, THEN ASK ME THAT SAME QUESTION.
Until then, I’m going to keep fighting for Black rights here on the border.
I am still in mourning about Sgt. James Brown, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other brothers and sisters. We will have this discussion during the round table as well.
But after the protests, then what? Elected officials, it’s time for you to step up and do your job!
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