(Todd A. Smith)
In 2003, rap icon Jay-Z released a song entitled “What More Can I Say” on “The Black Album.”
On the song, “Hov,” talked about not having much more to say because he had done it for so long.
He had switched up his style or words so much that people had taken his style and copied it.
So what else could he do to bring something new to the game at that point in his career in 2003?
Sometimes, people feel the same way when it comes to police brutality and systemic racism.
What more can the talking heads say to make a difference?
How many more tears do loved-ones have to shed after another unarmed Black man gets killed by an overzealous and undertrained police officer?
Obviously, no matter what we say or how many families must bury innocent loved-ones, it seems like business as usual for many police departments across the country.
Safia Samee Ali of NBC News reported, “The Grand Rapids Police Department in Michigan released several videos on Wednesday of the fatal police shooting of a Black man during a traffic stop this month.
“The videos, from a body-worn camera, an in-car camera, a cellphone and a home surveillance system, show the final moments of Patrick Lyoya’s life.
“Lyoya, 26, was killed on the morning of April 4.”
The video shows a scene that has been seen for years of unarmed Black men getting shot although they do not seem to pose a serious threat to the officer.
Lyoya gets shot in the head by the unnamed officer who had tussled with Lyoya for his Taser.
Lyoya, who many say did not speak English well because he migrated from the Congo, takes out running after the officer pulled him over on a rainy road.
Before running, Lyoya asked the officer what he did wrong.
The officer says that his license plate does not match his car.
Many television commentators have said that in some jurisdictions, a person stopped by police does not have to stay still unless they are under arrest.
Therefore, running from a police officer is not always illegal and definitely should not result with a bullet to the head.
Other than that take, I cannot think of any other takes to add to this horrific incident that would move the ball forward.
As a result, I’ll just rehash some of my past takes from past articles because if I’m going to sound like a broken record, it might as well be some of my past classics.
In an op-Ed that I wrote in the wake of the Rayshard Brooks death in Atlanta I wrote, “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.
“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.”
After the murder of George Floyd, many of my White peers reached out to me to ask how they could assist the movement to end police brutality and systemic racism.
At the time I wrote, “Even if a person does not take a leadership role or become physically active in the movement, they can do many things to help their brothers and sisters of a darker hue.
“They can empathize.
“They can listen…
“They can vote.
“They can support more African-American owned businesses…
“They can donate money, resources and time to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“They can call out their privileged peers when they hear something racist and bigoted.
“They can simply be a friend.
“They can pray for the African-American community.
“They can pray for the law enforcement community.
“They can pray for our leaders…”
Yes, that sounds like a record skipping on the turntable.
And unfortunately, a skipped record does not move forward.
It just keeps repeating the same beat and lyrics.
But that reality should not make people stay in their seat.
They should still get up and try to move the record forward.
They should still try to dust off the record to improve the quality.
It just gets frustrating to see all your work seemingly going in vain and no one wanting to hear your lyrics.
Sometimes, you just do not want to keep pushing forward with your movement at all.
But like Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
That’s all I can say.