2 cops were shot and killed, execution-style, in New York today. The loss of life saddens me and I hope that NO ONE ELSE has to die. But I have to be honest, my initial and lingering feeling was more so, “What did you think was going to happen?” Let me explain…
August 11, 2014: Unarmed Ezell Ford was killed by police in Los Angeles with multiple witnesses saying that he was compliant with officers and lying on the ground when shot in the back. Officer has not yet been indicted and there is currently a hold on the autopsy.
September, 2014: Decision on the case of Unarmed Dillon Taylor, killed by police in Salt Lake City with video footage showing Taylor non-violently walking away from the police. Police screamed for Taylor to get his hands out of his pants, and shot him when he did so. Officer was not indicted.
September 24, 2014: Decision on the case of John Crawford, killed by police in Dayton with video footage showing Crawford not breaking any laws or being given time to abide by police commands. Officer was not indicted.
November 20, 2014: Unarmed Akai Gurley was killed in a stairwell by police in Brooklyn. He was not a suspect of any crime, nor were police responding to a crime. Gurley was non-violent and was never given a command to obey by officers before being shot. Officer texted his union rep BEFORE calling for an ambulance. Investigation is still ongoing. Officer has not yet been indicted.
November 24, 2014: Decision on the case of Unarmed Mike Brown, killed by police in Ferguson with multiple witnesses saying he had his hands up when shot six times. Officer was not indicted.
December 3, 2014: Decision on the case of Unarmed Eric Garner, killed in New York with video footage showing a non-violent man being choked from behind by a police officer using an ILLEGAL/BANNED take-down tactic. Officer was not indicted.
Let me digress for a quick second to make a point. Please keep in mind, an indictment is not “finding someone guilty”. It is a formal charge of an offense, allowing for a trial to determine if there was any wrong doing. But, back to the point.
In response to these killings, not mentioning the countless insensitive social media rants by many Americans, this happened:
December 8, 2014: Missouri bar sells “Michael Brown Drink Special” where customers can order six shots of tequila for a discounted price.
December 15, 2014: In response to the “I Can’t Breathe” protest shirts that represent the last/dying words of Eric Garner, police print and sell “Breathe Easy. Don’t Break the Law” shirts.
December 19, 2014: A “Thank You NYPD” rally is held, with many supporters wearing, “I CAN breathe” shirts, shouting, “Don’t resist arrest!”
December 20, 2014: A man takes the lives of two police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, right after posting on social media, “They take 1 of ours… Let’s take 2 of theirs. #ShootThePolice #RIPEricGarner #RIPMikeBrown”
So, let me try to summarize this with two long-winded sentences: Multiple killings of American citizens who did not commit a crime that warranted their own death (most of which committed no crime at all) cause protests across the nation calling for justice to a nation of people who feel unjustly marginalized by an overbearing police force’s use of brutality and lack of accountability for their actions. Then, amidst protests of people expressing their emotional feelings of hopelessness due to multiple decisions not to indict the officers for their killings, police officers and others mock the feelings of those people asking for justice and an end to police brutality, taking the forms of “Michael Brown shot specials”, “Breathe Easy. Don’t break the Law” shirts, and a “Thank You NYPD” rally wearing “I CAN breathe” shirts.
Then, an American citizen retaliates by killing two police officers.
I ask again… What did you think was going to happen?
To put these reactionary emotions in context, let me give an example. To kill someone’s mother is an atrocious action. Let us imagine that a man did such a thing to YOUR mother. Now, imagine your mothers’ killer was able to walk free (even with video evidence of his crime), then walked in front of you with a shirt that said, “I killed her… and I got away with it… AND IT’S HER OWN FAULT SHE’S DEAD!” Can you imagine the anger and aggression you might feel?
The “Michael Brown shots special” made a joke out of an unarmed man who was shot six times, days before leaving for college. The “I CAN breathe” shirts served as a slap in the face to the last words of dead man, who was unarmed and did not act aggressively at any point in time before being killed. The “Thank You NYPD” rally mocks the citizens of this country who point out police brutality, inferring that police and their families condone the actions of the non-indicted officers. Instead of allowing the nation to express its anguish, the opposing side poked and prodded at a suffering nation, until it reached its breaking point. When a little girl loses her mother and lashes out at you emotionally, angrily, violently, quietly, or otherwise, do you tell the child, “Well, your mother was a criminal anyway! She deserved it! She could have prevented her own death!”? How awful of a person would you be to do such a thing?
Years ago, Malcolm X was quoted saying that John F. Kennedy’s assassination was “America’s chickens coming home to roost.” He later exclaimed that the assassination was a result of the climate of hate that America had allowed to fester for so long. The death of these two officers, however tragic, is the result of decades of police brutality. The actions of the gunman are in direct response to the vile, disgusting, and incentive actions of the police force and their reactions to the calls for justice and cry’s for equality. I do not condone killing, by anyone. I wish the families of the two officers my sincerest condolences. But the blood of these officers is not only on the hands of the gunman, but on the police forces corrupt policies, inadequate self-investigating, and its racist, disrespectful, or power-abusing individuals who have joined their organization and taken the “good cops” down with them.
What did you think was going to happen?