Prejudices, Fears, Jitters and Knee-Jerk Reactions Prove Deadly To Blacks
“What we’re seeing when it’s a black person, the bias kicks in that they’re aggressive, and that they can be violent. The officer’s bias kicks in, and he begins to accelerate this scenario in a way that shouldn’t be.”- DeLacy Davis, founder of Black Cops Against Police Brutality
HOUSTON- The public release of a dashcam video depicting the shooting of Philando Castile by a Minnesota police officer is an omen that relations between the community and police are moving in the wrong direction and likely to get far worse.
The video and report by Police Officer and shooter Jeronimo Yanez both demonstrate a lack of respect for the lives of Black males and is indicative of the overall attitudes that have evolved in police departments around the United States.
“There is no move to fix this and the worst is yet to come,” said the Hon. Robert S. Muhammad, Nation of Islam Southwest Regional Student Minister, Muhammad Mosque No. 45 in Houston.
“There is no justice for us. The deck is stacked against us. There are also elements in police forces that are racist and have the tendencies to kill us (Blacks).”
With the cases piling up of Black men and women being gunned down by police at alarming rates and the failure of the justice system to indict and convict police officers, it leaves many scratching heads about the lack of concrete and constructive dialog and action to stop the bloodletting.
Death in Seattle
One of the latest shootings reported is in Seattle Washington. This police shooting left Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of three, dead. The two Seattle police officers had been called to Lyles’ apartment so she could report a burglary.
According to reports, there was some interactions between Lyles and police prior to the shooting. Before the shooting, there was an alleged commotion lasting about 16 seconds, and then police fired the gunshots that killed her.
Investigators are now looking more closely at whether the officers could have done more to de-escalate the situation.
So far, 416 people have been shot by police in 2017. Only Black newspapers, talk shows, family members and supporters are sounding off on the senseless bloodshed and lack of concern for Black lives on the part of police.
Crying and grieving parents petition the public for changes, but the appeals fall on deaf ears. That gives way to anger, riots and uncalled for retaliation against police because leaders are not leading or moving to stop the killings.
“You can’t reform or retrain a reprobate and racist mind,” Muhammad said. “This is a race war and has been underway for 500 years and the goal is to wipe us out ( Blacks) by any means necessary.”
Yanez had fatally shot Philando Castile, who worked for a nearby school, during a traffic stop outside the Twin Cities. The officer said Castile kept moving even though he told him not to, reaching down and putting his hand on something.
Transcript Snapshots Officer Atttiudes
In the video, which is less than two minutes, Yanez initially approaches Castile for having a taillight out in his car. Castile tells the officer he has a firearm, and is warned by Yanez to not pull it out. Castile says he is not, yet Yanez starts yelling and allegedly grabs for his gun, shooting Castile seven times.
Yanez was recently acquitted of manslaughter for shooting Castile, and was offered a voluntary separation agreement from the local police department.
Appearing on News One Now, Howard University professor Greg Carr, Ph.D., J.D Carr said it’s clear that the not-guilty decision was fueled by the negative bias towards African Americans from law enforcement. “Juries are put in difficult positions because the prosecution, including the judge, are against black people. We’re not baffled – we’re outraged. The bottom line is this – you’re looking at a country that is terrified of black people, has always been terrified of black people. This is not going to be solved in the courts.”
What is more disturbing is Yaniz explanation which still is not a reason to kill Castile.
According to Yanez, before he opened fire, Castile kept moving his hand. From the transcript:
“I, believe I continued to tell him don’t do it or don’t reach for it and he still continued to move. And, it appeared to me that be had no regard to what I was saying. He didn’t care what I was saying. He still reached down. … And, at that point I, was scared and I was, in fear for my life and my partner’s life. And for the little girl in the back and the front seat passenger and he dropped his hand down and, can’t remember what I was telling him but I was telling something as his hand went down I think. And, he put his hand around something. And his hand made like a C shape type um type shape and it appeared to me that he was wrapping something around his fingers and almost like if I were to put my uh hand around my gun like putting my hand up to the butt of the gun.”
Police Panic Deadly
That part of the transcript is eye opening and says it all. “ I was scared”…
Scared of what? So Black men are being shot, killed and murdered because a police officer is “scared”
during a simple traffic stop trouble call in the Black neighborhood.
“First of all, the officer panicked. The split-second decision making that police officers have to make in a shoot/don’t shoot scenario – he accelerated it instead of de-escalating it. When you look at his partner on the sidewalk he seems as though he’s in a whole other video, because he doesn’t react as an officer who sees or feels or believes that there’s a threat that is imminent,” according to DeLacy Davis, founder of Black Cops Against Police Brutality and a civil rights attorney. Davis, who appeared on News One Now and Roland S. Martin, is extremely troubled over the video and the overall attitudes of police toward Blacks.
Nekima Levy-Pounds agreed. “It was baffling to know that the jury watched this particular video over and over and over again and still came to the conclusion that Yanez was not guilty in this particular scenario,” she said. “Beyond that, Philando Castile went above and beyond what the law requires in even reporting that he had a firearm – that’s actually not required under the law in the state of Minnesota.”
Levy-Pounds is former president of the Minneapolis Chapter of the NAACP.
Muhammad makes it clear that one way to stop the killing is to reduce encounters with police.
It becomes obvious that these meetings with police on traffic stops or trouble calls are increasingly a problem as many Blacks end up dead, just calling in for the ones who are support to be sworn to “Protect and Serve” all citizens.
“It is time for us to patrol our own streets and communities,” he said. “It is up to us to make the places where we live safer and decent to live. You reduce the contact with police and you reduce the incidents of deadly violence against us.”
He also added that Blacks must wake up to the realities of the race environment and climate we live in and take steps to be as asset to the solution over being a liability and contributing to the demise of the Black community.
Recent Houston crime reports and attacks saw the untimely and tragic deaths of two young Black infants killed at the hands of Black men committing crimes in the neighborhood.
“It is sad to see that some of us are helping the situation with the homegrown violence we commit against one another,” Muhammad said. “We must depend on ourselves and the guidance from God to help save ourselves from this great judgment that is upon us.”
By: Darwin Campbell