The two recent Grand Jury rulings deciding to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Mike Brown and Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the outlawed chokehold death of Eric Garner has sparked mass protests across the country, which so far has been peaceful, but how much longer will the peace last as white police officers continue to get away with murdering black men? How Pantaleo managed to avoid being indicted I will never know, the whole event was caught on video. Pantaleo was seen using the illegal chokehold to bring Garner down, which the coroner later ruled as the cause of death.
It’s not only these two cases, in the last three months, we have seen two more cases of black men being gunned down by white police officers, one in St Louis a few days after the Mike Brown shooting. Kajieme Powell was shot dead by two officers, again caught on video. Powell was well known in the community to have mental health issues, but it seems that these officers did not know that, community policing at it’s worst. There were other non-lethal options, but the officers got out of the car with guns drawn and I can’t help think the outcome would have been different if Powell was white.
The other case resulted in the death of John Crawford III, while talking on his cellphone holding a BB replica rifle which he had picked up in-store at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio. Security camera footage clearly shows that Crawford did nothing illegal, he held the replica firearm over his shoulder and by his side, at no point did he point the weapon at anyone, like the 911 caller claimed. Officers stormed in and after a brief verbal warning, shots were fired and Crawford was dead on the floor. And again, the officers involved were not indited by the grand jury and one of the officers is back on duty.
The attitude I have seen from people commenting on news stories and videos of the deaths has been “another black criminal off the street” and worse. Clearly racism is still a massive problem in the US and that seems to be as prevalent within the police force as in the general public. Darren Wilson shoots and kills a young black man, with excessive force [in my opinion] and gets rewarded with $500,000 raised for him by white conservative Christians, this says a hell of a lot about America in general. It still seems that the white majority see black lives as less important, seeing all black people as criminals.
If the federal government does not take up these cases, we want more than words, Eric Holder, actually prosecute these officers, send a message to police all over the US that this can not continue to happen, we will see a full-on race war and more bloodshed with innocent officers being targeted.
What message does seeing officers kill black men and get away with it do? It says that it’s fine to shoot and kill young black men without any seeming consequence. Clearly better training is needed, to be able to assess the situation and use appropriate force, a taser should be the first choice, not the gun, especially against an unarmed person as was the situation in three of the four cases in this write-up.
You can bet your bottom dollar that if a black officer shot and killed a young white man in the same circumstances, he would be in the courtroom before you can say indictment. I find Jamil Smith’s tweet very apt, “Benefiting from white privilege is automatic. Defending white privilege is a choice“.