#BlackTrialsMatter: Stop Killing Black “Criminals” Before Their Days In Court

Opinion

Dedicated to the expert trolls who constitute crime as justification for the deaths of countless victims of trigger-happy officers.

 

Last Friday (Aug 8), 19-year-old unarmed Angelo State University defensive back Christian Taylor was gunned down by 49-year-old officer-in-training Brad Miller after the officer responded to a suspected burglary in progress at an Arlington, Texas car dealership. Just one day later – notably sooner than the divulging of details regarding several other cases – surveillance video was released of Taylor attempting to open car doors and breaking a windshield at the scene. It was almost as if to say, “Look! He was a bad guy! This one’s not our fault!”

Oh, but it was. It still was.

On June 17, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, killed nine people in Charleston, S.C.’s Emanuel AME Church. Two days later, he was captured in North Carolina – bulletproof vest, prison garb and bowl-cut in tact. On June 20, 2012, James Eagan Holmes, 25, opened fire in a Colorado movie theater, killing 12 people and leaving 70 people injured. He was granted enough time to grow his orange hair out and sit before a judge to receive his life sentence. On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, Jr., 18, lifted cigarillos from a local store in Ferguson, Mo. and lay dead in the sweltering sun less than an hour later.

Roof and Eagan are young white men who murdered people. Brown and Taylor were young black men who committed petty crimes.

On the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death, I published a story on the nearly five-mile march led by Michael Brown, Sr. After making its way through the Twitterverse, the post led the following users into my mentions:

 

For reasons beyond my own understanding, expert trolls and racist proponents of violence against young people of color constitute crime as justification for the deaths of countless victims of trigger-happy officers. By doing one’s simple Google due-diligence, the terms “protect” and “serve” – a standard by which said officers allegedly did their jobs – Darren Wilson and Brad Miller upheld neither. “Protect” generates the phrases “keep safe from harm,” “aim to preserve,” and “restrict by law access to.” “Serve” turns up as “perform duties,” and “distribute.” At what point was killing necessary to carry out these values?

This is not a championing for the committing of any violations of the law, but if Roof is worthy of Burger King after slaughtering a group of churchgoers, and Holmes’ heart is still beating after robbing 12 people of the ability to ever watch another movie again, surely Brown and Taylor were worthy of seeing their days in court. Surely a pack of cigarillos and a Buick should be held at lesser value than their breath. And this is all notwithstanding Eric Garner’s illegal soliciting of cigarettes. Or Sam DuBose’s missing license plate. But you’ve heard all this already. This is a championing for black “criminals” to make it past the deadly threshold of police encounters and before a judge to face their due (or oftentimes unfair) punishments.

Would “black trials matter” make you more comfortable? – Iyana Robertson (@sincerely_iyana)