Frank Lamar was at home Wednesday afternoon when news broke that the nation’s Capitol was under siege. He sat in front of his TV, stunned by what he was seeing.
“I couldn’t believe it. This was not my America. It was not the United States,” he said.
At age 89, the highly respected Black leader in Lima said he’s lived through many historic events, but this one was unimaginable.
“The president of the United States inflamed that mob. It was under his direction that they were reacting,” Lamar said.
He was miffed as the day went on.
“I kept waiting for Jim Jordan, our Congressman, to come out with a strong statement. It didn’t happen,” Lamar said.
And then there also was the “double-standard.” The one where he asked people to put themselves in the shoes of a black person.
Lamar pointed out few arrests were made that day of the basically white mob that climbed the walls of the Capitol, stormed inside the building and took photographs of themselves sitting in the offices of Congress with their feet on the desks.
“If that was Black people, there is no doubt in my mind we would have been shot in the street as if we were dogs. No doubt at all,” Lamar said. “And why is that? Why is there such a double-standard? As a nation, we cannot accept that.”
It is this kind of double-standard he hopes people finally see as the country marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day next Monday.
Lamar also pointed to latest developments regarding the Columbus police shooting of unarmed Andre Hill just three days before Christmas.
New footage released Thursday from a police body camera showed Hill being handcuffed while his body laid on the garage floor of a home. A woman told police Hill was there to bring her Christmas money and “didn’t do anything.” At that point, an officer is then heard saying, “I need everyone to turn their camera off.”
A spokesperson for the Columbus Police Department said it is possible some officers were in a position where their cameras were not required to be on.
“What good are body cameras if you’re going to turn them off,” Lamar asked.
He was glad to hear the response of Lima Police Department Major Jim Baker.
“That would be a very clear violation of Lima’s policy,” Baker said. “Exceptions are extremely limited to things like if you’re going into a public restroom or someplace where there is an expectation of privacy.”
Lamar said he feels fortunate.
“As a Black man I got hired in at Ford in 1957 and had a good job for 40 years. I later was elected to serve as a Perry Township Trustee. Today, I know if I would ever need a favor, there are a lot of good people I could turn to. I feel blessed in that way.
“But when I still see these double-standards going on — things that should have been put to bed a long time ago — it troubles me.
“It should trouble all of us.”
ROSES AND THORNS: The rose garden makes room for the best in the state.
Rose: Detective Steve Stechschulte, a 30-year member of the Lima Police Department, was honored Wednesday with the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association award as Outstanding Peace Officer for 2020. He was credited as the key to obtaining the first-ever conviction in Allen County of an individual for participating in a criminal gang.
Rose: To Pam Conine, of Lima, whose idea was featured Saturday in the nationally syndicated comic “Pluggers.” Conine pointed out you can always tell where a Plugger ate lunch by the stains on his shirt.
Rose: To Ann Ramsdell, of Lima, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 29.
Rose: To LaVonne and Rudolph Segovia, of Lima, who celebrated 65 years of marriage on Jan. 1.
Thorn: There has been an increasing number of reports across the region of unemployment claims being falsely filed under the name of others.
Thorn: A state audit shows the financial records of Spencerville are a mess.
Thorn: For the second time in a week, a high-speed traffic chase that played out on Interstate 75 ended in the village of Cridersville.
PARTING SHOT: May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.