Do you have the answer or solution to the madness? “We have to listen to each other.” “We need healing.” “The Black community needs to trust the police.” “The police need to be retrained.” Those are just some of the solutions we hear; we’ve heard them before.
I am a seventy-three-year-old Black American male and I’ve been hearing the same crap all of my life. And the police keep proving to me that I should not, cannot, must not trust a white police officer. If I do, I am putting my life in danger. My son will be fifty years’ old this year. I have prayed every day since the day he was born that he would not be harmed by a white police officer. Every Black parent has prayed that prayer including Black police officers who are parents.
What happened this time? On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, two white cops confronted a Black man, Mr. Alton Sterling, who is selling CDs outside of a convenience store. They had gotten a report that Mr. Sterling was carrying a gun. They wrestled him to the ground, pulled out their own guns and shot him, killing him. They then took Mr. Sterling’s gun out of his pocket. What? You mean the gun wasn’t in his hand threatening them? No. It was in his pocket. His hands were outside of his pocket. They did this in front of many witnesses, some of whom videoed the incident.
What else happened? On Wednesday, June 6, 2016, a white cop pulled over a Black driver, Mr. Philando Castile, and his family for a busted tail light. Then Mr. Castile informed the cop that he has a permit to carry a fire arm. He thought it was the right thing to do. If the cop sees a gun he might shoot. Mr. Castile also informs the cop that he is reaching for his wallet to get his identification. The cop shot Mr. Castile killing him. The cop kept his gun trained on Mr. Castile while he lay dying. “I feared for my life.” That is the “go to” statement all cops have to say. It works every time.
Then what happened? On Thursday, July 7, 2016, Mr. Micah Xavier Johnson, a Black man said, “I am tired of this crap.” He shot fourteen people, two civilians and twelve cops, killing five of the cops. They took Mr. Johnson out with a robot armed with a bomb. Good. He had the wrong answer. We all pray there will not be a copycat.
The conversation from commentators and spokes persons is about healing the communities. The news media aired special reports on the incidents. “We have to listen to each other” and “Cops need to go into the communities and get to know the people and the people need to get to know the cops.” To that I say, “B*%)s#!t.”
If I, a Black man who is not a cop, shoot and kill someone in front of witnesses I will be arrested. I will be handcuffed and paraded in front of cameras in the “perp walk.” My picture would be all over television and websites. It could have been self-defense but I’ll be arrested first and they will try to sort things out later.
When a cop shoots and kills a Black person in front of witnesses he is not arrested. He is not handcuffed. He or they are ushered out of sight. We are told later that they were placed on desk duty. It will be a day or two before we even see their picture or know their names.
Cops are treated differently when they commit a crime. That has to change. It won’t change because the prosecutor will not be vigorous in getting an indictment or conviction. The prosecutors and the police work together to get convictions. The prosecutor needs the police.
Even when the prosecutor appears to be sincere, I believe there is something in his or her subconscious mind that prevents a vigorous prosecution. It’s Justice Tempered with Mercy for the cops and Justice Tempered with Enmity for all others. Everyone should be treated the same.
What white America doesn’t see are the thousands of incidents when white cops beat the “you know what” out of us in the precincts, in the streets and in the back of squad cars. If nobody dies, it doesn’t make the news. Not all cops condone such behavior but because of the Blue Wall of Silence, the so called good cops look the other way. Looking the other way makes all cops, bad cops. They may as well participate in the bad behavior alongside the bad cops.
We don’t need to talk to each other. We need to change the perception of what happens immediately following an incident. Good cops must speak out against bad cops.
Do you have friends who are cops? Look them in the eye and ask these two questions,
· “What side of the Blue Wall of Silence do you stand?”
· “If you saw something wrong would you say something right?”
I have three questions for you:
1. How come these situations rarely happens between White cops and other minorities or even other Whites?
2. How come these situations rarely happens between Black cops and anyone else?
3. Do you know how much racist crap Black cops must take from white cops for their own safety?
Incidents like what happened to Mr. Sterling and Mr. Philando will happened again. We will be outraged again. There are two things that must happen in order for things to change:
· Good cops need to cross the Blue Wall of Silence and say something.
· All cops and all civilians must be treated the same when suspected of a crime.
We know those two things will never happen. Therefore, things will NEVER change. Black people will continue to die at the hands of white cops until Jesus comes.
Realizing that times change, I believe Jesus would advocate for self-defense. That’s probably why Jesus said the following in Luke 22:35-38, Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
Get your exegetical juices flowing on that. God be with us all. <><