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Fear of Black people: A pretext to shoot?

"God cannot and will not bless America if this wanton evil persists"

Compton Herald | Fear
Saint Anthony, Minnesota police dash cam video shows the moment when Officer Jeronimo Yanez began shooting at Philando Castile.

Contempt for, abuse, and killing of African-Americans by fearful cops could lead to something utterly virulent for America

The widespread belief in Urban America is that violence perpetrated by police against African-Americans is not on the rise, but rather a consistent pattern.

Compton Herald | Uncharted

“Uncharted” is commentary from Compton Herald publisher and editor, Jarrette Fellows, Jr.


Thanks to the ascension of technology in cell phone cameras, body cams, and other platforms, police conduct is quickly captured and spread far and wide for public consumption. The nation and the world are bearing witness to claims Black-Americans have made since the abolition of slavery.

Traffic stops and other encounters between cops and the Black community — namely the males — often go haywire due to police fearing for their lives. Police have the backing of the culture to exact deadly force if in fear for their lives.

That was the determining factor in the jury decision to acquit Officer Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minn. police officer, of all charges in the shooting death of Philando Castile. He had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm.

In the shooting death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy by two cops on Nov. 22, 2014, in Cleveland. Ohio — were the police in this case also in fear of their lives?

The kid was playing with a toy gun, when officers, 26-year-old Timothy Loehmann and 46-year-old Frank Garmback, responded after receiving a police dispatch call “of a male Black sitting on a swing and pointing a gun at people” in a city park. A caller reported that a male was pointing “a pistol” at random people in the Cudell Recreation Center. At the beginning of the call and again in the middle the caller relayed, “it’s probably fake.”

The officers reported that upon their arrival, Rice reached towards a gun in his waistband. The officer’s claim was later confirmed with enhanced video evidence, though the gun was a toy. Within two seconds of arriving on the scene, Loehmann fired two shots, without yelling at Rice to drop the gun.

The cops feared for their lives. After all, the kid, on a swing, no less, in a park for children, playing with his toy, lost his life because, jittery, trigger-happy cops didn’t take another two seconds to assess the situation.

And in a plethora of other deadly encounters with cops, fear of the Big Bad Black has been used as a pretext to permit police to kill and abuse Black men, women, boys, and girls, then receive acquittal by culturally insensitive juries.

It may be that many of the shootings are committed by cops who aren’t afraid at all, but who harbor deep contempt for Black-Americans to the point of a lust for murder. Racists hiding behind a uniform, shield, and badge has been a long-held contention by racial minorities.

The writer is reminded of hung juries and wholesale acquittals of Klansmen charged with murder and assault of African-Americans during the height of Jim Crow in the American South. Convictions for racial crimes were rare to non-existent.

We are seeing the same disregard, today for the constitutional rights and liberties of African-Americans all across this land from sea to sea. God cannot and will not bless America if this wanton evil persists. The Castile killing and Yanez acquittal shamed America.

If the madness is not brought to a halt, it could morph into something utterly virulent for America. The Almighty will not continue to strive with evil men and women under the color of authority and a pervasive corrupt system that undergirds them.

A reckoning is coming.


READ ALSO: Our Fear Of Black Men Is Racist, And It Killed Philando Castile

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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