images (8)Jordan Davis:

Jordan Davis, an unarmed black teen the same age as Trayvon Martin. Davis, 17, was shot to death by Michael Dunn.

Dunn told police that he asked Davis and three other teens, who were parked next to him at a gas station, to turn down their music. Dunn claims he heard threats from the teens and saw a gun in their car. He says he feared for his own safety, and that’s why he grabbed his gun and fired into the vehicle. Police say they found no guns inside the teens’ vehicle and that Dunn fired his gun eight or nine times.

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Michael Dunn:

Dunn has been charged with first-degree murder in Davis’ death and also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting at the three passengers in the vehicle who survived. 

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Robin Lemonidis:

Dunn’s attorney,Robin Lemonidis, has told CNN that her client was reacting to what he claims was a gun being drawn. “When all the evidence has been flushed out, I believe that it will be extremely clear that Mr. Dunn acted as any responsible firearm owner would have under the same circumstances,” Lemonidis said.

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The Trayvon Martin killing has generated national attention.  Fair minded people all over the world are outraged, they are not ready “to get over it” as Maryland Republican congressman Andy Harris demands.

 There are multiple components to this killing, which cannot be ignored as I argued before. As tragic as this case has been for Tracy Martin, Sabrina Fulton, the black community and black people in general, there is a more serious aspect to this which must be considered.

What emboldened George Zimmerman to take the actions he took?

Why do Police departments target, profile harass and abuse men of color?

Did the prosecution in Sanford Florida do a bad job, or did they even have a chance of gaining a conviction , irrespective of the enormity of the evidence against Zimmerman ,with a jury which did not reflect Trayvon Martin?

Let me say first, as a people ,African-Americans simply cannot afford this to be another “we shall overcome” moment. African-Americans have considerably untapped leverage ,they need to use it to access the kinds of legislation they need. Not by expecting the first African-American president to save them, but by pressuring their democratic senators and congresspersons to push through meaningful legislation which the president will then sign. The Zimmerman case was not an isolated incident.

Black men are assaulted daily by police departments. There are innumerable cases of police officers barging into houses owned by African-Americans assaulting and killing even 80 odd year old women, and they enjoy the same level of deference Zimmerman was afforded by white juries. In new York City over 90% of  stop and frisks result in no arrest.  Over 90% of the people stopped and frisked are young black and brown men, some of whom are brutalized. Their only crime being the color of their skin. These actions does nothing to engender trust between police and citizens. It strain relationships and puts officers lives at risk, it is simply bad policy which the New York City council have finally come around to recognizing.

It is reasonable to conclude then, that part of any solution must be to impanel diverse juries which reflect the diversity of the country. As we seek to use the legislative process to dismantle laws which empower scared white men to kill the object of their fears.

In the news now is the Trayvon Martin case, yet literally every day all-white Grand-Juries fail to indict police officers who act contrary to law, kill or abuse people of color , and are not held to account. On the rare occasions they are indicted by grand juries they are always  exonerated despite the evidence against them.

How can this not embolden cops to act as judge jury and executioner? How can police officers transfer their fear to someone else , making it a life and death situation every time the average person of color gets pulled over in a traffic stop?

This cannot be the way police departments operate, the people empower the police to protect us, all of us, no one should live in fear of the very people they pay to protect them.

This simply has to stop !!!