Meagan Matters: Police Murder of Black Women Ignored by Corporate Media, Activists

This column appears in the May 7 – 14 edition of the Hartford News…

“Sexism impacts every aspect of black women’s lives, including how we’re treated, or not addressed, in media after our deaths. Yet our experiences with law enforcement are very similar to that of black men.” ~ Evette Dione,

Meagan Hockaday, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Miriam Carey, Shelly Frey, Darnisha Harris, Malissa Williams, Alesia Thomas, Shantel Davis, Rekia Boyd, Shereese Francis, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tarika Wilson, Kathryn Johnston, Alberta Spruill, Kendra James. This is just a partial list of Black women who have been murdered by police officers. Meagan was shot to death March 28 by an Oxnard, California cop in front of her children. Misha Charlton, Meagan’s sister, has been working tirelessly to raise awareness about her sister’s murder; no national mainstream media outlets have reported on this story.

Kate Abbey-Lambertz broke down the information on the other victims in her piece for the Huffington Post, These 15 Black Women Were Killed During Police Encounters. Their Lives Matter, Too. “Four of the women were killed during police raids. Three women had young children with them when they were killed. Two were children when they were killed. Two women with mental illnesses were killed after their family members called authorities for help. Seven of the incidents resulted in charges. Only one woman’s death has led to conviction. Several cases are still open.”

Last week thousands of people marched in Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia in support of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 in Baltimore Police custody. As I was watching the sea of people in these cities, I thought about the fact that just a week earlier, about 100 people showed up in New York to march for Rekia Boyd, an innocent bystander who was shot in the back of the head by a Chicago police officer. It’s obvious why the corporate media won’t report on these extrajudicial killings: doing so would underscore the systemic brutality of the police. Black males are stereotyped as being dangerous and violent, so cable news channels feel free to host screaming matches between activists and law enforcement apologists who argue about whether or not we should have been shot, choked to death or had our spines severed. Every 28 hours, a Black person is killed by police, security guards or vigilantes. The data in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report on extrajudicial killings refutes the ‘few bad apples’ explanation which minimizes police violence. This report presents data which proves there are enough ‘bad apples’ to fill the produce aisle of every supermarket in the country.

Last Friday after Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that six police officers were being charged in the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police gave a press conference where they said with a straight face that their officers do not engage in brutality against Blacks. Since 2011 the city has paid out $5.7 million in brutality lawsuit settlements, according to an investigative report by the Baltimore Sun. Victims included an 87-year-old Black woman and a pregnant Black woman. President Obama’s speech on Monday about the Freddie Gray case and economic conditions in Baltimore was done for the sake of political expediency. Obama rejected a 2009 demand from the Congressional Black Caucus that he initiate targeted job creation in communities of color. He has never mentioned poverty nor Black unemployment during his annual State of the Union address since he has been in office. The Obama Justice Department has not prosecuted any police officers for the extrajudicial killings of Blacks.

While the corporate media fixated on the disappearances of white women such as Chandra Levy, Elizabeth Smart and Natalee Holloway, they totally ignore the cases of the 64,000 Black women who are currently missing in the United States. The lack of support from the left for Black women who have been killed by the police fits a historical pattern. Dorothy Height, Ella Baker and Rosa Parks were prominent organizers in the Civil Rights movement, but they were shoved aside at major events like the 1963 March on Washington while Martin Luther King and other males took center stage. Malcolm X caught flak from members of his Organization of Afro-American Unity when he appointed women to leadership positions. Sexism was rampant in the Black Panther Party. Pastor Jamal Bryant has been portrayed as the de facto leader of the protests in Baltimore, even though women are key organizers.

Working with Misha has heightened my awareness of Black women who have been the victims of street executions by the police. Watching the disparity in the response by activists to police murder cases involving Black males and females, it’s clear that opportunism is also a key factor. White activists in Hartford who have not supported racial profiling and anti-police brutality legislation are now organizing ‘Baltimore solidarity’ rallies. These are the same people who came out of the woodwork to exploit Trayvon Martin and Troy Davis. Mary Sanders and I will be working with Misha to bring attention to Meagan’s case and the other Black women who have been murdered by killer cops. ALL Black Lives Matter.

Call and email your legislators and tell them to vote Yes on H.B. 5437, Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, and anti-police brutality legislation currently active at the State Capitol. Rep. Ritter’s bill includes the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment. Check out our Action Alert on the CP No Sellout blog for details. Mary, who wrote CP’s Trayvon Martin Act bill language, will be a guest May 26th at 8:00 pm on Voice of the City with host JCherry on WESU 88.1 FM.


Meagan Hockaday rally in Oxnard, California

Independent media coverage of unrest in Baltimore:

The Real News Network report – St. Louis conference on community control of the police:

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts, including action alerts. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns ( . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

David Samuels


Community Party


One Response to “Meagan Matters: Police Murder of Black Women Ignored by Corporate Media, Activists”

  1. uaptsd Says:

    Reblogged this on United Against Police Terror – San Diego.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: