I’ve written my fair share of think pieces regarding the numerous decisions over the past couple of years not to indict law enforcement members who murder African American citizens. With the news that broke last week regarding the grand jury deciding not to indict two Cleveland officers for the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014, we enter another chapter in this frustrating, all-too-familiar saga.
It’s unfathomable that justice will not be served for this boy, who was killed basically for doing what millions of kids do on a daily basis. At first, I was numb and pessimistic to the news. These things happen a lot apparently. It’s just another in a long line of court-sanctioned murders that don’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon.
Then I got angry. I heard that the prosecution openly influenced the outcome of the verdict by telling the jurors they didn’t think they had enough of a case to charge the officers. But soon after that, I read comments from some people regarding the results of this tragedy. It was then that feeling of disgust suddenly hovered over me like some dark, hate-filled cloud.
This disgust stems from seeing people use any excuse they can to try to defend the execution of a 12-year-old boy. Especially an execution at the hands of a cop who should have been shown the door months before the incident even took place. I saw so many people try to justify the fact that these officers egregiously botched this call by saying they were in fear for their lives, that Tamir was acting like a thug and that the incident was Tamir’s fault because he should not have been outside playing with toy guns that looked real.
Whoa, so I guess that means kids playing cops and robbers, along with selfie sticks and the nae nae, have to stay in 2015? Have we gone so off track as a nation that we hurl these slurs at a kid who isn’t alive to defend himself? It’s nauseating that people would fabricate unsavory attributes to this kid all in the name of defending cops who would rather shoot first than do their actual jobs.
By continuing to defend these cops and giving them the benefit of the doubt while they continue to commit crimes over and over again, people are reinforcing this racist criminal justice system we live under. They’re single-handedly taking the blindness out of justice. They’re criminalizing the color of people’s skin regardless of what happened in a particular case or who was actually at fault. Now with the villainization of Tamir Rice, these people still defending this system have hit a new low.
It defies logic how many people still hold the U.S. justice system in such high regard. The same day that Cleveland grand jury decided not to prosecute the murderer of Tamir Rice, Ethan Couch was found in Mexico with his mother after missing his probation hearing. Oh, you don’t remember Ethan Couch do you? He was the affluenza kid who was sentenced to probation after killing four people with his car and paralyzing one of his friends.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the criminal justice system you so revere, and right now it’s almost irreparably broken. How does nobody find it problematic that we call this slain boy a thug and in turn shrug our shoulders at actual killers like those officers and Mr. Couch? This is a system that as of last week has most blatantly revealed itself to be both racist and a mere plaything for the wealthy of this nation.
I don’t know how many affluenza kids and racist cops it’s gonna take to get people to see this. You may not realize it now, but when someone you know falls victim to this criminal justice system and you don’t have enough in the bank for an affluenza defense, the system will treat you as bad as they treat us big, scary black men. It is at that point when you’re gonna wish you had took a stand against it.
It’s not too late to do so.