Police harassment and violence, and the ways the system facilitate and enable it, are not exceptional to the US. They are part of what makes the US what it is
Father’s Day weekend was a grim occasion to remind black parents that they are continuously hunted down by police in the United States. The weekend was bracketed by two stories of black adults killed by police in front of young, black children.
Before our timelines began to be filled with pictures of smiling dads over the weekend, black folks across the nation were accosted by news that Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted in the shooting death of Philando Castile. Castile, who had been stopped at least 46 times by police in his short 32 years on this Earth, was shot in front his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter – the entire tragedy being streamed on Facebook Live.
In an impassioned and furious speech after the shooter was acquitted, Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother, yelled: “This city killed my son, and the murderer gets away,” asking: “What’s it going to take?”
And not 48 hours later, news began to come out that an equally cruel police killing had happened: Charleena Lyles called Seattle police because of an attempted burglary. According to the police, they found her wielding a knife and shot her dead. Outrageously, Seattle police said: “There were several children inside the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured.” Those children – who family say were ages 11, four and one – were not injured, except for the small matter that they watched police kill their mother.
The particulars of how the police justified the killing of Philando Castile and Charleena Lyles are not important. Like Lyles, Castile was killed for a reason his mother summed up a while ago: he was “black in…