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White representation and Negro servitude

Alton H.Maddox | , Jr. | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.

Although the false arrest of Dr. Henry L. Gates has topped the news for the past two weeks, there was also news about racial discrimination in the New York Fire Department and the attack on the Bloomberg administration by the mother of P.O. Omar Edwards. The New York Police Department defines "friendly fire" as the shooting of a Black police officer in the back by a white police officer.

When a white police officer falsely arrests a person of African ancestry, the law enforcement agency and the white media start a public relations campaign to sanitize the white police officer. This usually starts with a "rent-a-Tom." Stables are awash with them. Since supply exceeds demand, they come cheaply.

This also happened with the June 2009 assassination of P.O. Edwards in Harlem. Within hours of Edwards' state-sponsored assassination, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly classified his death as an accident. This means no criminal prosecution. In other words, Kelly had usurped the authority of the medical examiner's office of New York City in addition to supplanting a local grand jury with his biased decision. The next stop will be to give the estate of Omar Edwards a big payout consistent with the three-fifths proviso of the U.S. Constitution.

In my June 4 column in this newspaper, I informed my readers that no indictment would be secured in the "friendly fire" assassination of Edwards. Compare the indictment of Plaxico Burress in Manhattan. The same modus operandi, which was employed for Edwards, had previously been employed in the assassination of Sean Bell. Death squads are running amuck in New York City.

The Patrolman's Benevolent Association is the exclusive collective bargaining unit for police officers. While Black police officers must pay union dues to the PBA, they are, nonetheless, second-class union members. This means that their interests must yield to the interests of white police officers.

Thus, the PBA has sided with Andrew Dunton over the estate of Edwards. The estate of Edwards must fend for itself. A Black police officer has fewer constitutional rights than an African immigrant. At least a white police officer received a weak slap on the wrist for the fatal May 2003 police shooting of Ousmane Zongo.

The New York Fire Department has a dismal record for hiring Blacks. Until 1972,employment discrimination in state and local governments was not a subject for review in federal courts. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to cover local governments. The Guardians and the Vulcan Society got busy and took action against the NYPD and the NYFD respectively. Although the Uniformed Firefighters Association collects dues from all Black firefighters, it obviously has no responsibility to represent their special interests. In other words, it uses Black dues to finance white nepotism and to fight legitimate Black aspirations. This is a violation of the union's duty of representation and also constitutes racial discrimination. The U.S. Justice Department should take a hard look at New York City. Charles Hamilton Houston took this issue of lack of union representation to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939 and won.