Diamond Reynolds and America’s Mishandling of the Innocent in Favor of the Guilty
Think, Casey Anthony
Two women. Both American and saddled with carrying the weight of a destiny that none of us would apply for — unless we had a death wish.
Everything is about race. We have a president that was hired to Make America Great Again, which sounds promising, but the catch is that his constituents are White Americans who can’t stand people of color.
But, long before Trump took the oath of office — the racial divide in this great nation of ours has refused to stop widening.
2014 began the relentless cycle of Breaking News of the worst kind. The names and faces of Black people — dying at the hands of reckless cops — who walked free with paid vacations and the promise of tomorrow.
It’s now 2017 and the fury of those who’ve left us against their will still echoes through the activities of vigilantes and organizations like Black Lives Matter that were set up to ensure that the law doesn’t continue to profit from senseless bloodshed.
In the midst of the ongoing war between White men in blue and the Black community — is a victim of circumstance who is still suffering the repercussions of a life altering episode that she managed to capture on film.
Diamond Reynolds, was a 26-year-old woman — riding a car being driven by her boyfriend Philando Castile when they were pulled over after a traffic stop back in July 2016.
What transpired was a brutal occurrence that nobody should ever have to endure — particularly Reynolds’ then 4-year-old daughter — who sat quietly in the back seat as she witnessed Castile moan his way out of this world.
The cop who performed the horrifying act continued to berate Reynolds even after realizing that he had committed murder in front of a mother and her child.
The video footage was circulated to media outlets and the public at large and the number of viewers was expectedly staggering. We can never get enough of watching Black men choke to death as the blood from their wounds clogs their wind pipe and discolors their clothing. It keeps our fingers busy as we share, retweet and quote back those tweets.
Some found it odd and even suspect that Diamond Reynolds was able to calmly record the nightmare as it unfolded. She was vilified for being “timid” and “agreeable” instead of avidly demonstrating her grief.
To most — she was a hero.
A young woman who went through the hell and back and lived to show her battle scars. The morning news shows couldn’t resist inviting her to retell the tale of what we had already witnessed. President Obama also gave her a shoutout in the same way he had done for other victims of police brutality.
And then nothing.
Reynolds was released from her fifteen minutes of fame — free to return to her dire existence in West St. Paul, Minnesota. The American Dream had come to an abrupt end, but did it ever really materialize for a woman who was already living on the edge before the man who loved her was ripped away?
The Washington Post recently published a piece about Reynolds titled:
She live-streamed Philando Castile’s death. Now she’s accused of attacking someone with a hammer.
Of course there is no way you can resist clicking on a headline that reads like a premise from a Stephen King novel. I read it — and it was just as gory as I imagined it would be.
The author fills us in what Reynolds has been up to since the tragic slaying of last summer. Well, as fate would have it — she’s been up to no good. The loss of her boyfriend cost her a place to live and reliable income.
And apparently she and two other accomplices were arrested for attacking a woman they’ve been locked in a feud with — in a parking lot with a hammer and bear mace as weapons of choice.
Reynolds is being held at the Ramsey County jail and unless she comes up with $90,000 — which is highly unlikely — she will stay behind bars.
Meanwhile the cop who shot and killed Castile has been charged with “three counts of second-degree manslaughter and discharge of a dangerous weapon.” Reynolds is obviously the main witness in the case against him as well as the victim.
But, Reynolds was already a victim before the gunshot wounds, the screaming, and the daughter whose life will be forever imprinted by what she silently internalized as her new normal.
Despite the media exposure, and the attention of the most powerful man in the world, as well as the notation of activists who are trained to seek those who suffer the duress of America’s fiery mandate — Reynolds is still the Black woman from the wrong side of the tracks who deserves to remain in the hell of her heritage.
Then you have Casey Anthony. “America’s Most Hated Woman.” The mother who was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee when she went missing back in 2008?
Anthony was later acquitted and after remaining out of the spotlight — she is back to remind us why America never has a hard time doling out second chances — to those who deserve it.
The recent piece in the Los Angeles Times doesn’t hold back in its chillingly normalized and even seductive portrayal of a mother who insists that if her daughter had lived — she would’ve been “a total badass, listening to classic rock, playing sports, and taking no nonsense.”
Anthony also readily admits that she lied multiple times when the cops initially questioned her about her daughter’s disappearance. She also feels a kinship with O.J. Simpson — another famous murderer who escaped being convicted — “I can empathize with his situation.”
The rest of the article gives reference to her present day as we discover that she is living in the “South Florida home of Patrick McKenna, a private detective who was the lead investigator on her defense team.” She also plans on spending her upcoming 31st birthday — skydiving.
But this part of the piece is where things really shape up:
Occasionally she goes out with friends to area bars and has struck up a few short-lived romantic relationships. When she is out in public, men are attracted to her long, dark locks and petite frame, and often pay for her signature drinks: either a Fat Tire beer or a Jack Daniels and Diet Coke, with a lime wedge. But news that she is there spreads quickly; people whisper and snap photos, and she retreats to her newly purchased SUV so she can return home, alone.
Anthony speaks defiantly of her pariah status.
“I don’t give a … about what anyone thinks about me, I never will,” she said. “I’m OK with myself; I sleep pretty good at night.”
America’s mishandling of the innocent in favor of the guilty has been a long-standing tradition that systematically devours people of color and allows White people to slip by unscathed despite the glaring evidence of their guilt.
As Casey Anthony enjoys her new lease on life and the comfort of a future that despite being uncertain — still provides the assurance of stability — Diamond Reynolds who was victimized by a system that functions on the blood, sweat and tears of specific targets— has been left to sink or swim.
And of course she is sinking.
Two women. Both American, and both jugging the aftermath of tragic events— and yet, one is portrayed as a hopeless, violent brute with a dimmed outcome while the other is depicted as a wrongly accused woman, with enough good looks to guarantee the law on her side and a burgeoning bright forecast.
When all is said and done — it’s as simple as Black and White.