Charles Kinsey: His Hands Were Up And They Still Shot Him
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Politics and Activism

Charles Kinsey: His Hands Were Up And They Still Shot Him

Police corruption and Charles Kinsey.

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Charles Kinsey: His Hands Were Up And They Still Shot Him
BET News

Stop making individual excuses for systemic injustice.

Another black man was shot (thankfully, not fatally) by the police. There is virtually no way to construe this man as some sort of “thug”, or “delinquent”, as police apologists often do to victims of such brutality. Charles Kinsey is a black therapist helping an autistic man who had been “blocking a roadway while playing with [a toy truck]”. With his hands up, laying on his back, Charles Kinsey pled to the police, “don’t shoot me.”

They did. Three times.

They subsequently left Kinsey handcuffed and bleeding on the pavement for twenty minutes, before a Fire Rescue crew showed up.

The police department, as of July 21, have not responded to “multiple requests for comment,” and the punishment for the officer who shot Kinsey was “administrative leave.” It is not yet known whether or not criminal charges will be filed.

We need, collectively, to realize that this is not an issue of a few “bad apples.” This is not, nor has it ever been, an issue that can be solved through weeding out individual officers.

For the past four years, we have seen extensive news and social media coverage of police brutality towards, in overwhelming majority, unarmed black people. Trayvon Martin was murdered in 2012, and the case of his death was the first killing in recent years that generated the social media storm we now see as commonplace in cases of race-based murder. And yet, after dozens of popular cases and even more that go unheard and unremembered, some critics still have the gall to blame these killings on individual prejudices or wrongdoings. If only it were that simple.

Police brutality is a systemic issue, and although it is only recently that social media had the spread and capability of keeping us informed of these travesties, police violence toward marginalized groups (especially the black American population) is far from new.

Logically speaking, it makes sense that police brutality is so widespread in the USA, especially against marginalized groups. Cops have, at their fingertips, the power to kill in mere seconds and a significantly lower risk of severe consequences to that heinous act. In fact, the murder of Cendrick Chatman in 2013 was the first time since 1968 that an on-duty Chicago police officer had been charged with murder. They have the power to act on every dark, hateful bias and prejudice that they hold inside, and they have a degree of physical and social power that others do not hold.

Cops responding to non-issues with egregious violence (page includes footage of graphic police brutality) exist because the system was designed that way. Police officers across the country are being trained to “Shoot first, ask questions later.” Furthermore, in nearly half of police shootings, there is no weapon, although some officers “perceive” there to be one. And despite video evidence toward police culpability, many are still hesitant to “rush to judgement simply because of what [footage of police brutality] shows.” They don’t want to rush to judgement based on clear, indisputable video evidence.

A few bad cops would not be perpetrating documented murder and abuse against marginalized groups for decades. A few bad cops would face punishment by the system— if that system was fundamentally functional and good— and order would be restored. But this is not the case. How many more innocent lives will be forever changed, or worse, ended, due to our inability to address systemic injustice?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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