Painting of a black man's face against a yellow and orange circle on a white sided building with a bouquet of flowers in the foreground

Mural of Alton Sterling at the Triple S Food Mart in North Baton Rouge

On March 27th, 2018, once again, the legal “authorities” made the same decision that seems to be the norm when it comes to police officers killing black man and boys “in the line of duty.” What decision did the Louisiana officials make regarding the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling? A black man that was seen, not alleged, but seen, laying on his back while two police officers held him down and shot him dead. They made the decision that police officers are not held responsible for killing citizens, especially black citizens, and will not be charged with murder when it is very clear, through visual evidence, that murder was committed.

Police officers getting off with killing black boys, or anyone for that matter, isn’t always the case. The police officer who shot unarmed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in 2017 was charged with murder in Texas within a week of using his rifle to shoot into the car that Edwards was sitting in, with three other black boys, at a house party. This past March in Minnesota a police officer was indicted with murder charges for shooting 40-year-old Australian woman, Justine Damond, when police responded to her 911 call.

It seems that less than 80 police officers have been arrested for murder charges after “on-duty shootings” in the last 12 years. It appears that if citizen killings take place as “on-duty shootings” or if the officer “fears for his life” then it justifies shooting at and killing people that the officer “suspects” are a threat to them as they perform their duties, which by the way are to “serve and protect” the citizens.

Last March 25th, two police officers fired 20 bullets into the body of 22-year-old Stephon Clark.  A black man holding a cell phone in his grandmothers back yard. The officers say they thought it was an “object” and that Clark was “advancing towards them” which of course, means, they now have the right to shoot to kill while “on-duty.” They were responding to a vandalism call and suspected Clark of being the vandal. The price for being suspected of breaking windows in this case, was death. That’s a high price to pay for pieces of glass.

Just think, Clark was killed just days after the indictment of the police officers for killing Damond. Why is it so easy for white police officers to kill black men that are unarmed? Why is it so easy for police officers to get away with murder, even when it is clearly the case of murder? If a citizen decided to kill someone because they “felt” threatened because of the object the person was holding in their hands, and it wasn’t a weapon, they would face a jury. They would have to prove that it was self-defense to a jury of their, and I say this with tongue in cheek, peers, who would then decide if it was murder or not.

It is so easy for police officers to shoot to kill citizens because they know that they can do it without punishment from their peers and from the judicial system. They have been doing it since the first police force was organized. They will continue to do it if we the people continue to elect people in office who don’t care about the citizens who are killed by the officers. They will continue to do it if we the people continue to elect police chiefs and sheriffs who are part of the honor squad of the “blue code” of protecting their own, regardless if their own is corrupt and a murderer allowed to carry a gun that is paid for by the very citizens that they kill. If we the people continue to allow the grand jury to secretly make decisions that 90% of the time are in favor of police officers killing citizens without any indictments or consequences for their actions it will continue.

Why do we continue to allow people to sit on the grand jury who are clearly, based on history, never going to fully hold any white person, especially a police officer, accountable for killing black people? Think of all the lynching’s that occurred for over a century after the civil war, almost 4,000 documented accounts. Now think about all the times the grand jury decided to not indict the people responsible, when accused, for the murders. And if you are murdered by police in the south, as a black person, there will not be any justice for the family. And the few that were indicted are not nearly enough to make up for or to change any black person’s mind regarding what the outcome will be after the grand jury makes it decision to continue to allow blatant murders of our black people. No justice, no peace.

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