For those who still don’t quite get why Jay Lambrecht, now the sole owner of Bookies Bar and Grille, decided to cut ties with his former friend and co-owner Mark Jerant, who feel that Jerant was just exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech and that perhaps firing the guy was too politically correct, you should probably take a peek at the protests that have been going on for the past week in Charlotte, North Carolina following yet another police killing of an unarmed black male. Then take another look at the circumstances surrounding the killing of Terence Crutcher, the unarmed Tulsa, Oklahoma man who was killed by a Tulsa police officer mere days earlier.
Then re-read Jerant’s rant in response to Crutcher’s fate:
“Do you mean the unarmed man who didn’t listen to police…. Again.
The one who continued to resist by walking away from the police…. Again.
The one who continued to walk away with his hands up, and proceeded to disobey more orders all the way back to his vehicle.
Then put his hands down continued to disobey orders and then reached into the open widow of car? That unarmed man? That one that simply didn’t listen…. Again.
Get ready for the liberal media frenzy of BS. Then the audio will come out, then everyone will say he didn’t listen, then after a false narrative for 3 months by BLM and “rioting peaceful protests” everyone will say ohhh I guess he was wrong, and the police were right? Then after a real investigation the truth comes out?
Simple story never changes. Listen to police who have guns pointed at you and don’t get shot. It isn’t hard.
Here we go again. “Hands up” until they aren’t anymore. The media will cut video then, just wait until mainstream plays the clip. CNN we are ready for your half story !!! They will ignore everything else. Clicks and ads it’s always about money not the truth. watch and see.”
Sure, we can call this the New Detroit now that white folks feel comfortable walking their dogs downtown, but the fact of the matter is that Detroit is still more than 80 percent African American. Which means that roughly 80 percent of this city’s entire population has more or less been on heightened alert ever since the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida on Feb. 26, 2012. So far, tensions between Detroit police and the local population don’t appear to have escalated anywhere near to the level that we have witnessed in such areas as Ferguson, Missouri, or Baltimore Maryland, or Chicago, Illinois, or on and on and on. Without a doubt this has a lot to do not only with the more equitable racial makeup of the police force in Detroit, but also with the leadership of Chief James Craig. Because make no mistake, just like good cops, bad cops come in all colors too.
But in a city like Detroit, the only major American city with such a disproportionately large black population – and disproportionately poor – we take quick and thorough notice of events like what happened in Tulsa, with the killing of Terence Crutcher, and then in Charlotte with the killing of Keith Lamont Scott. Because in Detroit, I’m estimating more than half of the population has at least experienced some form of police harassment on a personal level, if not outright brutality, or they have a close friend or family member who has. And this includes those who are relatively well-to-do as well as those who are just barely making ends meet in the ‘hood, from Palmer Woods to Mack and Bewick. We all, all of us, know what can happen when you run into the wrong police officer at the wrong time at the wrong place – wearing the wrong skin.
So when someone like Jurant decides to post a rather ill-advised and ill-informed rant on Facebook, essentially spouting his belief that the primary reason why so many black folks are getting killed by cops is because we aren’t obeying commands, it tends to make a lot of black Detroiters extremely ticked off. And, to be fair, some white folks as well. Because with so much evidence that just keeps piling up on America’s front doorstep in the form of bloody, bullet-torn black bodies, the last thing we need to hear is someone trying to scold us for being murdered due to a lack of sufficient obedience to [white] authority.
Which brings me back to Bookies. In the statement he released last week after severing ties with Jurant, Lambrecht said:
“I do not condone or agree with the comments made on social media by my former business partner. Those comments go against the culture of inclusion, diversity and respect for my patrons and employees I have worked hard to establish at Bookies Bar and Grille. Mark’s comments in no way reflect what I believe, or that of our hard working employees. … I am truly sorry, and offer my apology and commitment to earn your trust, respect and business at Bookies Bar and Grille.”
Although some may continue to condemn Bookies and Lambrecht, saying this is too little too late and wondering how Lambrecht could not have known that his childhood friend’s views were so questionable, I believe Lambrecht deserves some measure of praise for acting as swiftly and decisively as he did. No doubt the swiftness of the move was motivated by business calculus as well, because the last thing any business needs is to have protesters marching back and forth in front of the door. But given the history of Bookies, which had a predominantly black clientele at its prior location, and also of Lambrecht, a lifelong Detroiter, I’d like to believe this was also a decision made with the recognition that New Detroit is still a very Fragile Detroit.
There is a steady pulse of nervous, angry electricity sparking just beneath the surface of this city, just a few angry words away from dry brush waiting on a fire. We need to learn how to spell ‘community’ the right way.