Higher Education

Ray Carter | June 10, 2021

At USAO event, BLM leader touts cop killer

Ray Carter

T. Sheri Dickerson, president of the Oklahoma City Black Lives Matter chapter, touted two radical activists involved in the separate killings of a judge and a police officer in the 1970s, calling one a “mentor,” during an online speech hosted by the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO).

Dickerson also suggested U.S. border-enforcement efforts were comparable to the Nazi Holocaust.

Dickerson gave her presentation via Zoom as part of “Building Bridges/Dismantling Racism for the Common Good,” a social justice conference hosted by the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

At one point in her presentation, Dickerson referenced the “atrocities that have happened to my people, to Jewish people, to Native Americans, to the Latinx folks.”

“We have to be aware that some of those same atrocities continue to happen,” Dickerson said. “When you have families being separated at a border, when someone took three months with a small amount of water and food carrying their child trying to get to a place of safety, you can always live with me and I welcome you. And I think that love is what should be our borders, and that is how we should see it.”

Dickerson called Angela Davis “one of my mentors and icons,” saying Davis was “arrested for her activism along with Assata Shakur and those that were doing those works with the Black Panthers.”

In 1970, Davis purchased guns that were then used by Jonathan Jackson in taking a judge, a prosecutor, and three jurors hostage in a Marin County, California, courtroom. The judge and three others died in the ensuing shootout. Prosecutors named Davis a co-defendant in the ensuing criminal case. She fled and was soon placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 10 Most Wanted list.

Davis was eventually captured and tried for the crime, but was acquitted.

Throughout much of her adult life, Davis has touted Communism and defended the actions of the former Soviet Union, including voicing support for the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1980 and 1984, Davis ran as the vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of the Communist Party USA.

Assata Shakur, born JoAnne Deborah Byron, was the first woman to appear on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. She was active in groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army.

In May 1973, Shakur and two other members of the Black Liberation Army were pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike by State Trooper Werner Foerster and another officer. A shootout ensued, and Foerster was killed. Shakur was convicted for the murder and sentenced to prison, but supporters subsequently helped her escape prison and she fled to Cuba.

In 2019, the FBI highlighted Shakur’s case for National Police Week with an FBI spokesman telling ABC News that Shakur was involved in “a heinous execution of a law enforcement officer, cut and dry. This is without dispute.” The FBI continues to offer a $1 million reward for information that could lead to Shakur’s arrest.

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the national Black Lives Matter organization, has also praised Shakur in social media posts.

During her speech, Dickerson described police as racist, white supremacists.

“There seems to be such bias, based on melanin, that it does not matter whether or not you are a five-year-old or three-year-old child or an 80-year-old or 95-year-old elder, you can still be met with a form of state-sanctioned violence and disrespect,” Dickerson said. “And many times, those that are having interaction with law enforcement have done nothing wrong.”

In response to a question, Dickerson said she could not provide good advice on how African Americans should respond if pulled over for a traffic stop.

“I have not come up with the ‘correct’ response because we have to be prepared to respond to that law enforcement officer in that moment based on how their mood is and their bias and their racism and their feelings of white supremacy, which often is very volatile and violent in the moment,” Dickerson said.

She also suggested that racial minorities who do not share her worldview may be complicit in white supremacy.

“Anyone, in whatever skin you’re in, can uphold the systems of white supremacy and colonial settlerism, and we do that so often without even realizing it,” Dickerson said.

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(Image: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma)

Ray Carter Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.

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