I have scrolled through my Facebook and found far too many videos’ that capture police brutality. There are very few times I have been able to go on my Facebook feed without coming across a video that captures racism in violent acts. After which I would leave and log off of my social media.
Not only has there been an increase in media coverage of these events but there has been an increase in occurrence of the events. Are the majority of these police officers walking away from these incidents with no repercussions? This, I think, depends on the situation. Do we cut them more slack then we would a person of color? The short answer is yes. During this year politics have not seem to be able to separate it self from the topic of racism. How can they be separated when there have been outward racist remarks towards minority groups and women made by the president himself? We have seen even more of a divide and even more outward hatred towards these groups because of the example that has been set for this country by political figures. Why do we let these remarks slide? Why has our president been able to get away with everything even when women have come forward about sexual assault? The short answer is his privilege. This would not be the same of a person of color had been accused of sexual assault. When President Trump spoke about arresting people and how police should not be “too nice” and was later marked as a joke.
I came across an article in the Huffington post about Michael Slager a former police officer who was responsible for the shooting of Walter Scott–an unarmed black man. I was shocked to see that Michael Slager’s prison sentence was only 20 years. The argument cannot be made that Michael’s life was in immediate danger because not only was Walter unarmed, but he was also running away from the incident, which would not put this police officer in any immediate danger. What alarms me the most is the first instinct these police officer’s have when put into this situation is to pull the trigger. We are talking about trained police officer’s who are taught what to do in these types of situations. They are trained how to handle situations without having to use their guns. If the roles were reversed and Walter was the one who did the shooting would he have gotten the same 20 year sentence? He most likely would not have.
This is only one situation. Other unarmed people of color killed by the police include: Michael Brown (18), John Crawford (22), Eric Garner (43), Tanisha Anderson (37), and Tamir Rice (12). These are just a few of incidents that have happened over the years and all of these victims were unarmed. Not one of these officers were charged. Those who hold higher power in society and within the racial caste system are able to get away with these horrible crimes because of their superiority and because of negative stereotypes of aggression in people of color which can be traced back to times of slavery. In the case of Walter, his mother ended up forgiving the officer who shot and killed her son. Would you?