There has been a series of killings committed across America involving black people and in each case, the victim has been dehumanized and criminalized. Many of these incidents have involved the police. At what point is it time to take action against the trigger happy police?
18 year old Mike Brown was shot 10 times and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. He was unarmed and would have started college in just 2 days. His body was left in the street for 4 hours. When the community reacted with outrage they were labelled a mob and a SWAT team was called in. Supposedly Mike had stolen candy. CANDY! Not robbed a bank. Not committed mass murder, but stolen candy. Even if that were true, there is this little amendment in the Constitution which supposedly protects from cruel and unusual punishment, not to mention our right to a trial by our peers. But because the cops decided he was a problem, they gunned somebody’s baby boy down in the street and then refused to let his mother ID him.
This comes right on the heels of the killing of 22 year old John Crawford, who was killed in a Walmart in Dayton, Ohio by police for having a toy gun in his hand. Not only did he yell out that the gun wasn’t real, but even if it were real, Ohio is an open carry state. The police in the Midwest are not the only problem. There have been many incidents of violence by the NYPD. They killed Eric Garner with a choke hold for selling untaxed cigarettes, mind you there were no cigarettes on him. The whole ordeal was caught on videotape, and the man who videotaped was arrested.
Also recently, the trial of the killer of Renisha Mcbride, a 19 year old black woman who went to a home to ask for help and was killed by the white male homeowner on the porch with a shotgun. Although the verdict came down as guilty of 2nd degree murder, many others from the community were outraged. Outrage sprung out on Twitter after the Associated Press headlined the story by identifying the killer as homeowner, while calling Renisha a drunk woman and putting more emphasis on the porch that the human life that was taken on it.
In each case it has been the victim, not the killer, who has had their character questioned. When the police have been involved, they have sworn that the deadly force was absolutely necessary. Armed, trained police officers have claimed to be threatened. Many people refuse to acknowledge that what made these people threatening was their case. According to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, every 28 hours a black person is killed by the police. At some point it will have to be acknowledged that there is a natural prejudice against black people by the police. Reform is necessary so that this does not continue.
The policy for deadly force must be changed. Police can no longer claim to be threatened or claim to see a gun. The presumption of innocence must also be driven home. The cops are presumed innocent, but their victim is automatically looked at to blame. It is not the police’s job to decide who is guilty and what punishment they deserve. That is what judges and juries are for. If a crime is committed they are to arrest the alleged criminal and bring them in so that the process of justice can begin. Shooting to kill should be the absolute last resort. However, studies have shown that young blacks are more often dehumanized in the eyes of police than presumed innocent.
The policies across the board must be changed. People are receiving badges and guns and going out looking to fire it. Too many cops are bullies who have been given far too much authority. In many neighborhoods, black neighborhoods, people are more afraid of the police than any “thug” in the community. Often times the cops literally get away with murder. Who will protect us from our supposed protectors? It is time for people to stand up. Not in mobs, as the media is so quick to paint any group of black people who come together, but as citizens who have the right to safety and the right to petition for their grievances. There must be massive change in the police state. Our young black people are not safe out here. Keep tweeting, blogging, and holding these officers accountable. These are real lives & real people. We cannot let them be shrugged off & devalued.
RIP Michael Brown
RIP John Crawford
RIP Renisha McBride
RIP Eric Garner
RIP Trayvon Martin
RIP Sean Bell
RIP Rekia Boyd, Aiyanna Jones, Pearlie Golden, Tarika Wilson, Miriam Carey, Shantel Davis, Tyisha Miller, Kendra James.
RIP to all of the nameless victims of police and other prejudiced people