African Americans Want Respect, Just As Police Officers Want Respect, Without The Violence.

by Raheem Karim

It has been sad turn of events the last few days here in the United States of America. In the past 3 days two innocent black men were shoot and killed by white police officers in New Orleans and Minnesota. Also yesterday 5 police officers shoot and killed by a sniper. Our heart and prayers go out to the families. The killing has to be stopped on all fronts. This is supposed to be home of the brave and land of the free as stated in the Constitution. As a African American male do I really feel free when I am profiled and harassed for no reason by police officers.

Me and my group of friends were wrongly profiled in Atlanta in 2003, luckily no harm was done or arrest was made, but that is not the point.

Since the inception of the United States African Americans have made major contributions to this country by either free labor, inventions, education, and military duty. Yet our contributions fall by the wayside and we are looked at as outsiders.

We are tired of being the punching bag. Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the findings of a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year. In the first half of 2016, police have killed 532 people — many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, and people of color.

This number comes from The Guardian’s police killings database, but the Killed by Police database counts 580 people who have died at the hands of police so far this year. The Washington Post also reports that 488 people have been shot and killed by cops.

Going by the Guardian’s count, 261 white people were killed by police — the highest total out of any racial group. But data also shows that black people and Native Americans are being killed at higher rates than any other group.

February and March were the deadliest months this year, with 99 people killed by police in each month. In June, the police killed 86 people, all of whom were fatally shot.

This is a epidemic that needs to be solved. Police have been tool used by the government in the Jim Crow era to oppress and suppress black communities and use aggressive force. Some changes have been made but not enough. This sentiments have trickled down to this generation of people

Treat Black People Like Human Beings

I understand police officers have a tough job, but understand there are many law abiding African American citizens. We want the same respect that white Americans are afford when stopped or question. It is time for officers to let go of the negative stereotypes that we are thugs, angry, and want to kill. That is simply not true, so if you are police officer you do not have to always reach for your gun. The Black Lives Movement is not about white hate, we simply saying we want respect and the same protections under the law.

Not All Officers Are Bad Police

In no matter what profession there are always going to be bad apples. Majority of officers do there job with honor, dignity and they should be commended for their service. I remember being pulled over by a white officer a few times and I was treated well and let go with a warning. Law Enforcement want respect and we understand that you do not have a easy task.

We Can Not Be Divided To Solve This Problem

There is a disconnect between law enforcement and the African American community. This divide has to be bridged. The back and forth rhetoric and finger pointing is not the answer. Taking innocent lives on both sides is going to start a war. There has to be accountability and respect on both sides of the fence. Community leaders, citizens, and law enforcement have to come to the table and talk. Violence will not solve the issue and it will only escalate the real problems.

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