If you’re solely informed according to what popular media has presented, you’re likely to believe the demise of police brutality and misconduct that was hotly reported in the news a few years ago. Unfortunately, the loved ones of the 2̵3̵2̵ 240 people who have been killed by police thus far in 2019 would dispute that idealistic assumption.
The media, instead, has focused on the antics of an unfit president and anything that finds its way into the orbit of his Twitter rants. They’ve also unearthed a ratings gold mine with the recursive looping of titillating scandals of celebrities who’ve escaped justice for years despite mountains of evidence against them, exposing them as rapists, molesters, abusers or worse. And, of course, there’s the 2020 election on the horizon. The #metoo movement has been resurrected in the spotlight for the political benefit of any candidate who wishes to throw doubt on his/her opponent all the while ignoring the actual victims who have been sexually exploited by men of power and influence.
The fact is: nothing has changed; police are still literally getting away with murder and we don’t care.
The white Chicago policeman who was charged with 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, which carries a total minimum sentence of 6 years per count, was only convicted of second-degree murder and will serve less than 7 years for shooting 17-year old Laquan McDonald in the back. This scumbucket, whose name I won’t give life to, fired 16 shots in about 15 seconds at a black child and then claimed he fired in self-defense until video showed that the victim was indeed walking away when he was executed. Oh, and there was a quiet press conference to inform the public that the first Chicago police officer sentenced for an on-duty shooting in a half-century would not be convicted on the 16 charges and he could go free in as little as three years with credit for good behavior.
What the media is perpetuating is clearly not about justice; it’s about distraction. It’s about clatter.
Meanwhile, the same city that can’t seem to consistently solve homicide cases made it their civic duty to stage several high-profile press conferences centered around an actor, Jussie Smollett, who was accused of making a false report (i.e lying) about being victim to a hate crime. Chicago went hard after this man for a misdemeanor and then later indicted him on 16 felony charges and then later dropped all of the charges while sealing details about the case. At this point, I don’t care whether he’s innocent or guilty because the obsessive attention to this matter is stupid. We have a president who has also lied so much that the Washington Post has an ongoing tally to document and fact check those lies in detail, while no one is holding him accountable at all.
If you ignore a problem does it go away? No. But if you ignore the voice that gives light to that problem, the significance of that voice is muted.
Speaking of muted voices, why don’t the good cops ever come forth to rally against police brutality? Many of them had a lot to say about the Smollett scenario. Where are those voices when a black person is unjustly killed by one of their own blue comrades? Don’t a few bad apples blemish the good reputation and standing of the ones who are out there risking their lives daily to keep us safe?
Black lives matter and it’s a shame that despite campaigning against violence and systematic racism, the response at large is simply to delay justice or ignore the problem altogether.
Or add insult to injury with countermovements and slogans like Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. But, again, what about black lives?
By the way, blue life is an occupational choice. I was born black and will have to contend with systematic racism for the rest of my life. I can’t shed the uniform of my skin at the end of a workday or take a vacation from being black.
I walk outside my door and I am three times more times likely to be killed by police than a white person. Hell, I don’t even have to step outside my door. I could be in the luxury of my own home and call the cops because I hear a burglar trying to break in and end up getting shot to death by the ones who are trusted to protect me. Google Charleena Lyles.
In January of this year, the judge dismissed a lawsuit against the two Seattle police officers who shot and killed the pregnant mother of four. They claimed that she charged at them with a knife, but she was a single, smallish woman who could have easily been subdued if that were true.
The average police on patrol are generally armed with a handgun, taser, pepper spray and handcuffs, but their greatest tool is their discretion. Unfortunately, that discretion seems to only be used when negotiating with a white, mass murderer who has just unloaded two clips from a semi-automatic weapon into the bodies of dozens of innocent people.
Black people are most likely to be killed by police.
Whenever there is a mass shooting and it’s reported that the perpetrator was taken into custody, I know he’s white. I don’t need to know his name or see a picture. If he’s handcuffed; if he’s doing the perp walk; if he’s getting Burger King on the way to booking, he’s not black.
Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in America were non-violent and unarmed. As alarming as the number is, there is still no accountability. 99% of these cases have resulted in the officer escaping conviction of a crime and if that officer(s) is charged, they get what is equivalent to a slap on the hand. The punishment never fits the crime.
So what’s the solution to all of this noise and static and injustice?
Let’s start with proper screening and training of law enforcement. Some studies have shown that a quarter of those innocent people killed by police showed signs of mental illness. As I said earlier, discretion is the greatest tool of the police. They’re supposed to deescalate violence as opposed to aggravating it.
And most police also have non-lethal weapons like stun guns, batons and pepper spray. The first option should not be to reach for the Glock 40 if there isn’t another firearm present.
Another solution is your vote and your voice. I know the national political scene can be entertaining, but real change happens on a local level. The people we elect into office have a direct influence on policy which determines the integrity of our taxes, schools, roads, property and, yes, police. Make the politicians that you put in office as uncomfortable as you are about police violence. Sound policies to reduce brutality are needed.
But I digress. Black people aren’t getting killed by cops anymore because it’s not in the news. Right? Wrong.
Black people are still being killed for kicks, yet we’re talking about ████████.
What are you going to do about it?
Black lives matter.