Untrial D. Boyd is known in his Chicago neighborhood as the man behind the camera. On July 9, 2016, he was videotaping in Lawndale when he was attacked by the very people he works so hard to protect with his reporting. In a video of the attack posted on Facebook, the mob mentality appears to take over as people run across the street to be part of the event. As he is being beaten, bystanders are heard pleading for someone to help him.
After the incident, Boyd wrote that he was doing okay: “I am getting a million calls & in boxes. I am good…it took about 30 of them to jump me…I stood my ground but [one] thing 4 sho I am not the only one the got f’d up.”
The video has over 100,000 views. The caption posted with the video makes it easy to infer that the poster does not approve of Boyd reporting the truth about Lawndale and that he condones the violence against Boyd. Facebook comments range from despair and outrage to justification of the attack. One comment clearly summed up the situation:
Yea some of stuff he post[s] is out of line/disrespectful, but people are mad that he recorded what’s going on in the hood…yet [people are] quick to record police [misdeeds] and report it. But not the stupid s*** that other black people are doing in the neighborhood…until something happens to someone you know, then you say people in the neighborhood need to speak up…. messed up.
When there is upheaval in the United States as a result of black men being assassinated by police, it is an appalling sight to see black-on-black violence. Far too many innocent people have been affected by gun violence, drug trafficking, gangs, and prostitution. Chicago is not the only city with these problems.
Over a period of five years, Boyd, using the only power he believed he had under his control, worked hard to clean up his block, and, as a result of his movement around the community videotaping illegal drug and prostitution activity, the crime on his block was reduced. Encouraged by this, Boyd, who uses #buttpacks as a handle, expanded his coverage by moving on to the entire Lawndale neighborhood. He began working with Guardian Liberty Voice as a credentialed videographer, reporting on the shootings and fires in Lawndale. He has also used his position to glorify the greatness of the community.
Black Lives Matter is more than a movement, and it is more than a portion of Americans standing up to be heard. It is a voice for those who may have become lost in the chaos.
In the preceding week, two men were brutally slaughtered by police and an angry man retaliated by murdering police officers. Furthermore, at least two men in Lawndale were victims of shootings, and a reporter was attacked for speaking the truth.
- July 5: 37-year-old Alton Sterling was brutally killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- July 6: 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
- July 6: Boyd reported on a young man who was killed by an unidentified assailant(s) as he sat on the front porch of his friend’s home in Lawndale.
- July 6: Another Lawndale man was shot shortly after the earlier shooting. Boyd covered this shooting as well.
- July 7: In Dallas, a sniper shot 12 police officers during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. The attack left five officers dead.
- July 9: Boyd was beaten by his neighbors for telling the truth.
After the July 4 holiday weekend, CNN reported that there had been more than 2,000 shootings in Chicago in the first six months of 2016. There are so many shootings in Chicago that local papers keep tallies and publish the numbers weekly.
There are too many predators roaming the streets with guns, knives, and hatred. Black gang members shoot one another, and, as a result, there are far too many innocent bystanders killed. The Lawndale community is one of America’s battlegrounds. Boyd is another victim. His goal to report the truth about activities in his neighborhood resulted in him being attacked and beaten by a group of ignorant people.
According to Community Advocate Derek Brown, Boyd has exposed the madness that has taken place in North Lawndale. He has opened eyes to the plague of prostitution. Brown stated that Boyd used the raw footage of his videos to expose “a lot of things that the public does not see.” Brown’s explanation of the fight was:
It was a group of young African-Americans getting together on the block. It wasn’t for a party, to reunite, and it wasn’t to fight against being oppressed. It was just them fighting against themselves. The group was not organized. It was not planned.
In the United States, the fact that a reporter can be assaulted is an unacceptable situation. It does not matter that Boyd uses his camera and his skill to expose the bad in the neighborhood; his job is to protect Lawndale by reporting what he sees – the good and the bad. When the truth does not matter, and the public reacts by using violence to attempt to shut down an advocate, many things need to change.
Opinion News by Cathy Milne
WBRZ2 ABC News: Sterling’s family doesn’t want death to be ‘race thing’
Houston Chronicle: Dan Patrick blames Black Lives Matter for Dallas shooting
New York Daily News: Fiancée of slain Minnesota man Philando Castile blasts cops who arrested her, comforted police officer after traffic-stop shooting: ‘I was treated like a criminal’
CNN: Chicago crosses 2,000 shooting victims this year
Phone Interview: Derek Brown
Phone Interview: Untrail D. Boyd
Featured Image Courtesy of ϟ†Σ’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of Untrail D. Boyd – Used With Permission
First Inset Image Courtesy of Ella’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Stephen Maelkisethian’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License