Joseph Hines (center) was recognized by the city of Jackson, his hometown, for keeping a positive spirit and for bringing healing between law enforcement and civilians. He is flanked by his mother Leontyne Hines and his father James Hines.
By Pat Grauer
TNCP Community Writer
Pastor James Hines will be sharing his story as part of a discussion of “Black&Blue: Healing Together” presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, September 22, 2016 at the University United Methodist Church, East Lansing, in a conversation with Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth. For more information for this and other community events throughout the week in celebration of the International Day of Peace are listed at the end of the article.
A Parent’s Worst Nightmare
“Is our son alive?”
“I don’t know,” came the reply.
It was a call that would forever change the lives of their family. Pastor James Hines and his wife Leontyne raced from their home in Jackson, Michigan to a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, to find their son Joseph unconscious and chained to the bed.
Hines calls Joseph the “All-American son” -- a stellar tri-athlete and student who had been recruited by 98 universities, including Harvard, MIT and Brown. Wanting to become a neurosurgeon, he chose Ohio State’s School of Allied Medical Professions, and ironically, turned down an offer from Coach Jim Tressel to join the football team because he didn’t want to risk concussion on the field. He was lodged in Bradley Hall, the honor dorm, and was the only African American in the building.
It took a while for the Hines to find out what had devastated their all-American son. It turned out it all stemmed from his placing a can on the ground under a bench at the Ohio State University Union, a short distance from his dormitory. Sitting with two friends, Joseph was challenged by two Columbus police, who thought he might be homeless, drunk and armed; he was none of those. They called for back-up. As it arrived, a mistaken “officer down” call was sent, and when all was said and done, more than 20 police officers – all white – were present to arrest one unarmed black man for littering. Joseph was severely beaten in the head, his wrists bled from the cuffs, and he and his companions were maced in the face.
Days later, he left the hospital for jail, and then later went to court to meet the sole charge of littering, paying a $136 fine. Joseph was left with post-traumatic stress order, brain damage, cognitive loss and his dreams in tatters.
So far (and the expense continues), the family has paid out-of-pocket more than $500,000 in medical bills and lawyers’ fees – both for his defense and a subsequent suit against the city, raiding their children’s college funds and their retirement investments to do so. The suit uncovered the fact that the initial two officers had significant red flags in their records, and one of them had killed a 21-year-old African American one year earlier.
Within the justice system, they faced an all-white jury, a ruling judge later dismissed for corruption, and a refusal to allow Joseph’s physician to show evidence of his brain injury. Though Joseph was exonerated, he received an ultimate settlement of only $30,000. The city of Columbus paid nearly $100,000 to defend the officer who was proven to have used excessive force on Joseph.
In addition to his work as senior pastor at Lily Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson, Hines has made it his mission to bring healing out of horror. “If this can happen to Joseph,” he says, “it can happen to anyone. God is leading me to use the pain of this injustice to bring healing to the hearts and minds of people on both sides of this issue.”
Peace Quest 2016
A community-wide celebration of and calls to action for peace and justice.
Friday, September 16
15th Anniversary of Weekly Peace Vigils, 12- 1 p.m., 100 N. Capitol, Lansing; Greater Lansing Network Against War and Injustice
Saturday, September 17
40th Anniversary Party, East Lansing Food Co-op, 11 a.m., 4960 Northwind, East Lansing
Sunday, September 18
Special peace and justice messages at Edgewood United Church of Christ, Okemos Community Church and others
Sunday, September 18
Peace Quest Day of Action, 3 p.m., Union Missionary Baptist Church,500 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing: Peace-related activities for all ages, refreshments, and great music!
Monday, September 19
“The Power of Nonviolence to Transform Ourselves and Our World,” Peter Dougherty, 7 p.m., Kellogg Center, MSU, East Lansing
Tuesday, September 20
“Jewish Insights for Healthy Communication and Peace in the Community!” 7 p.m., Rabbi Michael Zimmerman, Kehillat Israel, 2014 Forest Road, Lansing
Wednesday, September 21
“Inside Peace” film with Q&A and discussion, 6:30 p.m., Okemos Community Church, 4734 Okemos Road
Thursday, September 22
“Black&Blue: Healing Together,” 7 p.m., University United Methodist Church, Trowbridge and Harrison Roads, East Lansing. Pastor James Hines (see feature) will seek mutual solutions in conversation with Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth, a local police officer, administrator and trainer. Also, East Lansing lawyer Erick Williams will discuss state licensure of police officers with State Representative (67th District) Tom Cochran. Shalom Center for Justice and Peace and the Michigan State University Wesley Foundation.
Friday, September 23
“Stand for Justice, Work for Peace,” 12:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m., Imam Sohail Chaudhary, Islamic Center of East Lansing, 940 S. Harrison Rd.
Sunday, September 25
Pedal for Peace: family-friendly bike rides, 1:30 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, 5509 S. Pennsylvania, Lansing
Sunday, September 25
“The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence,” 3 p.m., 5509 S. Pennsylvania, Lansing. The Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence musical groups from across the state. Tickets at the door are $10 for individuals, $25 per family, or a donation.
This was printed in the September 18,2016 - October 1, 2016 edition.