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Stereotypes Won't Allow Pamela Turner to Get Justine Damond Treatment

by Todd A. Smith

 

Don’t Tase Stereotype Me Bro


Some people love to say that they have no racism in their heart.


To let them say it, racism stopped existing after the Civil Rights Movement.


But regardless of what people say to not appear racist, the constant killing of unarmed African-Americans like Pamela Turner, 44, because a police officer feared for his or her life is proof that many people view African-Americans as violent threats even if they pose no danger and even if people claim not to see color.


The negative stereotypes of African-Americans sometimes get them killed by overzealous police officers.


Those same stereotypes of African-Americans, and the positive stereotypes of White police officers, often get the cop exonerated.


And the positive stereotypes of White women, and the negative stereotypes of African-American men, even if they are police officers, sometimes get the African-American cop convicted, while the White family wins millions of dollars in damages.


Unfortunately, many people are to blame for these deadly stereotypes and assumptions. And everyone should be held accountable for the prejudices that they put out into the world because those prejudices could have deadly consequences.


Juan Delacruz, an 11-year veteran of the Baytown Police Department fatally shot Pamela Turner five times, an African-American woman suffering from schizophrenia, after he said she tased him with his own Taser on May 13.  


Cell phone footage of the encounter shows that the officer slightly retreated from Pamela Turner before gunning her down five times.


The officer who killed Pamela Turner said that he attempted to arrest her because she had outstanding warrants.


However, her family believes that her only run-ins with the law were misdemeanor offenses.


Furthermore, Pamela Turner’s family believes that officers in the area knew of her mental illness and knew she posed no real threat.


Protocol for dealing with someone with a mental illness requires calling for professionals to help diffuse the situation.


“My mother was not an evil person, she was not a criminal,” said Turner’s son, Cameron January. “She was giving and caring…she didn’t deserve this.”


Turner’s daughter Chelsie Rubin who gave birth to a child and celebrated her own birthday the day before her mother died, echoed her brother’s sentiments.


“My mom is not a horrible person,” Rubin said as she fought back tears. “She’s so loving, she’s so caring.”


Despite Pamela Turner’s family’s character testimonies, some in the mainstream media and social media have a way of trying to find anything negative that they can find to justify the killing of another unarmed African-American man or woman.


Botham Jean had marijuana in his apartment in Dallas.


Trayvon Martin had gotten suspended from school because of marijuana.


Eric Garner was overweight and had chronic asthma, and that’s why he died.


Furthermore, if Garner had just complied with the officer then the officer would not have had to inflict the death penalty on him for selling untaxed cigarettes in New York City.


After Pamela Turner’s tragic death hit the mainstream media, many news outlets began circulating mug shots of the deceased Baytown, Texas woman.


Mug shots have a certain connotation that can sway the public’s opinion before the facts come out.


Showing a mug shot, instead of a graduation picture for example, plants a poison in the minds of some in the court of public opinion that she was violent and might have deserved the outcome.


Therefore, much respect goes to true journalists like Isiah Carey of Fox 26 in Houston for circulating photographs taken by an actual photographer and not one taken by an employee of the police department.


Those same types of stereotypes make it impossible for an African-American police officer to keep his job or stay out of prison for killing an unarmed White woman.


When former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who is African-American and Muslim, killed an unarmed White woman he said that he feared for his life.


Prosecutors basically laughed him out of the courtroom and a judge convicted him of murder.


Why?


Prosecutors laughed at Noor because it is easy to see an African-American man as a murderer even if he is a police officer.


Furthermore, they laughed because it is easy for them to see a Muslim as a murderer even if he is a police officer.


But to see a little old White lady as a threat is impossible for the prosecutors in Noor’s case.


Unfortunately, Hell has a better chance of freezing over before a Texas jury convicts this officer of killing Pamela Turner because he said those magic words that he feared for his life.


Somehow, that excuse of fearing for one’s life is all a jury or a judge needs to hear to believe that an African-American posed a serious threat to an “innocent” and “harmless” police officer.


Stereotypes are enough to convict an African-American.


But stereotypes are never enough to hold some police officers accountable for their misconduct.


No one in their right mind is saying that all police officers are corrupt or racist.


But what wonder drug does the police academy have to rid their officers of character flaws that infect many human beings?


As if somehow, when an officer puts on a badge they leave all of their character flaws at home and become God.


The funny thing is some people use the negative stereotypes of African-Americans to justify them getting gunned down by officers despite sometimes having no weapon and sometimes having broken no laws.


When the Black Lives Matter movement began to sprout throughout this great country, many critics said that the deceased were thugs, criminals and miscreants.


Many critics of the Black Lives Matter movement used every negative stereotype in the book to justify the killing of unarmed African-American men and women.


But when African-Americans or other minorities stereotype police officers as being racist, corrupt and excessively violent, many of the same people who stereotyped African-Americans cry that we should not paint all cops with a broad brush.

 

If it is O.K. to stereotype African-Americans and justify their death, then it should be O.K. to stereotype crooked cops and justify their incarceration and termination from the police force.


This article was published on Friday 17 May, 2019.
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