Jim Crow 2.0 must go: Legalize Being Black, Outlaw Bad Cops

Legalize Being Black

Both hands were in the air as he stood in the middle of the street surrounded by armed cops. A helicopter was heard circling above as a male voice said, “he looks like a bad dude.” He started to walk towards a van stopped in the middle of the street followed by four police officers, guns drawn and pointed towards him, hands still in the air. Obscured by the wall of police officers, shots rang out and the man suddenly fell to the ground.

This video shows the disturbing killing of that man Terence Crutcher of Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday.

Even more abhorrent, the 40-year-old Crutcher was left unattended to die on the ground like roadkill. This seem to be standard procedure when black men are shot. Remember Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin? Mind you, those were the ones captured on tape. Imagine those incidents where there were no video cameras.

The abject lack of sympathy, empathy or simple human decency can only lead to one conclusion—black lives do not matter. We are roadkill.

The police officer who killed Crutcher is claiming she felt threatened. Threatened by an unarmed man with both hands raised above his head. She was the one armed, flanked by several fellow officers who were all armed to the hilt, with a police helicopter also circling above.

Interestingly, the voice heard racially profiling Crutcher from the hovering helicopter, is reportedly the husband of officer Betty Shelly who fatally shot Crutcher. He concluded that the victim was “a bad dude” by simply watching him from his perch, not knowing anything about this man except that he had dark skin.

And it’s not just the cops, this bias seeps through to the general populace. Remember watchman George Zimmerman who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to death in Florida say to the 911 dispatcher that the teen looked “up to no good?”

Charlotte is currently in chaos after another  deadly shooting of a black man.

Conflicting stories abound. Witnesses say 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was reading a book while waiting in his car for his son to come home when police shot him. Police claim he had a gun. They were at the North Charlotte complex looking for someone else when they shot and killed Scott.

The media is now covering the “violent protests” which broke out Tuesday night following the killing. Notice how they word their captions. Isn’t it the other way around, protests erupt after the violence of police officers. Isn’t the killing of an unarmed American a violent act?

Legalize Being Black—we feel like we are trespassing in our country

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Many of the things America once thought were bad for us, have been given the nod of approval.  Alcohol, abortion, interracial marriage, same sex marriage and gays openly serving in the military are all legal by law. Cancer sticks known as cigarettes are perfectly fine to light up and puff away until possible death. Even the “forbidden herb” marijuana is now legal in in a few states.

But there is one glaring last bastion left. As pro-marijuana advocates continue to chip away at lawmakers’ ridiculous reasons for keeping it illegal– being black in America still feels illegal.

Sounds preposterous doesn’t it?

Illegal means not allowed or prohibited by law so when black folks in this country are constantly profiled, harassed, abused, stereotyped, judged, marginalized, ostracized, convicted, disproportionately fill prisons and are killed simply because of the shade of our skins, it feels like we are outlawed.

When police who are paid by taxpayers including black folks, (yes we pay taxes too)—to protect and serve–shoot us in the back, shoot us in our cars with our children present, choke us to death for suspicion of selling cigarettes, shoot us dead selling CDs, shoot us to death in our apartment bathroom while our grandmother and younger brother are present, run us over with their cop car, shoot us to death while holding BB or toy guns, shoot us for looking menacing, kill us while in handcuffs, shoot us for having a busted tail light, shoot us for simply driving, walking or running while black, kill us in jail and call it suicide—well you see how it feels like being black is still illegal in these here parts.

Feels like Jim Crow 2.0.

So while many in this country  are highly offended by Colin Kaepernick’s refusing to stand for the national anthem in protest of police killings, police continue to kill with impunity while these same critics remain silent or staunchly defend the cops. Lionizing police officers is not only insulting, it’s dangerous. No one is above the law. Moreover, where are all these other “good cops” we hear defenders speak of? If they’re good, why aren’t they standing up against the brutality displayed by some in their ranks?

And this cancer is not only prevalent in police departments across the country. It is deeply systemic when even the Justice Department fail to find anything wrong with the numerous killings of unarmed Americans.

When is this country, who likes to export law and order to the rest of the world– going to wake up to the fact that this is an American problem and not just a black problem? When there is blood running down the streets like a river? When this country implode from the pressurized rage building?

Here are just a few of the ways you can die while being black in America:

Allegedly selling cigarettes on a Staten Island street corner: Eric Garner 43 years old: killed July 17, 2014 when New York City police threw him to the ground in an illegal choke-hold.

Riding with your fiance and your young child in the back seat of your car:  32 year old Philando Castile shot by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota on July 6 of this year after being stopped for a broken tail light.

Failing to signal a lane change: 28-year-old Sandra Bland died in a Texas jail after being arrested. Her July 13, 2015 death was ruled a suicide but her family and many in the community do not believe the story told by police. Moreover, she should not have been in that jail to begin with.

Shot while selling CDs: 37-year-old Alton Sterling, was shot to death by police on July 5, 2016—several shots at extremely close range while selling CDs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Running to hide in your bathroom: while his grandmother and younger brother were present, unarmed Bronx teen Ramarley Graham  was shot dead by police who stormed his apartment on February 2, 2012.

Asking for help after a vehicular accident: 24-year-old former Florida A & M football player Jonathan Ferrell was shot and killed by police  in Charlotte, North Carolina September 18, 2013. The unarmed Ferrell was shot 10 times.

Running from police: 38-year-old Marlon Brown of Volusia County, Florida,  was run over by a police car like road kill, May 8, 2013. He was unarmed.

Riding the train: 23-year-old unarmed Oscar Grant 111  was shot dead by police on New Year’s Day, 2009.

Standing in your neighbor’s yard: 58-year-old unarmed Greg Gunn was shot to death by Montgomery police March 2016.

Making eye contact, then running in fear: 25-year-old Freddie Gray Jr. broke his neck in a police van and later died for being arrested unlawfully in Baltimore, April 12, 2015.

Sitting in your car with friends in New York City the night before your wedding: In 2006, 23-year-old Sean Bell was shot over 50 times as he sat with friends in his car after attending his bachelor party. He was unarmed.

Children aren’t exempt: 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot to death by the Cleveland police, while playing with a toy gun. Video showed the cops opened fire on the child immediately after exiting their car. No assessing the situation or questions asked.

 Why are white killers arrested unhurt?

It seems police feel more threatened by unarmed black folks that they are of armed dangerous killers who are white or any other color than black. White killer can kill dozens in a movie theater in Denver Colorado and get arrested without a shot fired. White killer can kill black church goers in their church in South Carolina and get arrested unhurt. Get escorted with police protection and bullet proof vest to court.

Hell, our recent terror suspect in New Jersey got arrested “undead.”

The black community is angry and it’s boiling over.

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, are called angry by the media. A lot. They say these mostly white folks are angry; fed-up with the status quo. That they have a legitimate reason to be this angry.  That politicians in Washington have left them behind, ignored their plight.

Well if white Americans are justified in being angry, what do you think black Americans feel? Forget Washington leaving us behind, systemic racism, bias and apathy has allowed injustice to fester in every facet of society, especially in law enforcement and our justice system.

About Veronica Roberts 57 Articles

One thing is certain, we are living in incredibly precipitous times and though it looks gloomy from the top, all is definitely not lost. Activism has awoken to heady heights; citizen involvement deeply refreshing and civics awareness is growing daily. Moreover, a revolution of spirit and togetherness is undulating throughout the land. So do not despair– for a resilient, united, vigilant people can move mountains and overcome anything.

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