I do not hear or see total honesty coming from the police, the law makers, or the public. Everyone seems only capable of demanding total honesty and transparency from those they feel are at fault but seem incapable of living up to the bar they have set for of others.
The time for lying and giving alternative facts is over. True justice and equality can only be achieved when all parties involved are honest and transparent. Until then the unnecessary use of deadly force will continue, the peaceful demonstrators will be lobbed in with the rioters and the looters, and all cops will be blamed for the actions of a few.
I was 8 years old when mother told me was about the smartest girl is the grade 7 graduating class Royal Arthur School. The girl just happened to be a young Black girl. When it was time to get the awards and scholarships the young Black girl was passed over and everything she should have gotten by way of awards and scholarships were given to a White girl. Angry the Black girl confronted her White teacher and asked her why she had been passed over. The teacher replied, “You were passed over because you are a nigger and as such will not benefit by the scholarships as much as a white girl will. It seemed only fair and proper that the scholarships should go to who will benefit from them the most.” Insulted and enraged the girl slapped the teacher and was sent to the principal’s office.
Once at the office the girl told the principal the teacher had called her a nigger as well as what she had said about the scholarships. That girl was so sure that the principal would be on her side that when the principal stood up looked her in the eye and said, “The teacher was right, you are a nigger and the scholarships needed to go where they would do the most good.” The girl stood up and attack the principal. Her punishment was to be expelled from school, not allowed to graduate, and therefore not allowed to go to high school, secretarial school, or further her education. The young black girl with such promise ended up working in a hat factory working piece work for minimal pay. The teacher and the principal faced no disciplinary action and went o to teach for many years. My mother asked me at the end of the story, “Son who do you think won?”
Once I was walking home from my cousin’s house. My cousin lived a good 10 blocks from my mom’s house and to get home I had to walk through a heavily policed public housing area. I had heard of the police pulling over Black men for nor apparent reason, but I had never paid it much mind. On this night I realized that a car was following me and that its occupants were a White man and woman. As they got along side of me the driver rolled down the window and started to ask me directions. This started to get my nerves to tingle, because White people did not ask directions of Black people in this neighborhood. I ignored him and kept walking. When I came to a cross street the car cut me off and the driver got out. Walking towards me he asked me for directions again as he reached to grab hold of me. I grabbed him also, flipped him over and straddled him, raising my fist to strike. Before I could strike, I heard a click. I turned to see the female passenger holding a gun in one shaky hand and a police badge in the other saying, “Stop police. Let him up!” I let the cop up who was angry and showed my identification to the female cop as requested. Apparently there had been a burglary in the area and the suspect was a Black man. They showed me the mug shot and the only thing me and the mug shot had in common was that we were both Black men. The female apologized, but the White male cop kept insisting that I get arrested. I told them to look at all the Black people looking at them from landing just above. I also reminded them that the male officer failed to inform me that he was a police officer before he put his hands on me. In the end they got back in their car and drove off. I will never forget how close I came to being killed for nothing.
I told the stories above because these are the injustices in the system, the acts of systemic racism that all people should fight to change. The fight for change cannot be fought over those who, willingly and knowingly choose to break the law. I do not care if the law breakers are Black, Yellow White Red or Brown… the fight for equality cannot be founded on the protection of a criminals. Equal justice must mean the same for all
I have heard all the cries for change in response to the Mr. Floyd’s murder and I whole heartily agree with the call for police reform. I agree that there needs to be accountability and responsibility by police when using deadly force. Having said that, does the other side bare any responsibility in any of the deadly force directed at them for their actions that lead up to the police being called in the first place.
What I mean by that is:
- If Mr. Floyd had not tried to buy the cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill would he still be alive today? Did Mr. Floyd by his own actions put the value of his life at $20? Mr. Floyd had a history of such crimes and although the police were wrong to kill him, did Mr. Floyd bare any responsibility for the events leading up to his death. Given the call for change in policing do people like Mr. Floyd need to change the behavior that puts them on the wrong side of the law and directly in the path of a fatal outcome?
- If Mr. Brooks did not get drunk, park his car in a Wendy’s drive through blocking traffic and impeding their business would he still be alive? When police arrive Mr. Brooks not only resists but assaults the officers, steals one of their tasers and proceeds to try and escape. The police do not use deadly force but pursue him. With police in pursuit Mr. Brooks turns around and points the stolen officer’s taser at the police and fires it. The police shoot him and he dies. Police chief resigns over shooting, calls for police to be fired over the shooting. My question is, did Mr. Brooks bare any responsibility at all for his death at the hands of the police?
The proof is in the pudding and the Floyd video proved that the cops lied and tried to convince us that we did not see what we saw, the same can be said about the activist not wanting all of us to believe that Mr. Brooks was in violation of the law when he drove intoxicated, resisted arrest, assaulted and overpowered 2 police officers, stole an officer’s taser, tried to escape and finally when he turn pointed and fired the taser at the police.
In todays climate, can or will it ever be deemed appropriate for the police to use deadly force on a Black man? Is there no scenario in which a black man can be killed by police and it be considered justified use of deadly force? Is blindness for political expediency helping to find true impartial justice? Are how these events started in the fist place as important as how they ended? I think so if true equality is what is really the end goal
My mother gave me the “talk”. It started with a story that made her incredibly sad. “When I was a little girl, I saw a boy 14 years old run into a laneway closely followed by a cop yelling stop or I will shoot. The boy continued to run, and the cop shot him dead. The boy had been caught trying to steal a chocolate bar and when the police tried to arrest him, he got scared and ran. The cop was never punished,” mom said.
” My mother told me the best way to not get shot by the police was:
- not break the law.
- not to run from the police for any reason.
- do as instructed by police when told to stop, put your hands behind your back, or get on the ground.
- do not resist arrest; guilty or innocent. Better to be arrested and live than to resist and die
- never fight back if getting beat by police…better to be bruised than dead.
What I am saying is that yes, the police need to stop killing Black men unnecessarily and yes the police need to respect the fact that Black lives matter, but Black men need to respect the value of their lives. Black men need to stop putting their lives in danger by breaking the law. Black people need to call out Black men when they commit crimes and stop rallying behind them because it is politically expedient.
There is no room for cover ups and lies by either the police or Black people. All sides need to be honest when dealing with the police’s use of deadly force. We must all be careful how far we let the pendulum swing, lest the police be afraid to defend themselves and end up being the victims at the hands of the criminals.
I am tired of the blind acceptance and rush to justify the crimes of some black men. It makes me ill to listen to the excuses made for some Black men committing crimes as though violating the law is all Black men can do to combat the inequality and systemic racism that black men face.
When Black people justify crime as a way to make life better and somehow level the playing field, they actually strengthen the argument that we are nothing more than petty thieves, ignorant, with little or no respect for the law.
In no way do I condone police brutality or the unnecessary use of deadly force. I do however see the need for change and honesty on all sides. Black men the greatest way to change people’s perception of you value is to stop committing crimes. Stop being martyrs and start being positive examples.