Has the Black Lives Matter movement made progress or are we just running in place in the fight for justice in America? This is the big question that is being asked after the recent grand jury indictment relating to Breonna Taylor’s death. Yet again the African American community is outraged and has taken to the streets in protest of the injustice that has been presented in the America we have to live in. This struggle has been one that has lasted centuries for African Americans as we fight for true independence and equality. The Black pride movement took a head this past decade as the American public has been witnesses to deaths of many African American men and women due to police brutality. Let us look back throughout the decade of the major cases that made headlines so far. The following information on the mentioned cases has been provided by BBC news.
On Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, 17, while walking home the convenience store was shot by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was a volunteer patrolling the townhouse community of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida. George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges against him in the trial.
On July. 17, 2014 Eric Garner, 27, died after he was wrestled to the ground by a New York police officer on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes. While in a choke hold, Garner uttered the words “I can’t breathe” 11 times. The police officer involved was later fired but was never prosecuted.
On Aug. 19, 2014 Michael Brown, 18, was killed by a police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, who was responding to reports that Brown had stolen a box of cigars. Brown was shot six times in the back and the officer involved later resigned from the force but was not prosecuted.
On Nov. 22, 2014 Tamir Rice, 12, was shot by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio after reports of a male who was “probably a juvenile” pointing a gun that was “probably fake” at people who walked by. Police have claimed that they told Rice to drop the weapon but instead of dropping it he pointed it at police. There were no prosecutions after this case. The police officer involved was later fired for an unrelated cause.
On July 6, 2016 Philando Castille, 28, was shot and killed by the police during a routine check. Castille told the police he was licensed to carry a weapon and had one in his possession. He was shot as he was reaching for his license, according to his girlfriend. The officer involved was acquitted of the charges later.
On March 13, 2020 Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot eight times when officers raided her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. The police were executing a search warrant as part of a drugs raid, but no drugs were found. Louisville police said they returned fire after one officer was shot and wounded in the incident. Of the three offices who discharged their weapons, one has been dismissed from the force and the other two have been put on administrative leave. The family filed a lawsuit which says that Ms. Taylor’s partner who was with her at the time – fired in self-defense because the police did not identify themselves, and he thought the apartment was being burgled. In September, the family reached a settlement of $12 million with the Louisville city authorities, which also includes a series of police reforms. On Sep. 23rd, a US grand jury indicted one police officer over the fatal shooting.
Now as you look through those you start to see a trend. Person A is shot in a manner that leaves the African American community shocked, outraged, and scared for their own lives. The police responsible then are either not charged with any crime or, they are acquitted of all charges under the letter of the law. It begs the question of who is really winning in all of this? Black America is not winning as we are still not given justice as we see repeatedly the police getting away with unwarranted acts of violence with little to no repercussions. As African Americans we are forced to teach our children to fear the police rather than trust them because of the experiences that have occurred. On the other hand, the police are not winning either for they are losing the support of the American public. Many people of every race have banded together to support the fight of police brutality. This is not a problem that can be solved all at once. This is a problem that will take years and unfortunately maybe even an entire generation of people to end but despite the odds the time is now for all Americans to wake up. We must live to strive for peace, love, and positivity, not live in fear and hatred of one another.