Dear You with the Badge, Uniform, and Gun,
“You have the right to remain silent.”
On the morning of March 24, 2018, I watched one of my friends’ Snapchat story. On his story, he and his friend were in their car video recording one of you opening their car door without permission because you “smelled weed” coming from the car. There was no weed. They were not smoking. The videos then stop and there was no follow up from my friend. I instantly began to think the worst. Did you kill him and his friend? Were they arrested for no reason? If they were arrested, were they thrown around like yesterday’s trash? I texted a couple people I knew who were close to him to ensure the he was okay. I found out later that he was, indeed, okay. I instantly thanked God that he still had his life.
“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
On Tuesday, March 20, 2018, we saw once again that the value of Black lives means 20 rounds of shots for a cell phone. Stephon Clark lost his life because of your badge, uniform, and gun. You “feared” for your life. You feared nothing but his Black skin. You turned off the sound on your microphones. For what? Where was your training? Who trained you? Matter fact, let me holla at that person right quick. I just want to know what they tell you in training about shooting to kill. About killing Black people. I’m starting to believe that the erasure of Black lives is one of the training sessions you attend.
On March 27, 2018, Shaun King reported that the people who wore their badge, uniform, & gun during the murder of Alton Sterling, will not face criminal charges for his death that happened on July 5, 2016. He was just selling CDs.
We live in a country with an unjust “justice” system. Where the system decides to fill our prisons with Black and Brown bodies without hesitation. But when it comes to the killings of unarmed Black people, people with badges, uniforms, and guns literally get away with murder…oh, wait a minute. This doesn’t apply to the Black person who wore a badge, uniform, and gun who fatally shot the white Australian woman. Yes, her murder was unjust and wrong, and I’m glad the law is handling this the correct way. But when it’s a Black life, law doesn’t apply. All of the killings were supposedly “just”.
“You have the right to an attorney.”
In July 2015, I watched the dash cam footage of Sandra Bland being dragged and literally man-handled in the grass because she refused to put her cigarette out. I remember how I felt when I heard they found her body in her jail cell. Claimed she killed herself. I resonated the most with the story of Sandra. I still haven’t gotten over it. She’s one of the people in a collage that I have as the wallpaper on my phone and my header photo of my FaceBook page. That person in a badge and uniform felt that it was okay to use excessive force on her. She’s gone, while he’s still here.
On January 13, 2008, my brother and two of his friends were driving down the street when they were pulled over. One of the people in the car gave the badges and uniforms and their guns a fake name. Once they found out the name was fake, they let my brother and the other guy go. My brother called his girlfriend (who was pregnant with my youngest niece at the time) to come pick him up. She came and asked one of you for your badge number to report you the next day. You didn’t like it so you decided to physically abuse her. Once my brother came running to stop it and inform you that she was pregnant, you decided to beat him up, too. Using tasers on both of them. Then slammed her head against the patty waggon door.
I went to the station with his girlfriend the very next day and filed the report. Nothing happened.
Tamir Rice was 12!
“If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”
I remember before you and your team read me my Miranda Rights on October 26, 2006, how you all cussed at me and told me I wasn’t shit. How the people I was with who actually committed the crime, wasn’t shit. I remember how you didn’t care that I just turned 17, 10-days prior and was scared. I remember that once you saw that I was 17, how excited you were to handcuff me, laugh in my face, and say “you’re going to the county”. In my hometown, you were considered an “adult” at 17 and went to the “adult jail”. I remember how you were glad that my parents weren’t home at the time and how they had to wonder where I was for hours.
Philando. Eric. Mike. Sandra. Freddie. Alton. Walter. Tamir. Stephon. Rakia. Amadou. Patrick. Sean. Aiyana. Kenneth. Ramarly. John. Jerame. Jason. Keith. Korryn. Terence. Tyre. Laquan. The thousands of others who don’t get the opportunity to have large media attention.
Black Voices by the Huffington Post wrote an article highlighting the stories of the majority of the people I just listed. Their lives mattered. You took their lives for no reason. Regardless if there was any chance of resisting arrest, there was no way these UNARMED BLACK PEOPLE could have made you fear for your life to where you decided you had to use deadly force.
Don’t let their names just continue to be a hashtag. Fix your training, prosecute the uniforms and badges and hold them to the same standard as you would anyone else who murdered or excessively abused someone. I refuse to call any of the racist, prejudiced, and bigoted people in uniform, “police officers”. Police officers are supposed to uphold and respect the law. Police officers are supposed to protect and serve the communities. People who wear badges, uniforms, and guns don’t know what protecting and serving means when it comes to melanin. They’re the ones who get to escort mass shooters, safely to jail.
I refuse to use the names of the people who committed these heinous crimes. The only names that matter here are the ones who lost their lives.
To all of you “Blue Lives Matter” folks out there, have a seat. Several, actually.
Not sincerely written,
A Black woman whose heart skips a beat everytime I see you in my rearview mirror