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Est. April 5, 2002
Apr 29, 2021 - Issue 863
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It was difficult for Black people and our allies to celebrate Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict. The image of the white, smug-looking cop with a knee on the neck of an unarmed Black man for nearly 10 minutes is emblazoned in our memories. It will haunt us for a very long time.

Like other vivid scenes before, the scab will be snatched off the festering wound with the sight of yet another act of police terror.

It didn’t take long for that terror to strike again. On the same day of the Chauvin verdict, a Columbus, Ohio police shot 16-year-old Mathias Bryant dead in broad daylight. Andrew Brown, Jr. was fatally shot by a North Carolina deputy the following day. And the beat goes on.

The Black community is determined to make our lives matter and the court system is equally determined to end them. The arrogance of Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020 plays out day after day, month after month, year after year by police across the country. Their lawlessness has been protected by a white supremacist system from white prosecutors who often refuse to indict all the way down to white jurors who refused to convict. When the conviction of a cop stops being the exception to the rule is when Black folks may start believing there is equal protection under the law.

Meanwhile, we can stop wasting tax dollars on explicit bias training, on body cams, or overtime to allegedly keep us safe. None of these individually or collectively have curbed the slaughter of Black and Brown people by police or their proxies.

For all of the over-policed cities with bulging budgets, there’s very little to show for it. Unprecedented homicide rates and hostile police don’t equal public safety.

With every unwarranted act of aggression against communities of color, police departments helped to give credence to the rallying cry to defund the police. The basic human needs of people are not being met because most city budgets are outrageously bloated in favor of arrest and incarceration. Rational citizens instead are asking for affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, recreation centers, mental health services, and jobs with livable wages. These are reasonable demands.

Days before the verdict of Derek Chauvin, I saw a meme on social media that basically said nothing had changed since the beating of Rodney King except the quality of the video. The poignant reference was about the flood of videos that have publicized the brutal assaults and cold-blooded murders by police since 1991 but resulted in virtually no justice for Black communities.

Thirty years later, the anticipated verdict came down but was hardly meet with enthusiastic gratitude. The Fraternal Order of Police and other police special interest groups are determined that blue, white lives will prevail by any means necessary.

The guilty verdict of Chauvin is an opportunity to bust through the walls of silence and racist insensitivity. This calls for a sustained and organized campaign to hold police accountable while defunding them.

There will never be a love fest between the two groups. Black folks are looking to avoid being one of the estimated 1000 victims of police murder each year. We choose life. Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog Contact Ms. Rogers and BC.

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is published Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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