Ahmaud Arbery by Chorouk Akik May 18, 2020
Police brutality and hate crimes have plagued Black Lives for centuries. ICE raids and violent assaults have haunted all immigrants of color for decades. Native rights have been eroded by government contracts and big business greed since the dawn of America.
The war on POC safety is well and alive in the U.S.
These fundamentally white supremacist issues widespread in our society have lived for so long, and become exacerbated with each new era, and the current pandemic is no exception.
Another murder has been uncovered to our collective consciousness. 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by two plain-clothed police officers in Louisville Kentucky, on March 13.
The officers initially stated that they had a no-knock search warrant in a narcotics investigation. They later changed their story to state that they knocked and announced themselves before barging into the apartment with a battering ram to the door.
Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker recounts the experience, stating that the officers did not announce themselves leading him to believe a home invasion was occurring. Walker shot one of the plain-clothed officers in the leg and both officers shot 20 rounds, hitting Breonna Taylor eight times, killing her.
Kenneth Walker has been charged with the attempted murder of a police officer. The officers in question have been reassigned pending the investigation. No drugs were found in the apartment. Taylor’s death was yet another example of the lack of value given to Black lives.
The murder of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in February of this year by two ex-police started an uproar with a leaked video of the shooting. Up until this month, the killers were not in custody and were not expected to be arrested. The story brought to light the problem of white citizens’ policing of Black people in America.
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i #RUNWithMaud 💔 The killing of former high school athlete Ahmaud Arbery jogging while Black occurred in a Georgia suburb on February 23. The shooters are former investigator with the district attorney’s office Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34. According to the police report and video recently released, the father and son followed and blocked Arbery’s path and shot him under the excuse that they believed him to be a suspect of recent neighborhood burglaries. (We will not being showing said video). LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION IN BIO. Prosecutor George E. Barnhill, who had the case for a few weeks told the police that the pursuers had acted within the scope of Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute. Arbery was 25 he would have turned 26 tomorrow. He was not carrying a weapon and according to the recently released video can be seen stopped by a truck and grappling with one of the men who was holding a shotgun as several shots are fired at him. The shooters are claiming self defense. Neither of the shooters have been arrested and after the video calls for their prosecution have swelled on social media, with users actively calling officials to bring justice for Arbery.
The state sought to protect the shooters ascribing to them some inherent authority over making the decision to detain and shoot their fellow citizens based on fabricated suspicions-not the witnessing- of a burglary.
To say it plainly, they suspected a Black man jogging in their neighborhood automatically to be up to no good, so much so, that it warranted the white men, pursuing the jogger with guns pointed at him demanding he stops for their supposed investigation.
The authority of white citizens with guns does not get questioned by our society at large. White pro-gun advocates hold onto their second-right amendment and use that right as a shield against scrutiny. Marrying their 1st and 2ndamendment rights, several protests comprised of largely white citizens have broken out during the pandemic.
The openly armed protestors have rejected stay at home orders, insisting that the pandemic is not as dangerous as it is and demanding the reopening of small businesses largely in the services sector such as barbershops.
The lack of judicial response to these protests-in direct defiance to stay at home orders- contrast with the ongoing violent arrests of (unarmed) Black and Brown citizens in small groups, often sitting just outside their homes.
We can easily see clearly that violence against POC continues amid the COVID-19 crisis while white rights and self-ascribed white authority are respected and upheld.
Because of armed protests in and around government buildings, a Black lawmaker and Michigan representative, Sarah Anthony enlisted a small group of legally armed Black citizens to escort her to the State capitol.
Anthony cites the danger of white supremacists that claim the state’s pandemic health orders are government “tyranny.”
The escort is reminiscent of the Black Panther party movements and comes after a growing call to arms for Black residents of open-carry states. The representative explained that her decision to enlist her constituents’ armed protection, was in response to the lack of protection law enforcement gave legislators during a recent armed protest.
Anthony told the Guardian that “her goal was not to encourage more armed citizens to volunteer to protect lawmakers, but to ensure that the law enforcement officers paid by taxpayers to keep legislators safe would do a better job in the future.”
Representative Sarah Anthony’s fears are adequate, and in line with many Black and POC sentiments in general. U.S. society continues to be an increasingly dangerous space for POC. Guns may not be the answer but they may be the only way to get a desired reaction.
Armed Black Panthers show up in the neighborhood of the two men who lynched black man Ahmaud Arbery ✊ pic.twitter.com/bcwZrrlRwP
— #Green #independent "Dr" Nichole 🤍 (@still_NunyaDB) May 11, 2020
We are constantly faced with the tale of two Americas, white America and the America of POC. The question is when will we reconcile the two for a better and more just tomorrow.
Picture One: Gantry State Park, Long Island City, Queens.
Picture Two: 9th Street and Avenue D, Manhattan.
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) May 4, 2020