Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blackwell update

It's still pretty hot around here, and black communities and neighborhoods in northeastern Georgia (specifically Hart County), as well as in upstate South Carolina, are under some heavy police surveillance right now.

Although Jimmy Lee Blackwell's eye was removed here in Greenville (largest city closest to Hartwell, GA), the Greenville News did not cover the story and still hasn't. I am really shocked by this. Other local SC newspapers in Anderson and Spartanburg (technically further away from Hartwell, and smaller than Greenville) have covered the story carefully.

This tells me everything I have ever written here about the Greenville News is dead-on accurate, and no exaggeration. The next time I meet one of their writers at some rally or event, I will have a VERY GOOD EXAMPLE to present to them, about why I think the Greenville News is biased. (Being journalists, they always demand examples, okay, here it is!)

And because the Greenville News, newspaper for the largest metro area in the region, is asleep at the switch, guess where lots of people have had to go for their news? (WELCOME EVERYBODY!) I've had hundreds of hits on the Blackwell story from local people around Georgia and South Carolina. Blogdonia gets it done! I'm very proud I was able to help while the "professionals" are busy toting water for (and pacifying) the powers-that-be. This is still another example of the mainstream media with their thumbs up their proverbial asses. Renee, of Womanist Musings, took the story national, and I am so grateful to her for covering it. The days of police brutality happening in a vacuum are LONG GONE, and praise God for that.

If you've read comments on the previous thread, you know the potential for community violence is there--emotions and temperaments are running especially high. (I even had some weird Baptist troll show up.) There are people emailing me who think it is "irresponsible" that I even wrote the story, if you can believe it. (They probably LIKE the Greenville News.)

Local television has been covering the story, even if the Greenville News won't:

Hundreds Rally Over Hartwell Man's Beating
Man Loses Eye Due To Alleged Police Abuse

UPDATED: 3:10 pm EST February 21, 2009

HARTWELL, Ga. -- Hundreds of people gathered Friday night in Hartwell, Ga., community to express outrage over an incident that left a man severely injured after an altercation with a police officer.

The rally was held Friday evening at the Flat Rock CME Church on Cokesbury Highway in Hartwell.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has launched an inquiry into the altercation between a Hartwell police officer and a Hartwell resident.

According to police, Jimmy Lee Blackwell, 51, of Savannah Street in Hartwell, refused to comply when Officer Robert Mitchell, 26, asked him for identification around 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 16.

Blackwell was transported to Hart County Hospital with severe head injuries and later was transferred to Greenville Memorial Hospital. His left eye was removed.

Neighbors said the officer in the case went too far.

"We're not here for violence. We're here for answers,” Deliverance Outreach Ministries Rev. Roderick Hughey said. "We're here to let you know this will not be tolerated. It's not a white thing, it's not a black thing."

Other cases of alleged police misconduct cases were on the agenda as well as strategies for preventing future incidences.

Hartwell Police Chief Cecil Reno has said that he cannot comment on the case because of the ongoing investigation, but requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation inquiry.

Because of the investigation, no one with the city -- including the police chief -- have been able to talk about the case but, a city councilman did speak to the crowd.

"On this particular case, and anything to do with this particular case, as a city official it would be irresponsible for me to answer those questions at this time," Councilman Tracy Hicks said.

Many people at the meeting said that they weren’t shocked by the abuse allegations. People told WYFF News 4 that there has been misconduct in the past.

People also donated money to pay for Blackwell’s medical expenses.

The officer involved in the case has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

Blackwell, a father of five, is staying with relatives and is doing better, family said.
Again, I want this story to get out, not fade away into oblivion without any justice for Blackwell and his family, without any national awareness. If you have a blog or website or Facebook account, anything, consider at least mentioning this event.

Shine the bright light on the shadows.


yellowdog granny said...

that they aren't reporting on it is disgraceful. I hope the cops get prison out of this..and the guy sues the pants off them..

polerin said...

Irresponsible? Really?


Daisy, keep doin whatcher doin.
It's right, and I'll be throwing it up on my LJ tonight or tomorrow.

Zan said...

This paper wouldn't happen to be owned by Gannett would it? A former Gannett worker drone myself, I can tell you they are notorious for putting the lid on things. I had stories I'd written about pretty damned important things in the community spiked by editors and no one would tell me WHY. Newspapers absolutely have agendas, usually decided upon by editors and publishers. The reporters generally don't have any damned say in anything -- which is a huge part of the reason I ran away with my soul intact. Gah.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Zan, indeed it is Gannett.

Mary Beth said...

I waited in the parking lot outside city hall from 5:15 to 5:30. Saw no activists, just people going to traffic court. Maybe the idea of congregating that close to the city jail made people nervous. The next official show of community support for Jimmy Blackwell is Tuesday night at First Baptist church. Please come, tell the reporters to stay for the whole meeting this time, and why not videotape it yourself and show the world what's going on in this nasty little town. We need more people to show up. Bring some civil rights lawyers too. See you there. PLEASE!

DaisyDeadhead said...

Mary Beth, I would love to, but can't miss work... Hartwell is about an hour away and I'd never make it in time.

Blackwell was on TV tonight (2/23/09) and looks as good as can be expected. He is getting some eyesight back in his remaining eye, but can't focus well. (It appeared unfocused and swollen.) His various bruises and scars still look horrific. He has filed a lawsuit against Robert Mitchell and 6 or 7 other police officers, names not given. GBI is still not commenting.

(This is all from memory, can't find locate any links.)

giggles said...

I do believe that the named police officer needs to be punished and his badge gets taken away. The most important thing is do you feel real safe when the young cops around here even have curfews themselves? We should just go back to the Mayberry days and just freakin' get along with each other. Take the wise words of the preacher that spoke in Hartwell, it is not a black or white thing, it is about justice and proving guilt and not revenge.

Mary Beth said...

Waiting anxiously to hear from someone about tonight's meeting. The person who had promised to give me a ride backed out when he heard rumors of trouble. He said even my mouth wouldn't out run a bullet. Ain't love grand. Sighing dramatically. G'night.