As a black man with a young adult son I have had to have “the conversation” more times than I can remember. The conversation of what black men should do when pulled over by the police, especially young African American males.
Yes, it’s real America.
I know that some think that blacks are paranoid and overstate the magnitude of the issue, but police brutality against blacks is a genuine threat. A lot of jokes have been made about driving while black, but I can assure those nonbelievers that a lot of truth is told through jokes.
Last week was another slap in the face for Black America. A Minnesota jury found a St. Anthony, Minn., police officer, Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of second-degree manslaughter charges in the shooting of Philando Castile. This verdict is so unbelievable considering the fact that the shooting was actually broadcast live on Facebook by his girlfriend.
The officer was also acquitted of two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety.
Here is what white America needs to understand. African Americans have been dealing with this type of racial profiling for decades in this country. Technology has allowed these incidents to be recorded and seen by millions. But in the Castile case, the live recording ultimately didn’t mean anything.
I remember watching the video last year, and my mouth dropped open because I had never seen that type of footage captured live. The young lady (Ms. Diamond Reynolds)was extremely calm despite the fact that her boyfriend had been shot four times. It was unbelievable.
Reynolds was smart enough to tap into Facebook Live and record the incident with police that shows her boyfriend, Philando Castile, just after he was shot by police.
“Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and the police just, he’s covered. He killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed, he’s carried … he’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket and he let the officer know that he was … he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet, and the officer just shot him in his arm.”
Officer with gun pointed at vehicle’s interior:
“F—! I told him not to reach for it, I told him to get his hand out.”
“You told him to get his ID sir, his driver’s license. Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”
The video was extremely graphic, Castile was alive and can be seen squirming in the seat next to Reynolds at the start of the video. We now know that he was later declared dead at a hospital.
We also saw police ask Reynolds to get out of the car and lay on the ground. Her main concern was for her 4-year-old daughter that was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. Yes, a 4-year old child witnessed this horrific situation.
So how did a jury find the officer not guilty of second-degree manslaughter? Remember, prosecutors did not go for a first or second-degree murder conviction. The evidence could not be more obvious that at minimum at second-degree manslaughter verdict was appropriate and necessary.
Here is another point to remember – Castile had a valid permit for his firearm. He voluntary told the officer that he had a gun to avoid a confrontation.
The vast majority of our police are good men and women who take their sworn duty to protect and serve very seriously. We should not let a small minority of bad police dictate how we as blacks feel about the majority, but the fury, disappointment and trepidation is real. History is also real, and it is hard not to think about the constant injustice that African Americans have faced in America.
Most of us understand the intrinsic danger of police work, but clearly the men and women who join the profession have a legal responsibility to all of the citizens they’ve sworn to protect and serve regardless of race.
Yes, the young officer was afraid and probably because the people in the car were black. He panicked and an innocent young man lost his life, and the worse part is that there will be no justice. In fact, just the opposite happened – miscarriage of justice.
Relations between police and black America have always been strained, but last week’s verdict in Minnesota further expose one of the biggest issues we continue to sweep under the rug – race relations. My 21-year-old son gets it, but what do I say to my nine year old? Castile did exactly what the police told him to do and was brutality shot.
After leaving the courtroom, the victim’s mother, Valerie Castile, spoke with passion and truth. She said, “The system continues to fail black people. My son loved this city and this city killed my son and the murderer gets away! Are you kidding me right now?”
She added, “We’re not evolving as a civilization, we’re devolving. We’re going back down to 1969. What is it going to take?” Great question.
Signing off from Enoughhasbeenenough.com,