Antwan Rose Jr was 17 years old when he was shot in the back by Michael Rosfeld, a twice previously fired police officer who was sworn in hours before committing homicide.
The facts of this case are heartbreaking by far. Antwan was a bright 17 year old young man with honor roll grades and a reputation for volunteering in his community. He was well aware of the reported headlines concerning black men and police brutality, and even spoke out against it. Antwan was also unlucky enough to be in the back of the jitney car that got pulled over by the East Pittsburgh Police on June 19, 2018.
But perhaps the most maddening fact about this case is that Antwan Rose Jr made the 490th unarmed person to be shot and killed by police in 2018.
Of the now 495 lives lost to police brutality this year, 120 were black. That’s almost 1/4 —which is especially high considering Black folks make up only 13% of the U.S. population. These numbers indicate that black folks are almost 3 times more likely than whites to be killed in an interaction with police. This is systemic racism hard at work.
AND WE’RE SICK OF IT.
In order to change the normalcy that is police brutality against the black community, we must first understand how we got here.
It is no secret that the origin of the American policing system is entangled in slavery. Slave laws were put into place on both national and state levels of government going as far back as colonial times in the late 1600s. Policing was initially put into place to criminalize and control slaves which is why a number of police departments started as slave patrol.
As a result of this racist origin, police departments continued to facilitate on bias principles and were trained to do so through the next few hundred years, including after the Civil War. We see the pattern of racial division continue through the 1900’s leading up to the segregation laws of the Jim Crow era, which southern police were trained to uphold. Policies like excessive force, over-policing minority neighborhoods, and arresting minorities for low level crimes were highly enforced and still hold true to many policing tactics today.
These practices are outdated AF.
Sis, its 2018 —there’s something extremely wrong about using tactics used to uphold oppressive behaviors in progressive times. You mean to tell me there is a new iPhone every year but the police still use the same racist ass policies from the early to mid 1900’s?
Something has to change.
In order for America to be the liberty and justice for ALL melting pot, she so claims to be we have to acknowledge the racist history of not only the police, but also of the entire judicial system. We need new policies, we need new methods of defense, we need new ways to train and yes, we need education on racial bias. That may seem like a lot but I mean god damn, if Starbucks can shut down for a day to provide training on racial bias, at the bare minimum shouldn’t the mother fucking police departments?!
I’m tired of seeing queens lose their children to those put in place to protect and serve. I’m tired of mentally preparing myself to watch the news. I’m tired of seeing my community torn down from the trauma and ripple effects of police brutality. Most of all, I’m tired of losing black potential.
Something has to change.
The excuse for racism is over, and so is the excuse for upholding racist policies. It’s simply time to acknowledge that America ain’t that great for minorities. It’s simply time to change.
“I am confused and afraid. I wonder what path I will take. I hear that there’s only two ways out. I see mothers bury their sons. I want my mom to never feel that pain. I am confused and afraid.”
-Antwan Rose Jr