Somebody Call the Cops!

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.

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Million Dollar Game

The NFL has a big problem on its hands. One of the main problems is they have billionaire  owners that have these significant lapses in intelligence.  Take the Houston Texans owner, Bob McNair’s comments that the league cannot have the “inmates running the prison”.

The NFL has fumbled this protest from day one. I finally realized why this is the case this morning.  The NFL is only going to look at the protest as a “problem”. From the beginning, they have handled it like a problem. Instead of the NFL addressing the players concerns, they decided to break out the big stick.

I am about to give the NFL a blueprint on how they fix their “problem”.  While the NFL has started to have larger meetings with the owners and the players, they have not done one critical step. The League as a whole has never come out and even acknowledge that there may be such a thing as social injustice.  The closes individual owner that I heard acknowledging that there is a social injustice problem was Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lurie’s comments were semi-viral and taken mostly out of context. Within Lurie’s statements, he acknowledged that there is a problem with social injustice in this country.

First step to solving the problem, Roger Goodell needs to hold a press conference and state that he LISTENED to the players and acknowledge that the players have the RIGHT to protest and that NFL is looking into the issue more thoroughly.

The NFL does a lot of charitable work through NFL Charities. The NFL need to announce a multi million dollar program that will span multiple years to fight social injustice. The NFL could establish a partnership with the NAACP Legal Defense fund,  national organizations like the Urban League or the Innocence Project.

NFL_Charities

What would this announce meant do for the league?  It will show the players of the NFL that the owners are listening. It will show the fans that the players are not protesting the flag.  The biggest mistake that the NFL has made thus far was allowing the narrative to be set the the player were protesting the flag.  The owners know that it was never about the flag, or at least they should know.  Now that the flag has been the central focus, the owners certainly cannot allow the inmates to run the prison.  Like I said earlier, the NFL fumbled this one from the start.

The NFL is a cash cow that has made all the right moves in the last 25 years from a business standpoint. Certainly under the Roger Goodell era, the NFL has positioned themselves to make money hand over fist. What I have outlined above is the sensible business move.  The NFL has two groups “boycotting” the games over the same issues.  While I don’t think either of these groups individually will have a major impact on the NFL’s ratings, combined there will likely some impact. Beyond the ratings however, the NFL has to be careful of the longterm impact. Merchandising will ultimately suffer in addition to advertising dollars.

RogerGoodell

Here is why this approach will not likely be the NFL’s way out of this situation. First, racism. The owners know that if they appear to concede to the players now, there will be such an uproar from many white American’s that it would be a bad business move. Plain and simple, racism is not only the first reason, but the primary reason.

Second, white privilege.  The owners would never consider such a solution because they are privileged enough to HEAR what players like Colin Kaepernick was saying, but not LISTEN to him.

Lastly, President Trump.  President Trump does not like to lose at anything. If the NFL owners were to follow this plan, Trump would be on twitter firing up his base who would not need a whole lot of nudging to get fired up (see first point above).

Had the NFL thought of this strategy day one, they may not have been in this situation in the first place.  There is a chance. They can attempt to sell this through after the next player-owner meeting that should take place sometime in November. The NFL is scrambling and to find an answer. Because I want to see the ball move forward in fixing the social injustice problem, I just gave them a million dollars worth of game…. for free.

Dear Democratic Leadership, where are you?

I have been a registered Democratic voter since 1992. I have voted down the democratic line since that time.  I found something very interesting happening in the last election. There was a significant movements of democrats, challenging democrats.

African American’s have voted overwhelmingly for the democratic party in every election that I have been eligible to vote and and I’m sure the same is true for decades before.

I’ve always been interested in researching how the shift from the support African American’s gave the republican party to the democratic party.  I read once that the shift happened with JFK and his [reluctant] support of MLK. Regardless when it happened, African American’s have overwhelmingly supported the democratic party.

The shift in the last election was African American’s challenging the democrats not to take our vote for granted.  I have lived the majority of my life in a democratic controlled city, Philadelphia. Before I started to see this shift, I myself started to challenge democratic leadership in my beloved city.  The city has seen quite a few scandals from democratic politicians.  The most recent had from D.A. Seth Williams being sentenced to 5 years in prison on October 24th. I thought back over my time in Philadelphia and asked, “What really is this democratic party doing for the people of Philadelphia?”

So now, I want to take this national.  Watching what has happened in the first 9 or 10 months of this Trump administration, I can’t help but to ask a question, where is the democratic leadership? Sure, there are plenty of democratic pundits on CNN, MSNBC and other places, but what is leadership doing to prevent this from ever happening again!

I am one that watches a ton of new. Without using “the interweb” I honestly could not tell you the name of the leader of the DNC who was elected late last year, or earlier this year. The ground work for the 2018 elections should be laid right now. What’s his name should be on TV laying that ground work.

The DNC cannot assume that the majority of American’s are looking at what is going on in this country rationally and will act accordingly come November 2018.  The Trump administration is re-writing how politics work in this country every day, and the democrats are doing nothing to stop it.

Here’s the gameplan that the DNC should be following to totally shift the landscape of this county come next November.

  1. Establish a “Know the truth” website sponsored by the DNC. This website will be updated every day with lies that Trump that has told, and more importantly pointing out republicans that continue to support these lies.
  2. The DNC leader needs to be on TV every day, not attacking Trump, but attacking Republicans that continue to play along.
  3. Both the democrats and republicans are playing a very dangerous game normalizing Trump’s behavior. The DNC should be reenforcing the consequences of Trump’s actions in the minds of everyday Americans by not following the “big story” of the day Trump typically dictates. Bring to light the dangerous executive orders that Trump is passing that will impact everyday Americans. In other words, educate American’s on how Trump will eventually impact their lives directly.
  4. To the prior point, IGNORE what Trump wants you to talk about.  He has dictated the narrative for far too long. He knows his base will support anything he does, no matter how outrageous. The DNC needs to start to pick off the fringes of his base by remaining focused.
  5. Take the message to the enemy. The leader of the DNC does not need to be on left leaning media outlets. Go to Fox News, go wherever the outlet leans right.  You will take a supposed beating on these outlets, but message straight to Trumps base will help to begin to penetrate those fringes. In other words, if Hannity will take you, book it! Just be careful of the spin, and the sound bites that will inevitably come. Bring the facts and some people will start to listen.
  6. Start the campaign type commercials now in key districts/states.  The commercials again should not only focus on Trump’s lies, but the support that he is receiving from candidates in those key districts/states. Call out the out the danger that being complicit.  Tie these Republicans to Trump now before they have an opportunity to shift. There will be more Sen. Flake’s coming.

There WILL, excuse me, there MAY eventually be a shift in the landscape.  The outrageous behavior of Trump would indicate that the shift should have happened before the election, but here we are. Let’s make sure we are not in a worse position come November 2018.

Sins of my brother

The unfortunate events in Las Vegas last night lines up with a topic that I have wanted to write about for some time now. The events are tragic, and should never happen anywhere on God’s green earth.  I pray for the families and friends of those injured and killed.

Here is a sad reality of race in this country. I, and I am sure many other African American’s was hoping that the suspect was not African American as the Las Vegas events were unfolding. Why would that, of all things, be in the forefront my mind while I watching the news. I as an African American male quite often have to pay for the sins of my brothers.  African Americans, and other people of color, are constantly looked at as guilty until proven innocent.

People like to use statistics and particularly percentages to justify an argument. Let’s look at some raw numbers.  According to KFF.org, there are roughly 39,300,000 African American’s in the United States. In contrast there are approximately 195,500,000 white people living in this country.

Looking at statistics posted on ucr.fbi.gov, let’s play with some numbers (and words). I am using the 2013 crime data table. (I am completely aware that my population numbers are from 2016, so the percentages will be slightly different.) If we look at percentages and the total arrested for all crimes, only 3.18% of whites were arrested.  A large percentage of African Americans, 6.48%, were arrested for the same timeframe. Right there, using percentages and words, I have your mind thinking that African American’s as a whole commit much more crime in this country than whites. I mean look at the numbers, the percentage is more than double!

Wait just a minute, let’s look at the raw numbers here. Looking at the same category, there were 6,214,197 whites arrested in 2013 versus 2,549,655.  In any other case, we would look at these numbers and say, that is an incredibly large difference.  You can go back to the percentages, but there were 3,664,542 white people arrested looking at the raw numbers.  3.6 MILLION more people.  What happens when you look at percentages, those 3.6 million arrest get erased like they never happen because the focus is on the larger percentage. In this country, we look at African Americans as somehow being innately violent, or criminals. I will get to why I think you can throw some of these numbers out of the window shortly.

There is an argument to be made with percentages, and quite frankly, that’s the only argument that is typically made. Looking at the raw numbers, there were roughly 36,750,000 African American’s that did NOT find themselves in handcuffs in 2013.

I myself, was not arrested in 2013, or any other year.  Why is it that, even into my 40’s, I feel like a criminal when I walk into a mall or a especially a smaller mom and pop store. I do not get that feeling every time I am out like I did when I was in my teens and twenties, but it certainly does happen.

Americans have been conditioned to think that most African American males are threats. This is why we have cases such as Trayvon Martin who was just walking to the store to get some candy and a beverage and ended up dead.  Notice that I said Americans have been conditioned and not white Americans. I myself have been conditioned to feel like a criminal when I walk into these stores, and I know I am not going to commit any crimes.

By and large, African Americans are law abiding citizens. This isn’t the story that is embedded in the DNA of America. The sad reality of being African American is that I am judged by the criminal element of my race. White American’s are never judged by the criminal elements of whites. This is why when you have serious tragic events committed by white people, it’s met with surprise.  If a black suspect is arrested, the number one reason that many people go to is it’s because he’s black! There is never mental illness, or any other reason. This is how crime gets tied to a race, and again, we have ALL been conditioned in one way or another to accept this premise.

Lastly, here is why I don’t put much stock into percentages or statistics as a whole. Probably a year of so ago, there was a hashtag that went viral on twitter, #crimingwhilewhite. As I took a look at twitter just now, the hashtag is still pretty popular.  Back a year or so ago, the hashtag was used by mostly white Americans admitting to crimes and how they were being dealt with by law enforcement.  By and large, they were let go without incident.  This was nothing that surprised me at all. When you look at arrest statistics, there is no way to factor in how many white people were NOT arrested simply because they were white. On the contrary, there is no way to tell how many African Americans were arrested unjustly. If, in society as a whole, African American’s are viewed as guilty until proven innocent, there is going to be a spike in the numbers of arrest for African Americans.  If law enforcement sees a white youth smoking weed in a car and lets them go with a warning, that youth dodged a major bullet that could have impacted his/her life for years to come.

I remember hearing of a story years ago or so where a JUDGE stated that a white male shouldn’t go to jail because it would be to hard on him. I took a second to look for it, and I placed a link below.

du Pont Case

Has there ever been an African American plaintiff given a light sentence simply because jail would be to hard on them? Day in and day out, I am convinced that white Americans are saved from being placed into the criminal justice system simply because the street judge, police officer, has compassion for them.  This also skews the crime statistics that people rely so heavy on. 

Every race has a criminal element. Just the other day I witnessed a white bartender stealing money from her job.  She made two drinks, did a very poor job of adding up the total in her head and took the cash the gentleman paid and stuffed it in her back pocket.   Did I report it? No.  Had the shoe been on the other foot, I would have at least been out of a job, if not arrested.  Had she gotten caught, nobody would look at her fellow bartender as a thief as well. The second bartender was also a younger white female.   White people do not get judged by the lowest amongst them.  Someday, maybe for my children, that will be the same for African Americans. 

 

 

 

Dear white people, you are being ridiculous.

This blog post is for sensible white americans. If you already know that you are racist and cannot think sensibly about anything black, please do not waste your time reading this post. 

Dear white people, have you ever heard of the name Marquintan Sandlin or Kisha Michael?  Its not likely you have heard those names before.  Truth be told, the majority of conscience African American’s have never heard those names.  Their names did not go viral like other have in recent years.

In February of 2016, Marquintan and Kisha lost their lives at the hands of Inglewood police officers. I won’t go into the story of how they lost their lives, but I’ll tell you that officers confirmed that both Marquintan and Kisha were either SLEEP or otherwise UNCONSCIOUS when officers arrived on the scene. I’ve written about this incident before.

Original reports of the incident

To hear the mayor of Inglewood explain the situation he speculated that the couple must have awoken at some point because “obviously they were conscious because someone felt threatened”.  This was not a fact based statement at the time, just the mayor speculating on what happened.

Now, with the benefit of time passing, we learned that 5 officers involved in the shooting are no longer employed by the Inglewood police department. I do not know this for a fact, but I will speculate that at least one of these individuals is now back in law enforcement with another department. It is likely that all five are currently employed with other departments or some form of law enforcement.  There is no official word on why all five individuals are no longer with the department, but it is probably a safe assumption that the conclusion of an investigation found them at fault for the deaths of Kisha and Marquintan.

 

Have you ever heard of John Crawford III? John Crawford went to a War-Mart and was in the process of shopping when he was killed by police. Why is he dead? Another shopper called police and made claims that Crawford was pointing a gun at other shoppers. The surveillance video did not support the callers report.  Mr. Crawford was in the Wal-Mart about to purchase a pellet gun and doing some other shopping. The police say he refused to put down the gun. In my opinion, the video shows that Crawford did not have a chance to do anything before he was shot dead.  He was on the phone with his mother at the time he was shot dead.

The information given on the call to police was so egregious, that there was talk of charges being filed against the caller.

Have you ever heard of Sandra Bland? It’s likely that you have heard of Ms. Bland.  Sandra died in a cell after what was reported as a suicide. Many have speculated that Ms. Bland was in fact killed.  I have written about this case before. Assuming the official report that Sandra committed suicide is correct, why would she do it.  The video shows that Sandra Bland should have never been in that cell in the first place.  The arresting officer, Brian Encinia, has been fired for his actions that day.  If Sandra was not falsely arrested, would she be alive today? I don’t think there is much doubt that she would have been alive and working at her new job which she was supposed to start that following week.

As an African American man, I certainly was aware of all three of these cases as they were breaking news.  If I took 15 minutes, I am sure I could come up with 15 more cases where African Americans have unjustly lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement, or wanna-be law enforcement (see Trayvon Martin case). These would be cases that hit the news and gained attention on a larger scale. There are hundreds of other cases that do not receive such attention.

The protest in the NFL have been going on for over a year, but in the last two weeks, more white people have decided to chime in on the events. Many of my white brethren, including people I have worked with over the years, have been posting things like “Respect the flag”. “They are whinny millionaires”. “If you don’t like it, leave”.  I am hear to tell you all that you are being ridiculous. The players, including Colin Kaepernick, have always stated that they are not protesting the flag.  They are protesting injustice for African American’s and other people of color at the hands of law enforcement. Two of the three cases above are certainly well known cases by many African Americans and the NFL players.

I for one appreciate that these multimillionaire players are taking a risk their careers to speak up for those that do not have as loud of a voice.  For the families of the deceased, I am sure they appreciate that someone is getting the word out about what is going on in this county.

Anquan Boldin, former NFL wide receiver, has been very active in this movement. Each one of these players have their own reasons for getting involved. Boldin has been impacted by these shootings.  His cousin, on the way home from a church event, was killed by a police officer on the side of the road. When I hear white people say, “these rich spoiled athletes…”. These athletes are by and large not impacted by what is happening to everyday African Americans in this country. Their act is far from selfish, it is actually heroic.

Over the last two weeks, I have seen post of white American’s burning jerseys and season tickets. I think that is absolutely ridiculous. I call it “fake outrage”  Not that they are not actually outraged, but it is for a fake cause. Think of it this way, name a single player that has called for the American flag not to flown at an NFL game.  That would be protesting the flag.  There has been no calls for the National Anthem to be suspended at the start of the game.

To say that you do not want to be inconvenienced with hearing about people dying in the streets at the hand of government officials is extremely pompous.  The NFL brings awareness to Breast Cancer awareness during the month of October. If anyone was to ever come out and say, “why do we have to talk about this during my football game” you would clearly see how ridiculous that statement would be.

If you just opened your eyes and educate yourself on the issue that the players are protesting, you will see just how ridiculous your (fake) outrage appears to us.

 

Fear like no other

It’s been a while since I posted. Just short of a year in fact. I have so many topics I envision publishing here and never get to it because of real life getting in the way. I have decided to post shorter blogs touching lightly on the subject at hand.  Here’s the first of many. 

We have seen many unfortunate incidents between law enforcement and African American men via social media. Many of which have been recorded producing near high definition visuals. 

After these incidents, We always hear about the literal “license to kill”, which is the officer fearing for his life.  Do not mistake this for me saying officers intentionally kill and use this as a defense. I whole heartedly believe that officers have killed and realize this is their only defense. 

There is really no argument against this defense.  Only the officer knows what he was truly feeling and there is no way to disprove that fear.  

This is why so many officers walk free after fatally shooting young African American men.  Even when there is video of the incident, and to the average (black) person, there was absolutely no reason for the office to fear for his life, he is still acquitted. (Philado Castile case) 

I’m not here to discuss that, I’m hear to discuss the last time I feared for my life and how I reacted. 

First off, I’m from Philadelphia, PA.. My neighborhood was not a place where many of my non-African American friends would care to spend much time.  That being said, it wasn’t the worst neighborhood in the city either when I was growing up.  

I give you this background to say that growing up where I did, I do not have a lot of fear walking in any neighboorhoood. I know the rules of the streets.  Mostly, if you aren’t bothering anybody, you won’t be bothered.  Keep it moving and there is really little to fear. In other words, I personally don’t have any fear for my life being amongst my people. Do I watch my back when I am out and about, especially in a neighborhood that is a little tougher than others, certainly.  I do not have a fear that something bad is going to happen and certainly do not feel that my life may be in danger.  

I remember being in a large social event in Philly where gun shots rang out.  I vividly remember seeing the guy raise the gun straight up in the air and let off a shot. A girl along the same direction to which I ran was shot in the ankle.  The whole thing lasted about 30 seconds and I never once feared for my life.  Why? I know he wasn’t shooting at me!  I obviously knew that I could have been hit by a bullet, but the probability of me being struck amongst all of those people was pretty small. 

The last time I remember fearing for my life was actually on my birthday several years back, more than ten years ago in fact. 

I was on route 42 in New Jersey heading back to Philadelphia.  There was an unusual merge into the highway form the left side.  I was driving over the speed limit when out of no where, I saw flashing lights in the rear view mirror.  The officer had just merged into the highway from the left and I did not see him until it was too late.

The officer pulled me over and asked for my license and registration which I provided. This occurred long before some of the more recent high profile cases swept the nation. I can tell you that when that office was standing at my window, with his waist essentially at my eye level, I had an unexplainable fear for my life. His gun was right there staring back at me. There was NOTHING about the stop that should have produced such a fear. It was simply myself knowing that I am a black man and he is a police officer.  Although this was before social media was big, all my life we have heard of cases like Philando Castile. Now there are visuals. There is no video of what happened to Sean Bell that the public was provided. But I certainly knew of that incident as if I was there.  I certainly knew of others, many others. 

I explained to the officer that I just lost track of the speed limit.  He saw balloons in the car that my family had given me with several birthday cards on the passenger seat. The conversation was fairly cordial. I just had a mini surprise party with a few family members and my girlfriend just prior to the stop. I made sure I noted that as casually as I could to the officer. All the while, I was trying to reason the probability of anything going wrong with this stop. It just wasn’t likely that this officer would cause me harm, yet, I barely was able to hide how nervous I was at the time. 

After the officer performed the necessary checks, he wished me a happy birthday and sent me on my way, without a ticket! The fear was certainly unreasonable. I know this now.  I was trying to tell myself that in the moment. History told me that I should be afraid. Rationally there was very little to fear. 

Fast forward to present day, with all of that is going on in the world, I can assure you that I would certainly fear for my life if that scenario were to repeat itself.  Today, much more so than 10+ years ago, it really feels like the citizens life depends on the type of day the officer had up to the point of contact. Is that a realistic thought? Probably not, but wild, irrational thoughts are the reason for fear.  Sometimes fear can cost a person his/her life… 

(RIP Philando Castile) 

Please follow for more, coming soon 

Open Letter to Officer Jeronimo Yanez

 

Officer Yanez, I have a opinion of you that will not be very popular. I have empathy for what you are going through in the days after you made a decision to fire into that car and took the life of Philando Castile.

You know by now that you made a horrible mistake that night. Ms. Reynolds stated that you were crying immediately after the shooting. I am sure you knew right away that you made a horrible mistake. The world knows you made a mistake. This mistake took the life of a citizen. By all accounts, a law abiding citizen. I can only assume that you took the oath of to actually protect and serve law abiding citizens. You did so with every intention of fulfilling that oath.

America is stuck in a cycle of rhetoric.  You have to choose a side based on this rhetoric. There apparently ONLY two sides to any given topic. You are either pro #BlackLivesMatter which means you are Anti-Police, or visa-versa. You cannot be both. This is America today. 

Americans have lost the ability to be honest with each other. Fortunately most of us have not lost the ability to see what is right and what is wrong.  
This rhetoric turns into actions.  Police officers often use the term “I just want to get home to my family tonight”. This rhetoric, in my opinion, is very dangerous. Of course everyone, not just officers, want to get home to their family every night.  This rhetoric, along with the inaccurate perception that officers are only killed by black men has produced this shoot first mentality. I believe this rhetoric and misperception has you in the position you are in today.

I would say that 99.9% of police officer work shifts end with the officer going home to their family over the course of a year.  Without doing the math, I would guarantee that number is accurate with in 2% points based on the number of officers in this country and the amount that sacrifice their lives in the line of duty every year. It’s simple logic. In other words, by and large, officers do go home to their families at the end of their shifts.

I speculate that in your mind, in that moment, you probably heard the rhetoric play back in your subconscious and thought it was either Mr. Castile or yourself that was going home that night. The truth of the matter is you both should have went home that night.

There is a problem in this country when in 2015 almost 3 Americans a day lost their lives at the hands of police. There were 42 officers that lost their life via gun related incidents while on duty. We live in a society that we have to compare these numbers and pick a side. By the numbers, citizens are killed by police much more frequently than police are killed by citizens. The rhetoric in this country would actually have you believe that those numbers are reversed.  I heard just today that there is a war on police officers.  There is no war. There just isn’t.

While I have empathy for what you are about to endure over the next few years of your life, I also reserve the right to be upset that you allowed yourself to fall victim to this rhetoric. You did not see a family traveling the highways of Minnesota. You saw someone that would pull out a gun and shoot an officer with a child sitting in the back seat of the car.   I will not say that this could never actually happen in America. The likelihood of this happening is low. Your situational awareness was poor.  African American men have been demonized in this country to the point that in your mind, this was a reality. This was happening. You had to shoot first in order to make it home to your family.

Here is where the anger festers within myself and many other African Americans. Today, tomorrow and until the legal process plays out, we will not hear from you.  Your brothers in blue will do everything in their power to protect you. Worse yet, your brothers will attempt to make us believe that we are un-American to even think that you made a mistake. The citizens are supposed to just forget what they saw on that Facebook post.  We are supposed to not replay the voice of a four year old child saying “It’s ok mommy, I’m here with you”. We are not supposed to grieve for Mr. Castile.

We have to sit and listen to pundits say that the shooting my have been justified. We are supposed to not be human beings. We are supposed to expect the justice system to determine that you made a mistake, while understanding that will not be the likely outcome of the process. We all know you made a mistake.  You know you made a mistake.  African American’s are the most compassionate people on the planet.  Stand up and say, “I made a mistake”.  Say “I took the life of a person that put a smile on kids faces every day and for that I am sorry”. At least resign from the force. You are not equipped to ever protect and serve us again, ever. Ask for forgiveness of Ms. Reynolds and the Castille family. I believe that forgiveness will eventually be granted. There are thousands of people in prison today because they made mistakes.  Stand up and own your mistake. Be different, be a part of the healing process and not the reason why the divisiveness widens in America.