By Olivia Dudley
A young woman is being beaten by her husband. She has the option to call 911 or let the incident go; he promises won’t do it again. But if we add race into this situation, a young black woman is being beaten by her black husband, she has to put more thought into what she should do. She has the option to call 911, let the incident go, or risk her husband’s life. She doesn’t want to risk the cop shooting her husband. While this situation may not escalate that far, it is still a thought she has. This woman has this thought because she has experienced police brutality before. This woman has become paranoid because her son was violently murdered by police years before. She can’t lose another man that she loves, not like that.
I am not saying that police officers are not to be trusted. My only desire is to express what I have seen going on for several years. According to a project on The Guardian entitled The Counted; if we view the list of black Americans killed by police, as of July 7, 2016 out of the 561 people killed by police in total, only 136 were black while 275 were white. I will not lie; I was actually surprised by this number. Social media and other news sources make it seem like that number is actually reversed. And to be even more honest, as much as I hate to say it, but I have grown numb to these situations of Black vs. Cop. It seems as though they happen so often all you can do is be in a never ending loop of “This is terrible; I hope it doesn’t happen again.”
But it does happen again! Because people panic and overreact because that’s just what people do. Still, the vision I have of a police officer is a man or woman sworn to protect the people from harm, they should be level headed and logical. Non-discriminatory. They are meant to apprehend the suspect and take them to be detained and questioned. Not play the parts of Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The police officer is the police officer and only the police officer. I do not mean to rant, and for that, I apologize. This is just my expectation of police officers. They should not raise their weapon unless one is clearly about to be aimed at them.
One morning my mom was taking me to work and she ran a red light, we were pulled over by a police officer and he could see my mom was flustered, having never been pulled over in her life. The police officer said “Ma’am, you just ran through a red light. Why?” And she explained herself to him, it was six in the morning, she was tired and didn’t even notice. He told her he understood and to not do it again. He left us without even giving her a ticket. My mom is a white woman. I don’t worry about my mom getting into trouble with the law. What I do worry about is my dad, a black man. I shouldn’t need to worry, it’s just one of those feelings. Yes, he is guilty of speeding, he enjoys the thrill of going fast, but he does not drive recklessly. He has never been pulled over, I am concerned about the day he is pulled over. I worry that the cop that pulls my dad over will not be as considerate as the one that pulled my mom over. I do not want my dad to become another statistic.
How unfortunate is it that thoughts like that are in our heads? In America, we are scared about the future of our government, terrorists, and our own police officers. And not every police officer is going to shoot a suspect, just like not every black person is innocent. I retract my statement about becoming numb to these situations. I have become angry. I am angry at the list of 136 names I have read, I am angry that the young woman I mentioned earlier went through domestic abuse because she was too scared that her husband would be killed, and I am angry that this is not going to stop. No amount of laws or body cameras will stop innocent people from being killed by police because when it comes down to it; when you take off the uniform, the police are just humans too. And humans are scared, humans are prone to panicking. When humans do bad things they should face the consequences and be punished for their actions.
We need more Justice and Hope.