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Indictments Prove Black Lives Matter Movement Not in Vain, But We Still Demand More

by Todd A. Smith


 

When the Black Lives Matter movement started, it seemingly received criticism from all corners of the country.


Many non-Black people responded that All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter.


Many non-Black people criticized Black Lives Matter for supporting reparations for descendants of Black slaves.


And many in the Black community criticized the movement because they did not think highly of those in leadership positions.


But say what you want, the Black Lives Matter movement has yielded results because it seems that more police officers are being held accountable for killing unarmed Black people.


However, we still want justice for victims like Breonna Taylor.


While the issue of police brutality will never totally disappear, the deaths of Black people like Elijah McClain and George Floyd show that bad police officers are being held accountable for their actions.


And truthfully, that is all that we have asked for going back decades and even centuries, accountability and equal treatment under the law.


CNN reported, “A Colorado grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics involved in the August 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who was stopped by police while walking home from a store, placed in a carotid hold and then injected with ketamine, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Wednesday.


“Aurora Police officers Randy Roedema and Nathan Woodyard, former officer Jason Rosenblatt and Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec were each indicted on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide as part of a 32-count indictment.


“In addition, Roedema and Rosenblatt were each indicted on one count of assault and one count of crime of violence, and Cooper and Cichuniec were each indicted on three counts of assault and six counts of crime of violence.”


In another example of changing times, a former district attorney has been indicted for interfering in the Ahmaud Arbery case.


CNN reported, “A former district attorney in Georgia has been charged after allegedly interfering with the arrest of a man involved in the 2020 shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.


“Former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been indicted on charges of violating her oath as a public officer and obstructing a police officer...


“Johnson—on the day of the shooting—prevented two Glynn County police officers from exercising their duties ‘by directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest, contrary to the laws of said State, the good order, peace, and dignity thereof,’ the indictment said.


“Johnson is also accused of violating her district attorney oath by ‘showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation,’ according to the indictment.” 


Gregory and Travis McMichael go on trial in October for allegedly chasing Ahmaud Arbery down in a pickup truck and fatally shooting him after a tussle.


While the recent indictments that came as a result for the deaths of Elijah McClain and Ahmaud Arbery represent progress, just think about what those cases mean regarding how the justice system often works against Black people.


A former district attorney interfered with the investigation into Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged killers when an immediate arrest was justified.


Because one of Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged killers Gregory McMichael had worked as an investigator for 20 years, he was able to leave a voicemail for Johnson asking for advice after Arbery was killed.


Johnson then tried to influence police officers not to arrest her former colleague.


She then asked for advice from Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill.


Then, after Johnson recused herself from the case, she recommended that Barnhill take the case.


However, Johnson did not disclose that she had sought advice from Barnhill prior to her recommendation.


All those shenanigans are the clearest sign of the conflicts of interest and the corruption in the legal justice system.


Furthermore, Johnson’s shenanigans are the reason that Black people applaud the progress of the Black Lives Matter movement, but still demand more.


That is why many Black people did not believe the investigations that brought no serious charges for the police officers that shot and killed Taylor in her own apartment.


I had a White classmate sincerely ask me why Black people were still upset after the investigators determined that the police officers did nothing wrong in the killing of Taylor.


Black people were upset, and are still upset, because we know the system is set up against us.


The United States judicial system is set up to help the powers-that-be and White people, not people of color.


As a matter of fact, the entire United States prison system as we know it today was set up to re-enslave Black people and provide free labor for major corporations.


After the emancipation of slavery, White Americans suffered financially because of losing their free labor force.


Therefore, to recover from their losses, they had to create a system that became slavery by another name.


As a result, Black people were arrested for “crimes” like not having a job without the White man’s permission or changing jobs without the White man’s permission.


Those Black people were often given fines for their punishment.


But since most could not afford those fines, local politicians and local law enforcement officials would allow corporations or individuals to pay their fines in return for forced labor.


Since those Black people could often never repay those corporations or people for the costs of their fines, plus interest, they often spent the rest of their lives as slaves for the prison system, private citizens, or slaves for major corporations.


This practice occurred well into the 1950s.


In fact, the prison industrial complex is still very real in 2021 thanks to the 13th Amendment.


Those reasons are why Black people refuse to let up until we totally change the system and make it more just for all people.


So, while we applaud the recent indictments in the killings of Elijah McClain and Ahmaud Arbery, we still demand more until the system is truly fair for all American lives, because all lives still do not matter, yet.


This article was published on Friday 03 September, 2021.
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