Police Lives Matter

A young friend of mine posted this on his Facebook wall. #Policelivesmatter, share if you agree. No one has said they don’t matter. I’d attribute it to his age that he is missing the point in the protest statement that #blacklivesmatter except for the fact that his father responded with “This is a very sad commentary on the state of our country at this point in time. Sad indeed.” I would agree with his father’s statement except he said it in support of what his son posted, not as a true statement that while his son felt the need to remind people that the lives of police lives matter in response to the statement that black lives matter, he did not grasp the reasoning behind the protests.

The deaths of the police officers were in the line of duty as they lay their lives on the line every day. And yes, their lives do matter. And their deaths are just as senseless as that of Michael Brown and all the other young black men who have died at the hands of police officers. Senseless in that they shouldn’t have had to die. ANY of them. But no one is protesting the deaths of the police officers. Instead of proclaiming that their lives matter too in the face of these protests, he and anyone who felt the need to respond this way should have first asked themselves, Why? What makes the deaths of these young black men and boys different from the deaths of the police officers? Justice.

In the death of Michael Brown, justice was not served. I’m not saying the police officer should have been imprisoned, We don’t know that. But the point in the protests is that we never will. ANY time a suspect dies by police, it should be investigated. ESPECIALLY if we’re talking death by gun shot for a man or boy who is unarmed. And no, I’m not saying that every police officer should be convicted for every shooting either. Far too often when someone makes a statement like that, the opposition jumps to the extreme conclusion when it’s just not necessary. What I’m saying and what all the protesters are saying is that he should have gone to trial.\

The grand jury in the case of the death of Michael Brown was mishandled by the prosecution. IN MANY WAYS. I have attended a grand jury. The accused was not allowed to attend, much less to testify. The prosecutor in this case acted as a defense attorney, and treated this case as a full jury trial. These actions called into question how it was handled by judges and attorneys throughout the country. Attorneys I know were saying “wait a minute, what?” Michael Brown, no matter what led to his confrontation with police, did not get justice. He got convicted because of the color of his skin to a sentence of death at the hands of a police officer, who acted as judge, jury and executioner WITHOUT regard to the offense he committed not being a death sentence offense.

When it comes down to it, no one is protesting the deaths. They’re protesting the injustices. They’re protesting the fact that a black man can’t walk down a street without putting his life in danger. Not even a black police officer in civilian clothes. There is a thin line between acting in the line of duty and police brutality. And statistics say black men and boys are the victims of it more often than any other demographic. Statements like #policelivesmatter in response to these events just make it more clear that society NEEDS to be reminded that #blacklivesmatter. This response proves that those who do respond that way have no idea of the struggles that black people still face today. Just because you have not seen it personally (and yes that includes politicians like Dr Ben Carson and Allen West) doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It does. Spend one month in a ghetto. You’ll see it surrounding you. I have seen it myself. I watched a woman go out to sell herself to put food on her table and a young black boy get arrested for selling marijuana to help his mother make rent. I’ve seen friends discriminated against in the workplace and then told by the very union that is supposed to protect them that it’s not worth the fallout it would cause to fight it. Prejudice and discrimination is alive and well and rampant throughout the country. And no, not just in the south. I saw it in Upstate New York.

This portion of this commentary is essential to the point because the fact that we don’t see what they face every day as a society is exactly why they protest. They are crying out to say “This is happening. It needs to stop. Help us to stop it.” And you respond with #policelivesmatter….may as well say “No, black lives don’t matter.” Well, ALL lives matter. The black ones are the ones that are being ignored or disregarded. And we as a society need the reminder. Where’s your compassion?


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