While I support the law and its enforcement, I do not believe that police officers are above it. This video of Mr. Levar Jones being shot in the hip by South Carolina state trooper Sean Groubert is beyond disturbing and something deeper is troubling me. It keeps happening.
Sure, there are those who will say that it is a small number and compare it to some larger number based on an incomparable situation. Still, the scenario is not new, the outcome more often deadly with only the police officer living to tell the story. While persons from the African American community are asking what they should tell their sons with regard to their interactions with law enforcement, I think that police officers need to be asking themselves, “What am I telling myself when I raise my service weapon at an unarmed American citizen and is it true?”
I think that there are persons who will view this video and ask, “What is the point of following the law, of following the orders of a police officer, of doing the right thing if you are going to be presumed guilty and punished? What is the point of following the law if we don’t all follow the same law?” Lawless police officers create lawlessness too.
I suggest that there be some real conversations at police stations in every city about the stereotypes that inform us, about the prejudices that we practice, about the racism that we ascribe to. I suggest that there be some laws put in place that protect citizens from police officers. Nobody’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes; so, I suggest that there be a separate entity that evaluates reports of police misconduct. If not, then take off the uniform, put the gun down and leave your badge at the counter with the receptionist. If you cannot protect and serve everyone the same, then you are not protecting and serving anyone at all.
I am praying for all of those who have been wounded by the actions of police officers who jumped the gun and the families of those who were killed though unarmed… and maybe even following orders. Levar has lived to tell the story but others have not.