Councilwoman's statement: Actions were driven by hate

March 28, 2007

Editor's Note: What follows is the victim impact statement that Alesia Parson-McBean delivered in U.S. District Court in Baltimore at the sentencing hearing for former Hagerstown and Boonsboro police officer Jeffrey Shifler. Shifler pleaded guilty to two civil rights violations related to racist threats. Parson-McBean was one of his victims and also provided a verbal statement at his sentencing March 16. The written statement was made a part of the court record March 27, 2007, by order of U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz after a reporter for The Herald-Mail requested a copy. The statement appears exactly as it was written.

The Honorable Alesia Parson-McBean Victim Impact Statement
Submitted November 22, 2006
Victim's Impact Statement For Alesia Parson-McBean
August 10-November 21, 2006

On August 8, 2006, a few friends and I came to the United States District Court Building located at 101 West Lombard Street in Baltimore, Maryland. We made this trek to witness the source of our pain, discomfort, disorders, distrust and numerous sleepless nights, plead guilty as charged, to two counts of federal civil rights violations against two local high schools and myself. The pain to me, my dear friend, my family, my community, our city, our county and our country is immeasurable. Immeasurable in the sense that this type of hate wreaks havoc in the lives of its victims and its devastation is long lasting. Long lasting because it affects ones psyche and provided that one has the ability to make sense of this madness and try to find some healing for self...this hate which our country has witnessed down throughout its history has the potential to be perpetuated for generations to come.


After the court proceedings, the representatives for the federal prosecution gathered my friends and me into a small conference room to discuss how instrumental the victim's impact statement would be to the sentencing procedure, which leads me to this point.

After months of wondering why these events were allowed to happen to me, my family, friends, loved ones, neighbors and community I found myself angry. Angry because what I have come to realize is that this anger did not just begin on the day I heard this monsters voice over my voice mail. On that cold Tuesday evening, after a council session where a colleague challenged the need for diversity in the city of Hagerstown, it was then I realized that whomever this hate mongrel was, they were spreading their disdain, divisiveness, and racial hate within my city, my county and within all those who were discussing the events of the days on the online message boards. As we know, this call would be what led to his arrest.

His actions would cause division between the races from the most high places (the city council chambers, the police department, and the local newspaper) to the frequented places where residents gathered (the barbershops, retail shops, watering holes, restaurants, on the streets and in the work place). Anywhere people gather the topic of conversation would be the course of events, which would be my life, influenced by a madman who only had hatred in his heart and on his mind for a people and a community.

These events played out on the front page(s) of the local newspaper, online messages boards, and in the council chambers for many months and seemed to serve as fuel for this mans hate and make him more brazen in his attempts to have his message hit home... I have to ask, was it his hatred for the local police that caused this man to strike out at the African-Americans he targeted? I think not. I think it was hate for a race pure and simple. There is a passage in the Bible that states "...there is nothing new under the sun..."

It is my contention that he believed he could get away with his reign of terror on the black community because he thought no one would care. After all, he was targeting black leaders that represent less than 11 percent of the local population. Furthermore, who would pay attention to those people? He was a police officer wearing a badge of honor and had taken an oath to protect and serve all people. Instead, he would spread hate through his antics that reduced, otherwise good folk, to making assertions and assumptions in the newspapers "Mail Call" and online message boards of the local TV station and newspaper. All the while these "good folk" begin placing blame without full knowledge of a situation on the basis of speculations and misinformation from the media, actions in the council chambers by those who stated "Hagerstown is no more racist than any other city" and total ignorance that caused this nation to be divided in its past and present based on race. Moreover, once again I quote "...nothing new under the sun..."

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