The NAACP was just in my hometown for their annual conference, and I am hoping that Mayor Nutter didn't give them the keys to the city. If he did, I would like to formally request to have them back.
Needless to say that I am very disappointed with that venerable organization. I will tell you more about them in a minute. But let me start this post by praising one individual and an organization as well.
I will start with the individual, Feidin Santana.
I met him earlier today in Washington, where he was receiving an award, and he was kind enough to give me a brief interview.
For those of you who were wondering who Feidin Santana is, he is the gentleman who videotaped the police officer executing Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina.
I think I heard it somewhere before, but I was somewhat surprised when he told me that English is not his first language. He was clearly more comfortable speaking in Spanish, and I told him that I spoke a little of his first language, but he was kind enough to talk to me in English.
The first thing you notice about the guy is how shy he is. He almost seemed uncomfortable with all the adoration and attention that he was getting.
FN: How did you keep your cell phone so steady? Especially with all that was going on. Do you have any formal training with videos?
FS: No, I was just in the moment. I was never trained to so anything like this.
FN: What made you decide to start filming in the first place?
FS: I was just watching them, and it didn't look good. I could just tell that it was going to be something serious.
FN: Did the police try to get the videotape from you?
FS: No, no they didn't.
FN: Given all that has happened would you do it again?
FS: Yes, I would. I don't like to see injustice.
Some other folks were trying to get his attention at this point, so I thanked him for his time and made my exit.
So this 23 year old hero videotapes the horrific incident, tracks down the victim's family, and gives them the videotape.
This, in spite the fact that he could have sold the video to one of many outlets for money. Or, he could have taken it to the police. Fortunately he was smart enough to know that if he had, he might have never seen it again.
Feidin Santana is a hero, and he deserves all the recognition that he is getting for what he did on that sad day in early April, 2015.
The organization giving Feidin Santana his award also deserves praise. Thanks to Santana's actions they have actually adopted a resolution whereby everyone of their members are to "strive to become proficient with the use of mobile devices with video capabilities as a deterrent to voter intimidation and police misconduct."
Five stars for David Honig and the MMTC folks. As far as I can tell this is the first civil rights organization in the country to adopt such a resolution. This is important, because citizens need to understand that under the First Amendment they have every right to videotape police officers when they suspect misconduct when officers are acting in a public space. Just remember to tell them what you are doing, be respectful, and do not in any way obstruct them.
If you follow those rules you will be fine.
Now contrast this with the aforementioned NAACP, who, from all accounts, were given the opportunity to do something similar and refused to do so. Apparently they don't think it's cool for their members to get involved with things such as police misconduct.
Huh???? Hellooooo, you are the NAACP. This is EXACTLY the type of thing that you should be doing.
And we wonder why every day we see another incident like this popping up all over the country.
If organizations like the NAACP won't be proactive and stand up for the victims, who will?
Sadly, the Feidin Santanas of the world don't just grow on trees.
*First pic from nbc.com
**Second pic from thetimes.co.uk, Santana with the mother of Walter Scott.