Black Lives Matter. In America, somehow this phrase has turned controversial. Some people think that the phrase is divisive or offensive. But why? Some want to respond with the phrase “All Lives Matter.” Well, of course all lives matter. Saying black lives matter does not negate the reality that other lives are also precious. There is an implied “too” at the end of black lives matter that should be obvious. It is a protest statement to call attention to a group of people who feel targeted. Many people of color are scared to encounter police officers.
Statistically, black people are killed by the police at a much higher rate per capita than any other racial group. There must be drastic change in the way police are trained so that the loss of life can be greatly reduced. Only when police officers and citizens come together to understand that we are all human can there truly be some healing.
Here, we will outline 30 reasons the Black Lives Matter Movement is valid in the form of fallen victims, and other injustices, at the hand of police. Look at their stories, see their reality, and honor them. We have a chance to start a revolution to ensure all lives truly matter, by first recognizing that black lives matter.
Aiyana Jones was just like any other seven-year-old child. She loved Disney princesses and was innocent to the brutal world around her. Tragically, she was murdered in her home as she slept by a police officer. Poor Aiyana was fast asleep on her couch in her downstairs apartment, when the police threw a flash-bang grenade into her house. Shortly after, she was shot dead. That reckless middle of the night raid was actually supposed to target the upstairs apartment, not the downstairs. That mistake, among others, lead to the tragic end of a blameless child.
Many cite the militarization of the American police force as part of the problem in this case. There was no need for a SWAT style invasion into a civilian’s home to arrest a suspect. There were no hostages. Nobody was in immediate danger. So, to employ that kind of operation, at midnight, with a flash-bang grenade, there really couldn’t be a successful outcome. That kind of invasion can only cause panic and confusion. Which is the last thing that is needed in a police interaction.
Aiyana Jones was just a baby. She was so very young, and her life was stolen from her. She will never have the chance to go to prom, drive a car, get married, have children of her own, or do any of the things that would have made her life complete. She was robbed of summer vacations, sleepover, having a first love, and lazy Sundays in her pajamas. Aiyana Jones will never have the chance to lead a normal life. She will never have the chance to lead any life at all. If this child was the only life that was taken, The Black Lives Matter Movement would still be valid. Unfortunately, for so many, this little girl is just one name on a very long list.
New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a time for new beginnings. It’s a time for new starts in life, no matter the past. However for Keith Childress, that chance never came. He was a 23-year-old man wrongfully shot five times by Las Vegas police. At the time of his shooting, Childress was holding a cellphone, which police claimed they thought was a gun. It was found out that Mr. Childress was completely unarmed and defenseless.
While Keith Childress was under surveillance by US Marshals for several crimes, none of the charges were attempted murder, as previously perpetuated in some media outlets. Keith Childress will never have a chance at rebuilding his life. He was executed for having a cell phone in his hand. Think about how many of us hold cell phones in our hands every day. That certainly shouldn’t be an offense punishable by death.
Bettie Jones was a devoted mother and grandmother full of love and devotion. She had a happy life in Chicago. She worked in bakery and was a devout Christian. She was well-known at her church and was beloved by many. She was often known to help others in her community, which ultimately led to her early demise.
One fateful evening, Bettie was called to help with a neighbor’s domestic dispute. A neighbor’s son was disturbed, out of control, and abusing his father. He was swinging a bat aimed to injure, so the police were called. Bettie was only there to help, and had nothing to do with the dispute. As she descended down the stairs to assist police, and usher them to the dispute, she was shot and killed. At only 55 years old, she lost her life in the service of others.
At her funeral, she had friends, family, and pastors there to pay their final respects. One pastor, Reverend Marshall Hatch, went on to speak about his fallen friend and community member stating, “Her sacrifice now clearly demonstrates the dysfunction between this police department and the community that they claim to police. There’s no way that she should have expected aggression from sworn officers of the peace.” In so many ways there is no disputing that statement. A woman so clearly devoted to helping others did not deserve to leave the earth in that way.
Stephen Tooson was a well-loved and trusted member of his community. He was a professional bus driver and father. He was killed in a car crash involving police officers in hurried pursuit of a domestic call. Mr. Tooson left behind four teenaged children who are now orphaned, as their mother was killed almost exactly a year ago by cancer. These children have to grow up rapidly fast because of the carelessness of those police officers on duty.
Accidents happen. However, the brave men in blue should be held to a higher standard. They don’t have the luxury of being careless, or driving too fast in non emergency situations. Our lives are in their hands. While this particular story does not show a black life targeted by race, it shows the overwhelming negligence and under-training of theses officers. Now, these children have to live in pain without their father because of those actions.
Many people including students and coworkers will greatly feel the loss of Stephen Tooson. He will be remembered fondly by all who knew him. The Director of Transportation Ron Schappacher said of Stephen,“Kids loved him. We loved him. Students respected him and responded to him. This is a tremendous loss. He will be deeply missed”. Stephen Tooson was taken too soon from this world. His children and everyone who knew him will only have his memory to keep him alive.
Michael Lee Marshall
Michael Lee Marshall was a 50-year-old man who suffered from chronic Schizophrenia. During his time in detention with the police, he had a psychotic episode which led to him being restrained. At the time of his restraint, Mr. Marshall only weighed 130 pounds and stood at 5 feet and 3 inches. Although he was small in both stature and weight, he was subdued for 13 minutes by multiple men. The weight and time lapsed during his restraint caused Michael Lee Marshall to choke on his own vomit.
The real question at hand is why was Michael Lee Marshall in police custody in the first place? People with a history of mental illnesses should not be placed in general population of jails or prisons. Instead, they should be treated medically like any person with a medical issue. Some of the struggles of the Black Lives Matter Movement along with other matters in criminal justice system, are deeply rooted in faulty laws and practices. Some of the problems are due to prejudices and racism. Whatever the reason, Mr. Marshall lost his life. Remember his story and honor him.
Alonzo Smith was a 27-year-old Educator. He taught children with emotional and learning disabilities. He was also a father to a little 6-year-old boy. He died in the custody of Security Guards known as Special Police, in Washington D.C. He was found unconscious and handcuffed, then brought to the hospital. According to the city’s chief medical examiner, his death was ruled as a homicide.
Smith’s mother believes that her son was beaten to death by the Security Guards. As the death was ruled as a homicide, that does mean some other force was at play in his death. Although a homicide does not necessarily mean there is criminal intent, in this case, many believe there was. Alonzo Smith will never teach his students, visit his mother, or play with his son again. In the future, officers and guards must be mindful of the methods that they employ.
Felix Kumi was a 61-year-old father of two. He was loved by many in his neighborhood, and considered a friend to many. He was also a devout Jehovah’s witness, and considered to be a great friend and brother in that community. Mr. Kumi was shot in the afternoon in Mount Vernon, NY, in an illegal gun sting operation gone wrong.
Felix Kumi had nothing to do with the illegal gun operation. He was just an innocent bystander. Unfortunately, he died in the hospital nine hours after he was shot in the abdomen. There is a lesson to be learned by the police from this horrible tragedy. There are better places and times to perform undercover work when dealing with illegal weaponry. People’s lives are more important than apprehending a suspect.
There are more and more stories of people dying in police custody. Michael Sabbie was one of those unfortunate people. Michael Sabbie was found unresponsive in his jail cell in Texarkana, Arkansas. He was pronounced dead shortly after he was found. Sources close to the case say that Mr. Sabbie was sprayed with a chemical agent while he was in his cell.
There are still so many questions that surround this case. People should question why this person, or any person in the care of others can perish so quickly. There may or may not have been foul play at hand in this case, but either way, Mr. Sabbie is dead. He died under the care and protection of others, which means that there was some negligence that happened in that jail cell, at best. Police Officers and Security Guards must remember that they are there to protect and serve the public. That includes people in jails, prisons, and out on the street. We are all human, and must be treated as such.
Jonathon Sanders was an unarmed black man strangled to death by a police officer. He was put in a choke hold for about 20 minutes, and refused CPR. The autopsy confirmed that he was fatally strangled. Witnesses at the scene confirm that Sanders repeatedly told the officer he was unable to breathe, but he pleas were ignored. Many believe that the officer initiated a fight with Mr. Sanders, and that he acted as the aggressor. In fact, there are accounts that the officer even used racial slurs to dehumanize his victim. He threw the “n” word around, saying, “I’m going to get that n*gger”, according to several witnesses.
As you can agree, just the use of that vile word should be enough to get someone fired from the police force. There is no room for racism or disparaging comments by people who are supposed to be there to protect everyone. However, he didn’t just use disgusting words. Jonathon Sanders was killed because of this bigotry. There is no excuse in the world that can excuse murder.
If you are considering joining or are currently a police officer, be sure to have a pure heart. You will deal with people from all over the world and from every race. When you are trusted with the life of the people you serve, you can’t be fearful or aggressive. Police officers and Security guards must put the needs of their community first. The entire community. Not just people who look like them.
Dontre Hamilton was a man who was essentially looked at as a criminal for sleeping on the street. Mr. Hamilton was a young man with mental illness, and was sleeping in a park near a Starbucks. Dontre Hamilton was shot 14 times after an incident with the police officer. 14 times. The people in this community and Mr. Hamilton’s family feel this is an immense loss and injustice. Instead of killing someone with an excessive amount of bullets, de-escalation should have been implemented.
Dontre Hamilton was not a criminal. He was sick. He needed proper medical treatment for his illness. The United States has a real disconnect with how to treat those who are mentally ill. Police Officers should have a special unit of training on how to de escalate situations, especially for those with mental illness. Many hours of police training is spent on how to restrain or take a suspect down, but wouldn’t it be better to have an equal amount of training on how to deal with a situation without aggression?
Dontre Hamilton’s death sparked many protests in his community and around the country. At that point, many people of color around the country were fed up with the recent treatment of black people by the police, including the high-profile cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
I can’t breathe. These were Eric Garner’s last words as he was pleading for his life. His death was caught on video, by a neighbor who was sick of the endless police brutality in his neighborhood. Eric Garner called attention to himself by breaking up a fight. He was singled out for a being the good guy. Although the official statement is that Garner was being questioned for selling loose cigarettes, it seems by Mr. Garner’s words and actions that he was being harassed by the police for some time. Even if he was selling unsanctioned cigarettes, that action is certainly not enough to be killed over.
Eric Garner was not a criminal. He was not a violent man. He was unarmed black man sitting in front of his house. The video of Mr. Garner’s death clearly shows the disregard the police in this video have for human life. As a man is pleading for his life, stating that he can’t breathe, the first response should have been to let him free. Instead, he was suffocated to death. The officers involved were not indicted with a crime. In fact, the only person who is going to see any jail time is the man who recorded the video of the tragic incident. Instead of being held up as a hero, he will be going to jail.
There are no words or actions that can bring Eric Garner back to life. However, it would have been nice for his family, friends, and the country at large to feel a sense of justice. Unfortunately, they weren’t even granted that much. The murder of Eric Garner in broad daylight, on a street in Staten Island, NY, gave black people around the country a clear message. His death sparked protests around the country, and even in some places around the world. He will never be forgotten, and will forever be a symbol of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
John Crawford III
Imagine going to the store as a customer, just to be shot by the police for carrying an item sold at the store. That is exactly what happened to John Crawford III. Mr. Crawford was a 22-year-old man, shopping while talking on his phone. He was shot to death by police officers in the Beavercreek, Ohio Wal-Mart. John Crawford was not doing anything illegal. He was merely chatting on his cell phone, while carrying an item that is sold at the store. John Crawford had an Air Gun in his hand. Not a weapon. Just an Air Gun that was merchandise of the store her was in.
The video surveillance shows that Mr. Crawford was alone in the isle, just swinging the toy gun around idly, as one does when just browsing the aisles. This fatal incident happened only four days before Michael Brown was killed, and sparked outrage across the nation.
Michael Brown Jr.
Michael Brown was an unarmed black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. He was a young man shot in the prime of his life for petty theft. The shooting sparked protests, outrage, and sadness throughout the country. People of color felt that the actions on young black boys were weighted more heavily than those of their white peers. Mothers were afraid they would come home to an empty house. Black people felt targeted.
Michael Brown will never meet his intended milestones in life. He won’t graduate from the college he was supposed to start only a few days. His life was full of potential, and then it ended. If you think of all the good he could have done with his time on earth, and with the degree he would have earned, it baffles the mind. Instead, his life was ended over teen mistakes. Almost all teenagers pull some outrageous and stupid stunts. Luckily, we weren’t shot for those dumb judgement calls.
Dante Parker was a beloved family man and father of five. He was very close to his family, and they were often found doing activities together. He was also an employee of the Victorville Daily Press. His boss Harry Potinus said, “Dante was a good man, a family man who just wanted to provide the best he could for his wife and kids. He’ll be extremely missed.” He was a man known to be a good person, a hard worker, and heavily involved in family life. The police allege he was found riding a bicycle away from a home invasion. He was also reported as allegedly resisting arrest.
Dante Parker was tragically killed by lethal force with a taser. Now, there are five children without a father, a wife without a husband, and a father without a son. There has to be a call for more police training. Police officers must employ every method of training they have before they move to guns or Tasers. They must first try to de-escalate the situation.
People who are familiar with Tanisha Anderson’s death think of Tanisha in terms of her diagnosis. She had Bipolar disorder. However, she was much more than her diagnosis. She was a person. Tanisha was a daughter, a mother, a sister, and a friend. She was also a daycare provider for a time. She taught children manners, colors, and letters. She loved having late night talk sessions and cooking food with her family. She was deeply loved by her family, and she will be missed.
Tanisha Anderson was being arrested because she had an episode of mental illness. Her family had to call the police because they couldn’t handle her. Unfortunately, the police handled her even worse. Tanisha resisted arrest. Of course she resisted arrest. She was having a mental break. She was handcuffed and restrained. An excessive use of force was used on her, and the family and other advocates are calling for better police training. The system failed Tanisha Anderson. Instead of being treated like a criminal, she should have been treated like a person with an illness.
Akai Gurley was just a man walking down the stairs in his housing complex when he was shot dead by a police officer. He did absolutely nothing wrong. He committed no crime. Yet he was killed. His death happened the same year as Eric Garner’s murder and Michael Brown’s death. People were still very much injured by those deaths. Akai Gurley’s death triggered unrest in his community as well as the nation at large.
Officer Peter Liang was sent out with his partner on public housing vertical patrol. Both were unseasoned officers, and that is a notoriously tricky beat. Rookies should not be sent out together to do such a difficult task. Officer Liang must have been extremely nervous with his surroundings, because as soon as Mr. Gurley was in sight, he got shot. There was no provocation for this action. Just an officer who wasn’t ready for the task. Police officers should work with more experienced mentors, until they are familiar with how to conduct themselves.
Did you play outside with toys as a child? Did you ever spend time fooling around with water guns or other toy guns. Well, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was doing just that when he was shot and killed by police. Young Tamir was outside playing with a toy gun. He was just walking back and forth. Perhaps he was waiting for a playmate. Maybe he was just killing time. Or maybe he was a little kid using his imagination and playing with his toys. Whatever he was doing, none of it was threatening. None of it was aggressive. Certainly, none of it was criminal. He was just a kid being a kid. Unfortunately, often times black children are not afforded the same luxury as white children. They aren’t guaranteed the same level of safety. There are actually studies that show black children are viewed as older and less innocent than white children of the same age. So, a white child playing with a toy gun is just a boy being a boy. A black boy is perceived as a gangster, a threat.
Nothing can compensate for the loss of a child. No amount of revenge or monetary reward will bring Tamir Rice back. However, the Rice family was awarded 6 million dollars to help make their new reality a bit more comfortable. That money will make it easier to pay bills, but it won’t reduce the pain and suffering that family feels. Tamir Rice lost his life because he was playing. He will never get to play, laugh, or speak again. We must be his voice.
Rumain Brisbon was an unarmed Black man suspected of drug dealing. Although no weapon was found, the officer who shot and killed him claimed he thought he was reaching for a gun. It was actually a bottle of pills that was found in Mr. Brisbon’s pocket, not a gun. There are two things wrong with how this case was handled. First of all, he didn’t pull a gun, so he should not have been shot. The other is the fact that America still has a war on drugs. A man lost his life for allegedly selling a substance that others want to buy. In essence, a life was taken to prevent adult people from doing what they want to do.
Instead of treating drug users or dealers as criminals, we should treat the problem, not criminalize the participants. Either way, a man lost his life because he was trying to make a living. There has to be a change in the way we deal with some of the problems plaguing the United States, such as addiction and mental illness, or we will only perpetuate the violence.
Jerame Reid lost his life at a routine traffic stop in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The vehicle had a gun in the glove compartment, and the cops became very agitated after that was discovered. There is a video of the incident caught by the police’s dash cam, and it shows Jerame getting shot with his hands up. Mr. Reid is also heard saying, “I ain’t doing nothing. I’m not reaching for nothing, bro. I ain’t got no reason to reach for nothing.” The police officer had both his service weapon, as well as the recovered handgun at the time of the shooting.
Jerame Reid’s death created strife in the town of Bridgeton where two-thirds of the residents are either Black or Hispanic. The people of that city wanted some justice for one of their fallen citizens. There has to be some accountability. If a person has their hands up, don’t shoot them. The police have to have more training on diffusing tense situations, instead of shooting.
It’s bad enough when a police officer unjustly kills a person. It’s much worse when he has a dog do his dirty work for him. Phillip White’s vicious attack by a police dog was caught on camera. Mr. White is seen unresponsive on the ground while the dog continues to attack him. The police officer takes no action to prevent the mauling taking place, in fact he initiated the entire thing. The man who taped the horrific incident on his camera can be heard shouting. He can be heard repeatedly yelling, “He’s knocked out! He’s not even moving! Get that dog off of him!”. There is no excuse for police officers to condone such violent behavior. Sadly, Phillip White died because of the mistreatment and misconduct of this incident.
Conrad Benedetto, an attorney for the White family, feels that Mr. White died due to great incompetence and malice. He said, “There are great concerns about the circumstances that surround this death. The public and Mr. White’s family deserve answers as to how Phillip was killed and why there is a lack of oversight of local police.” There has to be a check of the power given to police. Holding people’s lives in your hands is a heavy task, but it must be done with great care.
Eric Courtney Harris
Eric Courtney Harris lost his life because of severe incompetence. He was gunned down by a man who thought he pulled a taser instead. The volunteer reserve sheriff deputy , Robert Bates, meant to use his taser gun on Mr. Harris, but instead shot him dead. Mr. Bates, who was 74 years old at the time of the incident, was seen sleeping in his patrol car moments before the operation. It also seems he wasn’t properly trained. An internal inquiry by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, shows Robert Bates received special treatment, and that several training protocols were violated. Furthermore, he had never pursued a fleeing felon before. It was not within his skill set, yet, he was given the task.
Thankfully, the man who killed Eric Courtney Harris was convicted for his crime, and will spend some time in prison. That however, will not bring Mr. Harris home. If anything, it will serve to remind police that they can be held accountable for their actions. It also brings some justice to the family, friends, and community of Mr. Harris.
Walter Scott was murdered by former police officer, Michael Slager, during a traffic stop. Michael Scott’s shooting was recorded by a witness. The video shows Mr. Scott was running away when he was shot eight times by the officer. It also shows Michael Slager tampering with the evidence of his crime. Slager ran back to plant a taser near Mr. Scott’s body. The footage of the shooting flamed the discussion of black people’s treatment by law enforcement.
Slager’s immediate arrest in combination with the family’s wish for peace during their mourning period, led to a diffused situation in the movement. However, it’s clear that Walter Scott was murdered by a person sworn to protect him. There is no amount of money or justice that will erase that fact. It’s imperative that the nation use empathy to deal with the Black Lives Matter movement, even if it makes people uncomfortable.
Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore for allegedly having an illegal switch blade. But how was it discovered he had a blade? He was running. When did it become a crime to run while black? He was singled out for just doing what most people do for exercise or for fun. After Mr. Gray was illegally arrested, he was obviously mistreated and abused. He was refused the use of his inhaler, and to make matters worse he was put in leg irons. That alone could have killed Freddie Gray, but sadly he died with additional injuries to his person, including his spine.
The police officers involved were not charged with a crime. That leaves many people disappointed with the failing system in place. It essentially blames victims for their own murder. People were so upset, they set Baltimore on fire. Rioters left a trail of smashed cars, looted storefronts, and fires. When people feel desperate, they act out. They act in a ways that makes their voices heard.
What happened to Sandra Bland? That is the question many people around the world are asking. Sandra Bland was a civil rights activist and social media personality. She used social media, such as Facebook, to bring issues facing the Black Community to a wider audience. She used #SandySpeaks to be a voice for the movement. She posted articles and videos about important black historical figures in America. She wanted people to have an understanding and appreciation of the real American history. Not just a slice of recognition for one month. African American history is the cornerstone of America. It is literally the building blocks that this country was founded on, and she didn’t want anyone to forget that.
Sandra’s death was devastating to the country and the world at large. #SandySpeaks went viral after her death, and people wanted answers. Sandra Bland was beloved by so many. People loved her in life, and many more loved her in death. Nobody knows the truth about what happened to this woman who died in jail over a traffic violation. Many people speculate there was foul play. The officer that arrested Sandra Bland was even indicted for perjury. One thing is for sure- the system was stacked against her because she was black. Just because Sandra Bland is dead does not mean she is no longer an activist. That is far from the truth. Sandra Bland will continue to be a voice for people in the struggle. Sandy will always speak.
Jamar Clark died from a gunshot wound to the head, after a dealing with the Minneapolis police. Many people say that Mr. Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, making his death a cold-blooded murder. According to many eyewitnesses, the victim was handcuffed and slammed to the ground. They also say that he was not resisting arrest when this happened. The crowd of people were forced to move to a different location, some even were pepper sprayed. One thing is for sure, this incident made an already tense situation even worse.
Jamar Clark is dead. Nothing can change that fact. However, a well-educated and well-trained police force can help diffuse future incidents from occurring. It would also help if people were able to police their own community, instead of having strangers that they’ve never met encounter them in tense situations.
Frank Shephard III
Frank Shephard was a loved person. His mother and family will miss him very much. Mr. Shephard was shot and killed during a car chase with the police. His mother said, “They did not have to shoot him. They could’ve stayed in their cars and started running demands”. She is now grief-stricken and in disbelief. She watched the entire encounter unfold on television, and it left her heartbroken. Admittedly, it’s not in anyone’s best interest to be involved in a car chase with the police. It should end with that person going to jail. But death? That is more than a bit extreme. A person should not lose their life over a bad decision made in fear. Mr. Shephard’s cousin put it well when she said of her cousin, “He was loved, he’s got life, he was a really good person; and everybody has their mistakes, but overall a hard-working person”. Now, he will never be able to rectify his mistakes.
More than anyone, officers of the law have to think strategically, even headed, and with the safety of others. Shooting someone as they are fleeing not only harms or kills the suspect, but it also could put innocent bystanders at risk. Also, the punishment must fit the crime. A person shouldn’t die because they disobey the police.
Donald “Dontay” Ivy
“They noticed that he had his left arm tucked up into his sleeve”, said one of the police officers involved with the Donald Ivy death. He was tased to death because the officers thought he was concealing a weapon. So, because he had his arm in his sleeve, that means he had a weapon? Many people put one or both of their arms in their sleeves. For some, it is a mindless thing. For others, they are just trying to get warm. While a number of people put their arms in their sleeves to feel comfort. Donald Ivy was talking with the police, perhaps he was using his sleeve as a coping mechanism. Can you imagine getting tased for twirling your hair or wringing your hands? That’s basically what this amounts to.
There is no reason this man should have met an early death because of prejudice and fear. One can only imagine the outcome would have been different with a different set of circumstances, mainly the race of Donald “Dontay” Ivy. The worst part about the real outcome is that Mr. Ivy did not have a weapon. Not one. There needs to be more conflict resolution training. It can save the lives of people in the community, as well as officers of the law.
Alton Sterling was a father and a businessman. He was also a good friend to many. One of his friends was the owner of the convenience store where he sold his CDs. Mr. Sterling had the express permission of the store owner to sell his merchandise outside. Mr. Sterling was a frequent face in that area. Nevertheless, Alton Sterling was shot dead. As more evidence comes to light, a new video seems to show more details of what happened when Mr. Sterling was shot. We already know that he was on the ground and restrained when the police shot him, but it seems one of the officers also took Mr. Sterling’s gun out of his pocket. So, Alton Sterling had no weapon, posed no threat, yet he was still shot.
The death of Alton Sterling sparked more civil unrest throughout the country. People protested both on the streets and in social media. The Black Lives Matter Movement held Alton Sterling up as a perfect example of how the police interact with the Black community, and how that behavior can no longer be accepted as normal. There has to be an equitable standard of treatment for all people. This can only be achieved through training, and vetting of potential officers.
Right after the death of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in Minnesota. Mr. Castile was in the car with his girlfriend, and a four-year-old child at the time of his death. To protect herself and her child, Mr. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the incident immediately after shots were fired. According to Ms. Reynolds, Mr. Castile was shot because he was trying to comply with officers. He was trying to get his license and registration. Instead of being able to comply, he lost his life.
The incident started because the officer was looking for a robbery suspect. The officer said, “The two occupants just look like people who were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just because of the wide-set nose. I couldn’t get a good look at the passenger.” Essentially Philando Castile lost his life because of racial profiling. An officer who even thinks to state something so offensive should be fired on the spot.
Philando Castile’s death intensified the cries of angry and wounded people all over the country. Protesters were sick of being complacent. They raised up together to call an end to police brutality. Some protesters even shut down highways. Many of them were shouting “no justice, no peace”. Perhaps, their voices will soon be heard.
Charles Kinsey was shot in Miami while trying to help his Autistic patient during a crisis. Mr. Kinsey is a behavioral therapist, and he was trying to get a runaway patient back to the facility. As the pictures and video show, Mr. Kinsey was shot with his hands up, and in a submissive position. Miami police state that they were just trying to help Mr. Kinsey. They thought Mr. Kinsey patient had a gun, but missed the patient and hit the wrong person. That is disturbing on so many levels. First of all, why is the police just opening fire when they don’t have a safe shot? Furthermore, why is the police officer such a bad shot? Lastly, the police’s version of the story just doesn’t add up. Charles Kinsey can be heard saying, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavioral therapist at a group home.”. The police were informed nobody was armed, yet they still shot at them.
Luckily, Charles Kinsey is alive He didn’t lose his life due to a grave error in judgement. But the question still remains, why are so many black people getting shot? People of color feel like targets. That’s not the way any citizen should feel in their own country. We should all feel like we are important. We should feel like all of our lives matter. However, when things like this happen constantly all around the country, it’s hard to say “all lives matter” with a straight face, because clearly they aren’t being treated as such.