UNITED STATES—It’s no secret at this point that the question of police brutality or excessive use of force has risen once again in the American spotlight. In just 1 week, we’ve had 2, not 1, but 2 fatal shootings in various parts of the country. The first taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma where Terence Crutcher was fatally shot at the hands of Tulsa Deputy County Officer Betty Shelby. The second shooting took place in Charlotte, North Carolina where Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by officers.
This is just ridiculous in my opinion. I cannot fathom how in the world that this trend, which has likely been going on for years, but with the advancement of technology we now have video that can dispute and refute what many officers may have claimed to be acts of self-defense. I mean both videos are horrifying to watch, it almost feels like nowadays it’s so dangerous to be an African-American male, that you would be frozen with fear just walking out the front door, especially if you come into contact with a police officer, especially one who happens to be white.
I mean let’s be honest; all the deaths of so many African-Americans males in the recent years have been at the hands of white officers, so let’s just stop with the sugarcoating people. In the Tulsa shooting, multiple officers were at the scene of the crime and Deputy Shelby was even informed by a colleague that he had a Taser and was planning to utilize it to ‘lessen the threat’ at hand that she claimed was evident. However, she still fired her gun killing Crutcher. However, there may be a silver lining in this case, because not only was the victim NOT armed, but Deputy Shelby is being charged with manslaughter.
What is so mind-blowing is that my professor divulged this week that her teenage son asked a question that so many others didn’t, and it is so simple: why aren’t more officers utilizing Tasers or stun guns instead of immediately going to utilize the gun which should be a last resort. It’s all about firing the gun, not thinking about saving a life. Yes, the question can be raised: my life or their life. However, if the person is NOT ARMED, where does the threat exists? The officer is in a position of authority, not the victim.
Now we transition to the shooting in Charlotte, which has so many people reeling and rightfully so. This question has been raised on countless occasions about the issue of mental health and police officers. Why isn’t more being done to train officers on how to deal with such situations where officers are forced to have better training on dealing with individuals who are mentally ill? Scott’s death was captured on cell phone video, where a family member was heard yelling at Scott to adhere to the officers orders, while also explaining that he was not armed and not fully comprehending what officers were asking of him. Sitting there and watching that video with the notion that it’s not going to end well.
What’s more troubling about the Charlotte, NC incident? The fact that the authorities were CERTAIN the suspect had a weapon. Guess what he didn’t. Even more shocking is witnessing video showing the officers placing a gun near the victim’s feet. If that wasn’t enough to create outrage in the community, the fact that the authorities were so HESITANT about releasing the video of the shooting says loads. If nothing corrupt took place, release the video without delay.
Well, that did not take place, it took tons of media scrutiny and protests in the region before the police department decided to release the video. I want to say that some sort of justice will be served in this case, but my gut tells me that will not happen, simply because there is so much controversy behind this particular case, where my legal edge tells me I shouldn’t have my hopes high for any sort of accountability being held. I seriously have to ask the question rather not just these officers, but all the officers who have murdered unarmed African-American men if they have any sort of remorse. Can you sleep at night, not being haunted by the fact that a life was taken? I would hope those who have taken lives are remorseful, for those who are not shame on you.
What first seemed like isolated incidents to so many Americans, it has now become clear and epidemic is at hand. People are dying and these are just the ones we’ve heard about THANKS to video that captured the incident. I’m certain there are plenty others where no video was captured and no media attention was brought to the loss of black lives. I never thought I would say this, but thank God for cellphones and their ability to give the public a view of something without a biased thought. Video don’t lie people, video don’t lie. For all the officers attempting to justify wrongdoing, when video proves otherwise, you will have to answer to a higher power, if justice is not served.