Tag Archives: Eric Garner

Social Media: Who Controls the Narrative?

Is social media changing the narrative? Through social media, we are able to witness everything from some of the greatest achievements in a person life, to what they are eating, to a horrible act of violence being committed. Like everything in life, there are good things that come and there are bad things that come. I will admit social media is used to display some of the most heinous crimes such as rape, torture, and murder. For these reasons, there is a fraction of the public calling for the end of live streaming through social media outlets. I fully understand why the victims and the family of the victims do not want these acts broadcast around the world. But social media gives us the news unfiltered and by providing information unfiltered this is changing the narrative.

For years the only way for us to receive news was through our local newspaper or news television network. These mediums controlled the narrative, they decided what news was worthy, how we would receive the news and when we would receive the news. Basically, we may not receive valuable information if someone else decided it was not valuable.

I understand all the arguments for limiting or controlling the information being disseminated. Safia Samee Ali of NBC News wrote an article about this topic, in the article the writer discusses who may be responsible for stopping live-streaming or is someone responsible. John C. Dvorak wrote an article for PC Magazine where he suggests that live-streaming should end immediately. I have an opposite position than John Dvorak I believe social media and live streaming has worked to black people’s advantage.

My opinion is that live-streaming and social media has benefited the black community in one specific way, it has allowed the world to see many of the things that are happening to our community. The world has been able to see the murders of Eric Garner, Philando Castiel, Walter Scott, and Terence Crutcher just to name a few. I know we have not received justice in the court of law for these murders but the country can no longer hide these tragedies from the rest of the world. Just imagine if these incidents were not caught on video, most people would not about these things, black people included. Viewing these tragedies have caused an awaking in the black community. People are starting to realize that Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Black Panther Party and others work has not been completed. The news media would not have reported these occurrences, they had no choice because the video was circulating around social media. I reside in New York without social media I probably would have never known about Philando Castiel’s murder. In witnessing these incidents I am now able to give my sons visuals of things that I have always warned them about, they understand now how to proceed with caution when interacting with the police. Social media has helped some people get their charges dismissed because their arrest was caught on video and released on social media. The police lies were exposed forcing the courts to remove charges. If the video is live-streamed the police cannot erase the video before the world has a chance to see it.

My fear is the government will find a way to get rid of the live-streaming and/or make these videos inadmissible. I have two reasons for this fear, one the videos are allowing people to win their case and even when the police are acquitted of these murders the families are still able to win lawsuits against the police department or municipal governing body. The second reason is the United States likes have the reputation of being the moral leader of the world. These videos are showing the rest of the world that the United States is allowing their citizens to be killed without

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Do Not Believe Your Lying Eyes

Do not believe your lying eyes is what we are basically being told by the American judicial system. Members of the Black community for years have not trust the judicial system or the police and this mistrust is based on experience. I believe that many members started to believe that we may receive some justice when the atrocities that were being committed against were being caught on video. These crimes being caught on video has not provided the justice that we seek.

Cases such as Eleanor Bumpurs, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Patrick Dorismond we were told that these victims attack the police or were behaving in a threating manner. There were no videos and the victims were dead so we could not hear their description of the events. The people and the courts had to rely on the testimony of the police involved and forensic evidence that is collect and analyzed by the same police department. There was a case in New York City in 1994 where a white undercover cop shot a black undercover cop in the back three times, the white cop was given five years on probation for this act. Recently, there have been several cases where a video of the incident exists. The videos allow us to witness moments of these murders.

Having these crimes on video has meant nothing as far as justice being served, in many cases, the police officers are not indicted. It is rare that a prosecutor do not get an indictment in case but for some reason, it is rare that police get indicted in these cases. The government will tell the people the video does not tell the whole story, and the video may not tell the whole. The question that needs to ask who is tell the rest of the story and is that person telling the truth? We watched Tamir Rice being gunned down on video, what part of the video where there may be more to the story. A child playing in the park with a toy gun, he was never afforded the time to adhere to any commands the police might have given. Never mind that in his state it is not illegal to have a firearm in public. Eric Garner being choked by a police officer, never mind the officer is using an illegal choke hold which contributed to Mr. Garner’s death. The latest injustice is the Alton Sterling case, the two officers have been cleared. Two use of force experts stated the officer’s techniques were not good but they did not use excessive force. Sterling was shot six times. This not excessive force and do not believe your lying eyes.

Let’s take a closer look at the Alton Sterling video because the government says the video does not give a complete picture of the event. This is my interpretation of the video, so people may disagree and if so please inform me of my errors. My understanding the police officers approached Mr. Sterling because the received a call he was brandishing a firearm. First, it is not illegal to carry a firearm in the state of Louisiana. Secondly, why would an officer get close enough to get into a physical altercation with a person they believe is armed and may be a threat. Now police training experts state that when approaching someone who’s either holding a gun or indicating that they have one, police are trained to first take cover at a safe distance and create a barrier between themselves and the other person. This usually means ducking behind the police cruiser or a building. These officers did not do this. Thirdly, the officers yell gun as if he is surprised Sterling has a gun. Why are you yelling gun in this manner if the sole purpose of you interaction with Mr. Sterling is based on him having a gun? Finally, Sterling is shot three times but because he is still alive and moving he is shot three more times. This is not considered excessive force if so this means the goal is to make sure the person is dead not no longer a threat but dead. Remember the gun was still in Mr. Sterling pocket the entire time.

Ironically, it has now been 25 years since the Rodney King verdict, King’s police beating were captured on video and the cops were not found guilty of any crimes. 25 years later we are still being told do not believe your lying eyes.