It's tragically not going to be the story of how Earl McNeil sustained his injuries, or who was involved in his arrest, or exactly what lead to his heart attack. The story they want to tell is one where they play the victims of supposed chaotic and hateful protesters who are looking for social media clicks. They want to tell the story of how they attempted to have an open dialogue with this group, but the group of 'screamers and accusers' didn't want dialogue.
All of this is B.S. of course. Mayor Ron Morrison and Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez are liars.
Wait a minute. Did I just straight up accuse the Mayor and Chief of Police of National City of lying? Yes and with current precedence when it comes to lies National City city council members tell.
Mayor Ron Morrison's bitterness comes from the fact that we have peacefully disrupted four consecutive city council meetings, demanding answers over the death of Earl McNeil. Those peaceful demonstrations have been met with aggressive arrests that result in unnecessary injuries to demonstrators that have even disgusted the local mainstream media. Yet instead of addressing Earl's death, the Mayor and the Chief of Police have escalated the situation by trying to demonize the protesters by lying about us spitting and not wanting open dialogue. If a protester had spat on an officer, they would have been arrested and we all would have known about it and had some sort of video. So far, there are no arrest records or video.
For a mayor of one of the poorest cities in California, to pour all of that bitterness over a group of protesters that includes National City residents, such as Mark Lane, tells you all you need to know about Ron Morrison: He is a termed-out mayor who holds that office until November 2018. He irrationally feels as though he doesn't have to hold himself or his people accountable. No wonder Chief Rodriguez feels the need to smirk - he knows he's safe from being fired.
That isn't the only thing they want to spin. Manuel Rodriguez wants you to believe that those videos of him smiling at the city council meetings are not really of him smiling. Wait... now that he's done it for the fourth city council meeting, straight, and knows the Mayor has his back, he wants to update his excuse to "he smiles a lot". National City Police Department has also been trying to spin the reason why Earl came to the police department in the first place. They don't like the current narrative about him coming to the police department for help, they want to say that he came to "turn himself in". So then why would he supposedly resist if he came to turn himself in? They really haven't thought this all through.
This type of arrogant attitude isn't new to U.S. Civil Rights history. In 1955, when Martin Luther King was leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he met with city leaders to try and come up with a legal compromise and was stonewalled by city officials. Like today's National City, Montgomery of 1955 thought this issue would blow over in time and strongly resisted giving into the demands of the boycotters. In a compilation of his writings, King explained the meeting like so:
"I had gone to the meeting with a great illusion: I had believed that the privileged would give up their privileges on request. This experience however taught me a lesson. I came to see that no one gives up his privileges without strong resistance... Even when we asked for justice within the segregation laws, the powers that be were not willing to grant it. Justice and equality, I saw, would never come while segregation would remain, because the basic purpose of segregation was to perpetuate injustice and inequality." - Martin Luther King Jr.
Reading this made me realize that when Tasha Williamson, Mark Lane and the family of Earl McNeil had first agreed to meet with National City Police on June 18th, they came with a similar illusion: "The illusion of inclusion" (credit - Mark Baca). If King's quote is a historical guide, we should not only expect strong resistance anytime we ask the privileged to hold themselves accountable, but we should challenge that resistance. If that were to happen anywhere it would be at a place where the minority is the majority. National City's current demographics are 10% White, 70% Mexican, 17% Asian Filipino, 3% other.
In a recent article by the Voice of San Diego, Ron Morrison holds onto his privilege with a powerful grip, with quotes like, "I'm not answerable to them" and "just because they bark orders, we won't jump."
I was looking for a word to describe this type attitude that the Mayor and Chief of Police display and I think I found it:
Hubris - Extreme arrogance or foolish pride. Like when someone knowingly does something wrong with the belief that they are fully capable of getting away with it. It is the belief that even if one gets caught, they will still be protected, by either a certain group, or groups, or by ones own perceived sheer genius. Hubris causes complacency, and is aggressive toward anyone or anything that tries to disrupt that complacency.
I would like to point out one more thing Mayor Morrison said in this article, "At some point, you've gotta say, 'Enough is enough'". In that sense, he's right, enough is enough. The cup of endurance has spilled over with the death of Earl McNeil and the people are now holding the powerful to account. Stop with the excuses, stop with the false accusations, stop with the stonewalling. Release the video. They say they're tired of biased stories, video is very objective and if the police department is telling the truth, releasing that video would dispel any current false accusations.
That's why the Mayor and Chief of Police of National City are angry at us. All this summer, we've disrupted their complacency and have asked for them to give up some of their privilege. All summer, they thought they could intimidate us enough to go away with violent arrests and militarized police and ghetto-copters, and all of that only brought more attention to the Earl McNeil case and to the current corruption taking place in National City.
We're not going away. If this summer hasn't taught Ron Morrison and Manuel Rodriguez to get rid of their hubris and privilege and come to the table, then they might as well get ready for the fall.