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April Pipkins holding a picture of her murdered son, Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr.

When Cops Shoot to Kill, Blackness Is The Deadly Incentive

It’s abundantly clear that the fundamentals of police brutality is regulated to the direness of being unarmed and Black.

Eric Garner who was murdered by the strong chokehold of lawless cops wasn’t wielding a gun. And Chinedu Okobi wasn’t brandishing a weapon when he was callously killed by a Taser, that was illegally turned it into a lethal weapon — aimed at the chest of a helpless man with mental illness.

This year ends with another roster of Black bodies that were fallen by the bullets of police officers who have been instructed to “shoot first, ask later” when dealing with Black men. And if they don’t use a gun, a Taser and produce the same results if you hit Black bodies enough times to warrant cardiac arrest.

Botham Jean was murdered in his own damn apartment, by an off-duty cop, who happened to be a White woman. She was just recently charged for her crime, months after fatefully entering a space that she claimed was her own. She fired shots at the chest of the Black guy who supposedly “broke” into the unit that she swore was under her name. We still have no solid idea how and why she ended up in the wrong apartment, and why she pulled the trigger on an innocent resident who didn’t pose a threat, other than the fact that he was Black.

Stephon Clark was shot a total of twenty times by two cops who were chasing him down after being alerted that he was allegedly breaking windows in the Meadowview neighborhood of Sacramento, CA. Clark was finally cornered in his grandmother’s backyard, and the hovering helicopter only heightened the scene, as the officers expectedly assumed that a cell phone was a gun being pointed in their direction. The shots were fired with fury, and in the end, Clark was hit seven times before he dropped to the ground.

Tamir Rice was just twelve-years-old, playing in a park with a toy gun, when a couple of Cleveland cops arrived on the scene after being alerted that a “Black man” was dangerously wielding his gun at passersby. A young boy with his whole life ahead of him was shot in the stomach, and allowed to bleed to death, while his fourteen-year-old sister helplessly watched. He died because he was Black, and the White cop first fired the shot, and didn’t give a damn when he later realized the gravity of what had transpired.

Black women also suffer for the sin of dark skin, and how that motivates a traffic cop to pull over and then proceed to violently remove a young woman out of her vehicle, before pummeling her against the concrete ground. After she’s battered and bruised, the journey to jail begins and ends with a cell containing the lifeless body of Sandra Bland.

And even when they do survive brutal encounters, young victims like Chikesia Clemons will forever be scarred by the memory of public assault by White cops, who were summoned under the wrongful impression that a petite woman was deserving of the demeaning beatdown — that just about tore off her dress — as she fought to survive being wrestled to the ground as White diners gawked with glee.

When cops shoot to kill or physically destabilize with brutal force, blackness is the deadly incentive.

You can’t even have the best of intentions in situations that warrant heroic efforts until the cops arrive, because the only hero that lived to tell that tale, was just plain lucky!

Jemel Roberson was trying to demonstrate the discipline and professionalism that he hoped to take with him once he entered the police academy. On the night that he took down the shooter at the neighborhood bar outside of Chicago, he was a security guard with a gun that never went off, and the necessary identifiable gear. The scene was set in the parking lot of the venue, and the position was sensible enough for anyone cautiously approaching — except the irresponsible police officers who feigned ignorance — and used their stupidity to act out bigoted incentives. Twenty-six-year-old Roberson was shot dead in cold blood, in the frigid air and with the audacity of the actual shooter’s life being spared.

The year isn’t over yet, and we are ending it with the heartbreaking tragedy that involves the shooting death of Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., the twenty-one-year-old Black man, who was gunned down on Thanksgiving night, at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama; by police officers who targeted him as the shooter who injured two bystanders.

The initial reports indicated that the active scene had been subdued after Bradford’s death, which meant the threat was seemingly over. But then we learned hours later, that the cops had killed the wrong guy, and the suspect was still on the loose.

Bradford was legally armed, and was actually helping to get frightened shoppers to safety before finding his way out of the chaos. It was evidently while he was running away from danger, that the shots rang out — hitting him in “in his back, the back of his head and the back of his neck.”

The cops meant to kill him. Not take him alive — pending possible charges; a privilege only White people can claim.

Twenty-year-old Erron Brown was recently arrested for the Alabama mall shooting, and while that case plays out, there’s still the issue of how an innocent Black man was cut down in his prime, simply because he was spotted doing what everyone else in that panicked space was doing.

And yet, somehow his Blackness identified him as GUILTY without supporting evidence.

How is it that police officers are able to diligently escort out White male terrorists without exacting bodily harm in the form of bullet wounds or scrapes after being tackled to the concrete ground?

Why do Black people have to be shot dead or physically brutalized by those who pledge to serve and protect communities with badges of honor?

The autopsy report of Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., has proven how Blackness is the invitation to death in America.

We just can’t win.

If we’re unarmed or armed, the deadly results illustrate why Trump’s recommendation to carry guns for protection only applies to White Americans, who can casually shoot up a church or a high school, and still strut out in cuffs and a smile — under the direction of well-poised escorts.

Two young Black men were just robbed of their rights and privileges because even while they were still breathing, those attributes tragically didn’t apply to them.

As a Black woman, I’m terrified of navigating Trump’s America; a vast landscape that encourages the murderous appetite of White male terrorists and the harassment from temperamental White women, who are free to knife, shoot, and terrorize — at will — and at the expense of vulnerable folks who resemble my template.

Another year wind downs with the souls of a new class of Black victims who weren’t lucky enough to survive the curse of Blackness — that Whiteness is committed to recognizing — until extinction is imminent.

The price of black pain is increasing, and so are the body counts, and trust me, even though it’s hard to keep up — we’re definitely keeping track.

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