Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I wrote a song entitled "THE DEATH OF MICHAEL BROWN." Here's how the lyrics begin: down at the courthouse/on a monday afternoon/justice flew out the window/when a young white cop entered the room... My song was just featured in the Los Angeles Daily News & is getting good response on Youtube.

When I was a kid, we played with toy guns without being shot. Cops were respected as good guys & helped me & my grandma cross the street. My conservative white evangelical brothers write to me and ask: "Is there a bad cop that you are talking about now? Because I see many good cops putting their lives on the line everyday and saving people everyday. I thank God for the police who go out everyday. How dare you play god and question the cops?"

Oh, how I wish it was only one bad cop singular. Bad Cop(s) plural. Although I hate to say bad cop because we're all a mixed bag of bad and good since the beginning. Adam was created in God's image yet fallen. Yes, thank God for every good cop out there. I've had a couple good cops as guitar students. One black and one white. They were men of integrity so they admitted the truth to me about a corrupt police system of thugs who take human life every day and then lie to protect each other. Some of my other Christian friends with pure hearts have tried to be cops but couldn't stomach the brutality and then the police code to lie in court to cover it up. Many times because I write gospel music I've ministered with black brothers and sisters who were pulled over and harassed by police just because of skin color. A Cleveland boy was shot recently who had a toy gun even though the 911 call said the gun may be fake. In Long Beach I saw a man gunned down running from cops. His hands were nowhere near his pockets or waistband reaching for a weapon. This recent Ferguson case, regardless of what the young black man may have done, (shoplifted a box of cigars and cop claims he attacked him) but he was unarmed, shot 12 times when he was some distance away walking towards the cop. The Cop couldn't use mace? Couldn't shoot him in the leg to wound him if he felt threatened? 12 bullets into an unarmed teenager? Any other means than 12 bullets to shoot an unarmed kid? Brown's body dropped 108 feet from Wilson's vehicle so he must have had long arms. Even if he did charge him Wilson could have gone into his car.

I have friends who think an unarmed teenager coming towards the cop was justifiably shot because they listen to FOX News justifying it. To question the police is "rebellion" to them. Keep drinking the Kool Aid and praising the police, they advocate. Disreputable sources like FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity etc. and other right-wing racist newspapers are saying the officers eye socket was cracked from being assaulted and that this kid weighed almost 300 pounds. They say it was just 6 bullets and a large part of that was not being able to see as clearly because of a busted eye socket. They claim this officer followed the law and that the real problem is black on black crime. The Grand jury found bruises to cop's face NOT his eye hanging out of socket like FOX claims. They found he had mace he could've used. And that he fired twelve times. I'm sure more will be revealed as time passes and we have time to digest the information. Here's link to some cursory findings of the Grand Jury: http://www.cnn.com/.../ferguson-grand-jury.../index.html

This note has upset a few people in the Facebook world and the right-wing militias who say "How dare you Richard Rossi challenge the cops militaristic attitude? How dare you play god and ask for proof that the murder of Michael Brown was justifiable homicide? How dare you challenge the reports on FOX News when they are found inaccurate? Just who do you think you are? The cops and military must kill and it is justified if they say it is."

Think about the cop's bogus story: So this teenager comes up to the window of a car, reaches into his holster and takes his gun? Sit in a car and try that. The cop has several weapons. He can cry about his injuries all he wants but a kid shot dead is a far greater injury and they left him lay there in the street without even calling for immediate medical assistance. Please don't post this cop's whining about injuries until they trump Michael Brown's fatal injuries.

Jesus weeps over this. The militarization of our police has increased in recent days, more and more citizens shot and cops having military mindset of shoot and ask questions later. In LA County, we have 2.5 shot per week. I realize most of my Caucasian Christian friends tend to rally to defend the cops as the agents of God, and most evangelicals hold very conservative views in terms of defending police actions so I understand many of my white conservative church friends don't get this or see this. I understand they don't see it and it's a human tendency to defend our own race, but how many times do you hear of a white kid being shot by police, or beaten as Rodney King was? Some churchgoers quote Romans about "submit to authorities because they are the agents of God," but those who followed that to a T in Nazi Germany didn't confront the brutality of the Nazi police. A few courageous believers like Bonhoeffer bucked the religious conservative tendency in Nazi Germany to praise the police no matter what. I'm not calling whites who defend cops no matter what "Nazis," but offering this historic example of the danger of a militaristic mindset of justifying police force no matter what and demonizing the victim.

That being said, in following Jesus we must confront injustice and cry out for the children slain but also extend prayers, mercy, and forgiveness to the cop(s). This may be an obvious question, but how do people think shooting him was justified then? I feel some compassion for this cop. Police are under tremendous stress. I can buy him being scared and snapping and overreacting to feeling Brown's taunting & threatening him. The cop was full of adrenaline and it's hard to judge what any of us would do feeling threatened and our fight or flight system going nuts. That issue of the physicality of what the cop was experiencing helps me feel more compassion for him, even though I disagree with what he did. This cop, like Barney Fife, was not experienced using his gun properly in this situation and had limited time on the job. My heart goes out to the good people and business owners in Ferguson. I hope no more innocent people or businesses are hurt or harmed or looted. That's a good point to remember now. We can't change or undo what happened. Now in the present I pray for those scared and effected. I can believe for forgiveness and healing for him. But I'm scratching my head trying to understand how anything I've read from those defending the cop justifies shooting Brown repeatedly and letting him die in the street and lay there for a while without calling for help.