#BlackLivesMatter: Race should not matter in police interactions

By: Kierston Johnson

The streak of police brutality has struck fear into the hearts of not only criminals but minorities who dare to break up a fight, get a flat tire or simply take a walk around the block.

Eric Garner, a man who had constant run ins with the police for misdemeanor charges of selling untaxed cigarettes on the street corner, one day attempted to break up a fight, and after the fight has dissipated, one cop hung around and hassled him. The police officer was trying to arrest Eric for selling untaxed cigarettes, which he wasn’t selling at the time.

The hassling officer returned with a some back up to try and arrest him. Garner asked the police to “please don’t touch me,” yet an officer came from behind and grabbed him in a chokehold. While on the ground, Garner pled for breath, saying, “I can’t breathe!” 11 times in a row. He was later pronounced dead in the hospital.

A 31-year-old black man named Corey Jones was driving along when he suddenly got a flat tire, so he pulled over and awaited a tow truck. An unmarked car with a plain clothed driver drove up to Jones’ vehicle, so because he was suspicious, Jones grabs his handgun, which he had a permit for, for protection.

Little did he know that this man who pulled up to him was officer Nouman Raja. He was out of uniform and was not qualified for the surveillance he claimed he was doing at that time. He shot Jones point blank with no warning and never showed his badge. Jones never shot once.

People will compare the killing of these people to the killings of the police, but it simply doesn’t add up. No one’s life is more valuable or important than anyone else’s, but cops put their lives on the line and have more than enough to protect themselves with nightsticks, tasers and firearms. Take that compared to the unarmed black men and women who were just trying to mind their own business, and the scale starts to tip.

Some cops are given what seems to be a free pass for murder. They like to call it “self defense,” but these people were not criminals. They were not thugs. They were simply people who dared be anything other than white around police.

Police officers are meant to serve and protect, and we are meant to grow up trusting them, putting our faith into them, but the amount of black kids raised to fear them says otherwise.

People will say that “they are only human” and “they’re not all bad,” and that’s all well and good if it were any other stranger on the corner, but when you put your life into someone’s hands, you expect them to protect you, not shoot first and ask questions later.

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