It has been one hell of a week as I try to emotionally and mentally cope with the recent shootings resulting in the deaths of innocent black men by the hands of police.
Last Tuesday social media went into a frenzy as video footage surfaced of yet another black man being shot and killed by two white police officers. Earlier that day, the Baton Rouge Police Department received a 911 call from a homeless man indicating that 37 yr. old Alton Sterling was brandishing a gun in front of Triple S Food Mart, a local convenient store. According to reports, the homeless man persistently asked Mr. Sterling for money. Mr. Sterling responded by telling him to go away and later showed his gun, which should not have been a problem since Louisiana is an open carry state. Soon after the phone call, the police arrived on the scene to see Mr. Sterling casually and harmlessly selling cd’s. A confrontation later ensued which led to Mr. Sterling being pinned to the ground and fatally shot. During the confrontation the body cameras of the officers apparently and mysteriously “fell off”. However, there were witnesses on the scene that were able to catch video footage, which can be found here.
Just a day later Philando Castile, a 32 yr. old black male, who was a school nutrition services supervisor, was shot and killed in the car in front of his fiancé’ and four year old daughter. Mr. Castile was stopped for a broken taillight by St. Anthony police officers of Minnesota. He informed one of the officers that he was armed and had a concealed carry permit. He was shot 4 times by one of the officers as he was reaching for his wallet. He laid in the passenger seat moaning in pain, while officers pointed guns at Ms. Reynolds instructing her to keep her hands on the wheel. Diamond Reynolds, his fiancé, was able to catch everything on video through her cell phone, which can be seen here. Later that evening, Mr. Castile was pronounced dead by the Hennepin County Medical Center just a week and a half before his 33rd birthday. A note to be taken in is that the officers not only stopped them for a broken taillight but also because the Ms. Reynolds looked like a possible suspect in a current robbery incident. The fact that it appeared that he she had a wide nose like the suspect at hand made her an eligible candidate. The ignorance of the situation enrages me; apparently we all look the same with our big wide noses and lips.
Thursday as the citizens of Dallas strolled the streets in a protest demonstration due to the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, shots were fired from an unknown source. Five police officers were killed; six other officers and 2 civilians were wounded. Officers tweeted an image of Mark Hughes, dressed in a camouflage shirt and an AR-15 strapped across his chest, describing him as a suspect and officials needed help finding him. The media portrayed this man as mass murderer to the world without even having enough evidence to prove he caused the shootings.
Coincidentally, once the shootings started to take place, Cory Hughes, Mark Hughes brother, told him to give his gun to a cop so another unforeseen accident doesn’t happen. Even though he gave his gun to a cop he was still ignorantly targeted for something he did not do. First of all, Texas has an open carry policy that allows licensed gun owners to openly carry rifles, pistols and shotguns. So if anything, any individual, no matter the race, should have been a suspect, not just black people. Not only did they portray this man in a horrible light to the point where he received death threats via Facebook, the police also held him in custody for 30 minutes in which he was soon released because someone had turned themselves in due to an eyewitness.
At midnight Dallas police identified 25 yr. old Micah Johnson, a black male and US Army veteran as the sniper involved in the shootings. A robot explosive sent in by police, due to his unwillingness to cooperate, later killed Mr. Johnson. He was said to have had bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a journal filled with personal combat tactics at his home which was located by police.
Although they proclaimed this young man turned himself in, how was it possible for one eyewitness out of the thousands of people present at this demonstration, to see this young man kill and injure all of those people? It’s a tragedy that all of those people died and were injured, but in the same breath can we really rely on the information that was given to us? There are just too many holes in the story to be believable.
There are three things that all of these situations have in common.
- In my opinion 3 innocent men were killed for no apparent reason other than being black. Alton Sterling was just selling cd’s, Philando Castile was attempting to get his wallet and Micah Johnson was singled out as the Dallas sniper because one witness saw him out of a huge crowd of people. All of these men died at the hands of police without any rationale or true probable cause.
- Every man carrying a firearm either had a license to carry or lived in an open carry state. Yet two men were killed for carrying their guns and one was mistakenly made out to be a mass murderer by the media due to a tweeted picture. These men were perceived to be armed and dangerous which has been the stereotype of black men since slavery.
- It is clear as day that black lives still don’t matter. We’re literally going back to the days of our ancestors with all the unnecessary killings. We take 2 steps forward just to take three steps back to be reminded that we have target on backs every time we walk out of the door. We can protest, rally, march but in the end we are living in a society that consistently promotes white supremacy and ultimately doesn’t give a damn about black lives.