The lie of Black Expo

Dateline: Mon 27 Aug 2007

Why does old media continue to do public relations for Indiana Black Expo? The drill is both tired and familiar: the Star runs a parade of advance rah-rah stories, does blow-job coverage during the annual event and then follows with the usual quiet mop-up. Typically, any stories of arrests are carefully buried, if they are even printed at all.

But this year's Summer Celebration may blow the lid off the practiced phoniness. That's because an IMPD officer, Adam Chappell, is facing battery charges from Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, after Chappell arrested a 17-year-old Rockford, Ill., youth/gangbanger July 21 at Expo. The sticking point is a video of the incident, showing packed streets at Illinois and Maryland. Officers are seen arresting Brian Jetter and his brother (following gang-flashing signals). Chappell is seen kicking Jetter, who was "violently resisting arrest," according to the police report.

Obviously, the Star is covering this bit of Expo fallout, and reporter Vic Ryckaert is doing his usual capable job, including today's story quoting IU-Indy Law Professor Henry Karlson. His stance? The policeman used appropriate force. Bravo for Karlson, who in the past has been critical of Indy police.

Meantime, the cop has been shunted off to a desk job while Brizzi postures.

Why? Why does nobody want to tell the truth about how deadly the streets are during Expo? There is ALWAYS random gunfire; people have been shot. That this devilish mischief takes place "after hours" is no justification; thugs take over, and decent folk have learned to stay away.

One of the best and onliest truth-tellers on this score was the late Inez Powell, the "sweet street singer" whose wheelchair was trampled by an Expo crowd some years ago. She filed a lawsuit to recover damages, but alas, her case was never much taken seriously by anyone. Still, she stood up to the liars; she spoke out. Expo crowds frightened and intimidated her, she said.

Brizzi's decision to charge the police officer -- coupled with dropping charges against Jetter -- is the worst pandering I've ever seen, and he deserves a public drubbing for his actions. Fortunately, people get it. Comments on the Star's web site re: the video and the fallout indicate that nobody is buying the scenario that this is some Rodney King hoo-hah. People believe their own eyes. The police that night acted in good faith and kept the streets safe. Expo is getting exposed.

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