Hands Up, Hands Down! It Doesn’t MatterSeptember 21, 2016 |
by James B. Ewers Jr.
I was talking to one of my childhood friends today about the shooting of an unarmed African-American male in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His remark about the shootings of Black men by police officers made me realize one thing.
These shootings will not stop. There may be a temporary respite from time to time but the shooting and killing won’t stop.
This time, Terence Crutcher, a Black man in Tulsa was stopped. The police officer, Betty Shelby, had Crutcher get out of his SUV. Backup police arrived and Terence Crutcher was first tased and then Officer Shelby shot him to death.
Of course, the Tulsa chief of police, Chuck Jordan has called for a full investigation. Of course, Officer Shelby has been placed on administrative leave and of course drugs were found in the victim’s vehicle.
Let’s not leave out that the audio tape between the police, the dispatcher and the police helicopter officer suggested Crutcher was on something. In a search of the vehicle no gun or anything else that could be used as a weapon was found although it has been reported that PCP was found.
The aforementioned steps have been pretty much the same in the deaths of other unarmed Black men.
Black men, pay attention! Our lives are not valued by the larger society. This is what I know not what I think.
We can comply with police requests but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will live to see another day.
It may sound a bit morbid and sad but it is what it is.
We have to hug our loved ones each day that we leave the house just in case we don’t make it home tonight.
I am shaking my head in hurt and disbelief wondering how this continues to happen. Crutcher was the father of four children. Critics will now try to find out if he was a good father.
Regardless of whether or not he was a good father shouldn’t mean he should be shot and killed. His life mattered to his family and to his friends.
The United States Justice Department is now involved in the Crutcher shooting. Only time will tell us what they will find upon further review. The video of the incident has been shown around the country.
Many of us have already drawn a conclusion simply based upon what we saw.
Predictably, it seems when a Black man is shot there is always some evidence that we haven’t seen.
Children, especially children of color, have seen the videos of some of these killings. When they ask us as parents and grandparents what should they do, what do we tell them?
Do we tell them to keep their hands in sight like Crutcher? Well, he had his hands up in plain sight and he was shot to death.
Do we tell our children to respect the police? Yes, we do.
Being a law enforcement officer is a tough job. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers are good people and do a great job.
It is now time for the police to develop some new strategies and programs as it relates to fighting crime.
It can’t always be what citizens must do, it now must be what the police should do.
Is killing the only option? Are we to fear the police or are we to respect the police?
This paradigm of Black men living in fear of police must change. When we leave our homes in the morning, we want to return to our homes at night.
So now, unfortunately,-we will just sit back and wait on the next time an African American male is shot and killed hands up, hands down or on the ground by the police.
Be in prayer for men of color around the country.Semantic Tags: African American/Black • Diversity • Oklahoma • Police • Police Shootings • Race • Racism • Tulsa