Another day, another unarmed black man shot by the police.
I know that's not the reality, but that is certainly how it feels sometimes. I'm sure you can excuse my cynicism.
If you don't know what I am talking about, please click here. They've got a comprehensive summary of the events.
As I've said before, part of the problem when you are talking about race is that you can never really know if race was a factor in any particular incident, unless all the parties involved agree that it was. And 99 times out of 100 if there are white parties involved, they are going to say that it wasn't. Why? Maybe because if they admit it, they will get the devil's spawn label of racist.
So white people, stop lying to yourselves and others when you do something racist. And black people, stop using white people's racist behavior as an excuse to jump down their throats without offering anything constructive that might help them change. Sigh. I can tell I'm freakin' annoyed. But I'm going to press on, because I've got a lot to say about this.
In a number of ways it doesn't matter if Jonathan was white or black--he's dead. And a cop killed him. There are lots of things about this that open up the possibility that it wasn't racially motivated. It was Saturday night, it was dark, he was built like an ex-football player, he was running towards the cops, the woman who called 911 probably gave the impression that he was some sort of criminal, since she was calling 911 instead of asking him through her locked door why he was banging on it at 2:30 in the morning. And maybe the cop was new or something.
Also, I can off the top of my head recall a white guy in my city that was recently killed by the police (though he had a weapon,) a white pregnant woman that was thrown on the ground and handcuffed (though she was not visibly pregnant, and she got 250k for her ordeal.) And let's not forget about the white grandma and white college student that were tased by white cops (Don't tase me, bro!) Oh, there is an incident where a young white man with Down Syndrome was killed by police when they were trying to subdue him for sneaking into a movie that he wanted to watch a second time. That one didn't even make the news (at least not the channel I watch.)
So, just like police apparently need to learn that perhaps they should change their approach when dealing with a person with a developmental disability, perhaps they should try harder to resist the conditioning that they've gotten from The Birth of a Nation, their grandparents, and/or gangsta rap that tells them to shoot 10 times when a big black man that's just been injured in a car accident is running towards them.
And just a PSA for my readers: If you are ever walking towards the police and they tell you to stop and you don't, they are trained to shoot you--even if they believe you are unarmed. Why?
Because if they don't shoot you, you could get close enough to them to overpower them and take their gun and shoot them. Also, they are not going to shoot to wound. They are trained to aim for the largest part of your body (your chest.) And if you get shot in your chest, there is a good chance that you are going to die. So, all that to say-- just do what the police tell you to do.
It may not seem like it, but I'm not trying to bash on cops. Number one, I don't feel like getting harassed for the rest of my life. Number two, I know their jobs are stressful and they have to deal with a lot of BS. I was even arrested once (a story for another blog post,) and the cop that I dealt with was actually pretty cool. I just wish that cops wouldn't always stick together and support the few among them that are doing wrong.
Like, I can't remember the exact statistic, but in most departments there are a couple of officers who get complaint after complaint, and most officers get one or none. But those officers with multiple complaints against them are allowed to keep their jobs, in no small part due to the police unions that for some reason think those people shouldn't be fired.
I'm speaking directly to cops right now: Those "bad apples" are giving your profession a bad name, and everyone would be better off if they weren't part of your organization. Forget this code of silence crap, and listen to your conscience. You probably got into this profession to help people, but it can be hard to do that when some of your co-workers are unjustifiably abusing and killing others. Being able to legally kill people is a privilege, and it would make sense to me that you would want people that are given that privilege to be held to very high standards.
Ok, I'm not talking to the cops anymore. As a citizen of the United States, it should be reasonable to assume that the people that swear to protect and serve you will do just that. You shouldn't have to worry that your physical size, your skin color or anything else is going to cause them to take an action against you that has fatal consequences. If Randall Kerrick is actually guilty of this crime, I hope that he receives a serious and significant punishment, and that police officers across the country will applaud the verdict as a sign that the community (cops included,) will not just stand idly by and allow things like this to happen.
So, that's what I think. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments.