Tamir Rice is not the first African American male to be shot down by the police in America. He will not be the last. But what his tragic death does for a world now fully immersed in social media and the instantaneous transfer of news and other relevant information is establish a mascot for an injustice that has long been virtually ignored by the mainstream media.
There are times in which the police overstep their bounds and unjustly take the life of a human being, only to receive little to no punishment because of the shield that protects them. They are governed, in many instances, by a different set of rules that grant them the power to do to a human being what an ordinary civilian would lose his rights, freedom, and ultimately his life (depending on the jurisdiction) for, provided they file the right paperwork.
For many years, the African American community has complained to the rest of the country about the oppressive nature of some police units. Today, these cries can no longer fall on deaf ears. Today, the marchers in Cleveland, Ohio are able to show the world evidence supporting their claims. Because of social media, we can now see through their eyes the very thing they are faced with on occasion.
The world has no choice but to look at these images. I am reminded of the Civil Rights Movement when the world had no choice but to watch as white police officers in the south unleashed attack dogs and water hoses on peaceful protesters only asking for an equal seat at the societal table we call America. From that point on, their movement had legs and changes began to come.
There must be accountability for what took place that day Mr. Rice was slain. When a wrong happens, the wrongdoer must pay for his wrongdoing. If we don’t, we create two classes of people and justice’s skirt of objectivity is forcefully lifted, shaming us all into an oppressed silence.
The person responsible must pay for what he did as though he were a civilian accused of the same offense. There must be greater accountability for police officers, not just in Cleveland or Ohio, but nationwide. Studies have shown that oppressive behavior and complaints about this behavior is almost completely wiped out when police are required to videotape their encounters with civilians.
This must be mainstream policy.
I applaud the people of Cleveland for maintaining their composure in the face of allegations of looting and violence [perpetuated by both outsiders not from the town and media outlets trying to both demonize the protesters and provide justification for the police’s unusually aggressive behavior].
The people must stay strong and refuse to back down until their demands are met. Excessive and unjust behavior will be reported, if not by Al Jazeera America, CNN, or MSNBC, then by social media and viral videos uploaded to YouTube and Facebook like the one of the police officer pointing a loaded AK-47 at Ferguson protesters, telling them to “back the f–k up,” and threatening to “f—–g kill them, I swear to God” before being pulled away by another officer.
There’s a deeper problem here, and it’s race related. This is a BLACK problem. This is a WHITE problem. More importantly, this is an AMERICAN problem. It needs to stop, and the protesters, by voicing their grievances not just with Cleveland, but with the rest of the world, are doing exactly what they should be doing.
This American drama is far from over, so stay tuned.