"He was no angel," declared the New York Times about Michael Brown, an unarmed African American 18 year old who was shot by the police.
"Trayvon [was] suspended THREE times for 'drugs, truancy, graffiti and carrying burglary tool'" reports the Daily Mail about Trayvon Marting who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman and later acquitted.
"In regards to young Mr. Rice. There's nothing about this case that pleases me. The young man should have had better home training. He should have known not to be out with a replica / toy / fake gun," said 19-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police force, whose name (for obvious reasons) I have redacted. His comments were in response to me posting the following lead in to one of the many articles about the fact that charges would not be filed against the cops who killed Tamir Rice: "I'm sure my friends who are cops will tell me there's a good reason for this and that I'm not looking at all angles. Apologies if the only angle I can see is that a cop once again shot a child and once again nobody speaks for this child."
Unsurprisingly things erupted on my thread. One of my friends was so angry she wrote the following to the 19-year veteran, MY GOD!!! WHAT???? ARE YOU FUCKING CERTIFIABLY INSANE??? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR GODDAMN MIND??? SERIOUS QUESTION HERE: HOW FUCKING *DARE* YOU???
Her words aptly summarize the continuing anger being expressed by those of us who sit here with our mouths gaping open when yet another African American has been killed by a cop.
Although It Seems to be a Non-Sequetor, It's Not
One White male friend and former journalist / colleague of my father's said this, The cops chose to put themselves into that situation by the way they pulled up their car. From the video it didn't appear anyone else was around or immediately in danger. I can only summise that in the minds of the officers, responding to the call, one option was if the person were to show the weapon in a menacing way that they would shoot to kill. And they did in under two seconds. What I have proposed throughout this matter is that the same situation involving a 12 year old white child in Scarsdale, NY; Newton, MA; or Shaker Heights, OH, would have inhererntly been handled differently. The possiblity that it might be the child of an important person, or a mentally ill person, or a toy gun, would have resulted in a more cautious approach, perhaps a call for backup, and efforts to handle the situation in a manner where the officers wouldn't be led or forced to shoot to kill. Add to that the fact that the dispatcher failed to mention that the caller reported a child with likely a toy gun sitting on a swing, and you have a greater systematic screw up as well. But as a rule, 12 year old rich white kids are not shot to death by police in white communities. It's a different story in black communities. Something needs to change.
In His Own Defense
The 19-year veteran cop wrote this on his Facebook wall. I guess he's gotten some backlash about his comments and once again defense of his men and women in blue.
In the wake of the decision in Ohio not to charge the officers in the Tamir Rice shooting, certain people have decided that an African American police officer with 19 years on the job and has seen quite a lot and is of the opinion that that incident had wrong on all sides, has said that Tamir Rice was without proper guidance and or home training but that didn't mean he had to die, who has said the officers involved used some of the worst tactics and decision making and one of them should have had zero public contact, I have been deemed an "Uncle Tom"?
If you are the type that can see a headline where a Caucasian cop shoots a black person and you automatically assume the officer was wrong, without hearing the facts of the incident, YOU are apart of the problem.
I give ZERO fucks about your opinion of me. If you have a problem with me, our job or how we do it, delete and block me, and never ever use your booger hook to dial 911 ever again.
Although my initial reaction was to bring out the smallest violin in the world and play it for him, I decided to respond to him. Why? Because his post got 74 likes and 25 comments. All of the comments until mine (which is still the last one because it's only 6:05 a.m. in LA and they're presumably still sleeping) praised this 19-year veteran for his courage to speak up and for his wisdom.
My Response to the 19-Year Veteran Cop
Nobody on my thread called you an Uncle Tom. We did, however, get pissed off when you said some crap about Tamir's lack of home training. Can't even believe you brought that up.
He was 12 years old. If any of you behind those shields think that's okay, I question why you are on the job. Apparently you all need a history lesson.
In 1909 the NAACP was founded in response to the legal lynching of African Americans.
In 1966 Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party in response to police brutality against minorities, in particular African Americans. It was meant to counter the non-violent movement of the civil rights movement started in 1954. Why?
While some strides were made toward the advancement of Black people (hey, my parents could get legally married, despite being different races, that's a start), the historical police violence against minorities continued.
It continued long after then head of the F.B.I. J. Edgar Hoover declared "the Black Panther Party, without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country."
Why was the Black Panther Party the greatest threat to to the internal security? Because one of their primary objectives was to end the police brutality against minorities.
We all know what happened to the Black Panther Party. Killed or jailed on bullshit charges and many were ambushed by the police, in their sleep no less.
In 1988 NWA released their song, "Fuck the Police," in response to the continued targeting of African American (mostly males).
In 2012 the #BlackLivesMatter movement was created in response to Trayvon Martin's murder, which of course the killer, gun toting, woman punching, fight provoking George Zimmerman was found not guilty for.
When you referred to Tamir Rice in my Facebook thread as Mr. Rice, you were distancing yourself from a 12-year-old child who was killed by a police officer. If you honestly feel his lack of home training is justification for his murder, you—and I mean all of who wear the badge—are extremely brainwashed and fucked up in the head.
What the NAACP, the civil rights movement, the Black Panther Party, NWA, the Watts rioters, the rioters responding to the joke of the Rodney King verdict, the demonstrations following the joke of a verdict of the cops who brutally killed Amadou Diallo, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Baltimore rioters, the Ferguson rioters and we have in common is our disgust over the system. The joke of a system that has been allowed to, no wait, too passive a word, trained to target minorities and in particular African Americans since before we were free from slavery.
That movements rise up, that riots occur and that you got called an Uncle Tom, I have to ask you, xxx and all of you in blue, at what point will you recognize we aren't the problem? It's not Tamir Rice's lack of home training! It's not the fact that Trayvon Martin was suspended three times or that Michael Brown was no angel?
At what point will you look at yourselves and admit you are part of the problem, and not at all part of the solution?
At what point will you join us in saying, enough is enough?
I get that you're mad that someone or several someones called you an Uncle Tom. I have to ask myself whether you aren't mad at the person or people who called you an Uncle Tom but mad at yourself because there's a shred of truth in those words and they sting?
Please note this was a stream of consciousness. It has not been edited, indeed there are many instances of repeated words. I closed my response to the 19-year veteran with a link to N.W.A's song, "Fuck the Police."
While I don't believe all police are bad, I definitely get why they wrote and performed this song. That its lyrics remain poignant today just means nothing has changed. While people can argue the facts in each individual case, at some point the names, faces, facts and dates are all a blur.