Daunte Wright lay dead on the ground for hours, while his family, his girlfriend, friends and community members anguished over news of his murder by police. Before his body was even cold the narrative was being set.
Monday I watched as the officials in St. Paul and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota imposed curfews in response to “looting.” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott stood behind a police chief who declared the protests from Sunday “a riot” and defiantly lectured those gathered for the post-mortem press conference about “keeping the peace.”
Well I am sick and tired of this idea that it is BLACK PEOPLE and our supporters who need to keep the peace when police murder us with impunity. I practice Kingian nonviolence and I encourage those who follow my leadership to do the same because I think burning down buildings only shifts the narrative away from our cause––but I take serious issue with the swift manner in which the system rallies behind protection of property over the protection of Black lives. I mean for God’s sake they issue executive orders to restrict liberties in order to protect property, but can’t figure out how to stop cops from “mistaking” a two and a half pound deadly weapon worn on their dominant side, from a bright yellow plastic 8-ounce taser worn on their non-dominant side. We are in the middle of a murder trial in which the entire viewing audience already saw the murder take place––and just 10 miles away another farce has begun.
Yes, I said farce. Our criminal justice system is a farce.
Until those in charge fix it, don’t even talk to us. Seriously, don’t say a damn word about “peace” to me.
Do not show up in the Black community talking to our people about “healing” and “moving forward.” I’m done with all that. GO FIX THIS. Then you can talk about healing.
I’m a Black mother with a Black son. Daunte Wright could have been my baby just as easily. I am scared and angry and exhausted. Black people are EXHAUSTED. And we are traumatized. The brutality of white supremacy shows itself daily, yet Black people are expected to ‘rise above.’ When what we need to do is rise up!
Today, not 48 hours after Officer Kim Porter murdered Daunte Wright in front of his girlfriend, during what should have been a non-encounter, Rich Lowry wrote a piece in one of New York’s favorite newspapers for white supremacists entitled “How Did It Become Normal for Every Police Shooting To Bring Ruinous Rioting.” And sadly, he wasn’t even joking.
There is no building, no plate of glass, no piece of merchandise, no pile of stuff anywhere that I value more than Black people. So you can just stop about “looting.” White people and police have been looting Black and Brown communities for generations. They took our liberty, our labor, our land, our children. It’s enough.
I am so hurt when I see those pictures of beautiful, smiling Daunte Wright. But what cuts my heart in two is the pictures of his precious baby. What is going to become of that baby boy? How will we ever repay what he’s lost?
One thing I know for certain––this system cannot be reformed. It’s built on a legacy of cultural terrorism, rotten to the core. It’s time to tear it down and rebuild something better. Until then, you can keep your peace without justice.
Yup, I said it. Defund the police.
Tamika D Mallory is a civil rights activist and seasoned community organizer with the social justice organization Until Freedom.