“…so how you feel? Frustrated, irritated, sometimes I don’t know myself I be too numb, to feel something sometimes…” ~ Khujo Goodie of Goodie Mob, “Thought Process” Soul Food (1995)
As the news of Eric Garners murderer – and I use that term with all of the weight it carries considering that the medical examiner stated the death of Eric Garner was a homicide – not being indicted came down I kept thinking of that picture of Devonte Hart and Portland Officer Brett Barnum. But the smile that it once garnered is gone. Now it feels like contrived propaganda. Admittedly, that’s my own fault. I chose to view the feel good story of it all – a cop who took the time to talk to a distraught youth and give a shit. It was a glimmer of hope that maybe all cops aren’t bad people. In fact, I know all cops aren’t bad people. I know some police officers who aren’t bad people. They have a thankless job, especially when they’re doing their jobs the right way.
And yet, today, that picture means nothing to me. One cop hugging a kid now feels like a photo op. The cynic in me now thinks that deep down inside, that cop knew SOMEBODY would take a picture. I’m sure Officer Barnum is a great guy. He probably goes to his kids games and makes birdhouses with his sons. And his sons are always thankful when he returns home safe and sound. But one decent guy does not an institution make. Police as a whole owe me a hug.
Until cops across America are hugging Black people like they know our mother’s names, fuck them all. Fuck the institution. It needs reform. It needs a healing. Body cameras are great in theory. They really do protect both the police and citizens. But the fact is, we already HAVE shit on tape that gets disregarded. Wholesale. Think about this. In 1991, we watched four cops whip Rodney King’s ass. And they were still all acquitted. It was until the Feds stepped in that any of them got jail time. Eric Garner’s DEATH is on camera and a grand jury felt there wasn’t enough evidence despite the cop using a banned procuedure, the medical examiner ruling it a homicide, AND we have it on tape. What even happens here? Do the cops just write it off as an accidental death?
Almost every week now it feels like we get another story about another person killed by a cop who didn’t deserve it. Bill Cosby might be raping everybody out here, but the police are trying to kill the rest. If we’re committing crimes, then put us in jail. We have a booming prison industrial complex anyway. For years that was easy. But now it seems like police have gone the extra mile to reduce the prison population by playing judge and jury over the lives of individuals, especially those in communities of color. Officer Wilson’s testimony clearly depicts a man scared for his life despite being the only one with the immediate capability to end one. He exercised that ability and doesn’t seem to care. And it begs the question that’s been asked a million times: how do you police the people you’re most afraid of? You’re the one with the gun and you’re scared of me? Where dey do dat at? This is America though. This is how it happens.
READ MORE over at Very Smart Brothas.