Straight Talk with Ed Gray, NDG Senior Columnist
Today we grieve the death of yet another black man in America. Say his name, it is Botham Shem Jean. We must not simply let it become just another name attached to a hashtag, like so many innocent black men killed in the age of social media.
In our grief, we are also angered by what appears to be a massive foul-up of Titanic proportions. How many black folks will die at the hands of the police state before they are held accountable for their actions?
Dallas Police Officer Amy Guyger is an example of what is wrong with policing in America. The police state exists and operates with impunity in America, both in the streets and even in the living room of Black America. How can a trained policewoman make such a grave mistake, resulting in the death of one of our finest citizens?
By now we have heard many rumors regarding Botham Jean’s death, and the truth is more frightening than the rumors. What we do know is a policewoman killed a black man, and it appears the Dallas Police Department has not operated at its best. The Dallas Police Department in the guise of the Texas Rangers wrote an affidavit, which might make it difficult to gain a manslaughter charge by the Grand Jury.
The affidavit paints a picture of an accident. While reading the affidavit, I thought “did Amy Guyger’s lawyers write an opinion piece?” This affidavit looks like the work of a carefully prepared paper which required three days to write. The same amount of time between the shooting and her arrest.
This is Dallas County, no matter how many marches are held by the activist community, grand juries will decide the fate of the myopic nearsighted, policewoman lost in her own apartment building. A jury of her peers probably constituted primarily of Euro-Americans. Will they choose to be sympathetic to a black male immigrant, or a white policewoman? To which side do you think Justice will lean?
Meanwhile, city officials such as Mayor Mike Rawlings, who lectured us the week before on the sins of poverty, took two days to utter a word regarding his police department’s actions which took an innocent life. He probably would have answered sooner, but it is not election time.
The silence of the lambs came from our black elected leadership with their delay in responding. They took cues from the Mayor and stood silently while the masses, created a narrative of their own. The biggest loser in this political charade of opportunism was the Chief of Police, Renee Hall. In a time which demanded leadership, she instead punted to the Texas Rangers.
At the end of the day, it is left up to us to determine whether Dallas County will continue in the light of justice, as it did with the Roy Oliver verdict for the murder of Jordan Edwards. Or will it only go back to the dark side of injustice, and let Amy go free.
We must mobilize and strategize to ensure Botham Shem Jean’s death means something. Otherwise, he will become the latest hashtag of American injustice.
I am Ed Gray, and this is Straight Talk.