A few months ago, a police officer that was on the scene of Tupac’s fatal shooting shared what is believed to be the rapper’s last words. When asked who shot him, Tupac said “fuck you” and died. On top of that, no one else was talking so his murder is still unsolved. There are thousands of other unsolved murders that could’ve been solved if someone spoke up. Still, people stay quiet. Some stay silent out of fear but there are others that refuse to talk because they don’t trust the people that are asking the questions. The “no snitching” movement has been a target of extensive criticism and blame for so-called Black-on-Black violence. But, in the wake of the latest deaths resulting from police brutality, I can’t blame folks for not speaking.
Black mistrust of the police isn’t restricted to not snitching to uphold some hood commandments. We don’t trust the police because they have yet to earn our trust. In the past few weeks, three stories of Black men being shot down like animals have hit the media including Mike Brown, an unarmed teen in Missouri who was shot ten times on yesterday. There was a press conference this morning where it was alleged that he was fighting with the police over a gun but eyewitness accounts refute that claim. Meanwhile, various publications are reporting that Eric Garner, who was killed by the NYPD a few weeks ago, didn’t have any intoxicants in his system as if that is relevant to his case. Not only were these men executed but their character is being assassinated to justify their murders.
People have been protesting Brown’s death since it happened even though police officers are staring them down while holding a dog’s leash because they’re tired.
We all are.
We’ve been tired since Emmett Til was killed. We’ve been tired since mobs were snatching Black men out of their houses and jail cells to be lynched while the police did nothing or participated in the lynchings. We were tired when Trayvon and Troy died. We get tired every time we’re harassed for walking down the street, chilling with friends in public or even standing outside of our houses. Existing while Black is a crime in this supposed land of the free. If you’re read as queer, especially if you’re trans, may the odds be in your favor because you can get in trouble for having condoms or just being different. Ask Cece McDonald or Monica Jones about that.
This lethargy and weariness of the police is a big issue because it keeps us from addressing some of the ills that happen in the Black community. Mistrust of the police is what keeps a lot of us from reporting abuse of Black women at the hands of Black men because no one wants to see another brotha in the system, even if he deserves it. This mistrust is why people are getting killed by the dozens in various cities with no end in sight. The police are supposed to serve and protect and they are doing their jobs to an extent. They exist to serve and protect the status quo and Black bodies, queer bodies, trans bodies and other marginalized bodies don’t fit.
Note: For on-the-ground coverage, follow reporter Brittany Noble on Twitter. She’s keeping up with everything via social media.