I’m shaking as I write this. I’m so angry. I don’t know what else to do but write. I’m so hurt to hear another senseless killing of an innocent black citizen by law enforcement that I just breakdown in tears throughout the day. I have three beautiful children, but my 9 year-old boy, who is my only son, is my greatest concern. My fear is that in another 5 or 6-years law enforcement will no longer see my son as a young boy but a potential threat to society. He may be harassed, racially profiled, or killed because of an officer’s indoctrinated bias perception of black people.
Alton Sterling, 37, father of five, was shot six times after two police officers (Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake) tackled and wrestled him down to the ground. He was already on the ground and in a position of submission. On the video you hear the officer yell while on top of Sterling “He’s got a gun! Gun… You fucking move and I swear to God.” Seconds later he was shot. Sterling did not have a gun in his hand nor was the gun insight. There was no clear justification to use deadly force. I am only left to believe that the thought of a black man possibly having a gun was enough to presume he was a threat and take his life.
This cannot be the norm. This cannot be the accepted behavior from law enforcement that our paid with our tax payer dollars. Black life should not be at the disposal of any public servant especially when their judgment can be based on bias and lack of tolerance. We can only imagine the lies that would have been told to sweep this wrongful use of deadly force under the rug had there been no video footage. Unfortunately, there is hundreds of cases like this that don’t have a video account of what really happened. They are killing us with immunity through the law, this is why we must change the law in order to receive accountability and justice.
It wasn’t long before large protest hit the streets of Baton Rouge. It was painful to watch Sterling’s girlfriend speak of the injustice and then to see his 15-year-old son break down in total sorrow from the killing of his father. Before I could digest the overwhelming injustice in Baton Rouge, new video images of Philado Castile pops up on Facebook. Philando Castile 32, was shot and killed during a traffic stop for a busted tail light. His girlfriend who also had her young daughter in the car was horrified as she filmed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live. As he sat in the passenger seat dying, she helplessly documented and explained how the officer over reacted and immediately shot at Castile when he simply was providing his identification. You can hear the small child tell Philando, It’s okay, I’m here” trying her best to comfort him, yet not understanding the gravity of what just happened. It was despicable the way the St. Anthony, MN police yelled at her mother and handcuffed her in front of the child only further traumatizing the young girl.
Righteousness and justice cannot come soon enough for the families that have loss a love one and the black community that stressfully wonder who’s next? The fear I have for my son, my brother, my uncles, cousins that one day I’ll get up and get the worse news of my life is almost paralyzing. This is why I fight for change. I have a superwoman on my home page because not only am I a mother of three with a 9 to 5, that has a blog and wrote an eBook on Amazon, but I’m also active in my local civil rights organization. I hold an officer role and chair the Criminal Justice Committee. I am working on solutions to eliminate wrongful use of deadly force by law enforcement by proposing a proactive legislative measures.
Please see the following Proposed Resolution submitted for Nationwide support:
Legislative Accountability to Eliminate Wrongful Use of Deadly Force by Law Enforcement
Sponsored By: Cincinnati, OH Branch Date Adopted: _________________
WHEREAS, law enforcement agencies that perform more training hours in Firearm Training than in De-Escalation Training is contributing to a police culture that is more volatile than tactful, which can cause more instances of the wrongful use of deadly force under false pretenses of a threat than in cases of an actual threat; and
WHEREAS, states that have Open Carry Laws should have a standard protocol of approach by law enforcement so that citizens with a legal and or non-lethal (ie. toy) gun are not gunned down at the sight of a perceived weapon.
WHEREAS, law enforcement use of deadly force should always be the last resort; in as much as their primary role is to serve and protect, not to become Judge, Jury and Executioner; and
WHEREAS, the lack of legal accountability towards law enforcement officers who either negligently or intentionally kill an unarmed and or innocent citizen is creating an unhealthy fear that is damaging the relationship between police and communities; and
WHEREAS, a judicial system that can be corrupt and biased thus affording law enforcement officers broad discretion in determining what is reasonable presumption of fear, which has led to many non-indictments and exonerations for police officers, while families are left helpless and without justice.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP will advocate for legislation for mandatory de-escalation training for all law enforcement agencies with the requirement that de-escalation training hours be equivalent or more than firearm training; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP will advocate for legislation requiring mandatory protocol on standards of approach, especially in states with Open Carry Laws. In order to ensure the safety of citizens and law enforcement officers, a uniform standard of approach that requires officers to do their due diligence and ask specific questions before engaging a perceived threat. For example: the accused should be initially asked if he or she has a weapon on their person and if so, immediately be provided clear instructions by the officer on how he or she wants to apprehend the weapon;
THERFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will advocate and call on the U.S. Attorney General, the Office of Justice Program Administrator, the nation’s governors and legislators to eliminate ambiguous language in the law that allows law enforcement to use deadly force under the broadly interpreted “reasonable presumption of fear” and support nationwide, definitive language in the law that raises the level of the use of deadly force to incidents of absolute threats.