Three people are dead in 48 hours. All of whom were killed by police officers. Two black men. One Latino teen.
Alton Sterling was a 37-year-old father of five.
Yes, he had a record. However, his record has nothing to do with his death. His record was dug up after he was already shot six times in the chest. He had a weapon — that was not pulled. This man was not a threat. Since I refuse to watch the video due to the level of graphic violence in it, I can't tell you why the police officers approached him, but I can tell you this. He sold CDs in front of this store daily, and the owner was perfectly satisfied with that. (It is a common scene in neighborhoods with many African American residents, someone selling CDs and DVDs in front of the businesses on the block.)
Sterling now has a mural painted on the side of the building, approved by the owner, as a means of memorial and a show of support. One of Sterling's sons was seen breaking down during a press conference beside his mother. This man was a father. He was out trying to provide for them. None of them had any idea he would not make it back home.
Philando Castile was also a father.
He had a 4-year-old daughter in the car with him when he was killed. This should have been a routine traffic stop, but something went wrong. His girlfriend decided to stream live video on Facebook when she noticed something was off. He informed the officer that he had a license to carry a weapon. The weapon was concealed and unseen. Castile was asked to provide his driver's license, most likely figured he would be searched and knew it would be better to provide all information before things turned ugly. However, when he reached for his wallet, the officer opened fire into the vehicle. Castile died on the scene.
It can be heard that his daughter cried for him, but his girlfriend kept her composure and comforted the child. Before you ask why the girlfriend didn't just call for 911 — 911 was already there; 911 pulled the trigger. Castile reached for his wallet, you guys. His daughter was in the backseat. What's your justification for a 4 year old watching her father die?
Pedro Erik Villanueva was 19-years-old.
Police opened fire on his moving vehicle. He was being tailed by an unmarked car, having no idea they were police officers; he kept driving instead of pulling over. The POs were undercover, investigating drag racing in the area. Nothing about them in their plainclothes or their unmarked vehicle screamed, "We are cops — do as we say," to Villanueva and his friends. Instead it screamed, "We might rob you," which is to be expected. Unmarked cars aren't exactly what one would consider benevolent.
Villanueva had no clue they were police officers; he was just scared. He did what he thought was safest, and was trying to avoid being robbed. The result was bullets entering his body and ending his life. The tactic used is one federal authorities and law enforcement experts don't endorse and has been banned in many major cities. That's right, banned.
This boy had no idea what was coming to him.
And then, about two weeks ago, another incident happened that has received little to no coverage. I find it weird how little information is out on this case. I say this because some of my own friends argue with me about the phrase Black Lives Matter by telling me All Lives Matter, but when something tragic happens to a white teen, they are all silent. I don't get it? This child didn't deserve this! You silenced by arguing All Lives Matter, and you don't even fight for answers about why his life didn't to these officers? Read on for more!
Dylan Noble was another teenager, only 19 years old.
He was at a gas station when the police approached him on June 25th. There's not much information on his case because no news source seems to be covering it. He was compliant. He stayed away from his vehicle and did as asked. They thought he had a weapon. In the video, you hear them yelling to move a certain way and then gunshots. He laid on the ground already shot once, and then two more sound off. And just like that, Dylan's life was over.
This time it wasn't a black person who was killed, it was a white teenager. I expected an uproar over this as a result. I mean, every time you hear the phrase "black lives matter," there is an argument that "all lives matter," right? But where was the white community at when this happened? Why didn't his life matter? Why are there only two articles about this boy? He was unarmed! He was compliant! And he still died.
No, it doesn't just happen to us African Americans — it does happen more often, however, which is why we spoke up! Which is why we started the BLM movement! Why aren't more people who love to argue "all lives matter" speaking up for Dylan? Why do I only see BLM supporters? Help his family get answers, just like we're trying to get answers for Alton, Philando and Pedro! Don't say All Lives Matter and do nothing to prove it.
Your black friends. Your black teachers and professors. Your black coworkers. Everybody you know who is brown or a person of color. We are all at risk. Will you say All Lives Matter when my name is splattered across the screens of your TVs, phones, tablets, and computers? Will you buy into the fabrications of media? Will you fight for me and remind my family of who I really am? Or will my black life mean nothing to you?
It seems important to you when I crack jokes, when I help you with your assignments, when I support you through your ups and downs -- but will it matter when my life is take unjustly? Will it matter when another person of color has been killed senseless by a terrorist in a uniform?
How do I prove that my life is significant? How do I know that you see my value? When will you see my value? Our value?