On Monday, officials declared a state of emergency in Akron, Ohio, after protests erupted on Sunday night following the release of video footage of police murdering a 25-year-old unarmed Black man, Jayland Walker. In the video, eight officers are seen chasing Walker, who had been stopped for a traffic violation. As Walker attempts to run away, multiple officers fire after him, brutally murdering him with over 60 bullet wounds. Officers claim they feared for their lives, but this makes no sense; Walker was trying to run away from them! It is estimated that over 90 shots may have been fired, and it appears that officers continued to shoot even after Walker fell to the ground, likely already dead.
Official sources cite “property damage” resulting from the anti-police murder protests as justification for the state of emergency declaration and 9pm curfew on July 4. But if you’re a Black person in the United States, this “state of emergency” started far before Sunday. It has been ongoing and seemingly never-ending. After all, if you’re Black in America, you could be murdered by the cops for nearly anything – falling asleep in a drive-thru, having improper vehicle registration, playing in the park, even sleeping in your own home.
News sources and government officials want the public to focus on and fear the so-called rioting and property destruction that often occurs after these cop murders. But this is focusing on the wrong issue! Many Black people live in constant fear for their lives. Almost every day the news, not to mention lived experience, reminds them that they could be murdered anywhere and at any time by police. And often without any recourse for the killer. But when people get upset about this reality and voice their justified anger, they’re told to shut up and stay “peaceful.” Yet when killer cops murder innocent people, their punishment is paid time off. What a double standard!
As long as Black people are treated as more disposable than property, we will be out in the streets, using our voices and our bodies to demand respect and dignity. No justice, no peace!