How come we must pick sides? Remember the Martin Luther King Jr. quote “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The reason why I ask this question and reference this quote is that people have been taking sides regarding the Meek Mill situation.
Meek Mill has been sentenced to a prison term of two to four years for probation violation. There are people on all sides of this topic, many people believe he deserves it for violating the conditions of his probations. There are people upset because some celebrities have come to Meek’s defensive, these people believe their others in the prison system who need the help of these celebrities. There are those people who view this as a mistreatment by the justice system. I personally believe in the latter, this is an abusive system of justice. I offer this to the people who believe Meek is getting what he deserves and to those who are concerned about others in similar or worse situations. If they can do this to an individual who has some success, notoriety, means and minor wealth; what will stop them from doing this to all of us. Instead of complaining about him receiving this attention because he is a celebrity we need to use this moment to point out other situation that displays a miscarriage of justice. People past judgment on the Meek Mill situation without learning what really happened, people rely on the media and the media has proven over time that is not on our side. The media only reports the truth when they are forced to report the truth. The judge indicated he violated his terms of probation by leaving the state without permission, police contact from a fight in the airport, and police contact for riding an unauthorized vehicle in the streets of New York. The charge of leaving the state without permission charge, Meek Mill’s people notified the judge of his travel request and she signed off on the request. The judge later denied giving permission. The fight in the airport, after farther investigation it was determined that Meek was trying to prevent the fight and the charges were dismissed. Riding the unauthorized vehicle incident happened while he was shooting a video, the police were present the entire time, and he was not arrested for this infraction until the next day.
I understand people need to be punished for their mistakes, but the punishment must fit the crime. I ask our people to do one thing instead of looking at all the negative things people like Meek does look at the positive things they do. The media will always highlight the negative, but they will never report on all the charity work he may do, the people he may employ and the lives he may save. Look at the situation regarding Senatorial candidate Roy Moore people are coming to his defense and he is accused of, in my opinion, one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit. As Black people, we have many problems, us fighting amongst ourselves should not be one of them. Any issue regarding a Black person should be dealt with among Black people, the media or no outside forces should influence our decision about another Black person. Remember the injustice you allow to happen to one person, you may one day become a victim of the same injustice.
By now everyone has heard about or seen the video involving Seattle Seahawk player Michael Bennett. The video shows Bennett being detained by the police when he has not committed any crime, the only thing he is guilty of is being black. Bennett describes how he was forced to the ground, had a gun pointed at his head, and threaten if he did not follow the police orders.
One of the arguments presented against Colin Kaepernick when he was protesting was that as a rich, famous athlete he is subject to this type of behavior from law enforcement. The arguments were basically why do you care it will never happen to you. With this incident involving Michael Bennett that argument is thrown in the garbage where it should have been from the beginning.
All these recent incidents with police killing black people, the police brutalizing minorities and wrongfully arresting minorities are not something new. The masses like to believe these incidents are outliers but in the black community, we know these are everyday occurrences. The videos are just allowing the world see a small snippet of what we go through in America. Even with these videos there has still been no justice for the victims. What people have to realize the amount of incidents that are not caught on camera and the number of years we have been experiencing these atrocities. There are numerous organizations such as the Innocence Project who have been getting wrongfully convicted people out of jail. Wrongfully convicting someone is police brutality. Shaun King has written these wonderful article exposing a corrupt police precinct in the Bronx.
Also when we talk about the police shooting there are individuals who like to bring up black on black crime. First, the black people who commit these crimes against other black people are criminals, so to equate police shooting to black on black crime you have to admit the police who commit these killings are criminals. Therefore the police who shoot unarmed citizens are criminals and should be treated as such.
No matter how rich or famous one becomes they will not be able to avoid the black experience if he or she is black. Michael Bennett happens to be one of the professional athletes who uses his fame to speak out on these issues, I believe this experience will be additional motivation for him. And Mr. Bennett I am ready to fight with you.
With the election of Barack Obama, it was thought that America has made advances on race but are we absolutely sure that country has made advances? Has the election of Obama created more hate groups or White Supremacist Groups? Has the election of Obama created more racial tension in America? I ask these question because after the events that have taken place in Charlottesville Virginia this weekend it seems like there have not been any advancements. As many have stated in was reminiscent of the 60’s.
Obama won the popular vote during each election based on these results this meant that the majority of the country saw past race and voted for whom they believed was the best candidate. The election of Obama was a historical event, I think many people thought this was a huge advancement in race relations in this country but it seems that a small of a fraction of the country was not pleased by this. I do not have statistical data or historical data to back my opinion but it appears to me that the racial tension has escalated with the election of Obama. The killings of unarmed black people seem to have increased but one can argue these killings have always taken place and the introduction of social media has just made us more aware of these incidents. It seems the number of hate groups, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist and Alt-Right organization have increased or have become more visible since Obama’s election. The election of Donald Trump has also fueled many of these groups, they believe they have an ally in Trump. Trump cabinets would suggest that they do have an ally, his remarks regarding the tragedy in Charlottesville suggest they have an ally. Regardless of who is aligned with whom we must be prepared for whatever is coming.
We all thought the election of Barack Obama meant the pendulum of racism had swung to the side of righteous, equality, and love of all mankind now it seems that the pendulum has swung back to the side of evil, hate, and inhumane thinking. Will the pendulum swing back or are we stuck in evil and hate? If we are stuck will this be the end of America?
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.