An example needs to be made of police officers who commit excessive use of force crimes



On Mach 2, prosecutors made the decision not to charge the officers that were responsible for the shooting death of Stephon Clark on March 18,2018. The two officers shot Clark between six and eight times and fired at him twenty times. A New York Times analysis of the autopsy report highlights the startling reality that as many as 7 of these gunshot wounds could have been incurred while Clark was on the ground on his hands and knees. Responding to a call over car robberies, Clark was perceived as a threat primarily because of the cell phone he was holding in his hand that night, which officers mistook for a weapon.

Allowing police officers to get away with killing unarmed Blacks creates the basis for a genocide of Blacks and other minorities that is justified by the law. In order to protect Black lives, officers that use excessive force need to face consequences. Not charging officers after wrongfully killing citizens only increases the likelihood of similar wrongful deaths in the future.

Instead of calling each shooting death of more innocent minorities  “horrific tragedies” and sending condolences to victims’ families, strong efforts need to be made in order to prevent the repetition of this cycle, and holding those responsible accountable is an important first step.

Not charging police officers responsible for the deaths of unarmed Blacks conveys the message that not all people are held to the same standard in regards to the law. One of the principles of the U.S. Rule of Law is that no one is above the law, not even those who are sworn to uphold it. However, countless officers do not receive punishment for using excessive force: According to the Prison Policy Initiative, in New York state alone, Blacks are 12 times as likely as Whites to be subjected to excessive force, and as little as 8% of excessive force cases are ever investigated.

There is no prayer that can be said, no trending hashtag, or panel discussion that can give back the lives lost due to police violence. Lives need not to be threatened by simple tasks such as wearing a hoodie or walking home. In order to stop the genocide of Blacks in this country at the hands of police officers, perpetrators need to be held accountable for their actions.