Peaceful Arrest of Suspect in Stabbing of Two Women at a BART Station

    A white man stabbed two black women at a BART station in SF. He was later found on another BART train and taken into custody alive. Colin Kaepernick twitter response was.

    Colin Kaepernick Retweeted
    The safe capturing of John Lee Cowell, after he brutally murdered #NiaWilson, is a prime example for the reason that some of see the police as protectors and Others see the police as oppressors.
    11:36 PM · Jul 23, 2018

    The calm arrest brings to mind the treatment of Dylan Roof--the man who murdered nine members of a black church in Charleston. Added into the mix in the Roof case was the purchase of a hamburger for Roof by the police department.

    We always say that police need more training, but they do appear to be capable of arresting mass murderers without problem.

    Shaun King also reflected on the professionalism of the arrest of the BART knifing suspect:

    The peaceful arrests of a white murderer while there are repeated shootings of unarmed black men solidifies the idea that police abuse is reality. The legal system seems set up to make it almost impossible to convict a police officer of wrongdoing when they murder an unarmed person.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has made it very difficult to hold officers and police departments accountable. In 1982, in City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, the court made it often impossible for federal courts to enjoin illegal police practices. Adolf Lyons, a twenty-four-year-old African-American man, was stopped by the police for having a burned-out taillight. An officer administered a chokehold on Lyons and rendered him unconscious. When Lyons awoke, he had urinated and defecated. He was spitting blood and dirt. He was given a traffic ticket and allowed to go.

    Lyons discovered that 16 people in Los Angeles had died from the use of police chokeholds; almost all, like him, were African-American men. Lyons sued the city of Los Angeles for an injunction to stop police officers from using the chokehold except when necessary to protect the officer’s life or safety. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that Lyons could not sue for an injunction because he could not show that he personally was likely to be choked by the police again in the future.

    The court said a plaintiff who is seeking an injunction must show a likelihood of personally suffering future harm. This makes it enormously difficult to get an injunction against abusive police behavior.

    At the same time, the court has made it very difficult to sue cities for money damages when there is excessive police force. The court has held that a city can be held liable only if its own policy violates the Constitution and causes the excessive force.

    There is no justice.


    Shaun King gives a more detailed assessment of events after the murder. The media treated the slain teen as a thug 


    Nia Wilson, above all, was a teenage girl. She was a high school senior – the exact same age of my oldest daughter. And yesterday, after just a few hours of sharing her story, I saw something truly sick starting to unfold. First, a local news station in the Bay Area shared an image of Nia holding what looked like a gun. Why did they share that image? What were they trying to convey? And, as it turns out, she wasn’t holding a gun in that image, it was a cell phone case with a gun handle. It was a basically a gag – and the local news showed it like it said something about Nia’s character. She literally posted nearly 1,000 wonderful photos of her life on Instagram and Facebook, and they chose that one.

    Even in death, local news media finds a way to demean us. It’s why I believe so much in having our own outlets, our own platforms, our own morning shows, where we define our own stories and narratives without that type of ugliness.

    Secondly, last night in Oakland thousands of people, including members of Nia’s own family, showed up to her outdoor vigil. Now I don’t need to explain this to our listeners, but this was a moment of pain, and grief, and support. And white supremacists from the group Proud Boys, wearing red Make American Great Again hats, literally showed up to interrupt the vigil.

    Let me pause right here for a moment.

    Never – in the entire history of this country – will you find an example of white people coming together to grieve the brutal murder of their loved one – the day after it happened – only to have their grief physically interrupted by belligerent Black folk telling them that they are worthless. It’s never happened. It never will happen.

    How cruel, how evil, how heartless, how crass, how foul do you have to be, how rotten must you be from the inside out, how dry and dead must your soul be – to have the idea that you want to interrupt grieving people and demean them the day after their loved one was murdered?

    I wanna linger here for a moment because I think it gives us a real glimpse into the sick psychology of exactly who we are dealing with and fighting against. They interrupt our grief because they don’t even really see us as fully human.

    Let me close with this final thought.

    This morning I saw the video of the arrest of John Lee Cowell. Police don’t draw their guns. They don’t slam him to the concrete and put their knees into his back while putting on his handcuffs. They don’t Taser him. They don’t choke him.

    You’d think they were arresting a man for writing a bad check or stealing a shirt from a department store.

    And so often after we see a horrible incident of police brutality against Black folk, we talk about how American police need more training and better training. I’ve said that myself, but police show us over and over and over again – with white men who are considered armed and dangerous – who’ve just brutally murdered people – that they are fully willing and able to remain calm, and cool, and collected, and methodical – whenever they feel like it


    This is how black victims of crime are treated in the United States. The murderer gets kid glove treatment. The black victim is slandered.


    Thank you for posting this as a blog, rm, and I'm sure arta will agree that it was better done as such - instead of a news piece.  Your point is an important one which I think all of us here understand even as most can't completely relate; I hope you take that as a fair assessment, because it applies to you and your relationship to the points of others, as well.  Others - most of us here - who are not in your shoes, are not immersed in your world on an hourly basis and can never be.  But, rm, neither are you intimately a part of ours when you constantly point out the differences even when we try (and fail just as often as you do, sometimes) to meet you where the roads intersect.  I can't be you or yours, but does that have to mean that me and mine can't meet you on a path somewhere?

    Having said all that and bordered on ignoring your post altogether, please let me add that I didn't know much about this tragedy before reading this ... other than a few headlines.  My thanks above to you for posting more importantly extend to the subject - and for giving me another small window into your shared experiences within your community.  I just ask again that you look through the window, as well.  


    Seconded. Thanks for this, barefooted and thanks to rmrd for posting an important part of a common story seldom told to the mainstream by the  MSM. I did not want to see this blog or the situation it describes go unacknowledged but just did not know what I could say about it or how to say it. 

    If you are pissed, it had the desired effect.

    When I read the news, I not only have the Trump crap that we all see, but I also read about direct attacks on my community. I have no doubt that women, Muslims, Latinos.Asias, Gays, etc. all experience the same extra crap when reading the news or through personal experience.

    Thx for your response. I often wonder how the conflicts arise. For example I posted about black-self- hatred and Colorism it seemed like a very benign topic. The general response was that it was not a big deal. That simply does not make sense to me. The other think that tends to happen is that I’m accused of speaking for the entire black community despite the fact that I often post polling that shows what percentage of blacks agree with my opinion. Obviously I’m not talking about the entire black community. Finally I am compared to the “good” blacks. 

    At any rate, I will post about things going on in the black community, because they often go unnoticed. People are free to respond or not. On almost a daily basis people are calling the police on blacks because black people are trying to enter there own place of living, relaxing at a pool, barbecuing, sitting at Starbucks, etc. Being aware of these events is important to be able to survive as a black person in the United States. 

    My white Liberal friends frequently inform me about racially based events. Many are wondering why there isn’t more support for Maxine Waters, for example. They want to replace the old, mostly white leadership of the Democratic Party and a very specific about that desire.. I may seem like a firebrand here, but often, I’m the one pulling white Liberals down from the ceiling. 

    At the end of the day, dagbloggers are going to vote to replace Republicans in November 

    Several black journalist groups criticized the aforementioned television station for showing victim Nia Wilson holding what appeared to be a gun.

    Wilson and her older sister were both stabbed in the neck by a white man, John Lee Cowell, as they were attempting to switch stations at the MacArthur BART station. Wilson’s sister, Letifah, survived the attack. BART police are still investigating whether Cowell, a felon who recently served two years in state prison for second-degree robbery, was racially motivated.

    Depicting Wilson with the gun—implying that she, herself, had any history or affiliation with violence—could reinforce unconscious bias, the statement read.

    The groups also pointed out that KTVU has erred before in its coverage of racially sensitive news stories. In 2013, the station’s coverage of an Asiana Airlines crash went viral when it released the names of four pilots on board the aircraft—the “names” however, were racist puns like “Sum Ting Wong” and “Ho Lee Fuk.”

    “These incidents would appear to illustrate a lack of cultural competency and training around unconscious bias among station staff and leadership,” the joint statement read. 

    While KTVU anchor Frank Somerville apologized for the photo on Monday via his Facebook and on the 10 p.m. newscast, NABJ, BABJ and the Maynard Institute say they want to see more robust action, requesting a meeting with KTVU station execs in the coming weeks to discuss the station’s portrayals of people of color.

    As.noted the station previously caused and uproar when it mocked the names of Asian pilot who died in a plane crash.


    Edit to add:

    The television station is part of the Fox network

    San Francisco Chronicle has an article on the criminal history of the perp, obvious violently mentally ill, and homeless after he was released from prison and state psychiatric hospital in May; the long estranged family did not approve that he was released, one had a restraining order against him. Regularly hung around BART, was arrested by BART cops before, and actually this time was arrested after being spotted by riders who alerted officers.

    Edit to add:

    There were two other BART homicides in the last week, still unsolved. The Chronicle also has an article  yesterday about how this one ignites fear among black people and also one on how violent crime on BART is up 69% over the last decade even though violent crime overall in CA is down 7% over the same period

    The mental health system has long been neglected. The man needed supervision.

    Anne Hathaway posted a moving Instagram message

    “White people- including me, including you- must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS.  White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence,” she continued.

    Hathaway is not the only celebrity who has used their platform and privilege to call out racial violence towards Black men and women in America. She often uses her Instagram to call out social justices. Her Wednesday message is a powerful examination that being a true ally starts with actions such as this. To operate in the function of “allyship” or “allyhood, you must examine and rebuke America’s long storied history of violence against people of color and the privilege bestowed upon you. But like Hathaway, you must also take it a step further and ask this of your white brethren.

    “Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves- how “decent” are we really?  Not in our intent, but in our actions?  In our lack of action? Peace and prayers and JUSTICE for Nia and the Wilson family,” Hathaway wrote.

    “Note: the comments for this post are closed,” she concluded in true NeNe Leakes” “I said what I said,” fashion.

    Thank you Anne Hathaway for acknowledging that Nia’s Black life mattered.



    It mattered - of course it did.  Her death was a tragedy by any measure.  The tragedy being acknowledged by Anne Hathaway means ... what?  Who is she to make the case, other than someone of prominence who uses social media to express her opinions?  A white actress?  I could say much the same things as she; would my words hold less weight?  Perhaps, since my name isn't recognizable in the way that hers is.  But I wonder why that's the case.  And I wonder why, especially, that it should matter to the black community.

    And why you find it worth highlighting.


    Nothing truly matters until a famous actor speaks about. They feel so much more deeply than we normal people do. Look at how sad she is here. I cry every time I watch it. You wouldn't cry if I sang that song. In fact you'd probably laugh. 


    Not a good example, dude.  She killed it.

    It's a great example. She totally killed. I guess you didn't understand my post. They say sarcasm doesn't translate in the internet and my comment was such a mixture of mockery, sarcasm, and truth I suppose it didn't translate well. That type of thing isn't explainable so I'll just drop it


    Interesting side discussion, because with your points you are venturing into "the method" vs. just doing dramatic pretending.

    And I looked it up and see Anne Hathaway is known as a master for her incredible method acting.  especially as Fantine in Les Miserables

    "Les Mis", as it is affectionately known, is a simply marvelous piece of work.  I get what ocean-kat was trying to say, but her performance is really hard to use as a measure against her.

    Perhaps it's fair to say that she was using her method training (empathetically embracing a character) to place herself in the middle of a discussion in which on the surface she wouldn't necessarily belong.  Or was she pretending?  Isn't that a question we ask ourselves internally almost daily when dealing with people who somehow matter in our lives but we don't really know?

    I am now reminded of he who was sometimes known as "the first black president""


    I love Les Mis and Hathaway. My intention wasn't to dis her but sarcastically mock those who attach value to a statement by people who are only famous for pretending really really good. And Anne Hathaway is one of the best at pretending as the video shows. Yay!

    Another interesting side note, there's a whole internet hate group posting against Anne. I don't really know why. I read about it but don't follow that type of shit.

    She also played a wannabe Chola and banged some gangbanger in one of her flicks. I think that gives her weight (or makes her exploitive? They could have cast a chicana to play the white chick gazing across the tracks...)

    Back to reality, good that someone/anyone takes the time to speak out against hirrid cruelty. The more famous/well-connected, the farther it travels. Best if they have access to money and/or political pull so it's not quickly forgotten in our day-to-day.

    (and yes, she nailed it, both the song and the tweet)

    Mentioning it didn’t seem a big deal. Celebrities are quoted as speaking for a segment of the population all of the time. LeBron James calls Trump a  bum and it gets covered. Many people agreed with the statement. They don’t have the same clout to reach media.

    Steph.Curry raised money for the family

    There are others without name recognition who did the same.

    The sophomore squad likes to make it about them, "I could say, my words, my name, I wonder..." and "my intention..sarcastically mock people who attach value.."

    The what I have found in life section:

    When people find solace or support in the words or actions of another, that is not "attaching value" it's appreciating the empathy of someone who exhibits some understanding and respects the difficult issues faced by you or your "group".

    Don't mess with the ways people deal with their life or issues, as long as it works for them, and as long as they are not harming themselves or others. Best to respect what works to bring them some peace or hope.

    And BTW, we now are now so pumped and divided by race/religion/ethnicity that a black police chiefs son brutally beat up an elderly Sikh in California. Who exactly is the  Untermensch now and who's the master race, or is it a free for all against the "different"?

    On top of that stupidity, we have Fox’s Laura Ingraham openly calling for a white ethnostate

    ​This after Tucker Carlson said that whites are not designed to live around immigrants.

    The vicious attack appears to have been a robbery attempt. It is also being investigated as a hate crime.

    I found a little hope in that the father police chief spoke out so strongly against his son. (Another version of that here @ The Hill for those who can't acess WaPo). In general about this attack, I think it behooves to  know it came from a 16-yr. old and 18 yr. old, speaks of criminal activity that we used to label "juvie". So maybe it's time to use hate crime legislation for incidents like this to send a message to all "juvie" types out there that doing something like this will truly ruin your life and furthermore make everyone else in society look down on you. They got the message from a sub-culture somehow that it was okay to do this, as I doubt guys of that age got it from reading national news or listening to Trump speeches. They are imbibing this "permission" from somewhere else, perhaps ethnic gang culture, Facebook groups or whatever.  So it's just as possible that such a culture be able to send the counter-message: that this is reviled loser activity. Dad gets this, it's brave and honorable of him to speak out as most parents would just shut up to protect their kid as bad as the kid might have gotten. The whole story makes me think more favorably towards the usefulness of hate crime legislation than I have in the past, it could be very useful with wayward teen culture.

    Ethnic gang culture does not exist in a vacuum. It has theme music in a subset of rap.

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