I wanted to write for the last 24 hours. I could not. I am crippled by grief. Every time the police in America show the hatred that they have for Black people, my heart breaks afresh. The racism in America is so entrenched, so unshakeable, so institutional, that it is depressing to see. And even in the face of evidence, they keep killing us, brutalising us, treating us like animals. And going free. Not even an indictment. I’m not even asking for the licensed criminals to serve time anymore, that’s how desensitised the Black population is to the idea of justice. Merely that someone admits that ONE person, one of these names was killed illegally.
In less than 24 hours, two black men were killed by American police for DOING NOTHING WRONG.
A father of five was selling CDs outside a shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when he was apprehended by police. Two police officers proceeded to pin him down so he was helpless while another blasted him repeatedly to death. He was pinned down by officers right next to a stationary vehicle and shot five times.
Somehow, between the assassination and the news spreading, the police department had dug out a prior-unseen gun and spurious news about his past bubbled to the surface. As though that justifies killing him. Police who we have SEEN disarm armed white men EVEN AFTER they’ve murdered people. Oh, sorry, murdered Black people. Totally does not count.
And while they peddle their damaging rhetoric about single Black mothers and the fathers not being home, the partner of this murdered man had to stand next to her 15-year-old son and talk about how her husband was killed while trying to feed their family:
Sterling’s killers are on paid holiday. Probably sipping Long Islands this very moment, safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen.
While we all joined hands in sorrow and impotent anger to help Alton Sterling’s loved ones virtually scrape his blood off that tarmac, who could believe that the trigger happy policemen, filled with so much hatred for our fathers and our brothers, were only just getting started?
During a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a policeman ASKED Philando Castile to bring out his particulars. And then shot him while he was reaching for his wallet. ‘Luckily’ (?), his partner, Lavish Reynolds was in the car and streamed the entire ordeal onto Facebook. Right up until the man tasked with serving and protecting killed her partner in front of her child who happened to be in the back seat. The live streaming video is linked here, but there is graphic imagery should you wish to watch it.
Two things: what is left of my bruised and battered heart is shattered at the sound of a child witnessing this and saying to her mother “It’s okay, mommy“. This shouldn’t happen. This isn’t the way. Nobody should live this.
Secondly, I do not think I have seen a stronger woman that Lavish (Diamond) Reynolds in my entire life. Throughout what must have seemed like her life closing around her, she was articulate and factual. She repeated the details time and again of what was happening. She was calm, level headed and in control.
All this, while the murderer was screaming obscenities and acting like an out-of-control, drug-fuelled lunatic.
Her behaviour in the middle of the madness is perhaps the most damning evidence yet. That actually, what usually happens in these murder cases of police against black civilians isn’t rebellious behaviour, the lies the police choose to peddle over and again at their hearing.
Typically, it is just an officer with a gun who takes the easy way out and kills a non-threatening Black man.
Needless to say, her phone has been confiscated, and I’m sure the FHPD are this minute working feverishly to find whatever dirt they can on Castile. As is their way.
She speaks after the heartbreaking ordeal:
For once, I have no words other than to tell the news the exact same way I have heard it. And to lay the facts before you. And then to go and sleep knowing full well that Black lives SHOULD matter. But they don’t. Not to the Americans.
I will not pray. I have no words for their god. He don’t care about me and mine.
I’m just grief stricken at the impotence of it all. We keep dying like animals.
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