Fear vs. Justice: One more Black man down

Crazy Faith Ministries

Stephon Clark, a 22-year old African American father of two, is dead – police having shot at him 20 times, with 8 of those bullets hitting him, 6 in his back.

Police were “in fear of their lives.” They thought he had a gun, but it turned out to be a cellphone.

The video we have all seen by now does not reveal the police identifying themselves. We hear the word “gun” and then see police fire off a flurry of bullets.

Clark was shot and killed in the backyard of his grandmother and reports say he did not die immediately. After he was mortally wounded, the police are heard saying to “mute” the microphones connected to their body cams.

The heaviness of the grief at one more Black man being mowed down by police is almost too much to bear.

What makes the heaviness even worse is that the usual rhetoric is being shared with the public – i.e., the two police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, pending an “investigation.”

Enough. Nobody believes the rhetoric, nobody believes in the authenticity of the “investigation,” and everyone knows that the police will most likely either escape a bill of indictment of, if brought up on charges, will be acquitted of any crime.

We know the story.

We know that after the so-called investigation and/or acquittal of the officers that they will be released back onto the streets of Sacramento. If the Sacramento police department fires them, they will simply go to another city and get on another police force. The Clark family will receive some exorbitant settlement from the city, as if money is a substitute for a loved one gunned down. Another shooting will happen. The community will rise up only to calm down for a bit to try to get their energy back to fight this seemingly unwinnable battle.

They/we will cry, “Black lives matter,” only to be scoffed at by people who will offer a counter call, “All lives matter.” They will accuse the young people moving through their grief and anger nonviolently of being terrorists and will criticize them for having the audacity to complain about what happens to Black people all of the time. They will scoff at them and turn away, and will continue to deify police officers who have little godliness in them.

For them, it will be just another Black man down, a member of a racial group whom they despise. They will offer the platitude that the police are heroes, putting their lives in danger in order to save people. And many, many officers do just that.

But there are too many rogue officers, White men who carry their racism as proudly and as openly as they carry their guns. They realize that their hatred has been sanctioned and that they have been given permission to kill Black people at will and immediately say, “I was in fear for my life.” to save their hides and their jobs.

How is it that the officers who shot Clark were afraid for their lives? He was running away from them. The report Friday said he only turned after he had been shot.

The “investigation” spectacle is not going to assuage any feelings of anger and frustration. It is a superficial exercise that police all over this country put in place to quell protests from angry family and community members. The goal of police departments in cases like this is too often to save the police officers, no matter what.

And they’re pretty successful at it.

But this continuous disrespect and disregard for young lives is too much to bear. Each shooting takes the oxygen out of the air of affected families and community activists who courageously and tenaciously fight the system that allows state-sanctioned murders to continue basically undisturbed.

Black people are no longer property; Black people are humans with feelings and emotions, goals and dreams, hope and faith. Black people are human beings who, despite systemic conditions that makes it hard to live dignified lives, deserve dignity.

Black people’s lives count. This society does not get that, understand that or apparently believe that.

Another Black man down is of no consequence or concern to far too many people. But the blood of all these slain is crying from their graves. Truth, crushed to the ground, will rise, and the truth of the corruption which is caused by white supremacy will rise again and again until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is available to preach, and give workshops or hold seminars on the issue of how religion and politics have been ineffective in destroying racism. She is working on a book on the subject at this time. To book her, visit revsuekim@sbcglobal.net, or visit http://www.crazyfaithministries.org.


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