Every time I chat with my brother on the phone, it’s the same damn thing, “Angie, you need to apply for LAPD. Go through the academy and be a cop. You’d be great and you could finally start your life.” My brother is sorely mistaken. I’d be awful at being a cop and I’d consider my life – and all it’s purpose – to be over. It’d be worse than selling my soul to Satan itself.
I am horrified. Terrified. Mummified. Infuriated, debilitated, flummoxed. There aren’t enough words to put it simply. I AM FUCKING MAD.
This isn’t a #BlackLivesMatter bit, even bigger than #LivesMatter, it’s the elementary difference between right and wrong! Do and don’t do. Police officers have taken their authority too goddamn far! How is it that people are up in arms about guns when it comes to thinking about the travesty that happened in Orlando and yet Black men are being shot left and right at the mere suspicion on them carrying a gun. Or even barely posing a threat.
All day, the fuss in the news (which, nowadays means our own Facebook feeds) has been the following:
Alton Sterling was reported to Baton Rouge Police as a threat by an anonymous caller. He was just hanging around outside a mini-mart selling CDs and suddenly that prompts fatal gunshot from two police officers.
And then, I came across the following on my feed. A second fatality in a consecutive day:
Nearly 10 minutes of concrete proof of what’s so fucked right now. The woman in the video, Lavish Reynolds, and her daughter witnessed her boyfriend, Philando Castile, be shot 4 times after being instructed to reach into his back pocket for his wallet. It’s entirely heartbreaking to hear her baby girl say, “It’s okay mommy, it’s okay, I’m here with you.” I am astounded by how Lavish managed to not go apeshit on these cops for what they’d done. Oh, but wait, that would’ve warranted her death, and maybe even the death of her daughter in addition to. That was her only form of survival in that moment. To go Live on Facebook has only served as exposure, but what more? The real criminals of this video will not be prosecuted. They might just be suspended from work. Whoop de fucking doo.
And the nerve of the cops in the out of sight background of the video to call the little girl “sweetie” and “sweetheart”. That comes off as hey little kid, obey us because that’s the only option you have. Hey little kid, learn quick and learn now that violence and abuse will run rampant in your life and there ain’t nothing you can do about it. HEY KID, you’re a POC, you were born wrong.
This apprehension of police is nothing new to me. As a matter of fact, it’s been engrained in me. Sirens are the soundtrack of Inglewood, California. And gunshots are the bass line. When I see a cop, I want to crawl under the biggest rock in sight. Want to vanish into thin air, like the effect of a nuclear bomb exploding from within. I do my best to be my best because I know that they’re just out to get people. And we, as citizens of our #GreatAmerica are not allowed to stand up for ourselves. Stand up for the correction of such wrongs.
I distinctly remember being barricaded and then shoved around by guns and plastic shields at a non-violent rally that happened at my alma mater (UC Riverside) when the UC Regents held their meeting on campus. We wanted their attention. We wanted their time. We needed to discuss the deeply rooted issues that were eating us – students – alive. Instead, we were met with swat squads armored from all over the Inland Empire. I remember being beaten with a baton when my brother and I were caught up in the Lakers Championship Riot of 2000 that took place just outside of Staples Center. We were children, trying to find our way out. Instead, we were taken to the ground and threatened with our lives. I remember getting ready for school on a random morning when suddenly I hear loud banging next door. “POLICE, OPEN UP!” No one opened, so they let themselves in. Seconds after, I heard a series of gunshots. I dropped to the ground, crawled over to find the house phone to make a phone call because I was home alone. “MOM, come home now! Police are shooting,” I cried into the receiver. The block was closed off. No one was allowed in or out.
This isn’t to say that all cops are bad or corrupt. This isn’t to say that every manifestation of authority comes in an iniquitous form. No. However, I will materialize in my overgeneralization from all the proof I’ve lived and continue to witness. I’ve never had faith and probably never will of the American justice system (or lack thereof). Too often, innocent people are wrongfully harmed, convicted, and killed, and we bystanders are the ones left in ruins from the testimonies.
Last I spoke with my brother, I put it this way, “Police haven’t done anything nearly as severely to me as they’ve done other innocent people. But if and when I see a police officer, I get nothing but unfavorable feelings. They aren’t trustworthy. They’re power hungry folk who embark on endless, fruitless, inconsequential power trips that have come to normalize police brutality. They’re everything that I stand against. Why would I ever want to fiddle around with that insurmountable aggression and violence or anything of that sort. It’s immoral.”
We can write, we can tweet, we can rally, we can pledge. There are numerous ways to bring attention to this abhorrent issue. We’ll face cynicism along the way, but something must be done! That said, it’s also crucial to know one’s limits when ingesting this content. Put simply and from a beholder:
My condolences go out to the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, and the 113 other Black men killed by police this year so far. Lest I forget Sandra Bland and Pedro Villanueva. To list so many names is sickening. To even have a list is sin.
– In Solidarity