Tulsa Shooting: Another Reason for Protest
The Tulsa police shooting of Terence Crutcher is just the most recent shooting where a white officer has taken unnecessary deadly force on an African American. Over the past few years this trend has been happening an unfortunate amount of time where an African American has been killed unjustly and police officers are often not held fully responsible. In this case the attorney for the police officer responsible, Betty Shelby, stated, “‘He gets to the window of the SUV, and has his hands in the air, looks at them … and his left hand goes into the window”’ (Tulsa Police Shooting Investigated by Justice Department). Despite this claim from officers, the car window was up so this wasn’t possible and the horrible video shows that this never happened. A completely innocent man was killed and this bears a striking resemblance to the Trayvon Martin case a few years ago when Martin was killed when walking down the street. George Zimmerman, the officer who killed Martin, said, “Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose, repeatedly slammed his head on the ground and tried to take his gun” (Trayvon Martin Shooter Told Cops Teenager Went For His Gun). In this similar scenario the police officer is making excuses for a completely unjustified killing. Unfortunately, George Zimmerman walked away from this case uncharged as a free man. While the result of the Tulsa shooting is uncertain currently, there has to be a change so that things like this stop happening.
Famous figures such as Colin Kaepernick and other football players in the NFL have started sitting and kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of their solidarity and disgust with law enforcement officials killing African American’s unjustly. Kaepernick defended his decision of doing this by explaining, “‘to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”’ (Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during national anthem). Kaepernick is of course referring to all of the unjust shootings that have occurred and his message has been getting many mixed reviews; however, people need to stop looking at it as an assault on our country’s patriotism, rather he is trying to unify everyone and stop these heinous acts. Kaepernick is simply standing up for justice because it is completely unacceptable how many African Americans have been unjustly killed by police. While players such as Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Lane have followed along with Kaepernick’s message, the USA Hockey coach has a different message for all of his players. John Tortorella made his opinion of this very clear by telling ESPN, “‘If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game”’ (Team USA hockey coach to players: If you sit during national anthem, you’ll be benched the whole game). While Tortorella made this statement as a symbol of respect for America and our troops, I truly believe that the point of Kaepernick’s protest was missed in this statement. By doing this, Kaepernick is drawing attention to police brutality and wrong killings that need to be stopped. The more he does this and has other players support him, people will be moved to follow and hopefully there can be a change in the way police handle matters like this so that innocent people aren’t unfairly taken from this earth. Brandon Marshall put it wonderfully when he exclaimed, “‘One thing I have an issue with is people are really, extremely [ticked] off and mad about us kneeling and protesting peacefully. How come they don’t have that same type of anger toward the situations that are going on?”’ (Broncos LB Brandon Marshall: ‘We have long way to go as people’). People need to harness the anger that they have toward Marshall and Kaepernick and use this to try to get something done in our country to prevent these wrongful deaths from continuing to happen. It is horrible to have this type of thing even one time and the fact that it has become a recurring theme is sickening. More players need to start taking this route to show that as a country there need to be some serious changes in the way police handle their business so innocent people aren’t killed.
“Broncos’ Marshall: No Outrage over Crutcher?” ESPN.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
Gutman, Matt, and Seni Tienabeso. “Trayvon Martin Shooter Told Cops Teenager Went For His Gun.” ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
“Team USA Hockey Coach to Players: If You Sit during National Anthem, You’ll Be Benched the Whole Game.” Q13 FOX News. N.p., 08 Sept. 2016. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
“Tulsa Police Shooting Investigated by Justice Department.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
Wyche, By Steve. “Colin Kaepernick Explains Why He Sat during National Anthem.” NFL.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.