On Thursday they told us once again that what we saw with our very own eyes is not what happened. They switched the narrative, painted another black man as an aggressor who caused his own death, and even with video evidence that directly contradicts their narrative, no cops are being charged.
A(nother) black man is dead (again), and the cop who shot him goes home to live another day and earn another check. This is what they are paid to do, and when we dare open our mouths to voice our outrage, we are told to shut up and go back to our corners.
They come up with new ways to target us with over-policing. They create labels that paint us as the villains simply because we ask for justice.
All the while, they continue to do the very thing that has us hollering in the first place.
No justice. No peace. Just crooked police.
When I read that the officers involved in the Patrick Harmon shooting would not be charged in his death, I wasn’t even surprised. They always find some reason for the cop not to be charged—or to face minimal punishment if he or she does happen to get charged and convicted—or to be acquitted altogether.
It is the vicious and unrelenting cycle of the new lynching.
Instead of the angry white mob coming to get our men, it’s the police.
They don’t have to gather a crowd, because the videos will be shown on repeat across the internet and social media in perpetuity.
The videos don’t make a difference because—as we’ve seen with Terence Crutcher, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and the one that started them all, Rodney King—the videos don’t matter; the narrative controls the outcome.
It’s supposed to keep us in line, but it doesn’t.
It angers us as it mocks us. It terrifies us, and it terrorizes us, but it moves us to action. We take to the streets. We raise fists and banners in the air and say, “Hands up; don’t shoot.”
We remind them, and ourselves, over and over again that black lives matter.
We stand in the streets. We gather in parks. We have peaceable assemblies, as is our First Amendment right.
We are too loud. There are too many of us. We are making everything about race. We are the real problem. Now we are “black identity extremists,” and our existence poses even more of a threat than those who are cutting us down like so much dead grass as they trample over our basic freedoms.
We are stopped. We are frisked. We can’t even run from the same danger other people run from, because somehow that makes us look like the danger.
We can’t ride a bike down the street. We can’t light a cigarette as we wait for our bitch-ass ticket. We can’t walk home from the corner store with our AriZona iced tea and our Skittles. We can’t drive our own cars or go into our own homes.
We have to do everything they say or risk becoming an example of the very thing we are angry over. Sometimes, even when we do comply, we still become that example.
A recent report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune revealed that more than 500 current or former licensed police officers in the state have been convicted of at least one crime since 1995. Of those convictions, about half involved drinking and driving, while others included more serious offenses like assault and trespassing.
Of all 500 officers convicted, 75 percent were never disciplined and only 2o percent lost their professional license—half of those because state law requires revocation of the license of any officer convicted of a felony.
The report noted that more than 140 of those convicted officers are still on the job.
Think about how hard it is for a regular (black) citizen to get a job when he or she has committed a crime and has a conviction.
Minnesota is just one state; this happens everywhere.
Cops get accused of being overly aggressive and still keep their jobs. They can have multiple disciplinary actions against them and still keep their jobs. They can come from other police departments where they had prior problems, show up in a new city and still get a job as a police officer.
They get put back on the streets, where they continue to abuse their powers, escalate instead of de-escalate and fire their weapons, then claim that they were scared.
With the right kind of internal (non)investigation or the right kind of lawyer, judge or jury, they can be back on the streets in no time to do the same thing again.
And what are we, the citizens, left with?
Just crooked police.
It’s the same refrain.
We can keep marching. We can keep chanting. We can keep creating hashtags. We can keep resisting. We can say their names. We can do all these things and watch things never change.
Or we can figure out a new plan and make things better.
When do we change the narrative?
Until something gives, we are going to be left with the same thing.
No justice. No peace. Just crooked police.