“Police Shooting Cover-ups Of Unarmed Men”

Shameria Jones

Lately, Chicago has become an embattled city, with headlines on police shootings regularly making national news. There has been a lot of talk about the police and the shootings of unarmed people in Chicago, and the question many people are wondering about is: If the duties of a police officer, also known as a law enforcement officer, is to focus on protecting people and property, as well as, to patrol the areas they are assigned, which sometimes include entire jurisdictions, respond to calls, enforce laws, make arrests, issue citations, and occasionally testify in court cases, why are so many of our innocent people dying everyday?

On September 14, 2013, a 29-year-old young man by the name Jonathan Ferrell, a former college football player for the Florida A&M University Rattlers, was shot and killed by police officer Randall Kerrick in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter. Ferrell was unarmed at the time he was shot. He crashed his car, went to a house and “banged on the door”, apparently looking for help. The resident called the police, and three officers came. Ferrell then ran towards them, one of the officers fired a taser at Ferrell and missed. Kerrick then opened fire on Ferrell, hitting him ten times and killing him.

On October 20th of 2014, a young black man by the name of Laquan Mcdonald who was only 17-years-old was shot 16 times by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke who stated Mcdonald was armed with a knife. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder within hours after the video’s release on November 24, 2015. After turning himself into authorities, he was initially ordered held without bail at Cook County Jail, but released on November 30 after posting bail.

In October 12th of 2014, a 25-year-old black man Ronald Johnson was shot and killed during a police chase near East 53rd street and south Martin Luther Drive in the city’s Washington Park neighborhood. It was announced that no criminal charges would be filed against a police officer who shot and killed Johnson , as he apparently fled from police. Johnson was shot and killed weeks after Mcdonald’s killer was charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors stated Johnson was armed with a loaded gun at the time, but no evidence was shown.

Police brutality among black men in particular has remained consistent in Chicago’s society. According to Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, local police shot 50 people last year, 39 were black, 7 were hispanic, 4 were caucasian and 1 was considered unknown.

“ Even when it comes to black on black crimes, nothing in life is considered a fair act. In most situations and cases like police brutality, you’ll never know who’s right and who’s wrong. Everything is always a mystery. In most cases, things happen for a reason and that’s how you have to look at things in Chicago now. Policemen believe you only get what you deserve and sometimes you have to face it because most things in life are better being unsaid,” said junior Kenia Lomax.

Police brutality is the use of excessive force, usually physical, carried out during law enforcement activities with the population. This type of police behavior includes verbal attacks and psychological intimidation by a police officer. Police brutality exists in many countries, even those that prosecute it. It is one of several forms which includes false arrest; intimidation; racial profiling; political repression; surveillance abuse; sexual abuse; and police corruption. Although it is illegal, it can be performed under the color of law.

“ Black on Black crime most definitely messes up our community, our society and it’s killing our little innocent children. As a policeman, it’s not just the policeman’s job to protect everyone. it’s the entire city’s job as well. There’s rules and laws that we have to follow and the only way we can shoot is if the person is armed and is running away from the scene or if the person just committed a crime. I think where many policemen mess up at is overlooking everything and going straight into action. I’ve always looked at things first before I assume because no one really knows the real reason for the person running away from the scene. It’s hard being a police officer and this world is hard too,” said SFC. Alexander Cerezo for the City of Chicago.

According to Author Michael Paul Britto, mass media is really good at demonizing males of color, and reinforcing stereotypes. Nine times out of 10, if a crime is committed by a male of color, the news will let you know that the suspect or perpetrator was a black male. This is rarely the case with any other nationality.