“Justice4Trayvon” is more than a hashtag and this is more than a moment to watch pass by.
This is more than Trayvon Martin.
This is not about a war between races, but the ramifications of unjust laws and fatal misconceptions about young, “dangerous” yet unarmed Blacks and Latinos.
This is about the names and mistrials and acquittals and faces I cannot get out of my head; deaths by people in power that will never be fully brought to justice.
This is about Sean Bell, 23. Unarmed. Killed day before wedding. Officers fired 50 rounds into his car after suspecting he had a gun. Officers acquitted.
Amadou Diallo, 22. Unarmed. Officers fired 41 shots, 19 of which hit him, after he reached for his wallet. All 4 officers were acquitted.
Rekia Boyd, 22. Shot in head during when an officer fired blindly at a nearby suspect. Charges dropped when officer didn’t show up to court.
Oscar Grant, 22. Unarmed. Shot and killed after being handcuffed by officer who “mistakenly” grabbed gun instead of taser. BART policeman Johannes Mehserle was convicted of manslaughter and served one half of his two year sentence.
Aaron Campbell, 25. Unarmed. Walked backward towards police with hands up, surrendering. Shot and killed with assault rifle. Officer acquitted.
Victor Steen. Unarmed. Chased by police after committing traffic violation on bicycle. Struck and killed by police cruiser. Officers uncharged.
Robbie Tolan. Unarmed. Shot in his driveway when officers suspected the car he was driving was stolen. Tolan owned car. Officers acquitted.
Kendra James, 21. Unarmed. Shot by officers, then left to bleed out in the street. Died. Officers acquitted by federal grand jury.
Aiyana Jones, 7. Unarmed. Shot in head/neck and killed when officers raided home in Detroit in an attempt to arrest her father.
James Jahar Perez, 28. Unarmed. Pulled over for failure to signal turn. Shot and killed after what police claimed was an altercation.
Tarika Wilson, 26. Shot and killed in police raid to arrest her companion. 14-month old son was also shot. No officers charged.
Deandre Brunston, 24. Unarmed. After a standoff with police, the officers fired 81 shots at him – 22 of which hit Brunston’s body. A police dog that was injured during crossfire was airlifted to a vet center, while Brunston was left bleeding out where he lay.
Latasha Harlins, 15. Shot in back of head and killed after Korean store owner thought she was stealing. Died clutching money for item in hand. A court found Soon Ja Du guilty of voluntary manslaughter (maximum prison sentence of 16-years in prison) but Judge Joyce Karlin sentenced her to five years of probation, 400 hours of community service, and a $500 fine. (Pre-cursor to the L.A. Riots)
Ousmane Zongo. Shot four times and killed by an undercover officer who was investigating a piracy case. Zongo was not related to the case.
Orlando Barlow. Shot and killed by an officer while he was on his knees, surrendering. Officer cleared of any wrongdoing by a jury.
Kiwane Carrington. “Accidentally” shot and killed after police stopped him for attempting to break into what turned out to be his own home.
Kenneth Harding, Jr. Shot by police after he supposedly shot at police. Witnesses didn’t see Harding with gun. Allowed to bleed out at scene.
Trayvon Martin, 17. Unarmed. Shot and killed by neighborhood watch. Shooter released on self defense.
Jordan Davis, 17. Gunned down in a parking lot while he and friends were parked at a gas station. Davis was in the backseat when Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old man demanded they turn down their music. When the kids did not comply, Dunn pulled out his concealed gun and shot into the car eight times. Davis was hit twice. Dunn has invoked Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” defense. He is being charged with first-degree murder as well as three counts of attempted murder.
And now Darius Simmons, 13. Taking out the trash and fatally shot by neighbor, John Henry Spooner, 76, who has been found guilty. He suspected the pre-teen of burglary, shot him in front of his mother, and now awaits a second hearing to determine his mental state at the time of the shooting.
This is about the reality of having to explain “why” to sons, nephews, and cousins and drilling it into their brains well into adult-hood — if they make it that far.