September 26, 2016
N-CAP shares thoughts, frustrations, and hopes for the future following the brutal killings of Black men in September by officers of the law:
In the last few weeks, Tyre King, Terence Crutcher, and Keith Lamont Scott lost their lives within days of each other at the hands of law enforcement in three separate, equally horrifying episodes of violence. Each new death by police extends our communal grief, anger, and trauma.
The details of these events will continue to unfold, and transparency throughout the process is paramount. We remain deeply concerned about the extinguishment of Black life. The overzealous extra-judicial police violence against our communities is fundamentally wrong. This nation throughout its history has persecuted, degraded, and benefited from Black life. The institutionalized racism that still endures denies the humanity of Black lives, through laws, policies, economics, and media representation.
This nation bears strange fruit, indeed. No matter the city—Charlotte, Tulsa, Columbus; East Orange, Irvington, Rutherford—we suffer from a crisis that must end now.
We also learned last week that the Baltimore officers who killed Korryn Gaines and injured her 5-year-old son in July will face no criminal charges. Our current criminal justice system time and again turns a blind eye to the deaths of those it renders most vulnerable and expendable.
Knowing that police who kill will rarely be held accountable, the powder keg of anguish explodes, and some take to the streets to be heard. And as Charlotte residents have channeled their pain and rage into exercising their right to protest, the government has referred to a divisive decades-old playbook: bringing in the National Guard to suppress and contain Americans.
We call on those who witness the unjust actions of our criminal justice system to join us in taking action in our own communities. When we call on society to honor our humanity and dignity, it is a call that must be answered. In our eyes, silence is complicity.
In Newark, we are making progress in transforming our police department, but a tremendous amount of work remains to upend the deeply ingrained violent policing culture that has persisted for generations. Our city is on the leading edge of instituting better policies, including the newly created civilian oversight board, but just signing an ordinance is not enough. Reformation will never take the place of transformation.
No excuses can justify the continued devaluing of life in this country. Enough is enough. Let us freely envision what a truly just criminal justice system and community safety look like. The best remedies to fix an oppressive system may be found outside of it.
Here is our call, and the message is simple: we demand the right to live freely.