Tag Archive | Ferguson

Scandal Episode 414: The Lawn Chair

Scandal Episode 414: The Lawn Chair

Scandal Episode 414: The Lawn Chair shows Olivia attempting to get back to her regular job in the aftermath of her kidnapping while being challenged by an activist who calls her out for being on the wrong side of an injustice. She is still feeling vulnerable but rather than taking time to heal, she dives headlong into this latest traumatic scene that stems from a police shooting of unarmed Black teenager.

Courtney B. Vance delivers a masterful performance as Clarence Parker, the bereaved father who is determined to get justice for his son who was left laying in the street for the entire episode reminiscent of the incident in Ferguson last year.

Fitz needs to come up with a new VP now that Andrew is incapacitated without picking someone who will pose a threat to Mellie’s future political plans. Cyrus encourages him to make a bold choice, but he wants to pick someone who is going to be a team player and won’t compete with Mellie’s plan to run for office. Fitz says that it’s her turn and Cyrus asks him if he has any idea how difficult it will be for Mellie to make the leap to the oval office. Why let a little thing like experience stand in the way of a bored First Lady’s dreams?

The DC Police  department hired Olivia in the wake of the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Brandon Parker by a White officer. Crowds of angry residents have formed, and the police chief does not want a riot on his hands.

The victim’s body is still lying in the street when his father shows up with a gun demanding to see the officer who killed his son.

Olivia tries to negotiate with Mr. Parker to keep the police from shooting him, but he will not leave his son’s side. A local activist brings the man a lawn chair to sit on and encourages him to remain there since that is the only power he has in the situation.

Olivia accuses the activist, Marcus, of inflaming the situation to try to make a name for himself. She told him that it would be his fault if the boy’s father is killed. “You don’t want justice. You want anger. You want outrage. You want retribution,” Olivia admonishes.

Marcus is not impressed by Olivia’s arguments and calls her out for living in DC but having never visited that neighborhood unless it was to pick up soul food. He lets her know that he knows exactly who she is and brings up the fact that she worked to get the President elected twice.

Scandal Episode 414: The Lawn Chair Black CardScandal Episdoe 414: The Lawn Chair

She tells him he doesn’t know her and that they both want the same thing, but he is not convinced. “You want to put it to bed quietly and go to the Hill and say that you came down to the hood and you saved us. No thanks Olivia. Your black card is not being validated today.” Sir, I am sure that Olivia does have an actual Black card – the kind that gets issued to high net worth individuals.

This Marcus character totally reminds me of Rev. Bullock from Preachers of Detroit (don’t judge me). But I digress….

The officer claimed that Brandon matched the profile of a shoplifter. He said that he stopped the young man who became belligerent and pulled a knife before charging him which is why he shot him. Yeah, because Black boys pull knives on police officers all the time.

Once Olivia realizes that the Police chief is trying to keep the protests out of the news so that he can unleash brutal tactics on the crowd, she joins the protesters behind the barricades.

Huck comes down to the crime scene and tells Olivia that the police have the surveillance footage from the night of the shooting but they have not released it.

Olivia goes to David and tells him that she needs his help. She explains to him that justice is not available to everyone and he tries to squash her comments, but she says that she felt helpless and afraid each day that she was in captivity and asks him to imagine feeling like that every day.

She also told him that Brandon’s father believes that his only way out of the situation is in going to lead to prison or the morgue. And he cannot argue with that.

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David issues a subpoena for the surveillance tape which shows the victim reaching into his pocket for something, but it does not show the item. The father allows them to check the body for a weapon and they find a knife. Mr Parker kept repeating that his son does not carry a knife and raises his gun as if he is about to shoot.

Olivia and Marcus manage to walk away from him without being shot, but her hands are shaking, and she is clearly not okay. Ms. Pope is going to have to be checked into the psych ward before it’s all over.

Huck and Quinn discover that the officer planted the knife on the body because he arrested a suspect the previous night but the arrest was never formalized and the man’s knife was never booked into evidence. Brandon was reaching for his receipt when he was shot.

Scandal Episode 414: The Lawn Chair

Olivia goes to the confront the officer who launches into this psychotic rant about “these” people and how they disrespect him. “Brandon Parker is dead because he didn’t have respect. Because those people out there who are chanting and crying over his body didn’t teach him the right values.”

Whenever someone starts throwing around “you people” it is always nasty business, and I would bet that he was speaking for many of his real life counterparts. Not all, but enough to create this constant mistrust and hostility.

The officer is arrested and the police department is placed under a federal probe,

Olivia takes Mr. Parker to the White House to meet the President, and he breaks down in tears talking about his son.

Scandal Episode 414: The Lawn Chair

This episode was so powerful and emotional because it is loosely based on real events.

Michael Brown was gunned down in Ferguson and left lying in the streets for hours last August. Massive crowds showed up to protest for weeks after the shooting, and the police treated them like enemy combatants.

The similarities end there because there has been no arrest to date.

Although the Justice Department recently released a report on the Ferguson police department that found a pattern of systemic racism, discrimination and hostility toward Black residents, federal charges will not be filed.

This was an important episode because Ferguson is a deeply divisive issue and unfortunately, it is but one of many stories about Black men being killed at the hands of law enforcement.

As much as I disliked the recent episodes about Olivia being kidnapped and trafficked, I have to give kudos to the writers for getting it right this time.

Olivia is very much a person of privilege living in her own little bubble even as her own father tried to warn her that she would never be one of “them.” So she needed that reality check that Marcus gave her.

Well done Shonda and crew.

Now can we please get our girl some counseling before she completely loses her mind?

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Healing in Ferguson

Iyanla Healing Ferguson

Iyanla Hugging People in Ferguson, MO

Iyanala Goes to Ferguson

Iyanla Vanzant announced she was going to Ferguson to promote healing after the murder of Michael Brown, and the backlash was immediate. She was called an opportunist and her motives were questioned, and her critics were all in an uproar based on what they thought she was going to do despite her not having a history of being an exploiter. Furthermore, Iyanla is a lawyer, minister, life coach and a full human being with the right to express herself. I am not even going to give those negative Nancys any more attention because now that the show has aired, you can judge for yourself whether the visit was effective. The 90-minute special “Iyanla Fix My Life -Special Report: Healing in Ferguson” aired on August 26, 2014 more than two weeks after the unarmed 18-year old was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, MO.

“I’ve Come to Interrupt the Pattern”

In the weeks since the shooting, the streets of Ferguson have been chaotic. The police are in tanks hurling tear gas with snipers trained on the crowds of protesters and even some reporters have been threatened and arrested.  Violence and bad feelings abound. These horrible images were being broadcast all over the world every day to the point where people from Palestine have been tweeting tips to the protesters in Ferguson about how to deal with tear gas using the tags #Ferguson and #Palestine.

This is the environment that Iyanla was walking into to try to offer some much-needed healing and interrupt the patterns that lead to this tragic situation. She thanked the community for allowing her to visit and upon being embraced by an older woman, she told the woman that as an elder in the community she needs a voice: “We cannot be silent any longer. We cannot!”

Iyanla showed up with a camera crew ready to have some tough conversations with the interested parties including Police Chief Thomas Jackson and Pastor Charles Ewing, Mr. Brown’s Granduncle. I give the Chief credit for showing up even if he did seem to dodge the questions about the poor optics of having a militarized police force squashing peaceful demonstrations. She allowed Pastor Ewing to speak from the family’s perspective about the desire for justice, and the Chief expressed his sympathy for the loss of  life that happened on his watch. The Chief said that the investigation into the shooting is still ongoing and  that he needs at least 14 days of peace to wrap things up, and Pastor Ewing agreed to that. Now they just needed to convince the protesters to remain peaceful despite the high tensions.

Iyanla Healing Ferguson

Iyanla Meeting with Pastor Ewing and Chief Jackson

 

An Elder’s Apology

Next Iyanla met with a group of clergy, protesters and concerned citizens to find out what they hoped to accomplish by demonstrating every day. The protesters are very angry not just about this particular shooting but about the ongoing issues of racial profiling and discrimination that they have been dealing with for years. She tried to get to the root of the problem and let them know that the Chief requested 14 days of peace and gets them to agree to enforce this moratorium on violence.

The next meeting with a group of protesters, including some gang members, was the part of this episode that stayed with me long after the show was finished. Iyanla apologized to the young men for failing them as an elder by not showing them the way and let them know that continuing down that path that they have chosen is very dangerous since they have no real plan of action, and the police were prepared for brutal retaliation. One young man had on a shirt that said “No Justice No Peace” which was a familiar rallying cry, but as she pointed out “Now you don’t have justice, and you don’t have peace.”  They are understandably angry, but that alone won’t change anything. After a long discussion about their fears and expectations,  there were promises to do better and hugs. You can tell when someone is just returning a hug to be polite, but these young men fell into Iyanla’s embrace and were clinging to her like she was a lifesaver.

Iyanla Healing Ferguson

Iyanla meeting with some of the protesters

In asking the young men to commit to enforcing the peace, Iyanla asked them to do three things:

  • Pause – to get clarity
  • Plan – have some goals in mind
  • Participate – show up and be counted

After that, they headed out to march and were immediately confronted by police officers and National Guard members who asked them for their passes – reminiscent of what happened in Johannesburg under Apartheid – and then herded them over to an approved assembly area.

The Takeaways

Iyanla’s visit started some necessary conversations and could lead to real changes down the road. The protesters needed to know that violence begets violence and as she put it “someone is benefiting from you staying disorganized.” She stated more than once that she was an outsider and was not there to tell them how to handle their business, but as a coach, she did make some good suggestions.  She also promised to return to Ferguson in the future without cameras. For all the advance criticism, she was received with open arms and those young men seemed to genuinely appreciate her love and guidance. And I liked that she made the point about how some people are so busy clutching their pearls and being afraid of these young men that they cannot even see how they have failed them.