Street Cops

The Squeaky Wheels Get the Grease

Jan 28, 1999 at 2:06 pm

Old sayings are the best sayings. They seem to sum up so many things so well. This column's title says a lot, and it describes the incident — nay, the travesty — that police say occurred Oct. 30 on Miami University's Oxford campus.

Supposedly on that pre-Halloween date, some hate-mongers entered the Center For Black Culture & Learning and committed racist acts that included drawings of a racist nature.

Everyone was aghast at the intrusion, as well they should have been. The feeling on campus by the students and school officials was that it was the work of anti-black sympathizers and racists. What to do, what to do?

The Black Student Action Association didn't have to ponder the question very long. There was only one course of action to take in this case — demonstrate! Under the guidance of Nathaniel Snow, a native Cincinnatian and the group's president, they went to the intersection of U.S. 27 and State Route 73, joined arms and blocked traffic.

Snow also met with the president of the university, James Garland. Now I have no idea how tough it is to be granted an audience with the university president, but I'm sure Garland was eager to meet with this group of wronged students — without hesitation. So, as the axiom goes, the squeaking wheel got the grease or, in this case, the ear of the prez.

"Call out the militia! A minority group is being persecuted! Waste no time. Grant the wishes of the pressure groups. Throw money and programs their way! Paint the "majority" race with that broad brush of racial hatred. Surely, they must be sympathizers of the culprits. Even though by the looks of things, it was only a few who did the deed. Every one among the majority must be taught a lesson."

Well lo and behold, through the wonders of modern police technology the day was saved for all. The truth seems to have won out. Police say that the alleged perpetrators were not members of an underground Ku Klux Klan group on campus. They were not members of a "Right Wing Conspiracy," police say. Instead, they were none other than the aforementioned Black Student Action President Snow and another black student, Brad M. Allen, police say. It seems that 87 percent of the fingerprints were those of the alleged miscreants.

When this news broke many went running to the defense of Snow and Allen. They decried the investigation. They said it was a setup. I was waiting for the latest invention of the spin-meisters, it was a "rush to judgment." That one has eluded them so far. The two involved withdrew from school and left soon after learning of the results of the probe. Then a few days later, they had a lawyer and were explaining that they quit school before they were booted out "in order to save their records."

Now back to the wonderful world of whorls and loops and arches (that's fingerprint talk, not hamburger commercials). When the lab deduced the high percentage of prints and found out they matched the alleged aforementioned duo, the whole complexion, no pun intended, changed. Now, the university president said it appeared to be the work of just the two — no one else was involved.

Why, when the suspects were thought to be of the "majority" race, was there an outcry that all had to be trained, but when the offenders allegedly were of the race that was offended it's only them? No one else needs to be lulled to sleep in touchy-feely group sessions, no one else has to endure criticism because of a few. Seems a little unfair doesn't it? We (or "they") make up the rules as we go along.

This would be an excellent opportunity for the university to foster better race relations by taking a stand that if the two are convicted, they were very wrong, and they should take their punishment.

If they did it, they didn't do it in the name of civil rights. They didn't do it to call attention to the atmosphere at Miami. They did it for personal gratification. They did it to "get the grease." They did it to further their agenda.

It brings to mind cases such as Tawana Brawley. I have never heard Al Sharpton, or others of his ilk, apologize for all their allegations and the trouble they put the white law enforcement officers in that community through. I have never heard Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey apologize or admit that he was wrong in the shooting incident whereby he had Officer Doug Depodesta hanging out to dry for a year before it was resolved. Blame the little white kid and placate the pressure groups and the media.

The races will come together much quicker and easier if both groups take responsibility for their actions. There are lousy white people. No one denies that and when they do something wrong to a member of another race, the individuals involved should be condemned. The same is true of minorities. Take responsibility. Don't defend someone just because he is of your race. The two trials of O.J. prove that.

All the facts should come out and if Snow and Allen are adjudged "guilty," the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater Cincinnati, the NAACP and the Urban League should condemn them. If they are guilty, then gain respect by condemning them. Responsibility breeds respect.


Decisions this month by arbitrators to reinstate the two 911 operators who failed to dispatch help to two police officers as they lay dying, are revolting and misguided.

I knew and worked with Ron Jeter — a fine man and officer. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Dan Pope, but I did work for his dad. He was a credit to the division and one of the best supervisors I had the good fortune to work for. I'm sure Dan was a good man because "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

How the two 911 operators can return to the fraternity of law enforcement I can't fathom.

There are many jobs in the city service, and I would think they would be more comfortable away from the environment where they failed. God bless Ron and Dan and their families.