This is the photo that has been circling social media this morning. It comes in the wake of another unwarranted killing of a young unarmed black person. 18 year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in St. Louis, MO by police this past Saturday.
Police are said to still be investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting but during a news conference on Sunday, it was reported that Michael was shot and killed after he assaulted a police officer and a struggle ensued over the officer’s gun in his squad car. First of all, this is COMPLETELY different than the eye witness accounts of Michael being unarmed with his hands up when he was shot. And if the police account is true and the shot was fired during a struggle in the squad car, why was Michael’s dead body laying the street and not in the car? Witnesses says that once Michael was shot the first time he proceeded to get down on the ground after which the officer shot him several more times. Michael’s body was left in the street for hours while residents gathered in protest. His mother and stepfather arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting and are adamant that they’re child was killed in cold blood.
“I know they killed my son,” Brown’s mother told an acquaintance, according to the Post-Dispatch. “This was wrong and it was cold-hearted.”
The officer who fired the shots was placed on paid administrative leave. Ironically, he has simply gained a paid vacation while this family has lost their loved one. Every time I hear of situations like these I hope to never have to write about another one…and then it happens again. Michael Brown had a future. He was to start college today. I have a young a son and it pains me to admit that I am terrified of the world he will grow up in. What is just as sad is that photos of Michael Brown are already being used to portray the young man in a negative light. Photos of him holding up the peace sign are said to be proof of gang affiliation. Villianizing has become the response after we stand up for those who are wrongfully slain. This has sparked a social media protest using the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown which folks are using to show how the media will use the most controversial photos to paint the victim in a less than flattering light.
It has become apparent that young black life is not valued and we are very aware of it as well as the tactics used against us. But now what? What steps can we take to preserve young black life?