Guest Post: What Now?

By | December 4, 2014

Posting this (slightly edited version) on behalf of someone who cannot post due to the circumstances of their life.

I guess the question is, what now, after the Eric Garner verdict?

  1. The cops used an illegal choke-hold, one that they had been directed not to use.
  2. The coroner ruled Garner’s death a homicide.
  3. The police claimed they were arresting Garner for selling illegal cigarettes, none were found on him.
  4. The cop in question had prior police brutality charges that the city had to pay out for.

All this was caught on tape, yet the Grand Jury decided not to indict. Ta-Nehisi Coates once wrote something to the effect that this country is not for black people. If there ever was proof of that it’s been the steady drip drip of  ‘screw black people’ decisions, this one is certainly the latest.

What makes it doubly infuriating is that I want to post this publicly, but I know that some people (some of whom I respected and loved) will come tell me I’m overreacting, will drag out the canard of black-on-black crime, will tell me that the system works and this is an aberration. If you role a dice and come up with the same number 100 times in a row, something is wrong with the frickin’ dice. Sometimes you just need to step away from the table and acknowledge the game was rigged, is rigged and will continue being rigged.

  • Oscar Grant’s death was not an aberration (shot in the back while lying down and handcuffed)
  • Jonathan Ferrell’s death was not an aberration (shot while seeking help).
  • Darrien Hunt’s death was not an aberration (shot in the back while cos-playing).
  • John Crawford’s death was not an aberration (shot while holding a toy gun in an Open Carry state).
  • Tamir Rice’s death was not an aberration (shot within 2 seconds for holding a toy gun, subsequently denied first aid for 4.5 minutes).
  • Michael Brown’s death was not an aberration (stopped for jaywalking, shot multiple times, some in the back and while he had his hands up).
  • Aiyana Stanley-Jones was not an aberration (7 years old, shot in the head while he was sleeping by cops who raided the wrong apartment and were showboating for a TV crew).
  • Eric Garner’s death was not an aberration (choked to death on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes).

And those are just a few of the black men, women and children shot by police in questionable circumstances, some of them caught on tape (not that it made much difference in seeking justice). Not to mention those killed by white people who just could not fathom that black people had a right to be someplace, to exist, to expect the same things that non-white Americans take for granted (Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Jordan Davis). I keep on coming back to the Dredd Scott decision

“The black man has…no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. At this point I’d settle just for the first one, crawl before running etc. & etc.

What now?