Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another black life didn't matter to cops

I can't do it. I can't take in yet another black man shot and killed by police. Terence Crutcher. His car broke down in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was driving home from music appreciation class when his car stalled. He was unarmed. No weapons on him or in his car. He did not call for the police help. He knew better. But police on their way to another call stopped when they saw him. He didn't wave them down. He was just standing quietly by his car, waiting for roadside assistance. Suddenly, by virtue of nothing more than his being black, he became a criminal in the eyes of the ones who had weapons. He had his hands in the air yet they tasered and shot him. Then they stood around watching him die. The police dash cam and a helicopter cam caught it all, and recorded one of the officers saying, "That looks like a bad dude too." No. No no no no no. You knew nothing about him. All you saw were the stereotypes in your head. Terence Crutcher was someone's husband. Someone's father. He loved and was beloved. I guarantee you that police in Tulsa are scrambling right now to find something, anything to paint him as the "bad dude" they thought they saw, when in fact all they saw was his skin color. They're going to say they were in fear for their lives even though Terence Crutcher did not lunge at them or in any way menace them on the video footage. He did not reach inside his car. All the windows were rolled up. Whatever cops say in coming days, he wasn't threatening anybody. He was just a man trying to get home to his family. He was a big guy like my husband. Fierce faced perhaps, like my husband's face in repose. Would they look at my good responsible sweet funny wonderful husband by the side of the road because his car broke down and think he was a bad dude too? Why isn't this called terrorism? Cops managed yesterday to bring in alive a man accused of setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey, a man who was actively shooting at them as they tried to arrest him. They brought him down with a shot in the leg, then called 911 and took him to the hospital where he was operated on. That was good police work. What happened in Tulsa to Terence Crutcher was murder.


18 comments:

  1. I am married to a big, black man who drives trucks for a living. It takes everything within me not to live in a constant state of fear for his safety and his life. He too has a "fierce face." My soul aches. I vacillate between rage and detachment on an almost daily basis.

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    1. Nerd girl, I know how you feel. Rage, detachment for self preservation, and heartbreak too. May your loved ones always come home safely.

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  2. I can't. There's nothing to say at this point except yes- murder.

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    1. Mary, it doesn't end. How is that possible? You'd think we'd learn from past experience but we don't.

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    2. So... what strikes me is that we all led with "I can't". Is that a good thing or a bad thing???

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  3. The one saving grace is that our society is capturing these atrocities on video and film as they happen. So it's harder for police to lie about them, as they have undoubtedly lied about similar police shootings in generations past.

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    1. Steve, you would think that, except nothing seems to change, even with the cameras. it's just that now we know more about it, and want to slit our wrists when the killer cops get put on paid vacation, and then ultimately face no consequences. Someone said to me the other day, guess who the biggest and meanest gang in america is: the cops. I know there are good cops. I do know this. but there are some very bad ones too. and then there are those who believe with all their hearts they are good and decent, and in some contexts they are, but they are walking around with stereotypes in their heads that endanger my husband and my son. don't misunderstand: i appreciate your sense of hope. please hold onto that for me while mine is weak.

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    2. I completely understand why your sense of hope is suffering, especially with close family members endangered by these stereotypes! I just like to think, as a journalist, that knowing about something is the first step toward solving the problem. And it is -- just as I believe gun crimes, which still happen with shocking regularity, are going to be addressed as we all become more and more aware of the dangers posed by guns and our ridiculously lax regulation of them. (For that matter, these police shootings wouldn't happen if police didn't need to fear the possibility that a citizen could be armed and hostile.) Racism and poor gun control go hand-in-hand to create these situations.

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  4. Murder by cop...class war and violence, and just when my head pleads "stop, no more, there is more"...

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    1. e, we are all pleading stop, no more, and it just goes on and on. sometimes i have to just shut down. but it feels wrong to just shut down when the family of the innocent slain are reeling. and so we note the injustice, again and again, and note, too, the lack of any proportional response from authorities. what can we do? i wish i knew.

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  5. Who will stop these murders? Who will stop the murderers? If you can't trust policemen, who can you trust outside your home?

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    1. Kaki, when my kids, especially my son, were younger, I told them if they were ever lost NOT to go to a policeman but to find an older lady who looked like one of their aunts and to ask her for help. i knew that such a person would stay with my kids until they were home safe, but I could not trust whether my kids might encounter a good and conscious cop or one who didn't even know he was operating based on unconscious stereotypes. Cops need more training, and more cross cultural interaction among equals in order to root out the split second judgements they make below the level of consciousness that too often end with another dead black person.

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  6. I thought I was talking to the darkness and maybe misguided misinterpreting misunderstanding mistaken. Thank you for telling me I'm not. xoxoxo

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  7. I am once again trying to say something that could possibly make this better and I am once again speechless. All I can think to say is that I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry that people that have the same tone of skin as I do can be so awful, cruel, mean and judgemental. I am sorry that you have to worry about your beautiful babies when they go outside. What kind of world are we living in? This shouldn't even be a thing that should ever have to be discussed.
    My heart aches along with you. xo

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  8. It is all so wrong. Yes, it's murder. My heart aches for that man and his family and his community and everyone who is in the same danger. It's wrong. It's wrong.

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  9. Dreadful. I can't believe that this has happened yet again. My heart goes out to his family and all of you in US who must live with the fear of it happening to your loved ones. Be safe . XX

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  10. Heartsick is a good way to put it. Baffled and heartsick.

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