I’m troubled by the recent decision by the grand jury in Cleveland, OH, where the group of policemen were not indicted or substantially reprimanded for the killing of an unarmed African American, contributing to the further devaluation of African American and other minority lives. Also alarming were the cases in Baltimore and Ferguson, MO, which erupted into public disobedience due to frustration stemming from the incident. We’re still waiting for the verdict of the grand jury and investigation in the case of a 12 year old African American boy in Cleveland.
I’m turning 57 years old next month and have seen much police brutality throughout most of my life. One of the earliest encounters I had was when my godbrother, Steven Russell, was killed by a police officer while in high school, unarmed and on route to the arcade from an after-school job. His killer was not indicted and the whole process of investigation was heavily weighted toward accusing the victim, not much unlike the recent Trayvon Martin case in Florida.
All of this victimization and racial abuse seems even more sad in the times of an African American president. The kind of disrespect and false accusations that have been hurled at him for the past six and a half years create the kind of climate where diminishing the value of African American lives is acceptable. If the person holding the highest office in the U.S. can be disrespected, ridiculed, and made less of by his political peers and the common man, what chance do regular “John Q. Public” African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and homeless have to be treated with respect and common decency from police officers and the military establishment? What kind of message does this send to all of our young people? What type of stability does this establish for the foundation of households and domestic relationships? It’s a disheartening time. It seems like Eric Holder was just beginning to scratch the surface on developing policy that could lead to fundamental change in how the political and punitive systems deal with lesser enfranchised people. I can only hope that Loretta Lynch can continue his investigations and add to the development of more positive and fair treatment of my brothers and sisters.
Social media, cell phone cameras, and other technologies are going to help eliminate the problem. Eventually, the right type of evidence from the wrong kind of victims is going to be made available and ignite even further social unrest. I’m hoping and praying that better policy and more egalitarian treatment take place before things get any worse.
I love you all. Thanks for reading. Let’s make it better!