What’s this book about?
In the 1960’s a very young Sacramento police officer, Michael Shaw, engaged in a battlefield of shooting, sniping and rioting that marked the continuation of the black civil-rights movement in this country. It was an era of violence that came partially as a result of unrest in the ghettos of large cities and race discrimination. It was a time of change that cost careers and lives. Gunshots rang out nightly for weeks on end as he and other officers fought to maintain peace in the Sacramento community.
    The commander's career began as a police patrolman on September 13, 1965. He loved his work and every call and promotion was an adventure worth telling, even when a bloody, deadly police shooting almost claimed his life the first year on The Job. That easily could have ended his career, but instead, it ended abruptly 29 years later on November 10, 1993, only not from a bullet. The end marked yet another victim of race discrimination.
    The first years on The Job forged the beginning of a career where Shaw’s training, street experience and continuing education led to a pattern of promotion that took him into the management ranks of the Sacramento Police Department. First promoted to sergeant in 1970, he spent years as a uniformed sergeant and homicide supervisor, each step of the way hanging onto his common sense and recognizing where the police fit into the community.
    Promoted to lieutenant in 1986 he spent time managing the Selective Enforcement Section and Special Weapons and Tactics Teams (Swat).
    In 1990 Shaw was promoted to commander, and began management of one half of the cities uniformed police resources.
    But times were changing fast. Racism still existed in the ‘90s, as it did in the ‘60s, and historically. However, there emerged new targets. Convoluted procedures and back office political agendas disguised discrimination in the ‘90s. The racism of the past did not disappear, but a new strain evolved. It became known as institutional racism. Within this ugly plot, local, state and national government officials specifically targeted one group of people to further the expectations of another.
    Personal agenda’s and liberal political power soar to new heights when affirmative action battles rage back and forth in the media as well as in government and educational institutions nationwide. Historic court decisions became clouded and were used as political weapons to implement preferences and to color-code organizations outside of the original intent of the law. Affirmative action became a tool in the hands of politicians. They created a new window of discrimination where the racial percentages they sought were justified by whatever means they used to reach them.
    In June of 1992 Sacramento’s political arena changed over night. It became the stage for institutional racism. The heart of ethics, fairness, and the law was torn apart by a new city administration. An election brought on an agenda of political power and arrogance never experienced by the commander. Police chiefs and city officials retired to avoid the onslaught of forced changes they knew would come. Those changes brought on unrealistic policy and discriminatory practices that became known as the City of Sacramento's Affirmative-Action Plan. Within months Sacramento’s first Hispanic mayor labeled the police department as “lily white” and a new chief of police, Arturo Venegas, gave the nod to a new phrase: “middle-aged white boys-bureaucratic barriers to change.” The commander and other senior Caucasian police managers were singled out for removal. The hateful words, “one down and three to go,” could be heard joyfully ringing out of the chief’s office as the first veteran Caucasian manager is pushed out the front door of the Hall of Justice, leaving others to wonder who would be next.
    Harassment and sickness devour Shaw’s career and he becomes the second to be forced out in less than one month. Shaw, supported only by his wife, family, and a few friends, decide that discrimination wouldn’t stop him from fighting back. His civil rights became an issue more important than retirement or declining health. Win or lose, another battle was to be fought.
    Mike and Linda made the decision to take on government power and money, seemingly impossible odds, but it was the right thing to do. With friends and family still working in the department they turned to the courts to battle against the discrimination that had not only claimed his health and destroyed the upper management ranks of the department; it had became a cancer eating its way through every level of the institution.
    "First there were four and then no more," became the battle cry of the plaintiff’s attorney, Leo Donahue, a retired United States Air Force jet fighter pilot. Two police managers battled their way through motion after motion in federal court, which concluded with The Trial. The past employer, now a defendant in the United States Federal Court, 5th District, had become the vicious enemy. The city had turned rabid, and did everything possible, not just to win, but to completely destroy the plaintiffs.