On Sunday, March 18, police in Sacramento, Calif., fired 20 shots at Stephon Clark, killing him. Clark was unarmed and in his own backyard, leading many to ask what black people must do to escape the indiscriminate killing of black people.
A 2015 study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, showed that there is no relationship between criminality and race in police killings. A study by the Center for Policing Equity concluded (pdf) that police use more force against black suspects even when the data was adjusted for whether the person was a violent criminal.
To combat this deadly epidemic, we put together a handy guide to help black people end this trend that disproportionately affects black people. Here are the things you should avoid doing when police are around:
Walking: Amadou Diallo was simply walking to his apartment. When Chicago Police Detective Dante Servin shot Rekia Boyd, she was not involved in any crime or altercation. She just happened to be walking by. Terence Crutcher was shot in the back when he was killed by Tulsa, Okla., Police Officer Betty Shelby.
All three victims were unarmed.
Driving: Officer Ray Tensing was recently awarded nearly $350,000 in the aftermath of his fatal shooting of Sam DuBose during a 2015 traffic stop. Sandra Bland was stopped for changing lanes without a signal and ended up dead. The Washington Post reports that federal statistics show that black drivers are more likely than white drivers to be stopped by police.
Facing police: When Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown Jr., Wilson testified that Brown turned toward him after Brown had already been shot at least once. Philando Castile was facing Officer Jeronimo Yanez when Yanez shot him. Apparently, police “fear for their lives” no matter in which direction you turn.
Not complying with police orders: One of the biggest things you must learn is how to “stop resisting.” Do not try to breathe like Eric Garner. Do not smoke a cigarette like Sandra Bland. Open the door when cops have their guns out, unlike Korryn Gaines. Do not try to plead your case like Oscar Grant.
Complying with police orders: Officers Christopher DiPashquale and Kirk Dodd pulled over 17-year-old Donta Dawson and told him to put his hands up. When he did, they shot him for “sudden movements.” South Carolina State Trooper Sean Groubert asked Levar Jones for his driver’s license. When Hones reached for it, Groubert shot him.
Carrying an illegal firearm: Alton Sterling shouldn’t have had a gun, even though it was tucked in his waistband. No witnesses even saw Anthony Lamar Smith’s weapon. Forensic scientists only found the DNA of St. Louis Police Officer Jason Shockley on the .38 revolver they said belonged to Smith. Before shooting Smith, Shockley was even recorded saying, “I’m going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it!”
Shockley was found not guilty in Smith’s death.
Carrying a legal firearm: Philando Castile was carrying a legally registered firearm when Jeronimo Yanez shot him. He never pointed it at Yanez. He informed Yanez that he was carrying a gun. But still ...
I’m just giving you the rules.
Carrying a fake firearm: Like Tamir Rice, John Crawford was carrying a BB gun when Crawford was shot and killed in an Ohio Walmart. Crawford’s killer said he felt an “imminent threat.” Officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot and killed Tamir Rice, said, “The threat to my partner and myself was real and active.”
Toy guns are strictly forbidden if you want to live.
Carrying no firearm at all: The aforementioned rules also apply to perceived guns. Police say they mistook Stephon Clark’s iPhone for a gun, a common mistake. Rumain Brisbon was carrying a prescription bottle that police assumed was a firearm. Cops allegedly thought Amadou Diallo’s wallet was a gun.
Walking around empty-handed doesn’t matter. Baltimore police officers admitted that they kept toy guns to plant in case they shot a suspect.
Although black people make up only 13 percent of the population, 35 percent of the unarmed people killed by police in 2017 were black.
Standing up: Brendon Glenn was on the ground trying to stand up when he was shot in the back by Los Angeles Police Officer Clifford Proctor. Even the police chief said the shooting was unwarranted.
Lying down: Natasha McKenna was handcuffed and immobilized when she was tased to death. When you are asleep, like 7-year-old Aiyana Jones was when Officer Joseph Weekley shot her dead, you are still a threat.
Being too big: Mike Brown Jr. was described as a “hulk,” even though he was the same height as Darren Wilson. Eric Garner was so big that Officer Daniel Pantaleo had to use an outlawed choke hold.
Being too small: Charleena Lyles was barely 100 pounds, which is why her body couldn’t ward off the bullets from Seattle cops when they killed her in her apartment. Natasha McKenna was 5 feet 3 inches tall and so thin that a restraint belt couldn’t hold her. So even though she was handcuffed with her hands behind her back, shackled around the legs, a hobble strap connected to both restraints and a spit mask placed over her face, Fairfax County, Va., police still had to use a Taser on her with 50,000 volts of electricity until she died.
Looking: Tommy Sanders, a Baltimore police officer, approached Lamont Hunt because Hunt was “staring at him.” Sanders said that Hunt attacked him, but every witness in the trial said that Hunt did not assault him but walked away. Sanders shot Hunt in the back of the head.
Breathing: Eric Garner said, “I can’t breathe,” which Daniel Pantaleo translated as resisting arrest. Tashii Brown was already on the ground after Las Vegas cop Kenneth Lopera used a Taser on him and punched him repeatedly.
Not satisfied, Lopera put Brown in a choke hold until Brown stopped breathing.
Being black: If all else fails, simply stop being black. I’ve never seen anyone do it, but it’s worth a try.
After all, it’s what they want anyway.