Why Systemic Injustice Against Black Bodies Can’t Be Defeated
Chinedu Okobi, Stephon Clark, Terrence Crutcher, are the latest to be re-assaulted
White people have done and continue to do the absolute worst when it comes to demeaning the dignity of the Black population, and these deplorable acts of unwarranted and unprovoked abuse is filtered to Black children.
We have to tolerate the emotional assault on a Black boy, who was publicly shamed by a White woman for something that’s nothing short of blasphemous.
That victimized boy is going to grow into a Black man, and his societal woes will only get much more hectic, as he bears the heavy burden of his skin color, through the daily challenges of weaving in and out of spaces in broad daylight and stark darkness, with the prayer that he will survive those harrowing encounters that are staged for his imminent demise.
But what happens when Black boys that become Black men don’t escape the jaws of death at the hands of rogue cops, who have trained themselves to shoot to kill when it comes to our Black fathers, sons, brothers, nephews, uncles, boyfriends, husbands, and friends?
How do we reconcile the terrific loss of a young Black man, who was a father to an adorable girl, and who also struggled with the debilitating symptoms of mental illness that ended up being the deal breaker after the horrific incident on October 4, 2018, that involved five deputy sheriffs, who decided to take the life of Chinedu Okobi after failing to humanely subdue his erratic temperament.
The Nigerian-American Bay Area resident, who incidentally has a sister who heads the department of Public Policy, Africa for Facebook, was inexplicably deemed a major threat by arriving officers, who were armed and willing to take down the sizable Black male, who was clearly in a state of confusion and panic as he wandered around against the backdrop of late-afternoon traffic.
As one of the officers tried to calm him down without success, the others ran over to help their comrade when he was allegedly overcome by the burliness of the Black suspect, who was proving to be the ideal candidate for a Taser treatment.
What happened next is graphically disturbing, because based on the coroner’s report, Chinedu Okobi died from cardiac arrest that was induced from murderous actions of one of the officers, who turned non-lethal weapon into a lethal device by illegally targeting the chest area of the unarmed victim, until his heart stopped.
An investigation into the brutal slaying of Okobi began immediately, and the five officers were put on paid leave.
As expected the media paid very little attention to the case of the young Black man, who battled mental illness, and died at the hands of woefully incompetent cops, who weren’t equipped with the necessary skills or the wealth of patience and humanness, that it takes to professionally deal with citizens who deserve to be handled with care based on their special needs.
There was also silence from notable activists, who usually highlight incidences showcasing the nefariousness of law enforcement when it comes to Black and Brown communities. Perhaps it’s the fact that Chinedu Okobi’s hashtag failed to trend with the viral endorsement that typically greets those who apply.
In any case, enough of us were terrified by what befell a member of our tribe, as we considered how we would handle the nightmare of burying our American-born Nigerian brother without a tangible explanation of how and why a Taser was focused on his chest to stop his beating heart.
We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the investigation to conclude, with the assurance that the officer who Tasered a mentally ill Black man to death would be charged accordingly, while the others would most likely lose their badges.
Unfortunately our hopes have been dashed by the latest update that confirms worst fears and verifies why the systemic injustice against Black bodies can’t be thwarted.
According to the bulletin from the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the video footage and eyewitness reports that detail how Okobi was brutally sedated like a wild animal for the sin of succumbing to his uncontrollable mental state, didn’t adequately provide the proof required for disciplinary actions against his assailants.
The sheriffs will not be held accountable by San Mateo District Attorney, Steve Wagstaffe, for depriving Okobi of his basic human rights by violently attacking and killing him.
Wagstaffe took into account the threatening stance of a Black man who was described as possessing “super human strength” as exhibited in his combativeness due to possible drug intake. Naturally the only way to prevent him from overpowering and exacting harm was to “dogpile on him just to contain his strength.”
Aside from the obvious lack of empathy for a mentally-challenged individual who was possibly enduring a very bad episode that rendered him incapacitated, disorientated, and paranoid, the five deputies who represent the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office, were also blinded by their allegiance to the gross stereotypes that dictate the deadly motives of those who took the oath to protect and serve.
Tamir Rice was the 12-year-old boy playing with a toy gun in a local park, who was purposely described as an adult Black male by the Cleveland police officer who shot him dead. And this systemic habit of blatantly distorting the physicality of Black males, serves as the weaponizing preference of law enforcement in high tempo situations, that are evilly coerced to end tragically.
The confirmation by the district attorney that the five officers who participated in the barbaric killing of a non-threatening Black man, will swiftly return to life as usual, and escape the severe consequences of their actions is just another “fuck you” from a criminally rigged system.
The street codes recognized by thuggish cops encourages the demonization of Black males, who are deemed armed and dangerous, until they are on the ground, bloody and bullet-ridden — grasping the cell phone that wasn’t a gun.
That’s the fatal reception that greeted Stephon Clark back in March 2018, a few months before the murder of Chinedu Okobi. Another young Black male, with a target on his back, after cops were summoned to investigate a prowler terrorizing the Meadowview neighborhood of Sacramento, CA.
Clark didn’t stand a chance of surviving the mayhem that ensued after the alerts had been logged against him. As the helicopters hovered and the cops cornered him in the backyard belonging to his grandmother, the scene was set for a major shootout, and that’s exactly what transpired.
More than 20 shots were fired in retaliation for the innocent hand gesture that was assumed to be a weapon pointing in the direction of police officers, who were waiting for the prime opportunity to fire at will. Clark was hit 7 times before he fell to the ground, and claimed his assigned hashtag as his blood pooled around him.
Stephon Clark, 22, was unarmed and didn’t pose a threat to the cluster of cops who needed a reason to pummel him with enough bullets to force him out of this world. His only crime was roaming through a neighborhood as a Black man, who was trying to get to his destination in one piece.
Almost a year after his murder, the Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert delivers the crippling blow that confirms that the officers who shot an unarmed Black man to death in his grandmother’s backyard, will not be charged for their crime.
Imagine the absolute shock and gut-wrenching pain of a bereaved family, that not only had to prematurely bury their loved one, who died from the gross negligence of a biased system — that empowers officers of the law to break the law for the sake of drowning the streets in the blood of Blood of Black bodies — but now have to contend with the reality of injustice with the traitorous victory of badged offenders.
Stevante Clark is adamant about bringing justice to order for his dead brother, and expressed this wish during a news conference after the bad news was levied on his family.
“Our lives are suffering, our hearts are shattered, my family is in agony ever since the callous murder of my brother in my grandmother’s backyard.” “I would like for the attorney general to prosecute the officers.” “I want justice and accountability.”
Of course Schubert resorted to vilifying the victim, by vigorously justifying his shooting death with the evidence of his troubled past, that included domestic abuse and alleged neighborhood vandalism.
But the truth is that Dylann Roof was able to walk into a Southern Black church, and calmly massacred Black worshippers in his midst before making his non-dramatic exit into the embrace of waiting officers, who were able to comply with his wishes to stop by a burger joint, on their to his booking.
When it comes to Black males and the situations that demand the interference of law enforcement, the outcome never matches the civility, that their White counterparts are privileged to experience.
Betty Shelby, is the Tulsa police officer, who shot Terrence Crutcher to death back in September 2016, after the “big, bad dude” was reported as a potential danger by commuters, who observed him standing outside his vehicle, behaving in a manner that was heightened by his Blackness.
Shelby and her posse arrived at the scene, ready for battle as they plotted the extreme means in which to overpower the Black beast on the loose. In the end, the only way to take care of Crutcher was to kill him in self-defense, with the lie of how Crutcher was reaching to grab his gun in the driver’s seat of his car.
But the window was rolled all the way up, which means that just the slightest movement Crutcher made was going to get him killed.
Shelby was charged with “unlawfully and unnecessarily” killing Crutcher, but a year later she was acquitted by a jury, who agreed with her deadly use of a firearm against a Black victim who wasn’t armed and dangerous.
And now the Justice Department has announced that Deputy Shelby, who has since been allowed to not only patrol the streets, but also teach a police course on “Surviving the Aftermath of a Critical Incident,” will not be battling “federal criminal civil rights charges” since there isn’t enough evidence for filing.
Apparently the thorough examination and expertise of “civil rights prosecutors and FBI agents,” didn’t unearth any proof that Shelby “acted with the specific intent to break the law.”
Attorney Scott Wood only had glowing reviews to share about his client’s recent triumph:
“She acted reasonably, and she acted just how she was trained to react in a situation like this.”
How was it reasonable for Betty Shelby to shoot an unarmed and non-threatening Black man in cold-blood, when her training should’ve mandated her to assess the situation accordingly by prompting the reasonability of rejecting drastic measures in favor of a resolution that wouldn’t require a body bag?
In all the cases that showcase police brutality against Black males, the common thread is the callous approach of bigoted cops, who never view the suspects as humans, because of their Blackness, and how that automatically regulates them as out-of-control beasts, who can’t be reasoned with or cautiously subdued.
They have to be shot at countless times, or until they take their last breaths. Or they can be Tasered to death since Black bodies are monstrous enough to endure the electrical blasts to the heart, which may or may not kill them instantly.
The systemic injustice against Black bodies and the families that bury them is undefeated because of the hate-filled rhetoric of Trump’s America, and how domestic terrorists are able to operate without issue because White perpetrators are humanized with systemic coddling.
The habitual demonizing of Blackness is a societal currency that has been embedded in the corridors of law institutions, that contain the damaging doctrines that will continue to assault the survivability of grief-stricken Black families, who have to spend a lifetime fighting for the final rest of restless souls who perished under the infamy of White America.
Justice can’t be served until the poison of Whiteness against Blackness is defeated, but that would mean a climate without hate.
And that can’t ever happen because the value of Black pain is the business of clicks, the prison system, and entertainment.
That’s the law.
If you don’t believe me — check this out: