Blue on Black Crime Based on Blues in Blue by Vaughn LeMon
Welcome to this edition of Newsgram
Today I’m going to talk about Blue on Black crime. We’ve all heard the stories of unarmed men, most of them African American who were shot for reasons that seem inconceivable; Cases like George Floyd. Now, this show isn’t going to get into the specifics of all the different individual cases. It’s more about getting to the core of why they happen, why there are so many, and why they’ve been going on for such a long time. Wherever you live, in whatever state you’re hiring this there are probably cases that immediately come to mind. Linger on that thought for a minute while I introduce you to Vaughn LeMon. He is a black, patriotic American man. His words not mine. He is also a former police officer.
Vaugh LeMon – I remember one case down here in the state of North Carolina. It was a traffic stop in which a police officer had stopped this man. The man was unarmed but his paperwork was not correct on his vehicle and a police officer was questioning him and it got to the point where the man got out of his car and just took off running from the police officer. Leaving his car right there, the police officers car behind his and he started running away. So the police officer tased him. He shot tasers at him and what he did was he took the tasers out, threw the taser cords back at the police officer and then turned around and continued to run and then the police officer shot him in the back nine to eleven times. Then, when they called for a backup he got together with the backup officer and they devised a story on the scene about what to say what actually took place. They said the man took the taser from him and proceeded to attack the police officer with the taser but what they were unaware of was that someone was recording everything that happened on a cell phone. If it wasn’t for the recording, they would have got away with it. So you say why didn’t they just continue to chase him or say, heh, I m not gonna keep running after him, I don’t feel like running. I’ll just take his car. I’ll have it towed down to impound. I’ll hold what paperwork I have and make him come to me. That’s the way I was trained. I’ll just make him come to me I don’t have to chase him but instead he decided to shoot and kill him over a traffic stop. So these are things that compelled me to write my book.
So he wrote a book called Blues in Blue, and in it there are other stories just like this one but there is a lot more. It is a biography based on his experiences in the 70s and 80s. Personal experiences with his job training and the racism and discrimination he dealt with first-hand. We’re talking 40-50 years ago and yet many of the things he talks about in his book are still happening today. He says a lot has to do with training.
Vaugh LeMon – When we get out on the pistol range we all have targets that we are gonna shoot. The targets are very large, rectangular cardboard pieces of paper with a black silhouette of a person in the center and we’re to shoot for the center mass of that black silhouette. So the Sergeant is behind us, we are all standing at our post. He says red Line Clear, clear on the left, clear on the right, clear in the center. All right lets shoot these Niggers. Fire! And when he said that everybody started shooting. I stood there and I pointed at the target until my hand even began to shake because his words were going on in my head. If I pull the trigger then I’m shooting not just the target. I’m shooting at niggers. I’m shooting at black people. I’m shooting at myself even. And it started getting to me. Then, I went ahead and rapid fired. I went over to him and I said shoot these niggers? He looked back at me with a grin on his face like it was a joke. Like it was funny to him. He said LeMon, one guy from your troop a couple of weeks ago, put eyes, ears, nose and mouth, fingers and a watermelon in his fingers on his target. So that let me know that this is not just a joke, it’s a part of his training. Their training ‘em and this person made his target look personally like what he wanted to shoot at. He made it become alive; A black person. That’s the way they were being trained.
I don’t think that is something you’re likely to hear in this day and age but who am I to say for sure. Discrimination takes on different forms and arguably the type that is less obvious can be even more dangerous. Anyway he did report the incident and the training officer was removed for his actions but this how that information was delivered to the troops.
Vaugh LeMon – And then he openly says before everyone, the situation with officer Lemon and what so and so, the range sergeant, we removed the range sergeant, and we’re putting him in a different department because of the situation that took place with him and with officer Lemon. Sigh. and everybody started turning around and looking at me with these hard hateful looks. I wish that at that point I could have turned into a little fly and went into the corner of the wall. I mean it’s not like a normal job where you have a situation and you go to HR and they handle it. On this job everybody wears a pistol or carries a rifle. So when everybody is looking at you with anger and they all got a pistol on their hip it can be a bit antsy. And he wanted everyone to know that there was a situation. We removed this sergeant and it was because of LeMon. So he’s putting it out there and that was a challenge and from that point on in my career on the job was a challenge . I was planning to stick this out but they started coming after me. They really started coming after me.
Again, would that be something you’d see happening today. Maybe yes, maybe no but have you ever heard the expression “.history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes…” He eventually left the police force. A job he loved and was planning to do for quite a while.. In preparation for this episode I went to his website and this is what it says.
“The things that are happening today are so eye opening because they are parallel to what it was like for me so many years ago. I see so many black and brown men and women and indigenous people being killed and brutalized by police officers that are showing no regard for the law and the life of others. This goes back to how they are being trained, and how society is becoming tolerant of these incidents. Also some of the attorney generals and police unions are giving them a false sense of security that it’s ok that you can beat up people, you can shoot people of color, you can brutalize people of color, and we will back you up. Some, not all of them, are fighting for these rogue officers in court so that they can get away with it. You see what’s taking place, are these police officers have a pistol on their side, they are loaded with bullets, they are wearing their Kevlar vests, they have their blackjacks, they have their tasers, they have batons, and they have their spray and they’re attacking unarmed citizens, and then saying well, we were afraid.
So why is there so much blue on black crimes? In order to find the answers Mr. LeMon draws on his personal experiences and offers up some very candid answers in his book The Blues in Blue
Vaugh LeMon – My story is the Blues about what it was like to be on the police department the blue is the uniform the blue is s the story and you have to read my book to be able to see the rest of my thoughts as regarding to how this bitter situation can have a sweetness at the end.
His book is easy to find but if you want to learn more about him I would suggest visiting his website vaughnlemon.com. There’s a link to it in the show notes.
And that will do it for this edition of Newsgram