A few weeks ago, I spoke about violence.
Again, here in Minnesota, as the police officer who killed George Floyd is on trial, another officer in Brooklyn Center shot 20 year old Daunte Wright after a traffic stop. Daunte was pulled over for having air fresheners hanging from his rear view mirror. He was headed to the car wash.
Now, the details get muddied after that. His girlfriend was in the car with him. She sustained minor injuries after Daunte, upon being shot (her account, officers say he was already in the car when they fired shots), re-entered the vehicle and the car drove uncontrolled until colliding with another vehicle. Wright died on the scene.
Some reports say the officer realized he had an outstanding warrant and they were attempting to arrest him.
Daunte Wright was unarmed.
The Brooklyn Center police department says the officers body and dash cams were activated and recording. Hopefully that footage is released soon.
Regardless, the question we need to be asking ourselves is WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING?
Do police have no other apprehension methods besides shooting to kill? Is having an (currently alleged) outstanding warrant and air fresheners hanging from your rear view mirror a reason to be subjected to an instant death sentence?
A few weeks ago, Ahmad Al Alawi Alissa walked into a Boulder, Colorado supermarket with a gun— killing 10, including a police officer and injuring more. We saw footage of the suspect, a white male, stripped down to his undergarments, hand-cuffed and being escorted to an ambulance. No, Alissa is not of white, European roots, and is in fact a Syrian immigrant. (We can discuss the bombings of the US government in Syria another time). But, Alissa‘s skin is white. Like several other mass shooters with white skin, Alissa was alive and arrested after unleashing inconceivable violence against innocent people.
And it begs the question, why are police fully capable of arresting and restraining an armed, white man but seem to be unable to do the same thing when dealing with unarmed black men?
I’m already waking up to the apologetics and dismissal of just anger among protesters. “Why do they have to loot?” “What about the property?” “This really just makes us not feel bad for them.”
Oh, dear, your ignorance is showing. Your lack of empathy, and your privilege, too.
My Bible app pinged this morning with a notification of scripture from the Book of James. I read through the book a bit and this passage really spoke to me:
“Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” (James 2:8-13)
There are so many things that resonate in this passage to what we are dealing with in Minnesota. Every time we witness racial bias, and the police murder black men, we are witnessing the breaking of royal law: loving one another as ourselves. The police who commit these monstrosities, and those who blindly support the ones who continually do these things, may not face judgement here on Earth, but God is a witness, too. And they will have to stand before him and face true judgement where it matters most.
“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others”— in this passage, James is referring to Gods mercy, but I also think it speaks on those who have been pushed to the brink. Our brothers and sisters are tired of watching the people of their community be killed at the hands of police. White society is demanding civility to uncivil actions. They want mercy for their towns and businesses, while the black community isn’t afforded a single ounce of mercy for their people. Human beings! “Civil” rationality goes out the wayside. Insurance can cover the damages to buildings and properties, but these people cannot return to their bodies and be undead. Their families will still mourn.
Our police clearly are not trained well. If they cannot handle themselves in stressful situations and do not know how to apprehend a person without killing them— this is a problem. A serious problem. How are we going to address this? If your only response to this is to, well, hang a blue lives matter flag outside of your house, the blood is on your hands, too. The damages to cities and property is on your hands, as well. You might as well have pulled the trigger yourself. You might as well have thrown the first stone, lit the first fire. Silence and dismissal will keep us locked in a loop of chaos.
But. But. But.
I don’t want to hear it.
This is not a problem for the black community to solve.
This is a white problem. And it needs to be addressed and rectified.
Of course people are calling for abolishing police, they aren’t doing their job. If you don’t want police abolished, what are you doing to ensure there is reform? What are we going to do to ensure the police department has proper training, regular mental health and racial bias screenings, and more?
Your privilege is what allows you to stand on the sidelines pointing fingers. And it is your privilege that will have your cities burning to the ground unless we do something about it.
Our neighbors are hurting. We must love them as ourselves. We must hold and hear and heal this hurt. Or it’s only going to get worse. And the first step is removing your blinders and respecting human life and the loss of it.
Minnesota is my home.
Minnesota, what are we going to do about this?
America, when will the loss of life be enough to wake you up?
The clock is ticking. Judgement is coming. What side will you be on?