Two days ago this happened —> click here to review.
Seriously, police? Again? Goddammit stop shooting unarmed black people! How hard is it to not kill unarmed people? And even with the video evidence people are asking if this guy is going to be convicted. Only in America can this be a real question. Only here can you see evidence of wrongdoing before your eyes and know there’s a good chance someone will explain it away in the courtroom so a murderer (cause that’s what it is– murder) will walk free.
How this can keep happening is mind-blowing. Is an unarmed person of color so threatening that they should be fatally shot by officers of the law, who are, I might add, armed with various non-lethal weapons, any of which might be used effectively by a trained person–like a police officer– to successfully subdue an unarmed person.
The officer in question claimed that the victim tried to grab one of these non-lethal weapons– his stun gun; although, that’s not visible in the video, which I’m sure we have all seen by now. I don’t know, maybe the guy did grab for it, but by the time the officer had his gun out and was shooting away, the victim was running away. Running. Away.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’ve never found an unarmed person actively running away from me to be particularly threatening. And I’m a tiny little woman, so it’s more than a bit dubious for an armed, trained, fairly strong looking man to “feel threatened” by an unarmed guy who is running in the opposite direction.
Given the recent uproar and conflict over the eyewitness accounts of the Michael Brown murder, we’re fortunate to have that fuzzy video recording, despite the apparent unreliability of video footage to in any way improve the odds of murder convictions (see Eric Garner). And thus far, the police have not arrested the person who filmed the recording, which is nice of them. And so far, it still seems legal to videotape police in the line of duty, though an ill-timed legislative move by a representative in Texas may change that for some of us.
Here’s the maddening thing: we have heard about so many of these fatal shootings of unarmed black people and yet they still keep happening. What do we need to do to prevent this from being something of a reoccurring news phenomenon?
How can we convince an increasingly militarized police force to not open fire on a completely unmilitarized civilian population, and more crucially, how can we convince them that unarmed minorities don’t pose a credible threat? It’s no stretch of the imagination to believe that had the civil rights movement of the 60’s occurred in today’s society, we would see numerous accounts of police opening fire on crowds of unarmed, peaceful protesters.
What if every police officer was required to spend at least a half hour in honest conversation with someone of a different race and socioeconomic background each day? Could they learn to humanize the people they are trained to serve and protect? Could it lessen the systemic racism that seems to pervade our justice system if every officer was able to view black civilians as people? Would these types of occurrences be as common?
I have no idea, but something must be done. The problem isn’t improving with our awareness of it and will likely only continue to worsen as we inevitably forget Walter Scott and Michael Brown, and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice…. and the ones we have already forgotten.