Last night I watched the video of Alton Sterling being shot by two police officers who had him pinned to the ground. It’s such a gross and disgraceful abuse of authority that I don’t even know what to say about it, and I can’t imagine what possible reason the officers involved could give for saying that such excessive use of force was justified.
I knew before I went to bed that I’d be writing about this today, but I had no idea that when I woke up I’d start reading social media to find that the same thing had happened again … to an entirely different black man.
At this point with new examples surfacing every single week, I don’t understand how anyone can look at the evidence and not see a systemic problem with how people of color are treated by law enforcement across our country today. The differences of how police react based on the color of a person’s skin are just unfathomable, and here are two tragically opposite videos to show it…
The first video – fair warning – is the one I originally described, showing Alton Sterling shot at point-blank range on the ground with two officers kneeling over him. The video is as graphic as it gets, literally showing a man writhing on the ground dying, but I think at this point it should be required watching for anyone critical of the #BlackLivesMatter concept in general.
The second video barely requires any warning at all because though it shows a white man resisting arrest and being quite physically threatening, the multiple police officers responding opted to repeatedly taser him instead of shooting him in the chest.
— Queen (@BabyyyGalSarah) July 6, 2016
I don’t even know what to say anymore, but something needs to change with our selectively trigger-happy police force because this clearly goes well beyond reasonable force. Being a police officer is no doubt a hard, often times thankless job, but recurring brutality like this only further increases tensions between the police and the public and drives citizens to ultimately trust in these individuals even less.
All throughout my childhood I was taught that the police are there to protect us, but it’s not hard to understand why minorities instead fear and loathe them if this is how they see themselves treated in comparison to white people. It’s not “playing the race card” when institutional racism continues to kill people of color on a regular basis without remorse or consequence.