Archive for usual suspects

The Usual Suspect: an unarmed person of color

Posted in political commentary, politics, racial discrimination, social commentary with tags , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by joelle blackstarr

Although I normally don’t mind playing the angry Black man, I have to say that at this point, it’s gettin’ old.  I have fought tooth and nail to simply read the comics, do my cryptogram and crossword, and call it a day.  Inevitably, a story moves into eyesight and I can’t help but read it out.  There is such an inequity in the way that suspects are treated by the police and the subsequent actions taken by said police when it comes down to the differences in the way incidents are handled.  That seems to depend upon whether the suspect is Caucasian or is a person of color.

In January of this year in Ohio, Tarika Wilson and her child were shot by police who came to her home to arrest her boyfriend.  Ms Wilson was killed, the child shot in the shoulder and will survive.  Ms Wilson was Black.  She was unarmed.  Earlier this month, and all-white jury dismissed all charges against the police officer.

In July of this year, twenty-seven (27) year old Mack Woodfox was shot in the back and killed by an officer who said that he thought the suspect was reaching for a gun.  The suspect was being chased by police for driving under the influence.  At the time that he was shot  (three times in the back) he was posing no threat.  He was unarmed.  He was Black.  Seven (7) months earlier, the police officer, Hector Jimenez, shot and killed another suspect.

There are other stories that I decided not to add to this blog, but, one need only go back a few months at a time to find very similar stories of unarmed Black people being shot and killed by the police.  Diallo was murdered a few years ago.  Bell was murdered recently.  Both were unarmed, posed no threat, and were shot multiple times by the police.  The list goes on and on.  Each time, one reads that the suspects were unarmed and posed no serious threat to officers or others.  Yet, these Black people are dead.  Killed.  Murdered.  What’s the worst part of it all?  The officers have gotten off in almost every case.

The real pity, the part that angers me most, is that when it comes to Caucasian suspects, police seem to find a way to “talk them down” or to use minor force to subdue the Caucasian suspects.  I have read stories of Caucasian suspects with guns, knives, bats, and numerous other items usable as weapons.  In each case, the police saw fit to persuade them to surrender.  In the case of the suspects who were people of color, they have all been unarmed and posed less of a threat than any of the Caucasian suspects who were persuaded to surrender.

Black tribes in Africa, back in the day were mighty warriors.  They conquered nations without so much as a twitch of an eye.  They were feared as the most powerful beings to ever walk the face of the earth.  Apparently, the usual suspects must be killed as opposed to being brought in.  Evidently, the usual suspects are ominous enough without a weapon.  Clearly, the usual suspects must be dealt with in a manner in which they will never become a threat to anyone.

The usual suspects are unarmed people of color.

The usual suspects are unarmed people of color.

The usual suspects are unarmed people of color.

And the usual suspects . . . are dead.

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