Crazy, alarming, sad, scary. The list goes on and on. There is no shortage of words - all with a negative connotation - to accurately describe the feelings I felt this morning. I went to sleep with the intention of writing about a black man who was slain at the hands of a white cop, and woke up with yet another entirely separate incident - with an eerily similar headline - to digest. Anyway, here's the video I was going to discuss before I realized that the case of police brutality being debated on Twitter was a brand spanking new one...
Leave it to Peter Rosenberg - a white guy working the phones at a primarily black radio station - to absolutely nail the inherent problem with these issues, and that is a lack of accountability. The inability of the victim blaming side of the coin to concede even the smallest amount of blame when two videos surface showing fatal altercations in which law enforcement can't possibly be absolved of all responsibility. I'm not going to say I have the whole story. I have no idea what Alton Sterling - a man with a criminal record - did before the cops arrived specifically to address his presence. Maybe the routine traffic stop that took the life of Philando Castile was far more contentious than we are being led to believe before it resulted in a gun being drawn.
Honestly, it doesn't really matter. I could give the police every benefit of the doubt in the world here and they would still be guilty of failing to uphold their responsibilities to society. The job of a police officer is to serve. Putting 6 bullets inside someone who was being restrained by two grown men and can't possibly reach the gun that's in his pocket doesn't fucking serve anyone but a coroner's office. The job of a police officer is to protect. Putting 4 bullets in a father who was pulled over for a broken fucking tail light with his 4 year old in the backseat in broad daylight doesn't protect anyone but the blatantly rattled officer that was overwhelmed by the presence an African American man behind the wheel of a car in 2016.
Who is to say whether or not the now deceased acted in complete accordance with the law? Chances are they didn't. That doesn't change the idea that the people who are trusted with keeping us safe are supposed to do everything in their power to do so without endangering the lives of others. I know from watching the two videos - that I don't feel like posting because everyone has seen them and I would really rather not witness them again - that's not what happened. Let's not apologize for people just because they have a badge, because - as is the case in all professions - there are some that are more deserving of that badge. The two men that prematurely pulled the trigger when they very clearly didn't have to undoubtedly do not fall into that category.