Working strategically to get justice

Kelvin Cowans, Special to The New Tri-State Defender | 8/10/2017, 11:33 a.m.
In pursuit of the story of Andrew Kearse’s death and the subsequent push for justice, I talked with Hawk Newsome ...
Hawk Newsome, Black Lives Matter Greater New York. (Courtesy photo)

In pursuit of the story of Andrew Kearse’s death and the subsequent push for justice, I talked with Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter Greater New York. Every time you hear a new story such as Kearse’s, you are outraged, he said.

“You want to jump into action. What we have to do is figure what is the best course of action.”

“People think we just march,” Newsome said.

“The march is to draw attention to break the story. That’s when you get the calls from national media to ask what happened to this black man or black woman. That’s when the true process starts.”

In 2017, “our people” are beaten down to slave levels, Newsome said.

“I mean beaten down to pre-civil rights levels. That’s why we work strategically to get justice. So Andrew Kearse was driving while black in Schenectady… He’s pulled over and who knows why. He runs and we know why black men run from the police – because they are scared.

“Think about it. He can stay and get choked to death like Eric Gardner. He can run and get shot in the back like Alton Scott or he can go into custody and be tossed around while being transported and die like Freddie Grey.”

Who can blame us for running, Newsome said.

“Anyway, he runs and is caught and dies in custody. There are witnesses who heard him screaming that he wanted the police to stop hurting him because they were breaking his legs. Yelling out that he could not breathe. So here we go again.”

Strategic action is underway in New York, he said.

“We had a vigil for him. We then had a rally in front of the attorney general’s office. We drew more attention to this tragedy. When we did this, that’s when mainstream media got involved. At this point, we remain working closely with Andrew’s widow, Angelic Kearse, whom is a warrior I remind you.”

The wait continues for an autopsy report on Kearse’s May 11 death.

“The attorney general wants to become governor of New York and if he don’t get justice on this issue as well as others, we are going to turn on him. I will see to it.”

Meanwhile, Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford makes this assertion:

“It is my intention to oversee an objective, independent review of all actions taken by the police during this arrest.”