OK Sean Hannity, I wan't there when Michael Brown was killed. No, I don't know for a fact whether he was advancing or surrendering. But I know, and can't possibly un-know, what happened to Kajieme Powell. We all know. The truth on video is revealing in so many ways that you conveniently and willfully ignore.
Kajieme Powell was clearly a disturbed individual who may have been even more threatening to these police than Michael Brown was. But he still didn't deserve to die.
Even where I live in San Diego - where cops are known to bust a cap into a knife wielding suspect - they wait more than twenty-something seconds to start shooting. They usually try to talk to the suspect, then they might try tear gas or a stun gun, and at least they make an effort to look like they care. Mr. Powell, a human being, was just shot down like an angry dog in the street.
Police who are arrive at an incident are supposed to assess the situation before taking action. The video of Kajieme's murder showed no signs of that - there was no community policing or any regard for Kajieme as a person. In fact, immediately after the incident, the police immediately attempted to lie about what happened until they realized that there was very detailed video footage of the whole thing.
Police who feel threatened will usually maintain tactical superiority that does not require them to fire their weapon. Most police I've seen use their vehicle, usually the door, as a shield. They could even get back in their SUV and assess the situation before making a move and they would be as safe as if they were in a tank. [running away works too, especially against a knife] Kajieme was not threatening anyone else. The video showed no effort by the police to establish any tactical position whatsoever. I can't help but ask "Why?"
The most disgusting and disturbing aspect of the police's behavior was that they cuffed the Kajieme after they shot him dead. What kind of real threat did they think he was after 10 bullets?
Follow me below the thought bubble...
The reasons why are plentiful, but I'll focus on two big categories that encompass a lot of ground. First is the militarization of the police. They are adapting military tactics that are inappropriate for policing and are encouraged by the very visible signs of military support and funding they receive. Peer pressure from macho veteran fellow officers also reinforces this belief and facilitates its continuance. Consequently, the police are out to protect themselves and the status quo before they will protect the public they supposedly "serve". Military tactics are strictly for subjugation and it appears this is now part of the Police's job description. These officers that shot Mr. Powell clearly viewed their guns as their shields and were ready to use them as soon as they arrived.
One important detail about the video is that the officers drew their guns and advanced on the suspect immediately. This shows that these officers have clearly been trained and conditioned to behave aggressively as a best practice and not a last resort. Through their movements and commands they elevated the threat level to the point that they had to take immediate action - just like what the cops did in Ferguson to the press and protesters. The genius of this is that [typically] none of their actions are recorded and there is almost zero forensic evidence to establish their clear role in creating a murderous situation. Everything is subjective and deniable including the suspect.
The second major theme in these incidents is the practice of having a predominantly white police force operating in a primarily black area and that does not get involved with the community to get to know the residents as individuals. This has occurred because of long-standing politics and racial practices in the St. Louis area but is not unique to Missouri. If these officers had taken the time to know their community, Mr. Powell might still be alive today.
And when something goes wrong, these officers have a code of honor and a bond that brings them close together against a tide of darkness that has been negatively stereotyped and marginalized to the point where they are not viewed as equals; perhaps even not as members of the same species. [On the West Coast I find it interesting that this police code even has been accepted by officers of color who adapt the same thuggish tactics as the white officers]. In other words, they lie. We see them lie regularly. They lie habitually knowing they have the power of the badge. I'm sure it started way back with a little white lie; now they are just saying whatever shit they want the "truth" to be knowing no judge or Fox viewer will believe a defendant over the sworn word of an officer of the law.
This police "superiority" against their community is also not unique and is probably present in the majority of areas where racial animus is peaking today. Not coincidently, these are also the poorest urban areas in our county. Areas so poor they are a million miles away from my little paradise in coastal California. Areas so poor they don't even register on the politicians map. I sincerely believe that our elected officials literally wouldn't believe the levels of poverty in this country if shown the photos and data. This problem is not a race issue, it is an economic issue that feeds into the racial narrative. If they think black poverty is a fiction, you can only imagine what they must think about white poverty.
This leads me to my closing paragraphs. I'm not one to offer problems without solutions and this post leads to two solutions. The first is police accountability. One proven method to ensure police accountability is to record everything they do. Where officers have worn small video cameras, it has been demonstrated to make it safer for the public and also for the police. This is an immediate and extremely cost-effective solution that fits perfectly with the goals of the new surveillance state we live in. Make it so Mr. O.
The second is political and economic accountability. This is mostly on the people. Accountability to make an effort to uplift communities with good jobs and a sense of purpose. Accountability to ensure civil rights and human rights and respect for all citizens regardless of age, sex, color, gender etc.. This is much harder and starts at the ballot box. Communities can't have economic accountability if their elected officials are just there to keep them in their place and not care about elevating the (e)quality of life in their community. Communities of color must turn out to vote.
The good news is that communities of color have the votes to take back their institutions of power. We have the ability to change the way resources are allocated in our communities. We have the authority to turn down military equipment that doesn't fit the mission. We have the technology to hold our police accountable. And we have the power to be heard in Washington - IF we choose to accept it.
May God bless ALL of this country.