When Bill Murray starred in the classic film Groundhog Day, it was hysterical. In the movie Murray is unable to escape a time loop where he is doomed to repeat the events of Feb. 2 for the rest of his life.
The film is considered by many to be nothing more than a funny fantasy, but the glaring truth is that Black America is stuck in its own version of Groundhog Day.
With each extrajudicial killing, African-Americans are forced to relive the pain of another human being lost to police brutality. Just like in Groundhog Day these events repeat themselves with a frightening regularity.
When officers killed Amadou Diallo on Feb. 4, 1999 there was an outcry for justice to be served. When officers killed Sean Bell on Nov. 25, 2006 there was an outcry for justice to be served. When an officer killed Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009 there was an outcry for justice to be served. This pattern has continued well into 2015 with no end in sight.
Walter Scott is the most recent addition to an unfortunate list that seems to grow longer every year. What will it take for the cycle of police shootings to come to a halt?
Many advocates against police brutality have petitioned for officers at departments across the country to wear body cameras as a way to decrease these violent incidents, however this is a shortsighted approach. Body cameras have the potential to be manipulated or turned off by the person wearing it, defeating the purpose of the cameras in the first place.
The only solution to these killings that comes to mind would be a change in how police officers are trained to handle suspects. As it stands, the current methodology being used by police results in far too many deaths.
According to the FBI, American police officers killed over 461 people in 2013. The state of New York does not participate in this statistical analysis, so the actual numbers are actually higher. As of April 11, 2015 the website www.killedbypolice.net lists 322 people murdered by police officers since January 1, 2015. Despite the evident racial diversity in the victims identified on killedbypolice.net, the majority are African-American.
It’s true that all lives matter but the message is clear, black lives matter less. This isn’t just an opinion; it’s been made a statistical fact.
Had no video existed of Walter Scott’s execution, the vast majority of people would believe that Scott was a violent offender that an innocent officer had to protect himself against.
Had no video existed of Eric Garner’s execution, the vast majority of people would believe that Garner was a violent offender that an innocent officer had to protect himself against.
Had no video existed of Tamir Rice’s execution, the vast majority of people would believe that Rice was a violent offender that an innocent officer had to protect himself against.
It’s almost as if Black America’s very own “Groundhog Day” is here to stay.