I originally wrote this as a Facebook post and brought it over to the blog after I started it in May 2019.
It is unbelievable, but all-too-believable, that the judge in the cover-up trial for Laquan McDonald’s shooting ruled today that the three officers are not guilty. These officers claimed that Laquan McDonald was approaching Officer Van Dyke, swinging his knife as if he were about to attack, when the dashcam video shows without a doubt that that is not true. “Only the officers involved in the incident know what their belief was at the time,” the judge said in her ruling. But that statement is the gateway through which racism and bias become permission to slaughter black people in the street. In our racist society, white people fear black people without reason, because our fear is reinforced by media, by society, by our friends and family. And if my fear leads me to believe in my heart that a black person is acting dangerously when that is not the case, what can I do? Well, Van Dyke was convicted of the killing (although we have to wait until tomorrow to see what consequences he receives). But if I am a police officer who paints that crime as a case of self-defense because of my own bias, apparently I walk away free. And the code of silence in the Police Department continues. And the black residents of our city and our nation continue to pay the price for what someone’s “belief was at the time.”
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