If You’re Trying to Blame Tyre King, Even a Little Bit, Then You’re the Real Problem
I found value in Coleman’s well written post as it shared another view on this unfortunate shooting. My question though is why is this a race issue? And just so you know I am white. Why must it be construed that every police officer is going to have it in for a black person and will gladly shoot any person of color if given the opportunity, not to mention especially if he is a minor? Why must this assumption continually be made that whenever a person of color is shot by police, it’s a race issue? I have worked with our Columbus Police Department (CPD), I have attended the Citizen’s Police Academy, I have attended many an event with Columbus Police Officer’s present, and have NEVER observed a situation of bias. I have even watched our CPD at work on our street de-escalating a situation of a known drug house working with the occupants of the house, all black teenagers, who taunted the CPD with foul language, aggressive body language actions, and deliberately lighting up joints on their porch basically challenging the CPD to do something all the while videoing on their smart phones. Perhaps the videoing stopped the CPD from taking action? Or perhaps the CPD ascertained the situation and concluded that as long as the initial complaint was resolved, which was screaming and fighting at the house, then the rest was not actionable in favor of good community relations. Now let’s look at the situation where a 13 year old black youth was shoot to death by a CPD officer, true we do not know all the facts, true we may never know the facts but we do have a person with a firearm on them that ended up dead. Do you think the officer knew that this was a minor upon initial confrontation, do you really think the CPD officer had an opportunity to ask the person yielding a firearm, “Hey is that real”, or “Hey are you going to fire at me?” Situations like this especially at night and especially situations that are non characteristic of the environment (Like ok, why would a person be on the street with a BB gun with a laser sight on it at night?), are always instant decisions. Instant decisions are not always based on mental calculations but rather fight or flight responses, especially with what our CPD has to deal with daily. I can’t believe that a group of people are actually challenging this decision process and automatically concluding that the officer was instantly wrong and that the CPD is covering up what really happened. I can’t believe that we have people here in Columbus that are instantly trying to equate any situation where a CPD officer shooting with a black person is instantly associated with similar situations across other cities in the US and therefore the CPD is instantly wrong in any such action. I have faith in our CPD. I didn’t always have faith in my younger years but I do know. Why? Because I became involved with my community, I became involved with the CPD and how it operates and got to know many a fine officer. Are there bad apples, yes I’m sure, but I’m damn proud to say that most all of the CPD are a damn fine group of people who go home to their own families, families with young children and teenagers. I’m sure they go home every night and hug or kiss their children thankful that they are safe especially when they encounter unfortunate situations like with Tyre King, which to me and no disrespect to the parents of Tyre King, is no different perhaps than Tyre happening upon another type of scenario that ended his life.
I think the conversation really needs to be focused on why this child had a BB gun, why this child was out with this weapon with a laser point, why was this child out at night and WHERE were the parents? I’m actually sick of community members stating that he was just a baby and that the city and CPD needs to do something about this. How about these same community members getting together and find ways to educate parents with children in how to raise good children, to patrol and monitor their own communities and get suspecting mischievous kids off our streets. In fact this practice can extend to any suspecting individuals out and about in our communities. We all need to stop pointing fingers at our CPD and our city because of issues that have their root and cause within our own communities. Communities that no longer seem to care about the state of their neighborhoods, acceptance of crime activity, decaying structures, filthy alleys, drug dealings on the corner, drug dealings at the next door house, and finally children out late at night roaming the streets or roaming the streets during the day when they should be in school. And I have a very strong suggestion for the groups that are out there protesting and screaming race and that their group is deliberately being targeted for inequitable justice -Use your energy instead to get involved in your community, educate YOUR youth in being good citizens, not to use guns whether real or a toy, pick up trash in your communities, become involved with your local community groups in fighting crime on your streets, drugs on the corner, YOUR neighbors drug house and finally getting involved with local community organizations that provide mentoring and safe hang outs and programs for our youth. Scream and protest instead to get city funding to implement these programs once you become involved and passionate for it’s need. And finally the CPD are our tools and resources. If you see it report it and followup on it! Ask for an incident number. Don’t hide behind your door or curtain: 614-645-4545, if Emergency dial 911. If you have blight in your neighborhood report it and followup on it! Ask for a confirmation number. Don’t ignore it and expect your neighbor to call. In fact get your neighbor or neighbors to call in as well! 614-645-3111. And finally get acquainted with your area block watch or civic organization. Know your Police liaisons number and use it to have conversations on issues currently going on in your neighborhood. Call the CPD and ask the police to send a cruiser to your street if you feel unsafe or see suspecting behavior and If they refuse then file a complaint with their complaint line with the incident#, (614) 645-4880, 24 hours a day. We all have the power to control the living conditions of our environment, sometimes we tend to forget that it starts with our own hands.
If You’re Trying to Blame Tyre King, Even a Little Bit, Then You’re the Real Problem
BY: CHARLES F. COLEMAN JR.
Posted: September 16, 2016
Some people are still too quick to accept the police narrative that a 13-year-old black boy pulled a gun on cops, even though we know that police have lied about these types of shootings in the past.
No sooner had the tragic news of Tyre King’s death hit the news than the apology brigade of both blacks and whites hit social media, ready to victim-blame a 13-year-old child for his own demise at the hands of Columbus, Ohio, police officers. It’s almost as if some folks within our community are eager to show white America how “reasonable” they are in light of other shootings by suggesting that the circumstances surrounding Tyre’s death made this different and the actions of the officers more justifiable.
And this is the problem.
With little more than a shadow of evidence, many of these same people have already committed themselves to the narrative that Tyre was guilty of having committed an armed robbery, that he ran from police and that he then attempted to brandish a BB gun against armed police officers.
No arrest. No due process. No trial—just guilty. (By the way, if he was found guilty of an armed robbery, he absolutely would never receive the death penalty. So, there’s that.)
No body-camera video of the event.
The purported 911 call has no mention of Tyre pulling out a gun on the officers.
So now we are left to accept the account of Tyre’s death directly from the killers themselves. Never mind that Tyre’s killer, Officer Bryan Mason, had already fatally shot another person while on duty in 2012. Despite no evidence to corroborate their version of events and a sordid history of race relations between police in Ohio and communities of color, we are expected to take the police at their word. Why? Because they are sworn officers of the law? I’m sorry, but the police have sorta lost the benefit of the doubt with me when it comes to the loss of life and black bodies.
Let’s back up for a moment and use just a modicum of common sense. What 13-year-old black boy do you know who would ever pull out on the cops? Let alone pull out a fake gun?! Even a child who might not be the brightest but had minimal street smarts would know better. Why would you accept this story without questioning it? It doesn’t make sense.
But wait. Would police really falsify the details of what happened? I don’t know. Maybe we should ask the estates of Walter Scott, Samuel Dubose (which also happened in Ohio) or Laquan McDonald for an answer.
With the dead body of a 13-year-old black boy, what else did we expect them to say? For now into the foreseeable future, the controlling narrative will be the one that they created, without any alternative version to counter it.
The sad thing is, many of us are still out here going for the same head fake, as if we somehow have a stronger point in protesting police violence when situations appear more respectable. We soft-shoe around this as if the only time we are entitled to be outraged by the use of lethal force against innocent citizens is when the victims are straight-A students headed to Howard on a full ride and completely unarmed. (Note: Even in those scenarios, we still aren’t safe.)
What we have to stop doing is trying to convince ourselves that somehow the circumstances actually make a difference in these situations. They do not. #PhilandoCastile had a license to carry. He told police as much, and the officer still killed him.
John Crawford III.
The list in Ohio alone is sickening. We must stop trying to mitigate the actions of police who have used fatal force at the expense of black lives and to the exclusion of other races. Just stop it.
The insidious trick that white supremacy has played on us has been to make too many of us skeptical about the innocence of our own. Too many of us are more comfortable accepting the narrative that Tyre was a thug who pulled a gun on cops than even beginning to ponder the idea that the account of events we’ve been given—sans any video or independent sources—might be suspect.
If there were as many folks—white and black—who were as deeply invested in justice for all as there are those affirming a white supremacist narrative under the guise of respectability, our community would likely be in a very different space.
Did Tyre rob a store? That’s probably a great question. Sadly, we will never know. Because instead of a trial, his parents will now have to attend his funeral and bury their child. Instead of a defense attorney, they will need to call a mortician. Instead of treating him as a human being, police have now turned a 13-year-old innocent boy into a hashtag.