If you’ve seen the video of the killing of Walter Scott and you identify with humanity at all, you’ve probably thought, “Yes! Proof!” You’re so excited about video evidence of what really happened.
And yet, remember Eric Garner? There was indisputable truth that Eric Garner was choked to death on a New York street corner. However, there were no charges brought against the officer who squeezed the life out of him, who continued to apply pressure as Garner gasped and wheezed out, “I. Can’t. Breathe.”
Having video that proves an officer murdered a man in cold blood, a man who was fleeing, or who otherwise doesn’t appear to pose an immediate threat, doesn’t mean anyone will be held accountable. Having video that proves more than one officer may have lied about performing CPR on the victim doesn’t mean anyone will be held accountable, charged and convicted.
Oh, but I’m being pessimistic, right?
Video means nothing.
Video doesn’t mean conviction. In Eric Garner’s case, video didn’t even warrant a charge.
Woke White people want us to be glad there’s video, because Black people deserve to not be shot down in the road like goddamn rabid animals, but gladness leads to complacency. There is NO room for complacency among Black people. Comfort is a luxury.
Comfort is something elusive. It evades you when your husband is out late, just a quick run to the store.
Comfort is something intangible. You grasp at it subconsciously when your son goes out to play, to the park just down the road.
Comfort is something abstract. It’s meaning is definable only in theory.
Comfort is something mysterious. It sneaks into shadows and sits down low, threatening to grab your ankles as you walk by, drag you into the ever-present abyss of belief that you’ll never see your loved one again.
Comfort is something obscure as your body tenses when you ride past a group of Black boys sitting on the curb, handcuffed, their car being rifled through. When you hear the siren before you see the flashing lights and you pray that it is not you they want, because although you’ve done nothing wrong, comfort in it going well seems incomprehensible.
The city of Cleveland suggested Tamir Rice was responsible for his own death for failing “to exercise due care to avoid injury.” He was 12. But, wait; there’s video.
Ramsey Orta, who videotaped Eric Garner’s murder, is in jail on unrelated charges, and refraining from eating since rat poison was found in other inmates’ food.
Feidin Santana fears for his life, and rightfully so. He videotaped Walter Scott’s murder. Mr. Santana was afraid to release the video initially because of the potential backlash.
We can’t expect anything, certainly not justice, not even when there’s video. Video doesn’t mean conviction. Too often Black people are shown that justice for us is undeserved, so why expect this time to be any different? This time. Do you have any idea how it feels to refer to a man’s death as this time? This time, that time, NEXT TIME.