They Got a Suspect in the Serial Stabbing of Black Men, But What Took The Cops So Long?

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This is what gets me about law enforcement in this country:

They’re so “by the book” and pencil-necked that they won’t keep an obviously disturbed young black woman (from the unreleased booking cage videos that only the family has seen and reported about) in the station long enough so that her mother can pick her up. Now Mitrice Richardson is dead, and her body so reduced to bones so that we may never be sure whether she died of foul play or not.

Neighborhood residents in Cleveland kept smelling a foul stench that they thought was coming from a nearby sausage factory, and knew that several young and older women had inexplicably disappeared in the area, alarming their friends and relatives. When some loved ones asked–nay, begged–the police to file missing person reports, the police laughed at them and in some cases, even outright refused, just because the women were sporadic drug users or were known “characters” in the community. Years later, the remains of more than eleven women are found in pieces in Anthony Sowell’s house and backyard, and he’s in prison for life for their murders. And the cops effectively wash their hands of complicity.

Now we’ve got 33-year-old suspect Elias Abuelazam, who was picked up today in Atlanta, GA, Chocolate City, at the Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport, trying to run to Israel on an expired passport. Since May, he’s been allowed to run around stabbing black men (and a couple of whites, but predominantly black men) for several months in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia and possibly other states. At least five black men have died at his hands. All of these attacks were unprovoked. They weren’t after his wallet; they didn’t want to mug him. He asked for help with his car, and in payment for their concern, he tried to slash them to death with a knife.

The attacks began in late spring and police said they usually followed a pattern: The suspect approached black men late at night on lonely urban roads and asked for directions or help with a broken-down car. Then, without warning, he pulled out a knife and struck. Then, he sped away, leaving them for dead.

The brazen nature and the frequency of the attacks – the assailant struck an average of about once every four days since the first stabbing in May – has terrified some of those in cities he’s already targeted.

The youngest victim was 17; the oldest was 60. They ranged in size from 5-foot-4 inches and 120 pounds to 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds.

And who is Elias Abuelazam? Nobody knows. He’s got several names looking and sounding alike in this country. And it looks as if he is Palestinian, not white Israeli.

His name is spelled four different ways in public documents. The Michigan Secretary of State records had it as Elian Abuelazam. It was Abu Elazam on his Michigan driver’s license that expired in 1997. Records show he had it changed in 1995 to Elias Abullazam. And the Atlanta police report and the warrant the judge signed listed it as Elias Abuelazam.

He has lived in Virginia for a while but records show his last home address in Grand Blanc, Mich. Various media reports said he worked the month of July at a party supply store outside Flint.

And he has an ex-wife living in Arlington, Texas, who told the Detroit News she had not talked to him recently and she was shocked by the arrest.

“I just heard about it,” Jessica Abu Elazam told the newspaper.

At this time, police in the three states involved aren’t saying how they made two plus two equal four. But Flint MI residents have just about had it. The stabber seemed to be mighty comfortable sticking around in the economically-beleaguered city, and taking advantage of a police force that had had its budget cut and cops laid off. How comfortable? He stabbed as many as 16 black men there. This was the scene not 48 hours ago.

They want an end to the fear, and to the emotional roller coaster.

Frightened relatives of victims of a suspected serial killer said Wednesday that they’re frustrated he’s still on the loose and that five men were killed before Flint-area police understood that a serial killer was at work.

Authorities now say the person likely responsible for the spree may have attacked 16 men in Flint, three in Leesburg, Va., and one in Toledo since May 2. Five of the men were killed.

“This is terrorism,” said Kareem Minor, whose brother Arnold Minor, 49, was stabbed to death in Flint on Aug. 2.

Arnold Minor’s sister Stephanie Ward and their mother, Elzora Minor, said during a news conference Wednesday outside Flint City Hall that more must done to keep people safe until police capture the killer.

Four months. Four flipping months it took for the cops and the FBI to go back and forth figuring this all out. And all during this time, black men were being murdered and attacked, and the national news media was silent about this only until this week. Black news media or media networks were probably more unknowing than oblivious.

It took more than a year until Mitrice’s remains were found, just after the cops and the deputies went on a wild goose chase to Las Vegas, thinking that she was a hooker there, and it took years before Cleveland’s finest got a clue and pried open Anthony Sowell’s closets.

Are you getting the same clue I have about cops and police?

These guys are more concerned with jumping down our throats in routine traffic stops than investigating the fears of neighborhood people who know something is wrong or getting down to a human level and realizing that people need help and that lives need to be saved. I call bullsh*t on by-the-book. The book is the law but it’s a guide, too. Where are your hearts, assholes? Where’s your common sense, too? You’re supposed to save lives according to the book as well. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s what you’re there for, taking my taxpayer’s money.

Or does their oath really say to them, only white lives need to be saved? Only blonde, hazel-eyed or blue-eyed tootsies need apply to standards of femininity or womanhood?

The sheer callousness, the lack of humanity, the outright racism evinced by law enforcement officers and management has got to stop. I truly believe that half of cops in America should not be cops at all, but mercenaries in outlaw countries, with their mindset and their actions. And you know what kind of people they are. Law enforcement are not protecting us as they should. It seems as if they enjoy seeing us terrorized and worse, getting murdered on their watches where they can claim that they did things by the book.

Black people may joke that we don’t do serial killers, but the fact is, we do everything that is under the sun just like white people, Asian people, and Latino people. Under these circumstances, we need assistance and protection against these silent marauders in our midst. We pay taxes for that just like everyone else. It is just that simple.

The Grio had this piece a few days ago:

This response and lack of coordination is unfortunate because the function of crime prevention, crime control and victims rights advocacy is to raise the profile of cases where victims are being targeted, to help stop and catch the perpetrator and to educate communities on how to be safe when perpetrators are on the prowl.

The reality that the Flint killings bring to surface is the decreased role communities of color play in crime prevention and victim rights advocacy. Sure, being a victim is not an issue of race. Anyone who is a victim should have the opportunity to have a proper recourse. However, when African-Americans are victimized, rarely do the stories merit the same level of national attention as they do in cases of white victims. This strongly suggests that despite all the talk of race neutrality since the rise of Obama, black life is not seen as important as the lives of whites.

A national network to elevate the voices of black victims and survivors is needed. It’s time to establish this network to coordinate with the media, the department of justice and local police so that when people of color are victimized, the appropriate community response is coordinated. Just like Amber Alert kicks off a local and national response when children and the elderly are abducted, victims in low income communities, especially communities of color should also be engaged, have their voices heard, receive alerts and establish community efforts to stop and find the killer(s).

I agree.

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~ by blksista on August 12, 2010.

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