Today, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty in the death of Philando Castile. This is another in a long of line “indictments but no convictions” for police officers that murder black American citizens. I’m black and I know my life does not matter to the US justice system. I would say that the system is broken but that would be false; the American justice system was never established to give black men and women a fair opportunity. Justice may never come for us but this is how it was always meant to be. Today, I’m posting something that I wrote on July 7, 2016, the day Mr. Castile was murdered by Yanez in front of his family. The sorrow I felt then feels worse now because his family will never find justice. Maybe, one day, they’ll find peace, but justice was never meant for them. Nor for me. And, if you are black, not for you.
Earlier this morning, my girlfriend asked me if I’m afraid of being killed by the police. I told her, “Yes and no. It’s not something that I think about everyday, but I’m scared that if police kill me, they’ll get away with it and there’ll be no justice.”
She could see I was distraught by the murder of Philando Castile. Yesterday, I had to deal with Alton Sterling’s murder. Today, I am completely dejected and defeated.
I am scared.
I’m scared for the child I don’t have. I’m scared for black people across the country. I’m scared that if a police officer kills me, I will be a hashtag that will be eventually forgotten. I’m scared of this for my friends and family. I’m scared that if you read this, you won’t care enough to realize that blacks and minorities across the country feel the exact same way I feel and that you’ll find an excuse to say the police are justified in the systematic murder of black Americans.
So, if I am ever murdered, please see that I get justice. If the police say I was resisting arrest, I was not; I was fighting to preserve my humanity because the police officer that killed me was doing everything in his power to take my life. If I’m ever killed, make sure they use a photo during my college graduation or while I was dressed in a dress shirt and tie. And if they don’t, just know I was living my life in that photo just as any other person has the right to.
We cannot treat homicide at the hands of the police as justifiable any longer when black people are continually the victims of this aggressive use of force. You should be as sacred as I am. And this has to stop.
Originally posted July 7, 2016.