by Rev. Jerome Chambers
“For 100 years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has played a pivotal role in shaping a national agenda to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of African Americans and other people who have faced historical discrimination in the United States. And further, to support and leverage the work of our local units, who work tirelessly on behalf of many communities in crisis, by implementing an advocacy agenda to ensure equal justice and safer communities.”
When the Champaign City Council entertained the Champaign Police Department in a discussion as it relates to its use of force policy, the intentional idea surrounded the probable cause of the issues involving the death of 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington. The promotion of this policy was as unfortunate and untimely as the H1N1 flu. No one expected its arrival, especially City Council who appeared to be stumped. The actions of two young boys, soon-to-be men, whose response is typical of 15 year olds has been regrettable, even more so are the actions of two police officers.
We now have to face the reality of the aftermath of this tragedy. It still hurts as much as the inevitable truth. Justice often lifts her blindfold to get a peek at the hearts of men. How tragic, regardless of the color of these boys or the police officers in question. In the midst of the public’s outcry, the men in question are sworn first and one of them is the Chief second. If he (Chief Finney) was in the vicinity as the nearest officer, why wouldn’t he respond? Whether or not he should have been there is a matter of opinion depending upon who you ask. What would any of us have done in that position? The City of Champaign is learning to cope with a reality that has been thrust upon it in a most painful way. It is now out of an act of sobriety of conscience that the City of Champaign will hear the funeral dirge of its taxpayers who will cry loud and hard.