Former St. Anthony’s. Minnesota, police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of the killing of Philando Castile. Thousands took to the streets to block I-94 in St. Paul to protest the verdict, or more broadly, the anger and frustration of cops killing blacks with seeming impunity. While this reaction might be understandable as emblematic of the frustration felt by a community, it wasn’t going to do anything to stop the killing.
Police holding wooden batons formed a line to block the crowds protesting on I-94, ordering them to disperse, as heavily armed troops with armored vehicles were positioned nearby. Police have also reportedly closed off the adjacent bridges, leaving the protesters only one way to leave. At least three police buses were reported to have been dispatched.
The image of cops with batons blocking protesters might have become a rallying image at a different time. Here, it was just cops doing their job.
Earlier, a car pushed through the crowd of protesters as protesters tried to stop it, causing some of them to walk onto the onramp of I-94.
Protesters then linked arms and blocked all traffic on I-94 at Dale street, chanting, “whose streets? Our streets”and “shut it down.”
Police diverted traffic and warned people to avoid the area.
Protesters have long chanted for their cause, but chants are the palliative of the angry. They don’t do anything, except maybe annoy the people who were stopped from going wherever they were going, whose streets they are too. The story wasn’t about the killing, the verdict, the outrage or, really, even the protest. It was about the traffic blockage.
It’s happening again.
I have to write about Philando Castile, the 32-year-old black man who was shot and killed by a Minnesota police officer last July. I have to compose myself, sit at this laptop and write something profound about another black life taken by a police officer, another officer found not guilty for killing a black person.
And, you know, I have nothing much to say.
The title of her post is
There Is No Justice In America For Black People Killed By Cops
The subtitle is
“The system continues to fail black people.”
Does this make you want to rush over and read the post? Does it make you want to cry for this latest “injustice”? If not, that’s because she’s not writing for you. Or for me.
Like a number of black people, I am traumatized by this ― to the point where I expect there to be no justice, no ramifications, no fucks given when a black person is killed by a police officer. Every time this happens, my stomach twists into knots. I want to scream, but I can’t.
When I think about how Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker, was pulled over 46 times before the traffic stop that took his life, I get angry. Actually, I get pissed the hell off. I am tired. I am sick. And it hurts to think that Castile could have been my father, my boyfriend, my brother, my cousin or my nephew, who just started driving this year.
Scream, if you want. But it’s not going to save a life. Not a black life. Not a white life. Not any life. You get “pissed the hell off”? Isn’t that special? Philando Castile is dead and you write about your feelings. Then again, you also offer his mother’s feelings:
But I also feel selfish for turning inward and thinking about all the black men close to me when I see Castile’s mother, Valerie, on national television: gripped with righteous anger, but fighting back the pain long enough to get her point across.
“The system continues to fail black people,” she said Friday after the verdict. “My son loved this city, and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away! Are you kidding me right now?”
So the philosophical upshot of Craven’s post is “are you kidding me right now?” Deep. Effective. This will surely work at least as well as blocking traffic on I-94. Enter the ACLU with its two cents:
To Make Black Lives Matter, We Must Tear Down the Case Law that Gave Police the Power to Stop, Search, and Abuse
The phrase “tear down the law” harkens to Reagan’s “tear down the wall,” Except case law doesn’t get torn down. That’s not how it works, and one would suspect the ACLU-MA legal director, Matt Segal, knows as much.
Something is missing from the debate over police reform. Though police killings of Black men have sparked a nationwide movement to stop police violence, the police can fairly ask whether they deserve all of the blame.
That’s not because current levels of police violence are warranted (they aren’t), or because policing is race neutral (it isn’t). It’s because the chief architects of American policing are not police departments; they’re courts. The movement for police reform should be joined by an equally ambitious movement for court reform.
Ignoring the hyperbole, recognition of bad caselaw, from Terry v. Ohio, the 1968 Warren Court decision, to which only Abe Fortas dissented, which goes unmentioned) to Graham v. Connor, the Reasonably Scared Cop Rule, and the despicable Whren in between, decided two decades ago.
Where was the ACLU when these cases were decided? Where was the movement for court reform over the eight years of President Obama? But now, support the ACLU and they’ll fix everything by tearing the caselaw down. Note the popup when you try to read the ACLU post. They want money, and if insipid pandering will get you to fork over some loot, well.
When the Black Lives Matter movement started, there was a broader recognition by Americans of all colors that things had gotten out of control, enough so that there was consensus that favoring police over others, particularly people with dark skin, had to end. Then it faded as it went from dead bodies to hurt feelings.
Old white guys aren’t allowed to speak, as black people’s voices must be heard.
Are you kidding me right now?
I hear you. I hear the cha-ching coming from the ACLU. I hear the horns of drivers on I-94 of people trying to get wherever they’re going on roads that are theirs too. You know who doesn’t hear you? Philando Castile, because he’s dead. Have you learned anything?