Why Black Lives Don't Matter to 'Black Lives Matter' | Opinion

I've spent over 20 years as a civil rights attorney in California and I'm known for not taking a back seat to anyone on police misconduct cases. Remember Dwayne Nelson? The L.A. County Sheriff's Department hog-tied and suffocated him in a car. We won that case and put the rightful offenders in jail. Or Margaret Mitchell—the homeless woman who was shot and killed by the LAPD? We won that case too, and ultimately changed the national standard on how law enforcement handles mentally ill victims.

And yet, my commitment to justice and my substantial track record of putting racially driven criminals behind bars hasn't lent itself to returning calls that I've made, in reaching out to longtime colleagues and friends who were behind me every step of the way when I was on "their side." Furthermore, why am I only getting booked on "conservative" media outlets?

I'll tell you why: It's because I'm calling out the farce that is Black Lives Matter—and doing so loudly and proudly. Why? Because, this organization does not speak for me, as an African-American, and if you truly believe that Black lives DO matter, you should reconsider taking your cues from this group's self-serving agenda.

The starting place for this argument also finds roots in the tragic death of George Floyd. Police body cameras from the scene depict exactly what law enforcement should not do. And in fact, other officers on the scene raised questions about what was going on there in Minneapolis. But are the protests and riots we've recently seen the appropriate response to one bad cop? Yes, I say "one bad cop" because right now, there are several names on social media about a few killed by a few officers. But in reality, it's a very small number.

However, where is the outrage for the constant murder and mayhem that transpires every day in Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles? Where is the outrage for a Black three-year-old shot and killed in the car? Where is the outrage for a young Black teen girl shot and killed while watching TV in her home? Why isn't Black Lives Matter protesting these tragedies? Why aren't YOU? Do we as a society actually need a body cam video to be outraged?

Black Lives Matter protesters in Los Angeles
Black Lives Matter protesters in Los Angeles Mario Tama/Getty Images

These children are living in domestic war zones and the adults who should come to their defense do not demand change. Instead they demand "defunding the police." That would be the same police who are the last lines of defense in drug- and gang-ravaged neighborhoods. Residents in those neighborhoods know the vital job police do. But this "woke" generation of Black Lives Matters activists and protestors lack both knowledge and perspective. They pretend they're fighting the same fight Martin Luther King Jr. did 60 years ago, but this is not 1960 and we do not have Bull Connor and roving packs of German Shepherds.

In reality, Black Lives Matter is comprised of modern day-charlatans who learned the profitable way to protest from the Al Sharptons of the world. Style over substance. Chaos over real change.

Is BLM setting up urban outreach and mentoring? No.

Is BLM demanding better schools and safe community activities? No.

Is BLM paying for the funerals of these Black babies killed by violence? No.

Has BLM set up a GoFundMe or made donations to any of the destroyed—minority-owned—businesses in Minneapolis? Of course not.

To make it even worse, the Democratic Party is literally taking a pandering knee to them. What has Nancy Pelosi done for African-Americans? What has Joe Biden done? Nothing. In fact, the president they love to hate, Donald Trump, has done more in three years for Black Americans and police reform than Joe Biden has done in decades. With one recent executive order, President Trump accomplished more for police reform than the Obama/Biden administration did over all of its eight years in office.

Many do not like what I have to say. But enough is enough. I am being consistent in my beliefs by recognizing those who are actually helping, and those who are hurting the cause. It's not always the answer you want, but it's important to support those actually making a difference.

Naturally, you won't hear this frequently on media outlets because it's not profitable. It doesn't fit the approved narrative. And in an election year, it's always about the best narrative for your preferred candidate.

Yes, Black lives matter. They matter all the time and in every violent death—not just in the very few instances where a police officer is involved.

Leo Terrell is an author, commentator and civil rights attorney based in Los Angeles. He has served as an attorney for the NAACP, as former chairman of the Black-Korean Alliance, as an advisory board member for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and as a former member of California's Statewide Commission Against Hate Crimes. You can find him on Twitter @TheLeoTerrell.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.