After the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, there’s been talk about police officer wearing cameras. It seems like a reasonable idea but as I recall, the Rodney King beating was videotaped and Tarantino could have filmed the Amadou Diallo shooting for all the good it would’ve done.
Fifteen years later, it’s still hard to imagine what Diallo could have done to stay alive. He ran from officers in street clothes at almost 1 a.m. He raised his hands but held up his wallet (something you might do if you think you’re being mugged). During the shooting, one of the officers tripped backyard, which made them think he was shot so they continued shooting Diallo, so.. oops, I guess.
I would have done everything Diallo did. I thought so in 1999 and I still think so. Plain-clothes officers stopping someone on the street late at night seems perilous. Should I really trust someone saying, “Stop! Police!” if they’re not in a uniform? And it’s too dark to see if their badge wasn’t retrieved from a one-armed bandit? Running away is what any reasonable person, especially a woman alone, would have done. The officers stopped Diallo because he “fit the profile” of a serial rapist in the area. I’m sure I also fit that profile at the time.
Fear is the one emotion black men are not allowed. Both in this case, the Sean Bell shooting in 2006, and Trayvon Martin’s killing in 2012, the idea that the dead black male might have been scared for his life is never considered. What only matters is how afraid they made their shooters.
So, film all you want, but until that changes, I doubt anything else will.
Observer at Large
August 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm
I am sick of open season on black men. It’s time as civilians we take back the police organizations that are supposed to serve and protect us. How we do this, I don’t know — but we can start with changing the laws that absolve police officers of responsibility when civilians are killed unjustly.