It hardly matters whether Officer Darren Wilson is indicted. Because unarmed Black children like Michael Brown and Tamir Rice have already been sentenced to death.
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It has been over 100 days since 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. was gunned down by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, his body left to bake in the sweltering heat for four hours as his family and friends screamed out in guttural pain and rage. This week it is expected that Wilson, like most badge-wearing thugs in the United States of America, will not be charged with a crime.
There is one indictment that has already come down, though. In the over 100 days since Michael Brown, Jr. was killed, the court of public opinion has determined that Black America at-large has committed enough crimes to stand trial. And in the case of Michael Brown vs. White Supremacy, the slain teen has already been found guilty of being Black.
That’s what this is about. It’s what it’s always been about. And the truth of the matter is, no matter what the grand jury decides, these last 100 days have shown us how they feel. Wilson has been exonerated and Michael Brown has been found guilty. The jury is telling us that even though an unarmed teen took seven shots to his large frame, at least three with his hands in a position of surrender, it is still not enough to end Wilson’s paid vacation. With their hesitancy, they are telling us that Wilson’s life matters more than Michael Brown’s life. Their silence tells us that even if they grant Black America the favor of indicting Wilson, there is enough doubt that he will never, ever see a day inside of a prison.
By dragging it out, fanning the flames of a city, a people on the edge of despair, they have cast away any doubt that this country ever loved us at all. President Barack Obama, Governor Jay Nixon, and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay are just a few of the people who have had the audacity to ask protesters for peace before demanding justice for Michael Brown and his family, and that is unconscionable.
Michael Brown, Jr. was blood and bone, soul and heart. He was not a two-dimensional martyr, but a living, breathing human being cut down in broad daylight by a reckless, self-entitled boy with a gun. There is no way to adequately express or to even comprehend the excruciating pain that Michael Brown, Sr. and Lesley McSpadden must feel knowing that their baby boy’s body, the body they bathed, hugged, cherished and loved was treated with such inhumane disregard.
We who did not personally know Michael Brown, who have never hugged him, kissed him or heard his laugh are still victims of a tortuous psychological violence because every time a Black child is brutally killed, we are reminded that Black bodies are easily tossed aside like trash over and over and over again. It is the record skip that we can’t escape. The soundtrack of generations of our people’s ear-piercing, heart-shattering screams as another son, another daughter is ruthlessly slain before our very eyes and this country—this hypocritical, bloodthirsty, racist, privileged country—has the audacity to ask those of us who protest to do so peacefully.
The NYPD officers who shot and killed 16-year-old Kimani Gray will not face charges. The NYPD officers who killed Eric Garner by placing him in an illegal choke-hold still have not been indicted. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who shot and killed unarmed Jonathan Ferrell back in February still has not been to trial. A grand jury in Ohio decided not to indict the Beavercreek police officer who shot and killed unarmed Jonathan Crawford. The LAPD officers who shot and killed unarmed Ezell Ford have faced no consequences. The Cleveland police officers who killed unarmed, mentally ill Tanesha Anderson have not been punished. The Ann Arbor police officer who shot and killed mentally ill Aura Rosser claims he was justified because she was holding a knife. Last Thursday night, an NYPD officer “accidentally” shot and killed Akai Gurley simply because the stairwell was dark and he was frightened. Saturday afternoon, another Cleveland officer shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was simply holding a toy gun on a playground.
George Zimmerman is still a free man and Whitey’s on the moon.
How can we not rage? How can we not want to slash the throat of American exceptionalism and disembowel the bloated gut of White supremacy that gorges on all Black flesh that it can’t commodify for the Prison Industrial Complex or appropriate for its sick, twisted pleasure? The expectation of consistent justice in this country should not be too much to ask.
We have reached the point in this country where we are introduced to Black boys at their deaths. That is when we learn their names, come to know their hopes and fears and plans for the future. Our cultural commentary has become a constantly edited obituary and the vicious trauma that inflicts on a people can neither be understated nor ignored.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m sick and tired of seeing Rev. Al Sharpton standing next to [insert grieving Black mother here]. I am sick and tired of tired platitudes from tired politicians who would rather pretend that pandering for votes is the same thing as actually giving a damn about the communities who do the voting. I’m sick and tired of the same generation of civil-rights leaders who screamed, “No justice, no peace!” insisting that we peacefully protest against those who murder our children in cold blood with impunity.
Is our blood to be the cost of peace, which in and of itself is merely code for making White folks comfortable with our presence?
Many people have asked quietly, “What happens if Darren Wilson is not indicted?”
I don’t have the answer to that question; I don’t think any of us do. But it will not, it cannot be business as usual whether he is or not.
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