On July 7, 2016, shots were fired during a peaceful march heading west on Main Street, downtown Dallas area. It was approximately 9 p.m. as hundreds of demonstrators were protesting against police brutality conducted towards two male African-Americans earlier that same week. According to The New York Times, the march took a bloody turn when five police officers were shot and killed in what appeared to be a coordinated attack. After the incident, Dallas Police have arrested three suspects while a fourth is said to have been killed during the standoff. So far, one of the snipers who carried out the attacks has been identified as Micah Johnson, a 25 year-old Army veteran. The other sniper is yet to be determined.
Prior to the bloody turn of event, two incidents involving Police Brutality occurred in which led to such tragedy: in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota
On July 5, 2016, Police officers fatally shot, Alton B. Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while trying to arrest him. The incident was captured on video and caught widespread attention shortly after its online release. In the video, you can see the two officers forced Mr. Sterling to the ground. Within that moment, the camera turns away while clearly hearing shots being fired. As the video turns back, you see Mr. Sterling lying dead on the ground with his shirt soaked in blood.
The following day, on July 6, 2016, a police officer singlehandedly shot Philando Castile, 32, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, during a traffic stop. Mr. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, remained in the passenger seat of the car capturing the whole incident on video in which she uploaded live via Facebook. The couple’s 4 year-old daughter also witnessed the whole incident from the backseat.
Moments prior to the incident, Mr. Castile informed the officer he carried a gun as well as having a license to carry a concealed weapon. According to Ms. Reynolds, Philando was trying to retrieve his license and registration when the shot was fired.
But like many African-Americans, many Latinos as well as other minorities have also fallen victims to police brutality.
Back in 2015, Ruben Garcia Villalpando, 31, was shot twice in the chest by a police officer during a traffic stop in Grapevine, Texas. Mr. Villalpando was unarmed and had voluntarily surrendered himself to authorities moments prior to the incident.
A similar incident occurred the same year in Santa Ana, California. Ernesto Javier Canepa Diaz was sitting in a car, alone and unarmed. Police approached his vehicle checking to see if it matched the description of a similar car involved in a robbery. Mr. Canepa posed no threat to authorities yet the officers used excessive force against him in attempt to make an arrest which resulted in tragedy.
Police brutality has gone too far and it’s become a serious problem in this country! How many more individuals will have to pay with their lives until justice is finally served? In today’s time, we are supposed to be living in a so called “Post-Racial America.” An America which famous filmmaker Spike Lee calls “Bullshit.” According to Spike Lee, police departments throughout the nation don’t treat all Americans equally. In fact, he states:
“There’s a big division for the police departments, I think, in this country, versus people of color”
Sounds about right! As far as we can trace back, police brutality towards minorities has occurred multiple times throughout the past few decades. For many years, the African-American community denounced mistreatment from various police departments. It wasn’t until in 1991 when the incident involving Rodney King and the LAPD was caught on videotape. It was the first time an incident involving police brutality caught footage thus becoming physical proof of the injustice served.
On the other hand, there are thousands of good cops out there who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting citizens of this country. The five police officers who were shot and killed in Dallas were only trying to maintain order within moments of intense chaos. They had nothing to do with the prior incidents. Yet, in a way, they have also fallen victims to the consequences of police brutality caused by their peers. What occurred in Dallas was the result of retaliation taken by angry and resentful individuals. There is no justification for what they did and their actions were completely unnecessary.
The real question is “what is the real problem which needs to be addressed?” and “what matters should be taken in order to prevent another tragedy?”
Most of you will agree that the real problem is the federal government’s failure to acknowledge just how serious police brutality has become in America. Also, that the government needs to take matters into their own hands and conduct internal investigations among various police departments across the nation. It doesn’t take a genius to realize this is a matter of internal affairs. Fortunately today, we the people, carry the technology for enhancing social justice. Every individual with a smartphone has the power to record an incident we feel it’s unjust and upload it via social media. By doing so, we create exposure forcing the government to take immediate actions. Sooner or later, this all has to end because not just black but also brown, white, yellow, all lives matter.
Chan, Sewell. “Shootings in Dallas, Minnesota and Baton Rouge: What We Know.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 08 July 2016. Web. 09 July 2016. <http://nyti.ms/29G4IGJ>.
Emery, Sean. “Santa Ana Sued by Family of Man Whose Shooting Death by Police Caused Protests.” Orange County Register. Freedom Communications, 01 June 2015. Web. 09 July 2016. <http://www.ocregister.com/common/printer/view.php?db=ocregister&id=663844>.
Ramos, Jorge. “Spike Lee: Post-racial America Is ‘bullshit'” Fusion. WordPress.com, 29 Oct. 2014 Web. 10 July 2016. <http%3A%2F%2Ffusion.net%2Fvideo%2F24469%2Fspike-lee-on-race-in-america-if-youre-african-american-in-this-country-you-know-what-the-deal-is%2F>.
Shoichet, Catherine E., and Ed Lavandera. “After Texas Police Shooting, Family Asks, “Why?”” CNN. Cable News Network, 08 Mar. 2015. Web. 09 July 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/08/us/texas-police-shooting/>.