Who Knew Walking Down The Street Could Be This Hazardous For A Black Woman?

See the lady in the picture above? Yeah, that’s not make up; her face is actually black and blue. Uh-huh, and yes, those are scars on her shoulder. Lemme ask you something: if this woman was your mother, or sister, and she received those bruises at the hands of another man like she did, how would that make you feel?

Yeah I know, you’d probably be ready to either call the coroner, the “ambalamps”, or the police for the man who did this, right? OK, so what if I told you that what you see in the picture above, was the direct result of the actions of a police officer? Would that make you any less, or more angry?

Sure you would want to know just exactly what she did to deserve such a beatdown, right? I mean after all, the cops are not into beating the shit out of people for no reason, right? I mean surely her “crime” and punishment at the hands of a police officer was just, right? Oh, and what was her crime you ask?


Yep, apparently in Shreveport, Louisiana, it is against the law to walk in the street if there’s an actual sidewalk. Yeah I know, sounds like a pretty dumb law to me too. But, do you wanna hear something even crazier? This “law” or ordinance is only enforced in black neighborhoods in Shreveport!

Yep, if Ola Mae Kelly (pictured above) happened to live in a neighborhood other than a black neighborhood she’d be looking the picture of health right now. But instead, as pointed out by shreveporttimes.com, a five year analysis of arrest records shows that nearly all arrests involved black folks (black men) in the hood.

Now of course everyone has an excuse, and Ola Mae’s excuse for walking in the street as opposed to the sidewalk happens to be because after being grabbed from behind and dragged away by an attacker while walking on the side walk. Walking in the street simply allows her to feel safer, since that encounter.

At about 4:15 p.m. Aug. 16, Kelly was walking down East 75th Street, in the street, unaware she was breaking a city law that makes it illegal for citizens to walk in the street if there is a sidewalk. Kelly was surprised when a police car coming the opposite way, slowed and turned around after passing her.

She was even more bewildered when the encounter with officer Gerald McKinney resulted in injuries to her face, shoulder and knee — and her arrest.

“It happened so fast,” said Kelly, who had two outstanding traffic violations. She was taken to jail and released after paying $490 bail. “I couldn’t believe he was hitting me.”

Kelly later filed an excessive force complaint alleging McKinney threw her to the ground and hit her in the face despite her attempts to comply with his orders. Two days after the incident — and before Kelly made her complaint — McKinney was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of internal and criminal investigations. Attempts to reach McKinney were unsuccessful.

Police Chief Willie Shaw said he would take appropriate action, if necessary, involving Kelly’s complaint after criminal and internal investigations are complete […]

[…] “We’re going to enforce the law and in doing so, sometimes, we’re not going to make the criminals happy,” Shaw said. “My No. 1 priority is making the community safe.”I’m sorry chief, yes, making the community safe should be your number one priority. However, things must be pretty damn bad and unsafe in Shreveport if you have to resort to harassing, beating, and arresting those colored folks in their neighborhoods. Either that or it’s just that white folks aren’t into that street walking thing.

(H/T Vérité Parlant)

(PHOTO: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)