Unlike the multituBrian Bde of folks who felt anger and the need to protest the decision of the grand jury in the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of an unarmed Black teenager by a white policeman, I felt nothing.
Faced with any number of years of entrenched racism and police power, I honestly never expected another decision.
I have long come to the realization that racism is way more deeply entrenched in the psyche of folks (consciously or unconsciously), than any seminar in race relations could address in one or two days.
In recent days I was frighteningly surprised to hear my three-year-old grandson say that he was brown. Is it at daycare that he learnt that he is different to the other children, or did he figure this out in another way? And how soon would he consider the implications of being of a different colour, if he has not already done so?
A good read is the book “Pichon: Race and Revolution in Castro’s Cuba” which demonstrates that in spite of all the efforts to create an egalitarian society, race and inequality persists.
When race and police power are combined the situation is even more problematic; with their sense of authority, a weapon, the brotherhood and a skewed justice system to support that sense of invincibility.
And even if some folks criticized the fact that there are only three Black cops on the Ferguson police force, the evidence of police power lies in the fact that Black cops often behave the same as white cops. In Trinidad, over 40 people have died at the hands of police in 2014 and not one officer has been charged or jailed for murder.
In Montreal, over twelve (12) Black men have died at the hands of police and not one has ever been prosecuted or jailed. Examples that readily come to mind are Anthony Griffin, Marcellus Francois and Freddy Villanueva.
In the case of the latter, the officer never even filed a report until some thirty (30) days after the killing, and after consulting with his lawyer and the police brotherhood. Neither was he isolated from his partner. And yet we were led to believe that justice was somehow served with the inquiry.
It was eerily similar in the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting as the officer was allowed to return to the station unaccompanied, placed his pistol in an evidence bag, and wash his hands of Michael Brown’s blood. Additionally, the officers who interviewed Officer Darren Wilson immediately after the incident neglected to record the interview which was done in the presence of other police.
Neither were photographs taken at the scene by the medical examiner because his ‘camera battery was dead’. Instead, he relied on photographs taken by the police department and the photographs of Wilson’s injuries which were taken by the St. Louis Fraternal Order of Police.
And the lapses go on and on. Yet the prosecutor at the grand jury would have us believe that due process was taken by the jury, because they were exposed to all the evidence and all the witnesses and that the angry reaction was somehow our lack of understanding.
It would seem that we cannot win on either count.
But apathy is definitely not the answer, as we have to consider the struggle more of a marathon than a 100-yard dash.
We have won some battles but the war is definitely not over.