Rutgers hosts moms of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown (Opinion)
They're calling the event "Mothers of the Movement." According to DailyTargum.com, the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown will be speaking at Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University-New Brunswick next week. The event happens Thursday, Nov. 14 at Voorhees Chapel. It's described as a "teach-in" where these mothers will speak on things such as the Black Lives Matter movement and social injustices.
I hope they'll forgive me for not going.
Perhaps I shouldn't be so cynical, but I wonder exactly what 'movement' this will be and what form this discussion will take. If it were truly constructive and looked at all perspectives, such as how tough a role police officers have when people are resisting arrest, I could support it. My gut tells me this will be the same hysteria as displayed by Eric Garner's daughter outside a courthouse.
Eric Garner was the guy whose physical stature hulked over the officer trying to question him about illegally selling cigarettes on a NYC street. When it was time to comply with an officer's lawful command to place his hands behind his back he refused. He resisted arrest. His size and his actions meant several officers were needed to secure him, and one officer had a leg on his neck. This was the famous case where Eric Garner spoke the words, "I can't breathe." What people forget is for a guy who couldn't breathe he somehow managed to say that sentence 11 times. And the officers did roll him to his side once he was secured to alleviate his breathing difficulty, but he died. The medical examiner later cited heart disease and asthma as well as obesity as contributing factors. Are the police expected to perform a full physical before securing a non-compliant suspect?
Then there was Trayvon Martin who was only 17 years old when he fought with George Zimmerman and was eventually shot and killed by him. It was a tragic and unfortunate situation, yet Rachel Jeantel, a star witness in Zimmerman's trial and a friend of Trayvon's told Huffington Post when asked who she believed threw the first punch answered, "In my mind...Trayvon. It was Trayvon."
The Michael Brown case was always laughable to me. This thug appeared to be caught on camera stealing cigars and assaulting the shop owner moments before the fatal encounter and never complied with a responding officer's orders. He was shot dead in the street but the officer always maintained Brown, who was a giant of a man by the way at 6 foot 5 and 289 lbs., was charging him and was not complying with orders. It went to a grand jury. There were many witnesses and the witnesses who did not back the officer's version were found to not be credible and in fact some of them admitted lying or changing their stories. The grand jury refused to indict the officer in the end, then the feds investigated and concluded the same. But even a thorough investigation is not enough for some people who only want one conclusion, that officers are out to hunt down young black men.
Now before you think I'm some cold-hearted police-are-never-wrong cheerleader, please know this. If the mothers of Walter Scott and Botham Jean came and spoke at Rutgers I'd be more likely to pay rapt attention. Walter Scott was a black man who was unfairly, unjustly gunned down by a white officer in South Carolina. He ran after a traffic stop and he posed zero danger to the officer and was, in fact, shot in the back as he ran away. Justice moved quickly in that case against the officer. It took only days for him to be charged with murder and he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Botham Jean was minding his own business in his apartment watching TV and eating ice cream when white officer Amber Guyger mistakenly walked into his apartment thinking it was her own. She shot and killed him and was convicted and faces years in prison.
These are the real cases of bad conduct or bad mistakes. These are the cases that people need to pay attention to because these are the true injustices. Walter Scott didn't deserve to be shot in cold blood and there were no reasonable doubts or extenuating circumstances. Botham Jean didn't deserve to die because an officer recklessly went in alone after hearing noise inside what she thought was her apartment then made a terrible error in judgment. But these are not the cases people remember. Black Lives Matter and similar organizations seem to cleave to the questionable, support the shady and show loyalty to the lawless.
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