RiseMagazine | Sarasota

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Florida's Black Communities

A Season of Darkness

When patience wears thin and tensions reach their maximum, there’s little room left for cool heads or calm thoughts of peaceful resolutions. The Newtown community has been consistently in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Those of us who live here, work here and consider this community home, are justifiably weary.

The following letter was submitted to RiseMagazine | Weekly and is being printed in its entirety as a representation of the general mindset of the community. There’s no call for a rush to justice, no call for anyone’s dismissal or anything other than transparency in the proceedings. Where else can the police be so involved in the shooting death of a young man within a community and those actions go unquestioned? Why do any of the government officials, city or county, feel the need to “maintain calm”?

The Newtown community is more than willing to play nice…what we won’t do is play dumb!

Amid all of the requests that the media remains quiet, I have to wonder if we’re trying to sneak up on the truth…as if a public outcry will scare justice off!

The path to justice may be a long one but, we can clearly see each step she takes along the way…

Mr. Rodney Mitchell, 23, was killed on North 301, June 11th, 2012. He was a star athlete and a college graduate and a father…

Many questions remain unanswered and the question is: will they ever be answered? The Newtown Community is devastated by the killing and is wondering if this too will be covered up? Some officials have advised the community to keep a low profile because the investigation isn’t done yet. How quiet is the community supposed to be? Is it until the police figure out what they will do to suppress this killing in Newtown as the city so often does when it comes to the rights of the Newtown Citizens? No one is asking for a quick fix, however, we want justice for this family and the community.

It is said that this young man ,Mr. Mitchell, was on probation however, is this going to be a reason to suppress what is right? A thirteen year old male (African American) was in this vehicle, where the deputies placed his life in danger when they shot into the vehicle. Will a deal be made with him to stay out of jail and given some money to accommodate the Sheriff’s Department, the so called “Good Ol’ boys” and the political party? Money can’t buy the lack of civil rights that this community continues to experience.

It is said that high profile political figures are representing the injured. The community is concerned whether these people are highly connected to the Republican Party and will help to hide the racism that exists in Sarasota, Florida because of money. (The love of money can buy almost anything for some people)

The United Justice Department of the United States, outside of Sarasota, needs to come to Sarasota and investigate the killing (murder) of Mr. Rodney Mitchell along with other practices of the law enforcement in Sarasota. The civil rights in this case and other cases have been violated. A continuing cover up is alive and well in Sarasota.

In an article published by the Sarasota Herald Tribune on June 23rd, 2012, page 14A states that one of the officers involved in the killing (murder) had existing problems before coming to Sarasota and since being on the Sarasota Sheriffs Department. Mr. Adam Shaw had already been put on a 90-day performance improvement plan last year for using poor judgment when pulling people over for traffic stops. In light of their issues, these two officers should not have been put on the streets. The article further states that a previous inquiry had determined that Sgt. Troy Sasse was justified in shooting into a vehicle in 2007 which was also fatal. This too was murder called justified.

The article further states that “Sgt. Troy Sasse violated a basic tenet of officer safety”. A minor traffic violation ended in a killing (murder). Didn’t he know to move from in front of the car? Why did he have his gun out? Was he trying to meet a quota for the Sheriff’s Department under the direction of his superior? Sgt. Troy Sasse showed that he wasn’t going to following the law or policy.

Many of us in the community have been stopped by law enforcement officers (city police and the Sherriff) and every time they came to the side of the car.


Be blessed, Valerie Buchand


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This entry was posted on 06/27/2012 by in Local Interest, Mailbag and tagged , , , .


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