Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alton Sterling; Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Philando Castile; Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

These are two of the latest unjust deaths at the hands of law enforcement in America.

Sterling was executed by police after an unlawful stop and the excuse given by police is that this man was carrying a concealed weapon (a gun). Now perhaps he should not have had the gun (due to Sterling’s prior felony charge), but the fact is still that Sterling did NOT pull his gun on the officers and was, in fact, carrying a gun to protect himself. No crime was committed, yet this man was brutally murdered.

Castile, a hard-working, law-abiding man, admired by schoolchildren and parents at the school where Castile managed the cafeteria, was gunned down while sitting in his car by a police officer who stopped him over a broken tail-light. The shooting took place when Castile attempted to obey the officer’s order of producing his I.D. This execution was witnessed by his girlfriend (and filmed by her) and her four-year-old daughter!

There have been a tremendous number of unlawful killings of young Black men by law enforcement all around the country. And as a result, over the past 24 hours, peaceful protests by thousands of diverse individuals (African Americans, whites, Native Americans, Latinos) took place in cities from coast to coast, such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, Atlanta, Seattle, Oakland, Baton Rouge, Washington, DC, New York City, St. Paul, and Dallas. These were peaceful protests with demands of protection, not executions, by law enforcement and investigations into the deaths of Sterling and Castile and an end to racism and disregard for Black lives by too many police officers around the country.

One protest went terribly wrong, but how? In Dallas, a sniper (or snipers) opened gunfire on Dallas police shooting at least 12 with five dying at the time of this writing. The police even identified and sent out a bulletin with the photo of an innocent black man, named Mark Hughes, as the suspect. This put Hughes in great danger as he was carrying a gun (open carry is allowed in the State of Texas). Fortunately, he was unharmed and proven innocent before more blood was shed unlawfully.

I firmly believe these killings of Dallas police officers were not connected to the peaceful protests being led on the night of June 7, 2016. These types of horrendous acts are meant to further the violence, squelch the dialogue between adversaries, and continue the racism that has reared its ugly head even greater than in the early 20th Century.

The unnecessary police stops, the unnecessary police beatings are not resolutions to the problem of crime in our communities. Instead, these are issues being dealt with in Black communities across the country.

The Black community no longer has confidence in law enforcement or that the police are meant to “serve and protect.” This loss of trust and its corrosive impact on crime rates in our communities are reflected in the police opinion polls.

We can no longer stand back and allow another shooting by law enforcement in our communities. Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, young, old, men, women – All of us must lock arms and continue to fight this unlawful, racist epidemic of death. Confront law enforcement to rid police forces of these “bad” cops. Good cops must also stand up with the people and fight back! Enough is enough!