By Roger Caldwell
There is a terrible record in Texas for police brutality and killings of Blacks and people of color. Just recently a fired police officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murdering of a Black teen, Jordan Edwards. Roy Oliver, a white officer, was found guilty of shooting into a car full of Blacks teenagers leaving a party.
Odell Edwards, Jordan’s father said, “This case is not just about Jordon – it’s about Tamir Rice, it’s about Walter Scott, it’s about Alton Sterling, it’s about every African American — who has been killed and has not gotten justice,” referring to other Black boys and men that have been killed by police.
Last year, police officer Amber Guyger, a four year veteran, shot and killed a Black Man mistakenly after entering his apartment at the complex where she lived. The mother and attorney Ben Crump are asking questions, but at this point there are no answers.
On May 14, 2019, a Texas police officer fatally shot a Black woman, who yelled “I’m pregnant,” and the officer took her life with 5 shoots. There is a video recorded by a witness where an altercation was started by the officer which eventually became fatal.
The Galveston Police Department has issued an apology of two mounted police officers who are videoed leading a handcuffed and roped Black man walking down the street. This entire incident is disrespectful, and it would appear there is a slave master’s mentality in Galveston.
When police officers execute Black women and men, and they are unarmed, the questions must be raised, “Were the appropriate steps taken, were the correct warning given before the shooting, and was excessive force used?” Recently in two cases, in Sacramento and Tulsa, there were two different shootings of unarmed Black men. In both cases the officers were not charged, but many people in the community think the men were executed.
According to reporter Zack Ford, in one case “Officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet responded to a vandalism complaint, and after a brief pursuit, they fired their weapons 20 times. They hit Stephon Clarke seven times, claiming he had a gun which was later discovered to be a cell phone. The investigation was full of contradictions, and the wife says the police did not have to shoot him that many times.”
It is time in America for Police Departments across the country to create a new culture, which respects everyone with humanity and integrity. The body cameras are being muted or not operating and many of the officers are shooting at what scares them. Systemic racism is prevalent in many Departments, and there is a need for more community police boards.
With the use of video filming, the truths of many police incidents are being exposed, along with body cameras. According to the police shooting database, there have been 480 people who have been shot and killed by police in 2019. The database does not investigate which are justified, but a police department that have adopted use of force polices has fewer killing and deaths.
Here are 7 policies which the shooting database believes will lower violence and murders across the country: 1. Require officers to use all other means before shooting 2. Require all use of force be reported 3. Ban chokeholds and stranglehold 4. Has use of force continuum 5. Duty to intervene another officer’s use of excessive force 6. Restrict shooting at moving vehicles and 7. Require warning before shooting
All Americans have a responsibility to improve the perspective of police officers who at some point can truly operate as a peace officer. We all must work together to change the image of the police officer, and where there are corrupt and dishonest police officers, they should be exposed by their own kind.