That it’s needed is a message that’s neither being heard nor preached.
I watched the newly-released video of the Bridgeton shooting and TV coverage of a gathering of community activists afterwards protesting the death. Watching both, I felt vast separation between the two camps. See, I continually hear proponents stressing the need for police reform but I don’t hear any suggestions concerning what we can do to force the issue.
What I’m not hearing from activists or commentators is the need for a substantial behavioral transformation on our part. They don’t speak of the sacrifices that have to be met in order to facilitate that reform we want; sacrifices that start with us.
Watch the video. The action comes during the beginning after the car stop. It’s an emotionally charged, profanity-laced two minutes, give or take some seconds. The entire video is over five minutes. Pay close attention to what’s being said at 4:33, at 4:48 and at 4:49.
After spotting a gun in the glove compartment, what began as a routine and simple car stop, possibly culminating in a warning at most, turned into something deadly. Guns were drawn and instructions were given in a highly emotional atmosphere. Unfortunately the passenger, Jerame Reid, did not heed those instructions and exited the vehicle.
He does appear to have his hands up and while some will make a point of it-calling it an act of surrender-the real point has to be that he shouldn’t have gotten out of the car in the first place; until the police told him to do so. That’s the separation I’m talking about. Even when surrendering, do it in the manner that the police describe.
On the other hand, the driver of the vehicle is seen complying with instructions; he had his hands outside the car window. It’s a point to be made because he lived through the encounter.
This separation I’m talking about-the disconnect from what’s actually happening right in front of you-is what needs to be changed and that change comes with the duty of sacrifice.
The sacrifice comes in retooling any anger felt due to perceived unwarranted and unnecessary harassment into a measured respect for those you see provoking you. The sacrifice arrives from the painful acknowledgement that those same people have authority over you making it necessary you do what they say.
It bogs my mind that often the same people who say they advocate the values of protesters from the civil rights era don’t recognize the full measure of their sacrifice back then and how the same measure is lacking in our attempts today. Once we recognize and start applying such measures, we can begin to force the issue. It’s a time-tested method.
You Tube video – Jerame Reid Shooting – Bridgeton Police SHOOT MAN WITH HANDS UP ‘I’m Going to F*cking Shoot You’ by ItsDad
An extra bit: At 4:33, a policeman is heard to say, “..gun, right there”. At 4:48, the same officer says “..turn it off” and at 4:49, another is heard to say, “everybody should be off”. What was that about? Where exactly was the gun? A critical point, dashboard cameras with wider angles are needed and higher resolution. And exactly why should “everybody be off”, anyway?