Just as America began to recover after 49 people were killed and 52 wounded, two men were killed execution style by police, then five police officers were shot dead and seven wounded. Why?
The people in the night club were shot because they were gay, the two men were executed because they were Black and the five killed and seven wounded because they were police officers.
The men shooting the gays and police were sadistic radicals who believed they were working for God, but the two Black men killed were shot by trained police officers who are suppose to Serve and Protect were just as cold blooded as the sadistic radicals.
A woman who watched as a police officer fatally shot her boyfriend during a traffic stop streamed the gruesome aftermath of the slaying live on Facebook, telling a worldwide audience that her companion had been shot “for no apparent reason” while reaching for his wallet.
Within hours, the Minnesota governor was pressing for the Justice Department to open its second investigation of the week into the death of a Black man at the hands of police.
“Nobody should be shot and killed in Minnesota for a tail light being out of function,” Gov. Mark Dayton said. “Would this have happened if those passengers would have been White? I don’t think it would have.”
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Philando Castile, 32, of St. Paul, died of multiple gunshot wounds. No other details about the injuries were released.
The first fatal police shooting was 37-year-old Black man was killed by officers in Baton Rouge, La. Alton Sterling’s death was caught on video.
Even though the two officers had him pinned down and hands were being held in plain view one officer shot him point blank five times as his young son looked on.
National outrage over the killings exploded into violence in Dallas, where a sniper fatally shot five police officers and wounded several more, authorities said.
The mother of Sterling denounced the killings of five police officers in Dallas during a protest over police shootings, which included her son.
A statement issued by Quinyetta McMillon’s attorneys says, “responding to violence with violence is not the answer.”
“We wholeheartedly reject the reprehensible acts of violence that were perpetrated against members of the Dallas Police Department,” the statement says. “Our hearts break for the families of the officers who were lost as they protected protesters and residents alike during a rally.”
Diamond Reynolds describes being pulled over in a St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, a mostly White community of 5,000 people for a “busted tail light” and says her boyfriend had told the officer he was carrying a gun for which he was licensed.
The woman with Castile said that he was killed even though he complied with the officer’s instructions. She told reporters that Castile did “nothing but what the police officer asked of us, which was to put your hands in the air and get your license and registration.”
The two officers had been with the St. Anthony Police Department for four years and were put on administrative leave, as is standard.
One officer approached Castile’s car from the driver’s side, and one from the passenger side, Several videos, including squad car video of the incident, have been collected, but St. Anthony officers don’t wear body cameras.
President Barack Obama called Sterling’s and Castile’s deaths “symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.”
Castile’s was a well-liked 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school.
Speaking to CNN, Castile’s mother said that she suspected she would never learn the whole truth about her son’s death.
“I think he was just Black in the wrong place,” Valerie Castile said, adding that she had stressed to her children that they must do what authorities tell them to do to survive.
“I always told them, whatever you do when you get stopped by police, comply, comply, comply.”
Castile was the superviser of a cafeteria at J.J. Hill Montessori, a St. Paul magnet school with 530 students and 85 staff members.
“He stood out because he was happy, friendly and related to people well,” she said.
After learning of his death, his boss went to the governor’s mansion, in the same neighborhood as the school, to take part in a vigil.
“I want his name respected,” she said.
Dallas Police Chief, David Brown, and Deputy Chief, Milik Aziz are Black. They spoke very highly of the police officers killed and the racial relations of the police department and the community on a very diverse police force. The sniper, Micah Johnson, was described as a person seeking to kill police officers and had planned a much larger scale of mass killings but was killed by a robot from the bomb squad before he could do any more damage.
The Dallas Mayor and some of the police officers, Black and White, spoke at Bishop T. D. Jakes’ mega church in an effort of healing relations and handling the grief of the loss of the police officers as well as Sterling and Castile.
There have been both peaceful and violent rallies, vigils, and marches all over the country including Pittsburgh. But most have been peaceful.
Violence is not the answer. Police departments must do a better job of weeding out the bad apples, and training their people how to apprehend people without deadly force. And once again, certain weapons shouldn’t be available to the general public, such as the weapons the Dallas, and gay nightclub shooters used. The officers who pulled the triggers in the Baton Rouge and St. Paul shootings should be tried for murder with the other officers as accomplishes. That would make cops think twice before pulling the trigger.
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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