It Didn’t Have to End That Way
“It does appear in the video that he is fleeing from the police officers, that as he’s fleeing he turns back over his shoulder with what appears to the naked eye to be his Taser that the eyewitnesses told us they saw the individual have that belonged to one of the officers,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds, describing the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
“And as he turned it over, you’ll be able to see on the video the Atlanta officer, literally reach down to his service weapon and as he gets his weapon, Mr. Brooks begins turning his body away from him, I presume to flee.”
Zachery Deville, a White man, stabbed a police officer in Louisiana.
Nevertheless, officers on the scene arrested him peacefully.
Dylann Roof shot nine African-American church members at a South Carolina church five years ago this week.
Nevertheless, officers on the scene viewed him innocently enough to feed the poor baby because he was hungry and wanted a hamburger.
In Atlanta, Rayshard Brooks wanted to go up the block to his sister’s house after police officers allegedly found him intoxicated and asleep at a Wendy’s drive thru window.
Nevertheless, cops still arrested Rayshard Brooks and the violent encounter led to Brooks’ untimely demise.
No one is saying that Rayshard Brooks was right to resist arrest.
No one is saying Rayshard Brooks was right to take an officer’s Taser and point it at him as he ran away.
But why is it so difficult to get some officers to believe that every little encounter with an African-American man that does not go according to their plan does not put their lives in danger?
As African-Americans, we have seen White people get belligerent with police officers.
Actually, some of us have seen White people cuss out police officers.
We have seen viral videos of White people channeling their inner Mike Tyson and treating police officers like they were Trevor Berbick or Michael Spinks.
However, those White people were still arrested peacefully.
But when an African-American person does anything, even the things that police officers ask them to do like retrieve a driver’s license, insurance or registration, sometimes the African-American driver receives their death certificate because we are viewed as a so-called danger or threat.
In Rayshard Brooks’ case, how can a person be a danger to an officer running away from the scene?
I was always taught as a child that only a coward hits someone from behind and when they are not looking.
A real man confronts his foe face-to-face and the best man wins.
So if only a coward would hit someone from behind, a police officer that shoots a civilian in the back, especially multiple times, is not even man enough to be considered a coward.
They are much worse than cowardly.
If a cop has any cowardice in him, then the badge is not for him.
People that wear the badge have to be brave.
Shout-out to the thousands and thousands of cops who do their jobs correctly day in and day out.
Shout-out to the cops who interact with people in minority communities when things are going well, not just when crime occurs.
Shout-out to the cops that risk their lives everyday to make their communities better.
We see you and we salute you for your service.
But to the countless cops across the country resigning from their jobs because they are finally being held accountable for their abuse of power, good riddance.
Name me another job that does not hold their workers accountable other than many police departments.
If a teacher or principal doctors their students’ test scores to improve a school’s rating, those educators probably will receive a pink slip.
If a teacher sleeps with an underage student, they lose their job and face prison time.
If a journalist makes up fake stories from fake sources, they lose their job, credibility and future in the journalism profession.
If a baseball player cannot hit a curve ball, they probably do not last long in Major League Baseball.
If a mixed martial arts fighter fails a performance enhancing drug test, they face punishment.
If a child breaks the rules at home, they face punishment.
Why is it so hard for some officers to realize that they have rules too and should be held accountable when they break those rules?
The officer accused of killing Rayshard Brooks received a written reprimand for a use-of-force complaint in 2017.
Therefore, it should not be a surprise that his actions could lead to him unjustly killing Rayshard Brooks.
It is also not surprising that he still had his job after the complaint.
In Minneapolis, former officer Derek Chauvin had numerous complaints also.
Serious accountability might have saved George Floyd’s life and/or Rayshard Brooks’ life.
Thankfully, the officers involved in the killing of Rayshard Brooks will face criminal charges.
But the problem is there are more than a few bad apples here and there as some might argue.
The problem is structural and a few arrests will not solve the problem.
Throughout American history, police departments always had links to hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
So-called police officers were always used to keep slaves in line and prevent them from attempting escape.
Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor used dogs and water hoses to assault civil rights protestors in the 1960s in Birmingham, Ala.
Therefore, law enforcement has always been used to keep the African-American community in their place.
That type of systemic racism does not end by firing and indicting a few bad officers.
To really make a difference, a total restructuring of police departments is needed.
When school districts get taken over by the state, they often make all teachers reapply for their job, rooting out the ineffective teachers.
That is what is needed throughout American police departments, among other things.
America already has a blueprint of how to defund police departments, root out police corruption and rebuild a police force that works well with its residents with Camden, N.J.
Other departments should take heed to the progress that Camden, N.J. has made in their relationship with their residents.
But if more common decency existed, it would have never had to come to this, and Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd would still be alive today.