Yet another cry was released from the African American community within the last week as police continue to senselessly murder men of color, this time, the primary focuses being Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Just a day after the nation celebrated Independence Day on July 4, Alton Sterling, a 37 year-old black male was attacked by two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana outside of a convenience store of which he had the owner’s permission to sell CDs. Reports of Sterling’s possession of a weapon spurred officers into immediate action upon their arrival that ultimately resulted in his death. According to eyewitnesses, Sterling was rapidly approached and given no chance to surrender his weapon. Witnesses claimed that he was tackled, tased, and wrestled by both officers until one officer pulled out his gun and fatally shot Sterling four to six times in the chest. Witnesses also claimed that no back-up or emergency contacts were called.
On the other hand, Detective R. Cook revealed in a search warrant affidavit that the officers deployed their tasers only after Sterling refused to comply with their orders. He stated, “While the subject attempted to reach for the gun from his pockets, the officers fired their police-issued duty weapon at the subject to stop the threat. The subject was shot multiple times and did not survive his injuries.”
Store-owner, Abdullah Muflahi himself witnessed the entire altercation while standing merely feet away from the incident. He filed for suit of the Baton Rouge police department after they unlawfully arrested him and confiscated his security surveillance without a warrant.
The following day, rage from the Black community continued as another young, black male was fatally shot in Falcon Heights, Minnesota upon being stopped by an officer for a broken taillight. The victim, 32 year-old Philando Castile, was asked to produce his ID, but before doing so, revealed to the officer that he possessed a concealed weapon and permit. His fiancée appeared relatively calm but perplexed as she live-streamed the aftermath via social media from her phone. She stated, “He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Reynolds said as she broadcasted the details of the shooting on Facebook.
Upon realization of the fact that her fiancé wouldn’t survive, Reynolds pleaded with God and the officer while the officer fearfully asserted that he’d been ordering Castile to keep his hand off of the weapon. Reynold’s replied by simply reminding the officer that he did not in fact instruct Castile to do so, but that he’d ordered him to produce his identification and vehicular registration.
Following the incident, Reynold’s was detained and interrogated and Castile’s parents were told that no information would be released regarding their son. They weren’t even allowed to see or identify him.
These incidents have left the Black community in yet another uproar as they continue to assert the ideas of a flawed justice system and systemic racism that permeates American society. Parents and other relatives of innocent victims are left to mourn the deaths of their beloved with no answers and little hope of obtaining any in regards to the countless tragedies that take place. Many African Americans believe that despite solemn oaths taken by police to protect and serve citizens, people of color are being purposely targeted and are the primary and unfortunate suspects of crimes they’ve never committed. Many are concerned with and firmly believe that to simply be Black in America is the only crime they’re guilty of.
Questions remain in the air and unanswered as many search for legitimate reasons that may justify the senseless murders of these individuals, but live and tangible proof being released on social media make the cases in point irrefutable. African Americans are simply demanding justice and freedom and at this point, people of color will stop at nothing to obtain their rights. A fresh and sobering example of this mindset at play is the recent Dallas shootings. A former African-American soldier of the U.S. army took up arms and shot five Dallas police officers, ultimately leading to their death moments later.