In North Miami, Charles Kinsey was working with a patient who had a toy gun in his hand. Someone had called police, saying that a man had a gun and police showed up, but they apparently ignored Kinsey as he lay on the ground, hands up, telling officers that he had no gun and that that which they thought was a gun in the hands of the man with autism was actually a toy truck.
An officers shot Kinsey, who said he was surprised and asked the officer why he shot him; the officer responded that he didn’t know. Officers handcuffed him after he had been shot.
Had Kinsey died, the narrative about what had happened would have been swallowed up in law enforcement rhetoric. the story would have been that this “hands up” story was likely false. A video of the incident would have been thoroughly investigated and the officers would have been put on “paid administrative leave,” with the investigation showing, ultimately, that the officers were not at fault.
GOP goes nuts
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani went on a tirade at the Republican National Convention this week, saying that the Black Lives Matter movement is “inherently racist.” Former New York Police Detective Harry Houck said that Black people are “prone to criminality.” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said that the Black Lives Matter movement is “anarchy.”
While murdering anyone is wrong, police have been killing unarmed Black men and women and getting away with it for decades. How many Black people have died at the hands of law enforcement officers while pleading for their lives we will never know. We do know is that these killings happen far too often and law enforcement officers have gotten away with murder.
The officers who were brought up on charges in the death of Freddy Gray have so far all been acquitted. Not wanting to face juries, these officers chose bench trials and the presiding judge has said not a one of them is guilty. In other words, nobody is responsible for the death of Freddy Gray.
It is the disrespect of human life – Black life – shown by law enforcement officers historically that has people in the streets. The BLM movement is a cry for justice – for laws to be made and adhered to that will stop it from being “OK” for police officers to shoot and kill rather than to protect and serve.
The ‘anarchy’ seems to be on the part of the specific police officers who know they are protected by law whenever they shoot and kill someone. They seem to kill without caring because they know “their world” and “their laws” will trump laws of human decency and respect.
It is a good thing that Charles Kinsey survived and the incident was caught on camera. It is not reassuring that the officer who shot him is on “administrative leave.” That points to an impotent and unfair practice of “investigating” police misconduct – only to let offending officers off the hook.
That is why the BLM movement must continue and grow even stronger. If Black people will not tell the story of what these rogue officers do to too many people, the story will remain the “dirty little secret” of officers.
Those officers need to be exposed and be taken off the streets. All lives matter – but in that “all,” Black lives have been eliminated. It’s time for that to change.
Rev. Susan K. Smith is an author and ordained minister who is founder of Crazy Faith Ministries. Contact her at email@example.com.