I really need to make time to write more post. It can be therapeutic. So many things to talk about, so little time.
Today, I want to focus on what many people will think is a new epidemic of white Americans calling the police on African Americans. The behavior is not new at all. It has been happening for decades, but the difference is people are now video taping the interactions and the media is reporting on it more regularly.
To illustrate that this is not new, all you need to do is to go back to the Trayvon Martin case. If you recall, Georgie Porgie, as Jay Z calls him, was on the phone with the police when he thought Trayvon was suspicious. It does not feel like it happened that long ago, but that was 2012. The same would apply to the 2014 death of John Crawford III. What makes Mr. Crawford’s death so egregious was the fact that he was in a store buying the pellet gun which was the suspicious activity that ultimately caused him his life. I’ve touched on this case in other blogs, but the caller grossly over exaggerated [read lied] what was going on with Mr. Crawford in the store. These two cases show that this is not just a new, 2017 or 2018 thing.
This year we have already had high profile cases that involved African Americans doing everyday activities that a white person wouldn’t even imagine would be interrupted by a police officer. Things such as going to Starbucks, having a cookout in the park, taking a nap within the walls of your college dorm, or taking your kid to the pool for a swim on a hot summer day. African American kids are not even spared from having the police called on for selling water in front of their own apartment complex. We recently had the case of a politician canvasing her district and the police were called because she was suspicious.
Why does this occur so frequently? The cases that we all get to hear about via the news aren’t the only ones, be assured of that. African American’s have been criminalized so much that these white American’s are almost trained to believe that there has to be something nefarious going on. It’s HERO time! Time to call the police. I’m sure in many of these cases, the person that called the police absolutely believed that the African American which they determined was suspicious either had just committed a crime, or was about to do so.
This is very dangerous for African American’s in this country. The Philando Castile case points to this very danger. Philando told the officer that he had his weapon on him and immediately the officer was overcome with such an irrational fear that he killed Mr. Castile within seconds. Watch the video, from the time that Mr. Castile volunteered the information that he had his concealed weapon on him, to the first shot was literally a few seconds. I’m aware that the police were not called on Mr. Castile, per se. He had been pulled over so many times by the police that you could hear it in his voice that he was very used to the routine of disclosing his weapon to the officer. This time, this officer, panicked and cost him his life. I point to this case to say that interactions with African Americans and police officers are often very dangerous for the African American citizen.
I mentioned above that in many cases that the person calling the police believes the African American was guilty of a crime. There are also times that white American’s use the police as a means to put an African American in their place. It has also been used as an implicit threat that they [as a white person in America] can have you arrested whenever they choose to do so, for whatever reason.
In some cases, people are not even calling the cops. They are just attaching Black children. See the story below.
What can be done about this phenomenon? Shamefully, not much can be done. What could actually be done, would never happen. We could impose penatiles against those that waste goverment resources. Could someone that calls the police for a bogus reason open themselves up to be charged with a crime? Because there is a racial component to this, in my opinion there will never be lesiglation to punish a white person for being openly racist.
In the immediate future, the only thing that may minimize this behavior is public admonishment by the officers on the scene. The officers in the video below handled their case properly. The officers addressed the situation and realized the person that called the police was over the top racist. There have been other cases where I have seen the police have handled the situation properly. The problem is that if African American’s or other people of color need to rely on the police to be the calming voice, then this problem will probably exist for many years to come.
Keep recording, that’s the most realistic counter measure that we can take right now until there is a legisltative resolution for this behavior, that is all we can do! Unfortunaley, that is life of people of color in America.