If aliens were to come down in a space ship and turn on the television today there’s a good chance they would deem our society as one that lives by the motto liberty and justice for all. And why wouldn’t they? With the current string of news stories involving law enforcement officials being charged, suspended or otherwise reprimanded for brutality and excessive force that have been coming out the last few days. But we better hope they leave really soon. Otherwise, they might find out how disproportionately biased against the poor, women and minorities our society is and bathe us all in a green death ray.
The most recent example of comeuppance for dirty cops being the sad case of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a Black resident of Baltimore, Maryland whose spine was broken in three different places thanks to arresting officers. The six in question have been suspended pending investigation.
Additionally, there’s the case of Eric Harris of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was an unarmed suspect who was shot 73-year-old Tulsa Reserve Deputy Robert Bates. The assailant later said he intended on using his taser but shot Harris instead. Video was recently released in which Harris complained to officers that he could not breathe. Bates' response? “F**k your breath”. Harris died a day later. Other officers said they didn’t realize he had been shot although video released of the sordid circumstance reveals otherwise. Bates has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
The most egregious of these recently revealed instances of police brutality and maleficence is the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott at the hands of former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager. The officer fired eight shots at a fleeing Scott, striking him five times. To add insult to deadly injury, the officer then walked back, dropped his taser next to the dying man, and radioed in that Scott had tried to take his taser and that he had feared for his life. If it weren’t for Feidin Santana, who recorded the shooting, Scott would have been free to kill, lie and plant evidence again.
Each of these officers are facing disciplinary actions to varying degrees, but what is going on unsaid is the large number of officers out there who are still killing without restraint or remorse on a daily basis throughout the United States. The reason it’s going unsaid? Because no one is counting. As was reported by The Shadow League back on April 1, the federal government does not keep track of police-involved killings that are deemed justifiable by local municipalities. So, heaven only knows how many Michael Slagers are there gunning down people, planting evidence or “accidentally” shooting suspects in the back.
Indeed, even with these recently arrests the studious among us can easily find hundreds of similar circumstances in which the police not only escaped any disciplinary action, but were actually rewarded for their “good police work”.
The difference between these circumstances and others that have escaped the daily news cycle is the proliferation and easy access to handheld video recording devices. Indeed, it is not hyperbole to say that none of these situations would have gained such notoriety had it not been for that piece of technology.
Recently, Chicago Police detective Dante Servin was acquitted of charges in the death of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd because the judge believed the charges were not severe enough. As bizarre as that ruling was, one can only imagine the untold thousands of other hair-brained judgements handed down by so-called wise judges.
Additionally, the Servin trial represented the first time in 15 years that a Chicago police officer was charged in a fatal shooting. If you believe that over the course of a decade and a half that no Chicago Police officer has maimed, killed without legal grounds, or planted evidence to frame an otherwise innocent person, then you’re an absolute fool.
But as I peruse the friendly confines of my social media timelines I see individuals applauding the charges of Michael Slager, and Eric Harris as well as the suspensions of six arresting officers in Baltimore. Indeed, it would seem like we who believe that true justice has finally come are the biggest fools of all. Despite the accolades and applauds that these developments have brought from the masses, I cannot help but think about the tens of thousands of victims of police-based racism and criminality who will never see justice.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, Eric Holder’s Justice Department sides with the police on such matters more often than not. Here’s an excerpt from that article:
At the Supreme Court, where the limits of police power are established, Mr. Holder’s Justice Department has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way to arguments. Even as it has opened more than 20 civil rights investigations into local law enforcement practices, the Justice Department has staked out positions that make it harder for people to sue the police and that give officers more discretion about when to fire their guns.
So, while you guys greedily nibble on these twigs of justice, The Shadow League will be digging for the root causes. As it stands, it looks like it might be impossible for any person of color to enjoy the fruits of true justice in a nation who’s very DNA is racist. After all, do you really think a Black man who is even suspected of killing a White person in this country, regardless of his occupation, would be allowed to take a trip the Bahamas while awaiting trial? That’s exactly where Eric Harris is now, chilling in the sun while the family of the man he killed sits exacerbated by this monkey-handed justice.
Lastly, we must also remember that being suspended for an investigation, or charged with a crime, isn't nor have ever been a predictor of conviction.