It is beyond frustrating and infuriating to know that after months and months of dedicated protest, we’ve accomplished little but gotten corporate PR offices to post empty messages about how of a sudden Black Lives Matter to them. The brutal police murder of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin should be a clarion call to the nation that the police have done nothing to change their ways and are entirely unwilling to commit to any kind of substantial reform that might actually preserve Black lives and stop the summary executions of Black Americans whenever they show the slightest resistance.
Be warned: the following video is EXTREMELY graphic.
WARNING GRAPHIC ⚠️ Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin shoot an unarmed man in the back pic.twitter.com/ZPdixPNwJY
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) August 24, 2020
The police were responding to a domestic situation involving a fight between two women, which the victim, Jacob Blake, was allegedly trying to defuse. When the video begins, Blake is getting into his SUV. He may have been ignoring shouted demands from the officers, but that still doesn’t excuse what happens next.
One or both of the officers fired seven shots into Blake’s back at point-blank range while a woman screams and jumps in anguish. Blake is in the hospital and in critical condition. Blakes three sons were present and watched their father get shot, according to attorney Ben Crump and the ACLU.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight. While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D).
This is 29-year-old Jacob Blake who was shot by Kenosha police. His fiancé shared this picture with us. pic.twitter.com/6Si9lkCPFu
— Sarah Thamer (@SarahThamerWISN) August 24, 2020
The officers involved are on administrative leave.
Furious protests immediately broke out throughout Wisconsin, leading to the torching of several buildings and a car dealership. These things don’t matter; they are insured and will be rebuilt. If Blake dies, there’s no bringing him back and yet another Black family will lose a father thanks to trigger-happy cops.
Can you really blame people for being upset enough to want to burn things?
Months and months of peaceful protest in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd has accomplished almost nothing but empty words and condescending platitudes. The police have reacted with petulance and fury at being asked to rein in the violence, refusing to consider any kind of reform and making it clear they are entirely unwilling to change their ways.
Our politicians on both sides of the aisle have talked a big game but refused to do anything more beyond some meaningless conciliatory gestures like “banning chokeholds” — which, for example, were already banned by the NYPD but that didn’t stop cops from murdering Eric Garner with one.
California’s state legislature recently shelved their big George Floyd police reform bill despite controlling a supermajority and all three branches of government. If a state run entirely by Democrats won’t lift a finger to bring our outrageously violent police forces to heel, then what chance is there that anything will ever change?
How are we supposed to vote our way to racial justice when none of our political leaders have the courage to stand up to the rabid police unions and right-wing fearmongering?
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Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.