Tamir Rice Was 12 Years Old » VSB

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Tamir Rice Was 12 Years Old



I was in the lobby of the Ace — a boutique hotel that opened its doors this month in East Liberty (the Pittsburgh neighborhood I grew up in) — meeting with activist and educator Liana Maneese. We were meeting to discuss her new project — Adopting Identity, which is described on its website as “a movement that exists first and foremost for the self-liberation of people of color raised in multiracial families” — and potential creative synergies with 1839.

This was my second meeting at the Ace yesterday. Earlier, I met a friend for lunch at Whitfield, also located in the Ace’s lobby, to discuss her personal statement for a fellowship she was applying for. I chose the Ace for both meetings because, well, it was easier than having to travel to two separate locations for a 12:30 lunch and a meeting scheduled for 1:30. But mainly because I wanted to finally enter this trendy new space that recently entered my old hood; perhaps the 17th or the 37th (I’ve lost count) trendy new space to open in East Lib in the past decade. And, it met my expectations. I’ve never been to Portland. But I know Portland is one of the few cities where Ace Hotel exists. And this place — both the space itself and the people working and eating in it — felt like it was transplanted from Portlandia. I’ve never said this about anything Pittsburgh-related before, but I didn’t feel hip enough to be there.

Anyway, the work meeting was briefly interrupted when Liana excused herself from the table for a moment to speak to a friend she’d just spotted in the lobby. I took that time to check my phone for emails and texts. I also checked Twitter, and saw that Tamir Rice’s name was the top trending topic. I clicked his name and learned there’d be no charges for Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland patrolman who killed the 12-year-old while he was playing with a pellet gun in a park last year. While announcing the decision and his explaining his rationale for it, Timothy J. McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, called the encounter “a perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications.”

When Liana got back to the table, I asked if she’d heard about this news yet. She hadn’t. And then, after we both shook our heads in quasi-disbelief — it wasn’t real disbelief because this news was very and inescapably believable — she said “I guess you don’t have a shortage of shitty things to write about, huh?

I told her that I was going stay away from writing about this. That I was on a bit of a vacation, and that all the work I’d publish this week would be light in tone.

Obviously, this was a lie. I did not intend for it to be, though. When I said that I believed it to be true and I intended on following through. Because yes, I did want to take a week or so to give my brain an opportunity to recharge and refresh. Between the birth of my daughter, the holidays, and work commitments (old and new) it’s been an especially busy month. But mostly because, if I did write about Tamir Rice, I did not know how I’d distinguish it from what I’ve already written about Tamir Rice. And Sandra Bland. And Eric Garner. And Michael Brown. And Trayvon Martin. And Sam DuBose. And Freddy Gray. And Laquan McDonald. Every relevant angle — at least every relevant angle I have the capacity to follow — has already been taken. Every tonal adjustment — words used and phrases constructed to convey sobriety or sadness or outrage or disbelief — has already been incorporated. Even the feelings felt when writing this would be facsimiles of feelings already felt. Because this just keeps happening. And my reactions to these happenings feel increasingly pointless. Valueless. After the 28th Aiyana Stanley-Jones or the 52nd Jordan Davis, my 28th and 52nd responses become so perfunctory that it starts to cross over into vanity. Because my writing about this is clearly not doing anything other than inspiring people to tell me how powerful my words are. And, occasionally, offer me money to write more words. It does not prevent police-involved killings or any measure of police brutality. But it does generate retweets.

So we continued the meeting. And Liana and I sat in that hotel lobby; one of the four or five people of color in a space filled with 30 to 40 of the hippest and trendiest White people in Pittsburgh. All eating and drinking and reading and working and laughing while existing in a hip and trendy place created specifically for them. And I thought about how they’d never know what it was like to be a citizen of a country where the legally-sanctioned killing of a 12-year-old who looked like and very easily could have been you is so commonplace that the responses to it start to feel rote. Sure, they would (and likely already have) experience loss and sadness. Those are inextricable parts of the human experience. But knowing how you looked when you were 12 years old, and having a 12-year-old doppelganger of the 12-year-old you’s life taken by your own government, and having that theft be both legally justified and so familiar that it’s foundational, is an experience they will not experience.

When the meeting was over, I got back on the internet to see what people were saying about the decision not to charge Timothy Loehmann in the death of the 12-year-old Tamir Rice. My digital world — my Facebook timeline and Twitter feed, particularly — was filled with Rice-related commentary. Most of it angry or astonished or exasperated or some combination of all three. And then I decided that I would write about this. Not because it would have a tangible effect on the frequency of these police-involved killings of young Black people. Because, again, it won’t. But because Tamir Rice was 12 years old. And he most likely did not have the words or the means or the platform to express how his life and his existence was so starkly different than the lives and the existences of the patrons of the Ace Hotel yesterday afternoon. And the Americans who exist in a reality where the death of Tamir Rice is so far removed from it that it doesn’t even merit a mention. A single thought.

And, even if he had the words and the means and the platform to articulate that dichotomy, he is dead, so he no longer has the opportunity.

But I do.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.


Who Won 2015?

  • Nick Peters

    We let it happen…

    • Val


      • Nick Peters

        Taking a religious/humanist/moral stance on white supremacy that not only leads to a misunderstanding of white supremacy – because it is extremely logical and it exists only because ALL white people tangibly benefit from it – even though in 2015 these stances have never helped black people successfully counteract white supremacy, even slavery ended because the Union needed soldiers and to bankrupt Confederacy States (why the only states where slavery was ended were states that joined the Confederacy) instead of a more pragmatic/economic approach…which other minority groups have successfully used to provide themselves at least some protection.

        2. Internally: black people make excuses and cosign dysfunctional behavior that either hurts black people or rationalizes the degradation of black people to people outside of the black community.

        3. At its most basic level: If “We let it happen” then “We can stop it from happening to us”

        • Val

          Your first point confuses me. Your second point is respectability politics. And your third point, I don’t agree that we let it happen but I do agree that we can stop it.

          • Nick Peters

            Not respectability politics…think over the summer after Trump started going off about the Hispanic community and EVERY organization in that community that had an economic tie with Trump ended their relationship…how many times did you hear black people make excuses for why black people could never organize and do something like that…because I heard it a lot…

            • Val

              Sigh. I really get tired of Black people don’t do this and we don’t do that. You talk about so-called Hispanics organizing to end financial relationships with Trump but who made the blueprint for that in this country? Us. We did.

              You talk about White Supremacy above but it seems to have, to a certain degree, infiltrated your own rhetoric. The truth is, if Black folks didn’t know how to fight back we wouldn’t even be here after all that’s been done to us.

              Don’t believe the hype, we have and continue to fight back. You talk about Hispanics but ignore BLM?

              • Nick Peters

                I never spend money on Black Friday…and what does just 1 day really mean?

                • Vanity in Peril

                  The people responsible for this shhit aint us, bruj.

                  • Nick Peters

                    I know…but they ain’t gone stop because it benefits them…so the responsibility falls on us to stop them.

                • Val

                  First you say we aren’t doing anything, then you scoff at what we’re doing.

          • Nick Peters

            When crazy things happen to black people instead of people saying, not all but generally, “Let’s get some power so we can punish people who come at us” (like the Missouri football team) we get the “Lets Educate”, “Use forgiveness as a weapon” and “Give it to God”….. Negros

            • Val

              BLM isn’t about forgiveness. BLM isn’t about educating White folks. BLM is about developing power and using it to defend ourselves. The movement is still very young, but has made strides. Give it some more time to up the ante.

              • Nick Peters

                I never even mentioned BLM…but just as education and Jesus won’t save black people, neither will generating awareness (because in the end all white people benefit from white supremacy and to end many of the things – like police brutality – black people need power (which 9 times out of 10 comes from wealth and we all Sergio they change when it comes to money and opportunity).

                • Val

                  That was my point, that you didn’t mention BLM while calling out Black folks for doing nothing but praying and forgiving.

            • fxd8424

              If I hear the “Give it to God” one more time, I just might lose it. And you can’t reason with these negroes.

    • iphone300

      Please explain…

  • As Rice’s parent’s unfortunately said, “Disappointed, but not surprised.”

    A reoccurring theme that I see in all these cases, and I am constantly irritated that no one wants to point this out, is the phrase, “The perspective of a reasonable officer…” This obscure and opaque stance, is always argued and is always the get out of jail free card. I kind of feel until that entire idea that the “Perspective of a reasonable police officer” as an excuse for incompetence, poor judgment, racism, stupidity etc is accepted and unchallenged in the legal system, that much of the protests and increased scrutiny on LEOs will amount to nothing.

    • Oluseyi

      Apparently, Timothy Lehmann’s previous supervisor had opined that he had no business being in law enforcement. Perhaps this is grounds for a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland, for employing someone in such flagrant disregard of public safety, and for challenging the entire notion of “a reasonable officer.” Timothy Lehmann quite clearly was not “a reasonable officer.”

      • menajeanmaehightower

        The residents really don’t mind paying out these large settlements. Millions on millions of dollars are paid out every year for stuff that cops do wrong and yet no one bats an eye.

        • Actually, Ferguson is a perfect example of how these things work out.

          Most residents don’t feel the settlements, they’re paid through indirect means, like dividends and Bonds, from Municipal investments. When those aren’t sufficient you either raise taxes, beg businesses to invest, and when all else fails, you use the public sector to drain wealth from the citizenry or the federal government.

        • Val

          I think most Whites see it as the cost of keeping Black folks in line. So they don’t mind the money being spent.

          • fxd8424

            Exactly! The cost of doing business.

  • KB

    I am running out of words to say, yet the outrage continues to grow.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    A comment re posted from a post I posted on CNN:

    “People are motivated to act when there’s something in it for them;
    this has been proven throughout U.S. history. White people didn’t care
    when it was Black faces being lynched and killed by White mobs in the
    South, it took the deaths of Adam Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and Viola
    Liuzzo being killed to get White’s to act.

    The powder vs crack cocaine mandatory minimum issue is known to jail more Blacks than
    Whites. Moves to change the law are heating up with White meth users
    being charged under the same rules that adversely impact Blacks.

    Inner city communities have been asking for tighter gun laws to restrict /
    eliminate straw purchases. Any gun legislation will be a result of the
    mass killing of innocent White people.”

    Once it’s their kids on the line, we won’t hear all of the excuses we currently hear and their will be action.

    • Oluseyi

      So… should we go shoot their kids?

      • Sigma_Since 93

        No. The underlying issue is once White people realize your child can be killed / assaulted / sent to jail and the system they thought would provide justice does not, they will demand change. Change only seems to occur in this country when White people are involved.

        • Oluseyi

          And I’m saying that, in a bid to accelerate that epiphany, perhaps we should help place their children at risk so they can see the inefficacy of the system? Or does this only work when it is the state-sanctioned actors doing the killing, assault and jailing?

          I’m mostly facetious here. Mostly.

      • This question made me think of Guitar in Song of Solomon.

    • Qris_10

      But that’s kind of happened already….Newtown Connecticut. And way back in Columbine. But when it does, you’ll still get the same Good Ol’ Boy white folks who insist that if teachers in the school also had guns, it wouldn’t have gotten that far. They always have some lame excuse as to why guns are necessary and everybody should have one. These excuses get even more absurd when you factor in racism against black people in the equation. Their kids have BEEN on the line. Ultra right wing nut-cases just don’t give a hot damb. It’s almost as if they would rather sacrifice the safety of their own children for the opportunity to shoot down POC. Especially kneegroes

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        I agree. White kids die every day from the unchecked actions of white adults, and these people STILL DON’T CARE. I’m not saying they won’t do something about it at a certain point, but when our President asks after the last mass shooting “what else do you need to get this to stop” and the same broke, old, angry, stupid conservatives that vote to keep every law that hurts them intact because their favorite politician says interesting things on TV, does nothing to change their stance….welp….I guess the only thing left to do is mass annihilation.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        but you also see convictions when they capture the bad guys. You also hear he needs help vs. that teen / pre teen year old looked manly or that thug

      • LMNOP

        It’s not white children being killed by police though. That’s a whole different level, armed government employees killing children with impunity is literally a crime against humanity level evil.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          and being defended by people they elected.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          You’re right. The badge has a different standard than just being a psycho. And yet, would the pain be any less different for any parent who gets to watch years pass as some guy either gets a slap on the wrist, or has excuses made for his behavior, while they go to their child’s grave every year, to drop off flowers and tears?

          I honestly don’t know. Don’t want to find out. Pain is pain. That’s all I can tell.

          • LMNOP

            Of course it is horrible for any parent to lose a child whether it’s by the police, in a school shooting, in a car accident, cancer, whatever.

            But the societal response has to be different for different threats. Much stronger gun control laws could probably significantly decrease the number of shooting deaths in this country, but wouldn’t stop police from killing children.

  • PrettyGeekz

    That photo is sweet. And I can’t stop looking at it. And I’m trying to fight back tears at my desk. What really got to me is when someone commented on the boy’s stature claiming he LOOKED like a grown man. SMH. He was 12! Honestly, I’m not even sure what I can do anymore…but protect the little black and brown boys that are still alive in this country. Rest easy, Tamir.

    • Oluseyi

      I was a 6′-1″ 12-year old. My boy will likely be taller.

      Tamir didn’t look grown, but 2520s have long viewed us, and particularly our males, as older than they are. Someone said the black body is viewed as one of inherent threat, the only question being whether it is latent or active. It is this fundamentally hostile view (which even black cops can absorb, by the way) that rationalizes the wanton murder of a child.

      When they view our girls, this is also why they are unmoved by their sexual assault: they already view them as sexual agents, not as children.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        “Tamir didn’t look grown, but 2520s have long viewed us, and particularly our males, as older than they are.”

        The only time this is ok is if our 5’7 170 boys happen to be on their sporting teams and they benefit from having a “man” amongst boys on their squad.

        • Oluseyi

          …for the duration of the sporting contest… and as long as he don’t look at no lily-white cheerleaders with perceived intent.

      • PrettyGeekz

        There’s so much going against us…our little boys…our little girls it is exhausting.
        The black body is a crime.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          This is true. But part of that problem is within our own community. We can’t ask the world to accept our children if we don’t do it at home first.

          I’m not sure how to approach this issue. A universal method of raising children…I don’t know how to pull that off. What I do think though, is especially as Black folks, we need to be in better positions as current parents, future parents, whatever have you, to give our children the best opportunities we can. We can’t just keep making up s h i t as we go along, because guess what? All of those hits or misses go in to the kids. Kids aren’t supposed to be experiments, they are supposed to be real human beings you give your all to because YOU CREATED THEM. And as long as so many people forget that, I don’t know how we expect the rest of the world to have reservation to how important our children are supposed to be.

          You can’t control what the outside world can do to you and your loved ones. But you can provide your loved ones the opportunity to know what forces they are up against and find ways to combat them, both mentally and physically…so that we don’t have to sit here, typing these feelings of regret because we lost another one to a force bigger than us.

          • Val

            First, this is dangerously close to respectability politics. Second, how is it that we don’t accept our own children?

            This feels like you are partially blaming us for these incidents becasue of some sort of Black pathology that causes us to not parent our children in the ‘right’ way.

            That’s the kind of stuff racist Whites say in the face of police killing us. But the truth is, Rewind, the best parented Black child in the world is not bullet proof.

            • KB

              It’s not dangerously close to respectability politics. It is respectability politics.

              “Rewind, the best parented Black child in the world is not bullet proof.” ~ This right here. Refer him to the case of Lawrence Otis Graham

              • fxd8424

                Yaaaas!! Lawrence Otis Graham got his come to Jesus moment when he realized he didn’t prepare his son for the real world of racism. He thought that his elite upbringing would insulate him from bigotry and failed to prepare him for the inevitable. It was funny and sad all at the same time. No one cares about your Ivy League degrees, your relative wealth, connections or great
                jobs. Race is how class is lived in America.

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              Honestly, I meant every word I typed, and I don’t think I’m making a case to sound like what a racist White person would say in the same shoes.

              What I’m saying is we are going to have this conversation again, and again and again, until what? Until there’s nothing left?

              Those cops don’t give a fuck. They aren’t going to stop not giving a fuck neither. Because there’s something that we as a group do that doesn’t concern them enough to stop. So how many more times do we do this, where we talk about it, and blame them, but not figure out an internal method that better suits how we need to deal with anyone trying to put us down?

              I’m all ears. Educate me however, tell me whatever I say is extremely fucked up..I still dont’ care. TELL ME HOW DO WE DO IT DIFFERENTLY since they clearly aint gave a fuck in almost for almost 500 years.

              That’s all I want to know. I want to know how to stop being angry about this s h i t because everyone has fancy words to say but then we all go back to our regular lives and just wait for another one to come up, so we can talk about it all over again.

              • Val

                The solution, as I see it, is Federal oversight of police. And Federal prosecution of police. As long as local prosecutors are tasked with bringing justice for us then it won’t happen.

                So, it really isn’t us that has to do something differently, it’s the system that needs to. I think BLM is working for systematic change.

                As for the anger, we should be angry. When we stop being angry we’re defeated. I just don’t want us to blame ourselves for the actions of others.

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  It won’t happen though. I could see Southern states opting out of any mutually agreed upon statues. Heck we can barely get states to share key data with one another.

                  • Val

                    States can’t just opt out of Federal law though, Sig.

                • RewindingtonMaximus

                  That’s never going to happen. We both know that. We scare them enough to snuff us out a bit at a time, but we don’t scare them enough to make them heed our warnings. So they won’t change anything. And if they do, it’s on paper, A temporary change until the voices quells, and then it’s back to back-door deals, shady business, and the brotherhood army.

                  I like your suggestions, but I know they will never be that respectful without us doing something so drastic, they’d be left with no choice.

              • KB

                So how is the problem of white supremacy and our people constantly being killed by agents of white supremacy (i.e. the police) and being absolved of any wrongdoing linked backed to black people?

                • RewindingtonMaximus

                  Honestly, we are the ones being hurt. We are the victims. But at some point, even as a victim, you got to realize no matter how many times you yell at your oppressor, they don’t hear you. Because they heard you say the same thing time after time. Then they stop listening. Then they started mocking what you said. Now they predict what you will say, before you even say it. So they think they know our tactics, and they’ve found loopholes to benefit themselves every time we shine a light on them.

                  So what does the victim do then? They either continue down the same path, waiting for something to change (which is the definition of insanity) or you flip the script and do things the opposition never expected. We aren’t going to be guerrillas and start bombing places. We aren’t going to be hackers and bring down systems.

                  But we can, through an extreme amount of sacrifice, more than we’ve shown in quite some time…show our oppressors we aren’t fooled by FB, Twitter, TV shows, radio shows, etc. We are pissed, we aren’t going to stop being pissed, and no matter how much regular life responsibilities we may have to ignore to get the message across that we will go all the way if we have to.

                  Of course, this is just me being a dreamer in the end. I know better.

                  • But, I think that’s the exact problem.

                    Protests, Boycotts, Rebellions, Riots etc always have a limit in terms of their effects. More times than not they are appeals to the powers in charge, to give the people things, based on the chances that disorder and instability will force their hands. This is entirely based on how much disorder and instability those who are in power are able to take. The reason why the strategy worked in the 60’s and is far less effective today, is that America doesn’t have Soviet Russia trying to creep in any longer.

                    if you’re not willing to completely overthrow those who are currently in power, and prepared to govern and rule your communities yourself, as well as manage crime and economics, then you’re always going to have to submit to those who already do. We need to better understand how these institutions work, what are the constraints on them, and how we can use them differently for our benefits; or we simply develop institutions that we know will work that are different from those that worked in the past.

                    However, as the Missouri display showed, leverage is more efficient in forcing the hands of politics. And yet, the leverage that came with protests in the 60’s doesn’t have the pull it had back in the day. If we’re to go further, we need to find people who have the skill to lead, govern and create systems/institutions that put black people on the path towards success.

          • PrettyGeekz

            I wish there was a solution. No matter how we raise our children—middle class, upper class, lower class, educated, uneducated, two parent home, one parent home… in the suburbs, in the city, etc.… we’ll still be seen as threatening, meanacing black folks. I’m learning no matter what we do it is impossible to change how 2520s view us.

      • marwilli

        Ofay-landia seems to think that a cop is justified for shooting since the kid was 5’7” and pudgy as if that’s big. I’ve been 5’7” since I was 12, and no one ever called me big.

    • KB

      I have 3 nephews and 2 nieces, ages 4 to 15. It pains me to think they are growing up and will be entering a world that hates them, will constantly view them as a threat and seek to eliminate/destroy them.

    • StillSuga

      My S/O’s son is a big kid. I look at him and I see a child, and his dad is always so concerned about how people perceive him because he’s a big kid. But I’m like if you look at him and SEE him, he’s clearly a child. I don’t know what we can do to make them see…

  • 909girl601world

    It is a daily struggle for me lately to not be consumed by hatred and rage. I know I should be doing something, I just have no idea what that something is.

    • fxd8424

      It’s a daily struggle for me everyday too.

  • Val

    What I always wonder about this is why did the police pulled up so close to Tamir? If they had stopped 50 or 100 feet away from him then they would have had time to speak to him and assess the situation first instead of pulling up to him and 2 seconds later start shooting.

    And that’s also why I think they should have been charged. They made the situation critical by pulling up so close to him. But the prosecutor didn’t want an indictment, that’s clear, so as usual, no justice.

    • moderation

    • Jennifer

      Which is what police are supposed to do in the case of an armed “assailant.”

      But, as his record has proven, this officer was poorly trained and incompetent. He sucked at his job.

    • KB

      Police are trained in how to de-escalate tense situations and use of deadly force is supposed to be used as an absolute last resort. They had it in their mind to kill this young child from the moment they got the call.

      • I think this is mostly a myth though…the part about training; they said that the cop killing Tamir was in line with his training. That’s mostly a joke.

        One of the unintended good thing about this country, is that we mostly have a population that is allowed to have guns. So there’s a certain standard expected when we have one.

        So take for example, you’re walking down a street and it’s late at night, and someone is walking right behind you with a hoody on, and their hand in the hoody pockets since it’s a cold night. You walk for a couple blocks and increasingly notice that this person continues to follow you, all of a sudden, the thought that this person is setting up to rob you comes into your mind, and thus, you grab for your gun and point it at the person. The person following you then trying to raise his hands in surrender out of his pockets then makes you feel he is actually reaching for something so you shoot and kill him.

        In America, if you’re a citizen here, you’re going to get charged with a crime – manslaughter or murder, it all depends on which they can prove. If you’re a cop under the same circumstance, the justice system will act as insurance for your poor judgment and lack of self control and you will get off. That’s really all this “training” is, insurance for f-ups.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          It never ceases to amaze me how White persons of interest who are known to be armed and dangerous can be brought in without incident while Black persons of interest “armed” and unarmed seem to get shot and choked out.

          • Val

            White lives matter to the police. Plain and simple. and ours don’t.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Which flies in the face of the we’re all Americans / we all bleed the same color rhetoric

          • fxd8424

            White people get taken to Burger King. Think Charleston massacre.

        • Anonymous

          I agree. It is a myth. They are not trained or vetted worth a d@mn. And that lack of training and vetting facilitates (but does not cause) these tragedies.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            I wonder how much of this is a result of some of the for profit spots that you can goto to get your initial certificates.

            • Those have always existed. Policing has always had a corrupted history of insider manipulation. The Irish police officers in Boston used to hand each other the answers to the exams, since that was a main source of income for them in the early 1900’s. When the city tried to integrate the police forces in the 60’s, the Irish nearly lost their mind and riots ensued.

              The fact is that ever since the 1970’s after the Kent shooting, police have consciously and consistently branded themselves, as a scientific-organization, rather than as part of a jobs program for Non Anglo-Saxons who couldn’t get jobs in manufacturing and had no interest in academia or higher learning.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      I wonder what the civil trial will bring to light. And I hope they press him, his family, his colleagues, his first grade teacher…EVERYONE he’s ever come in contact with..to the breaking point.

      • Val

        These kinds of cases are usually settled out of court unfortunately. So we aren’t likely to get any more insight than we have now.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Then honestly, that’s why it will keep playing out the same way. The system is broken, the family is broke, so it’s always just a waiting game. Lawyer fees add up, people lose patience, and then a suggestion to cut a check is the difference maker.

          And that’s why this will keep going in this direction. Because until a lucky break occurs, where someone can afford to fight the fight until the bitter end, a minimal price tag is what these problems keep coming down to.

        • Desmond Eftienne

          Yep, you are so right. And that’s one of the many reasons that Chicago in particular is in such a sorry state when it comes to black folk and cops, as well as finances9. Rahm Emanuel and all the previous criminal mayors thought pay-off to victim families would make all their police-related problems go away every time one of Barney Fife’s crazy azz cousins kills an innocent . Yet, when you have an entrenched white supremacist component to your police force and consistently turn a blind eye, sooner or later you have a broke city on your hands. These politicos thought there would be no day of reckoning for co-signing racist law enforcement behavior. They have two choices, pay a little now by cleaning house (which is really what DOJ is offering the idiots running Chicago if they aren’t blind) or pay much more later as black folk (especially the young) persistently challenge the bullsh*t, legally, politically and financially. They’re probably hoping things blow away once the President leaves. Fat chance. He’s still very young (relatively speaking, for a soon to be ex-president) and will have an army of intelligent millennials backing him who aren’t down for business as usual.

          • Man i can’t wait for Pres Obama’s second term to be over. I pray he returns to Chicago and and all the filters come off.

            • Val

              I seriously doubt he’s going back to Chicago.

    • menajeanmaehightower

      The cop wasn’t even out of the car before he started shooting. That was a drive by. Plain and simple.

      • It was his plan from the beginning. Shoot ’em down. Have some coffee.

      • fxd8424

        An ambush.

    • LMNOP

      Especially since they were dealing with a CHILD in a playground.

      • PrettyGeekz

        For real. It is like every one forgot this important detail.

      • fxd8424

        They don’t look as black kids as children.

        • Guest

          Exactly black baby boys are Thugs and black baby girls are Wh0res.

        • Chris

          ^ this.

    • Melanie Stegman

      Agreed. I think this was the mistake and the reason the cops should have been charged.

  • NKORigible

    this totally destroyed me.

    • QuirlyGirly

      Me too! I’m tired of being sick and tired of police gunning down black children,women and men and then getting off. Leaving the rest of us wondering why and trying to figure out how not to be next. I’m tired of crying and being upset but mostly I’m tired of not having a solution to this epidemic. This is all I have for today

      • NKORigible

        yeah I don’t even have any more words. feel frozen with despair and anger.

  • I’m most sad because today and the day after that it will be someone else’s daughter or son laying dead on the street at the hands of another overzealous officer.

    • Val

      It’s already happened again in Chicago. A grandmother shot and killed. They say it was an accident. Well, if I shoot someone by “accident” my behind would be in jail right now. But those kops that shot her are on desk duty.

      • Yes I heard about that story. Police are ill equipped to handle the mentally ill, regardless of race

        That being said, I understand how difficult it is to keep a mentally ill individual from huring themselves or others. There needs to be some alternate contact to call for handling mentally ill individuals who are experiencing a mental break or episode.

        I don’t blame that family for calling the police to help them though. I’ve watched an autistic ,6 foot+, 15 year old boy take out two grown men, because he had been triggered by something which set him off. It. Is. Not. Easy.

        • Actually, at least when it comes to restraining, the training that cops get and people who work in the mental health field get is basically the same. The issue with cops is that they are told by the justice system, that they can react to fear with their weapons, so thus, even though they are trained, their is no obligation to pay attention or apply it…as the guy in the Eric Garner case, basically proved, beyond a reasonable doubt.

          The “training” is just a way of the Police Departments not getting sued. Once again, it’s insurance.

          • Even so, police departments around the country end up paying out millions in settlements each year.

            You’d think that they’d be doing more to ensure that their money stays in house. Also, idk what the process is for getting into police academies is across the board but if an individual has been let go from another force for questionable conduct, I don’t see why another precinct would jump at the chance to hire them. Most of these trigger happy cops are repeat offenders for using excessive force or practicing discriminatory tactics.

            • Epsilonicus

              “Most of these trigger happy cops are repeat offenders for using excessive force or practicing discriminatory tactics.”

              There was a report released last week showing that most of the officers involved in killings have more than one on their record.

              • Being an officer is one of the few occupations where you can do your job poorly and not be fired on the spot for said performance.

                I do understand that being an officer comes with a host of issues because you deal with the general public, but being accountable for poor performance needs to be addressed.

                Some judge somewhere has got to set an example but it seems like all these cases go down in these extremely racist cities where everyone in positions of power has a vested interest in maintaining and upholding white privilege.

            • Actually, they don’t pay…the city pays. At worse their budget gets cut, and they cut staff, but then again, cities are reluctant to cut budgets for police, because of fears in increases in crime, and more importantly…revenue. So they never feel the full force of these lawsuits.

              As for the recycling of police officers, this is the darkside of the police unions. Once you’re in, you’re in – they’re rarely fired, because they can’t be fired easily, the contracts between police unions and municipal governments are terrible – in Chicago, the PD has an agreement that after 5 years, all records of a police officers misconduct are meant to be burnt.

              The simple fact is that there are fraternal orders for police all over the country…we shouldn’t be surprised that we get fraternity-like behavior from them, unfortunately.

              • As far as the money is concerned, it comes from somewhere and to be frank, the way some of these major cities handle settlements, I’m starting to wonder what kind of budgets they REALLY have.

                Either way, I still think it would behoove all parties involved if they didn’t drop millions each year settling lawsuits that don’t have to happen if officers weren’t so eager o kill on site for every situation.

                Granted, some situations call for lethal force. I don’t knock officers for that fight/flight response because the natural reaction to preserve our own life is real. However, I also understand that there’s this us vs them mentality that officers have within black communities. There needs to be something that changes with that relationship dynamic.

                • Well, America is 18 trillion dollars in debt for a reason. I’m not saying that this is a good thing, just that this is status quo. Chicago’s municipal debt is near $100 billion after all.

                  As for the fight and flight response, the purpose of training is to greatly control it, much more than the average citizen. The PD want the respect given to the military, without having to replicate the discipline demanded by their profession.

                  As for the cliquish behavior of cops, they are subject to the same kind of behavior all ppl who work unthankful jobs like teachers, and thus tend to isolate themselves and cover each other’s backs. The diff is they get to shoot ppl when they are mad, and esp. when the victims are black, they manage to cash in on a get out of free card.

        • Val

          Police in Chicago have a unit that is specially trained to handle mentally ill people. But, the cops on the scene were so gun happy that they didn’t even attempt to de-escalate the situation until that unit arrived.

          Also, what about using a taser? The young man only had a bat. They just shoot first and don’t ask any questions later.

          And I would be very frightened to call police to help with a mentally ill Black person. That’s asking for more trouble.

          • Smh it’s just bad all around. I doubt the little training police officers receive for handling the mentally ill is in any way comparable to what it should be.

            Tasers or pepper spray make more sense to me too but for whatever reason whenever these stories pop up, they don’t ever get used. Idk why officers even have them tbh.

  • elle

    I am on my Ida B. Wells tip. This is an assault to my psyche. Murder-no conviction. Murder-no conviction. Murder-no conviction. I don’t say this to mean that we should bypass any of these atrocities, but…can my soul rest? Like can we just compile a list of websites or videos or something so that when you get overwhelmed with the stench or black death you can retreat, get one breath of fresh air, and come back to it? Because for real, this. keeps. happening. It’s too much sometimes.

    • Things like this are what keep me going to gamestop. I need some fresh air.

    • I started watching Love and Hip-Hop recently (off the strength of Shamira’s ode to Remy and Pap’s #BlackLove). That was my bit of escape last night for an hour.

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