Recently there has been controversy over another police shooting and killing of an unarmed African American male on the night of Sept. 6.
After finishing a 12-hour shift, Amber Guyger, a 30-year-old Dallas police officer, entered her apartment complex when she walked into the wrong room. Inside the apartment, Guyger encountered 25-year-old African American businessman, Bothem Shem Jean, and instinctively shot Jean in order to protect herself. Following the incident, Guyger immediately called the police, and the police responded in a matter of minutes.
According to the reported article composed by CNN, Guyger was not arrested for the shooting until Jean’s family pressed the issue, demanding Guyger should be arrested for murder. Three days later Guyger was arrested with a manslaughter charge but was able to make $300,000 bail. As previously stated, Jean was in his own home and completely unarmed.
Guyger has only been charged with manslaughter, as of now, but there are other offenses she could be charged with as more details of the case were revealed. According to reports by CNN, Guyger and Jean had no prior encounters before the fatal shooting.
Looking at this case, a prosecutor must use common sense when determining whether Guyger is guilty of second degree murder. Even if the homes have similar layouts, there are small things that Guyger should have recognized instantly that would have told to her that she was in the wrong apartment. It is very difficult to believe that she truly thought that she was in her own apartment, unless she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Hearing this case broke my heart as a African American male. It was difficult enough for me to trust the police prior to the countless fatal police shootings that seem to materialize daily. What makes this case even harder to swallow was the fact that Jean was in his own home and still shot dead. I once believed that the only place that I truly felt safe here was in my home, but now it seems that our own homes are not safe anymore.
Living as a young black male in this country is a nightmare. Not only am I protecting myself from the violent citizens of this society, but now I have to protect myself from the police. I was told the police department was here to help keep our streets safe, but why does it seem that I cannot go a day without hearing a story about police brutality against people who look just like me?
Usually I speculate on possible solutions to these types of problems, but this case is so indicative of a hate crime I am at loss for words. Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump delivered a great quote about what it feels like to be black in America stating that, “We’re still dealing in America with black people being killed in some of the most arbitrary ways, driving while black, walking while black and now we have to add living while black.”
I wrote this hoping that anyone can understand what it feels like to be black in a white man’s country. If we fight back, then it gives them a valid reason to justify killing us; if we don’t fight back, then we are slowing being picked off.
What concerns me most about what is happening in today’s society is that either no one is noticing how our African American community is being eradicated or simply no one cares about what is happening to us. As with many other issues we face everyday, America attempts to sweep the problems under the rug and pretend that nothing is happening, and that is downright wrong. Racial disparity is a very uncomfortable topic to discuss, but in order for us to advocate for possible solutions, we must all be willing to sit down and talk about the problems.
To African Americans and minorities, we must come together and fight for our human rights. This process will take time and substantial effort but we cannot continue to hopelessly sit around and expect them to listen, obviously that approach hasn’t worked well for us. This is the time for us to take action and demand change.