We’ve seen it all before.

Like summer reruns of a bad TV series, we know the plot line as if we were in the writer’s room. A viral internet video captures images of an unarmed Black man being shot in the street by police.

Outrage ensues, local law enforcement says, “Wait for all the facts to come out,” social media erupts with anger from the left and platitudes from the right, and the officer is placed on “administrative leave.”

So, the problem persists, and even though Texas has been spared some of the more intense protests, the situation is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. It’s not a matter of if, but rather when. According to statistics compiled by The Washington Post, Texas is one of the worst offenders in this phenomenon.

Since January 2015, 496 suspects in Texas have died by a police officer’s hand. Only California ranks higher with 827 fatalities, with all 50 states registering at least a few such deaths. So, why has Texas been spared the wrath of protests like we’ve seen in Portland and Kenosha? The lack of video footage of these incidents is the only element that is different from the high-profile cases.

It can happen here, and if and when it does, we are not prepared. We are not ready for the pain. We are not ready for the protests. We are not ready for our community to be overwhelmed by the attention and the scrutiny. We are not ready to manage the situation in a way that could prevent further harm to people and property.

That’s why it’s imperative that we take action now to create a means by which we can manage the incident to reduce harm and create a sense of transparency and accountability. I am inviting every stakeholder in my home Congressional District 14 to join me in sitting down at the table not to have another “conversation,” but rather, to craft an action plan on changing the hard reality we face today.

I’m calling on elected officials from both sides of the aisle, protesters, activists, law enforcement, pastors and community leaders from every corner of our district to confront the crisis in front of us with real solutions for our community.

We’ve seen the scenes in Portland, Kenosha, and Minneapolis, and we must be relentless in our pursuit to prevent those scenes from taking place in our community. All that’s left is action. We must be united in one idea and one purpose: That it cannot be allowed to happen here.

We must be emboldened by the knowledge that it is within our hands to find solutions, to find common ground and to find the only vaccine available to heal our culture — hope.

Adrienne Bell is a teacher and a democratic nominee for the District 14 seat in the U.S. Congress.

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(15) comments

Carlos Ponce

"Since January 2015, 496 suspects in Texas have died by a police officer’s hand. " How many were unjustified? Not so many.

January 7, 2015 Freeport, Texas: Ronald Sneed (31) reportedly kicked in the door to his girlfriends apartment. Responding to a call from the woman's son, police officers entered and confronted Sneed. When asked to show his hands, Sneed pointed a gun at his girlfriend and was shot and killed by the officers.

January 9, 2015 El Paso, Texas: Andy Martinez (33) was a passenger in a vehicle which was stopped for an expired registration sticker. Martinez began to exit the vehicle with a handgun and yelled back at officers instead of dropping the weapon. The officer then shot and killed Martinez.

January 13, 2015 Jordantown, Texas: Richard McClendon (43), known by the police to have mental health issues, barricaded himself in his mother's home and was 'causing a disturbance'. He charged with a knife when they urged him to come out. After a taser fired by one officer failed, another officer fired one round, which was fatal.

January 14, 2015 Lake Jackson, Texas: Officers responded to a call that Robert Edwards (68) was armed and pointing a weapon at a roommate. On arrival, officers asked him to drop the weapon, after he refused, three officers fired. He was hit with multiple gunshots and killed.

Police don't want to kill anyone. But sometimes they have to take a life to save a life. Each incident listed is investigated. If the officer involved did wrong that officer is removed from the force, charged with a crime, tried in court.

Charles Douglas

I would like to donate this bit of wisdom to the general public free of charge. I'm not trying to get paid, this is free for you! I went through a training exercise years ago where an individual holding a training pellet weapon at his side, .. is confronted by another individual holding a training pellet weapon pointed, aimed, and ready to fire at the individual with the weapon at his side. The individual with the weapon at his side ....proved OVER and over again, that he was CAPABLE of raising that weapon and shooting the individual with the weapon pointing at him ...possibly killing him BEFORE ..that individual could react and shoot him! Now THAT could be why many police officers are not going to get on their Knees in a confrontation on the streets, and BEG some unruly fool over and over All DAY to drop his weapon! You reckon?

PD Hyatt

Maybe what we need is for people to STOP fighting the police at every turn and fight it out in court.... Shame that Ms Bell says NOTHING about the police that are being killed everyday by the criminals.... Or what about all of the people dying in the inner cities as they shoot each other over stupid stuff.... Most of the democrat controlled cities have a major problem with that, but we hear nothing about how they are going to stop it except that the democrats want to take honest people guns away from them.... I bet Ms. Bell never thinks about all of the criminals who have guns and how to take them away from them....

Emile Pope

Maybe you should know what you're talking about.

Charles Douglas

I'm not privy to all these groups trying to make a difference between the police authorities and the communities they serve, but I highly recommend the one Reverend J.E. DANIELS is already working with , along with the Texas City, and LaMarque Police Departments! They are doing good work from what I can see, and are not getting nearly enough credit from the News Media. What they already have in place ...other neighborhoods and communities around this nation wish they had!

David Hardee

Mr. Douglas, you seem to be able to get to the center of an issue and point us in the right direction. Not knowing your age It is evident you are wise beyond expectations for your or any age. Your style is reminiscent of Max Shulman and Damon Runyon. Colloquial, slanted and good natured satire.

Aside from my disapproval of his self aggrandizing GDN articles it is good that Rev. Daniels is teaming with the police to bring the community (people) of La Marque to contribute in cleansing themselves of corrupting elements. As to lack of recognition for their efforts you're correct. But there is a prominent La Marque resident that is not giving SUPPORT.

Specifically, absent in the La Marque effort is the NAACP President and resident of La Marque Kimberly Yancy. Yancy is an over zealous activist and frequent publisher of articles in the GDN. Her favorite topic is White Racism. Her articles easily can be classified as stimulation to a young impressive mind to be anti-authority.

Ask the Rev. Daniels to have Yancy write an article that calls for her neighbors, citizens of La Marque, to cooperate with the authorities. That kind of article would get the deserved recognition and also stimulate SUPPORT.

Jose' Boix

Ms. Bell states: "...not to have another 'conversation,' but rather, to craft an action plan on changing the hard reality we face today."

So, I would like to see in writing 3 significant key indicator and measurable action statements so we all can "see" and track progress. Just my thoughts.

Carlos Ponce

Senator Tim Scott had an action plan but Democrats would not consider it. They wanted it amended. No problem, Senator Tim Scott offered to amend it. No dice.

Emile Pope

A proposal to do absolutely nothing. Scott is a buffoon...

Carlos Ponce

Has Emile bothered to read Senator Scott's Bill? He did ask for Democrat input but none was forthcoming.

Here's the bill:

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/17/879081319/read-senate-republicans-proposed-police-reform-legislation

Emile Pope

His proposal had no provisions to hold policemen accountable for any of their actions and the Republicans refused to include any, which makes the entire bill useless.

Carlos Ponce

Senator Scott would have included that but Democrats refused to talk specifics.

Emile Pope

That's not true.

Carlos Ponce

You believe what you want, Emile. Truth is Senator Scott reached across the aisle but Democrats slapped his hand.

"Indeed, Republicans offered to allow votes on as many amendments as Democrats wanted — something Pelosi has refused to allow House Republicans to do to the House police reform bill. Scott promised Democrats he would filibuster his own bill if they did not get votes they sought. As Scott explained in an impassioned floor speech, he even told Democrats he would vote to support some of their amendments, such as expanding the definition of chokeholds and collecting data not just on serious bodily injury and death but on all uses of force by police. 'We’ll stay on this floor for as long as it takes and as many amendments as it takes,' he said. With Scott’s backing, some of those amendments would have gotten enough Republican support to pass — giving Democrats the real prospect of making significant changes to the bill."

From "Democrats’ shameful vote against Tim Scott’s police reform bill"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/25/if-democrats-cared-about-police-reform-they-would-have-advanced-tim-scotts-bill/

Jose' Boix

Why do we have to wait for our Legislators? I think there should be something that starts at the "grass-roots," that is where we have our needs and leverage to do. Just my thoughts

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