Life is momentary and difficult for children in the urban neighborhoods and when there is a lack of expectations in the police we also have a lack of justice and unfulfilled promises and stereotypes that will remain a dividing factor among the police and the minority relations in The United States Of America. We are taught not to rely on the police for justice, because they are the automatic enemy and should never be regarded as an ally. That is far from the truth on most occasions, or is it? If you were young and black and you need protection, you handle it in the streets. The life of Phillip C. Pannell can’t be ignored because of the year the injustice took place because we marched two years ago for the same damn thing.
Phillip C. Pannell, was a 16 Year old boy walking in his familiar neighborhood and area located in Teaneck, New Jersey a place were he never assumed he would end up dead while playing with his friends.
A little boy was playing in Bryant Park with his peers in New Jersey and he lost his life because Officer Gary Spath Officer and Wayne Blanco and his partner were called to Bryant Park because someone called in a complaint of a “black boy in a red jacket swinging a gun around in Bryant Park.” In this instant both were correct in their visiting the scene to investigate the alleged commotion and investigating a complaint. If Phillip has a gun they would have been vindicated for his capture, arrest or self defense. One key point to remember is that these incidents will always be debatable. Some will assume that Gary Spath only murdered Phillip out of self-defense others would call this a racial crime.
Whoever called the police with the wrong information and concerned tip, are partly responsible for Phillip’s death and I imagine they wished they would have never picked up the phone on April 10, 1990. If that call would have never came into the police department maybe the little black boy in the red jacket, named Phillip C. Pannell could have made it home for dinner that night with his family? If only this insignificant death to some, would have been more newsworthy we as a community and a nation. Phillip C Pannell did inspire one book in 1995 book Color Lines: The Troubled Dreams of Racial Harmony in an American Town written by Teaneck, New Jersey resident, Mike Kelly.
As a Humanitarian and Activist you can feel anguish and emotional weakness with someone’s wrongful death. Phillip deserved a lengthy Wikipedia page, but instead has a paragraph and he still deserves national attention because the cycle keeps repeating.
This is why it is my obligation to explain the last events of Philip C Pannel’s life and to remind the nation that Trayvon Martin was not the first and will not be the last of these “misunderstandings” or “self-defense cases” that are bogus because the person never intended to do harm but somehow ended up in a casket.
Phillip was in Bryant Park and as Officer Gary Spath and Officer Wayne Blanco moved in to the scene of the apparent criminal activity Officer Spath thought he was reaching for a gun and shot twice, and the last shot ended Phillip’s Life. Racial issues will always be a prevalent defense when a black teenager is murdered. Did Phillip reach for a gun to shoot Spath and Blanco? Hell No that was just a reason to overshadow the fact remains, the officers used an overreaction to a situation that could have ended differently. Some witnesses claimed Phillip was unarmed. Some claim he had a gun in his jacket pocket?
Either way, Phillip C Pannell never pointed a gun at Officer Spath or Officer Blanco.
“The dead youth’s dreams of becoming a football player and a rap singer and his days as a tenor in the church’s Inspirational Choir were recalled. And the Rev. Herbert D. Daughtry, a Teaneck resident, pastor of the House of the Lord Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, and counselor to the Pannell family since the shooting, called for a monument in the young man’s name.”
”No longer will we put up with public officials putting guns in the hands of people that are untrained to our needs,” Mr. Bowden said. ”They come into our community, with fear in their hearts and tempered by racial bias. What do we get? We get Phillip Pannells all over the world. This must stop.”
Strong applause followed the remark.
In his eulogy, the Reverend Clarence E. Kenner, pastor of the church, urged the congregation to remain close to God and Christ.
”We don’t have to walk around with a sore heart, with a wounded spirit, because God can clean us up,” he said.
We as a community need to be able to trust those sworn to protect us! Officer Gary Spath was acquitted of all reckless endangerment charges regarding Phillip’s death. These police officer or men pretending to be Cops (George Zimmerman) should serve at least five years for reckless regard for human life, and 15 more years for robbing a family of a child.
Every time we have these events happen, it brings more awareness to the slain members of the human race who deserved a chance to live? Would he have become a father or a lawyer we don’t know? At least if Officer Spath would not have been so reckless in regards to human life, then we wouldn’t have to explain this tragedy that keeps repeating every year.
Side Note TO Phillip’s Family and Friends: I never or chance to meet Phillip. I felt pain as soon as I read the story of the events. You are in my prayers and your son deserved the same attention Trayvon Martin received. I know that your son’s legacy was short but people need to know that the violence has to end, and their never any excuse to shoot and kill any teenager that is not pointing a gun or running for safety. I am hugging Phillip from heaven and hoping that the hurt that you feel can somehow translates into the love we need to bring unification in our communities.