Black lives should matter/support a Community Oversight Board

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

After the numerous high profile killings of young black men and people of color, there still remains a segment of White Americans who claim that they still don’t get it. Their argument is that the law enforcing agents were diligent in their actions because the young men didn’t adhere to following direct orders from law enforcement authorities. To add insult to injury, law-enforcing agencies often portray the murdered victims as repeated law-breaking offenders, as if to justify their death.

Discrediting and vilifying the victims is a sad and insulting attempt to vindicate the officers’ actions in bringing about their deaths. To many citizens living in opulent and well to do communities, the way these incidents are covered, make them feel the policemen are doing their job and making the streets safer for law-abiding citizens. Questioning the actions of law enforcing agencies are not seen as an option, or is rare.

All too often, there are people who considered themselves as stanch law-abiding citizens who don’t see the murdered victims as real human beings who encompassed the same pains and joys that they manifest as humans. They become so apathetic and desensitized that they do not see or recognize these gun downed individuals as someone’s son, grandson, uncle, cousin, brother, or father who made the cardinal mistake of not adhering to law enforcing orders and running out of fear or trying to avoid apprehension for whatever reason. But does this warrant them being gunned down like a mad dog, usually for a misdemeanor offense?

In many of these cases, a different approach could have been utilized without ending the life of a young man. It is obvious that once an officer chooses to use his weapon that it is okay to kill the appointed target. It doesn’t seem winging or crippling an assailant is an option. Obviously, there are some flaws in the training or policies concerning when it is appropriate for a lawman to fire upon a civilian.

The officers of those murdered are not usually charged with murder and if they are, they are acquitted and there are still those who don’t feel African Americans and people of color cry, that” Black Lives Don’t” is warranted. This is unsettling when you see videos where it is plainly obvious that the murdered victims had no visible weapon or if they had a weapon were not attempting to harm or fire upon the lawmen in pursue. However, in-house investigations argue that the deceased were putting the officer charged with murder in a position where the officer feared for his life.

Black America is crying out and demanding changes be made in law enforcing training, practices, policies, and policing that disproportionately targets minorities or put them in harm’s way, many times ending lives. Many concerned Americans feel that many of these lawmen seen in videos killing young men should be tried as murderers and imprisoned for no one should be above the law.

One can only imagine the lives that were prematurely distinguished before cell phones and cameras made it possible to record and bring to public attention the brutal and discriminate actions of some officers toward African Americans and people of color. This practice is institutionalized and systemic and nothing short of crucial reforms is needed to bring about change. And with the entire killing making national headlines there is little if any noticeable changes are being made in policing as it relates to officers using deadly force or fire against civilians, especially in misdemeanor cases.

It is understandable, that any city that fears that its civilians are unnecessarily being targeted, the public would want an independent body to review the actions of improprieties against citizens that may be taking place by their law enforcing agency. An in-house investigation committee is highly subjective and often only serves to vindicate or support its own, in many cases.

Nashville is asking that those interested in justice and truth, to rally together and demand our elected officials to enact legislation to help the voters expedite a Community Oversight Board to review complaints and cases that the Police Department may not take too seriously (conflict of interest). A Community Oversight Board is necessary to keep our Law enforcement agency honest and to empower the community. Anything short of making this a reality is an indictment that Black lives don’t matter and we all know it should. A Community Oversight Board would be one step in vindicating the lives of Jacques Scott Clemmons, Daniel Hambrick, and others whose may have fell victim to criminal and discriminate actions by law enforcement agents.