By Beverly Gadson-Birch
Enough is Enough! The week that was! George Floyd was laid to rest last week in Houston. Several days later, Rayshard Brooks, 27-year old husband and father of four, was killed by Atlanta police. According to news reports, police were called to Wendy’s on University Avenue to investigate a man, later identified as Brooks, asleep in his car impeding the movement of cars at the drive-thru window. Hours before the incident, Brooks attended a birthday party for his daughter. He was given a sobriety test and failed. How do police handle someone who has tested above the legal limit? Technically, could Brooks be charged with driving under the influence (DUI)? He was not driving when officers arrived. He was asleep in his car in the drive-thru lane. How do we get from asleep in a car to dead in a casket? A high percentage of murders by police officers are common sense decisions.
In his inebriated state, Brooks no doubt was startled when awakened by police. In the beginning, videos showed Brooks being cooperative. The situation appears to escalate when officers attempted to handcuff him. Imagine this! The time is around 10:00 PM at night. It is dark, Brooks is sobering up and probably having a flashback of Floyd’s death knowing the same thing could happen to him. He is near his sister’s house. According to a detailed account in the New York Times, Brooks asked the officers if he “could lock his car up and walk under their supervision to his sister’s house, a short distance away”. Instead, they were about to take him to jail. A scuffle ensued. Brooks grabbed an officer’s taser, ran, turned and fired the taser in the direction of the officer. The officer fired three shots with two striking him in the back. Before all of what could go wrong, went wrong, why didn’t the officers call the sister, who lived nearby? This case is similar to Walter Scott’s case in North Charleston, SC. Both men were fleeing from police when shot in the back and both deaths were preventable. Both men were searched and neither had a weapon; and, both could be identified. In addition to license and registration, Scott had a passenger in his car who could identify him. Let them run and track them down later.
While trying to deal with these latest murders by police, two black men, Robert Fuller, 24, and Malcolm Harsch, 38, were found hanging in California within 10 days of each other and less than 50 miles apart. If the deaths did not take place so close together, one might think it could be coincidental. Because of protests around the country, the timing of the deaths is without question suspicious. Both deaths were ruled a suicide. In Fuller’s case, Capt. Wegener of the sheriff’s department, Palmdale, said there was “no chair or object used to prop him up.” And, his death occurred in a public area without cameras or videos. There may be more to these cases than what meets the eyes.
Locally, a Charleston County School District employee was fired after posting racial comments. She is fed up with Black Lives Matter and would like to see them return to Africa. Ms. Ignoramus, Black Lives Matter advocates are American citizens. Will someone please educate Ms. Ignoramus, Africans did not come to America on their own volition. They were kidnapped and brought to her beloved America as slaves chained together in the bottom of ships. Until America comes to grip with 401 years of injustices perpetrated against blacks, unrest will continue. There is no turning back! And, to think Ms. Ignoramus works with children.
It has been a horrendous week! What we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. Facebook followers are recalling and reposting cases after cases of blacks being murdered, burned and lynched. Locally, let us remember the deaths of Asbury Wilder, Edward Snowden, Walter Scott, Leon Walters and others. I am hopeful that all cases involving unlawful deaths at the hands of police will be reopened so justice can be served, and healing can begin.
This is not an indictment of all police officers. The problem is rotten apples will cause other apples to spoil if they are not removed from the barrel.