The wariness in the relationship between the black community and has created a dark cloud over America in 2014.
By: Kevin Buckles Jr., Sports Editor
Protect and serve, or shoot and kill? Preserve peace, or senselessly murder?
For the past couple of years now, it has grown increasingly difficult to decipher what oath police officers nationwide have been adhering by—especially by the black community.
Police in three different states have murdered five unarmed black men—including four in a 26-day span during the summer— in the last five months.
If there was ever a stereotype and distrust between a black male and the police, it is at an all-time high today. There should never be a point and time in a society where civilians fear those who are being paid and are sworn to protect them, but because of police’s brute, and unnecessary force nationwide, five people are dead, and passive-aggressiveness to white men with guns and badges is rampant.
The most high-profile case of extraneous police behavior resides in Ferguson, Missouri where 18-year old black male Michael Brown was murdered after being shot several times by Officer Darren Wilson—a 28-year old white male—on the afternoon of August 9.
According to 22-year-old Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown’s who was present at the scene, he and Brown were walking home when Wilson approached them in his vehicle to say, “Get the f— out of the street.”
“Those were his exact words,” Johnson told CNN.
Immediately, Wilson sets the tone of what would become a lethal altercation that could have easily avoided.
Hence, the instant distrust.
Why did he have to approach Brown and Johnson in that manner? Would any adult, regardless of race, be inclined to respectfully adhere to a request like that? Better yet, a teenager and 22-year old.
According to several other witnesses, after Brown and Johnson responded to Wilson saying that they were near their destination and would be out of the street shortly, Wilson proceeded to drive away, and then quickly reversed his car in the immediate vicinity of the two males.
Wilson proceeded to open his door, and through a combination of Brown forcing it back closed, and it simply ricocheting off of his body (because of how close Wilson pulled his car to them), Wilson, feeling “threatened” pulled Brown by the neck into the car, creating a tussle that eventually led to Wilson firing his gun at Michael’s upper region.
After escaping Wilson’s grasp the injured Brown and Johnson attempted to flee the scene but could Brown was unable to outrun the bullets fired from the 28-year old officer’s .40 caliber gun.
Wilson repeatedly shot at Brown from a distance, and as he proceeded to turn around with his hands up, surrendering, claiming being unarmed, he was met by two more bullets to the head, killing him.
“Don’t shoot,” uttered what turned out to be Brown’s last words that he tried to tell Wilson before he was shot repeatedly again, according to Johnson.
A cold-blooded murder.
Michael Brown died 152 feet away from where Wilson exited his vehicle.
Why did he feel the need to chase Brown and unload nearly a dozen shots (10 shell casings from Wilson’s gun was found at the scene)? Couldn’t Wilson have just tased Brown or even called for back-up perhaps?
And surely after all of the evidence presented, Wilson would be indicted, right?
On November 24, after very long, uncanny jury proceedings that spanned 25 days over three months, the jury elected not to indict Darren Wilson, enraging millions around the nation. Prosecutor Bob McCulloch managed to muster up enough conflicting testimonies from the astounding 60 witnesses called on the stand to convince the jury against indicting Wilson.
McCulloch himself has been under the microscope as of late, being labeled “not impartial” to the case as his father a police officer, (who ironically was killed by an African-American suspect), and his mother, brother, cousin, and uncle all have served in the St. Louis as well.
This clearly represents the other end of the spectrum where there are those who stereotype most in the black community in a negative connotation and will always support the police.
And as a result of McCulloch’s relationships within the police department, as well as not initially filing charges against Wilson, Missouri State Senator went as far as presenting a petition with 70,000 signatures calling for the prosecutor’s recusal—to no avail, however.
So because Darren Wilson walks away a free man, no thanks to sly, shady, prosecuting, one would think maybe the next time a violent police/suspect encounter occurs, video evidence from any type of device will ensure the truth comes to light, and those guilty are dealt with.
Eric Garner, a black, 43-year old asthmatic father of six, was killed in broad daylight on July 17 in Staten Island, New York after being corralled by four officers who were accusing him of allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes; everything was caught on video by a friend of Garner’s and made available to the public nearly immediately.
One officer in particular though took it upon himself to single-handedly bring Garner down in a suffocating chokehold, which has been deemed an illegal tactic by the New York Police Department for over 20 years.
Garner’s death was initially ruled a homicide, but largely in part because there was no damage to Garner’s windpipes or neckbones, the officer who was largely responsible for his death, Daniel Pantaleo, was not indicted.
Garner’s cause of death was ruled a result of compression to the body, prone positioning, asthma, heart disease, and obesity.
It sounds like Garner’s weight was made more so as an indictment to his death than to the police officer that choked him for nearly 60 seconds.
“I can’t breathe,” was Garner’s last words on the recording before he slipped into unconsciousness, eventually passing away.
Yet another murder that could have easily been avoided if it weren’t for ridiculously, knee-jerk overreactions by police.
How many more innocent, unarmed, black lives have to be taken at the hands of police before the injustice, United States Justice System, becomes just?