Mitchell: Stop ignoring black-on-black violence

SHARE Mitchell: Stop ignoring black-on-black violence

James J. Johnson, 28, was killed during a robbery in Columbus, Ohio. | Supplied photo

Who will rally for James Johnson?

We know who will march for Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray.

But who will raise their voices for a 28-year-old black man who had no run-in with police but was gunned down in the street by a group of young black males.

This didn’t happen in Englewood or Roseland or South Shore or Rogers Park. This happened in Columbus, Ohio.

Johnson escaped the pitfalls that sidetracked many of his peers only to be murdered on the steps of his apartment building during a robbery.

“He wasn’t a criminal. He was a victim,” said Maritha Johnson, the dead man’s mother.

“You see it all the time. You feel bad for that person, but when it hits you it’s like a ton of bricks.” the mother said.

“He called me every blue moon, but now I won’t have that call. He’d come and see me, and now I won’t have that,” she said sobbing.

Six suspects have been arrested and charged with robbery and kidnapping, with other charges expected, according to a police spokesman.

Johnson was a twin and grew up in a household with six siblings, his mother and his father, Timothy Johnson.

According to news reports, the group of suspects surrounded Johnson and his girlfriend and robbed them of a cellphone and her purse.

Johnson suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Johnson’s family is trying to raise money on Gofundme so they can bring his body to Chicago for the funeral.

“It is a burden just trying to put somebody in the ground when there is no insurance,” said the grandmother, Rose Taylor.

Most of Johnson’s youth was spent in church where his grandfather, Ernest Taylor, preached and his grandmother directed the choir.

“This is very, very stressful for me. It hurts. I can’t take that vision out of my mind, seeing him on his knees. I can’t imagine him getting shot and his life gone,” she told me.

Rose Taylor is what church folks call a prayer warrior. Over the years, her knees have probably worn holes in the carpet.Still, young people with empty souls cut down one of her grandchildren in the prime of his life.

It is a stark reminder that this tragedy could happen to anyone.

Yet, many of us are passive when it comes to this subject.

But when white police officers kill unarmed black men, the demands for justice can be heard loud and clear.

Unfortunately, those same powerful voices are painfully quiet when it comes to black youth killing each other.

That suggests despite the trendy slogan “Black Lives Matter,” it only applies to police encounters and not to the most common source of black misery: black men killing other black men.

While activists were marching against police brutality, James J. Johnson became the 30th murder victim in Columbus in 2015.

In Chicago, 121 people have been killed so far this year, most of them young black males.

Police brutality has to be stopped, but we can’t afford to ignore the toll black-on-black violence is also having on black communities.

To donate to the James Johnson funeral fund, please go to

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