I Can't Breathe

Sweet Caroline For Cops


The nation was shocked with the conviction of police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Shocked because normally, cops get away with killing unarmed black men. Prosecutors will often say, “Nothing to see here,” and work diligently to protect police, which is what happened in Ferguson over the cop killing of Michael Brown and Cleveland over the cop killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In both of those cases, prosecutors put together grand juries that refused to indict the cops. Grand juries typically do what a prosecutor wants. If there’s no indictment, it’s because the prosecutor didn’t want one. Too often when it comes to cops killing an unarmed black man, district attorneys act more like defense lawyers than prosecutors. It’s what they often refer to in the south as the good-ole-boy network. Good-ole boys take care of good-ole boys.

After Chauvin was convicted as a murderer, a lot of white liberals referenced George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” and told the nation that finally, black men can breathe. Conservatives used the conviction as to argue that racism if finally over so let’s just stop talking about it. In North Carolina, it’s back to business as usual.

George Floyd’s murderer was convicted in Minnesota. Floyd’s family received justice. Andrew Brown was killed by multiple cops in North Carolina where the laws are designed to protect cops. Even videos of the shooting can’t be released without a judge’s order. In this case, the judge has stonewalled. The good-ole-boy network is strong in North Carolina.

From the scant footage we have been allowed to see, a speeding pickup truck full of Pasquotank County cops piled in the back armed with assault rifles looks more like a planned hit than it does policing. A pickup truck full of white men with weapons on the way to a black guy’s house resembles something from the 1960s in the deep south.

I have never seen a pickup truck with cops riding in the open back. Is this how they police in North Carolina? Were there any “yee-haws” during this ride? Usually in the deep south, the back of a pickup truck is reserved for dogs, kids, and the occasional mother-in-law.

Seven cops were placed on temporary leave during the investigation of Brown’s killing. Two resigned and one retired, but the department claims the resignations and retirement are not connected to the shooting. Were these moves by the individual cops to preserve their pensions?

Brown was shot five times while in his car with the fatal shot being to the back of his head. The back of his head. The cop who killed him was behind him.

There are over two hours of footage but the Brown family has only seen about 18 minutes. At first, they were only allowed to view 20 seconds. Why can’t the family view the entire two hours? It makes me believe there’s something there that would hurt the cops’ and the district attorney’s case.

An attorney for the Brown family says the first shots were while Brown’s car was stationary (in case you’re a Republican, that means it wasn’t moving). A second attorney for the family says the footage did not show Brown initiating contact between his car and the deputies.

The district attorney says the first shots didn’t occur until the car was moving and causing “contact” with the officers, although none of the officers was wounded. Yesterday, District Attorney Andrew Womble announced that the deputies who shot Brown were “justified” in using deadly force and would not be charged criminally. “The facts of this case”, said Womble, “clearly illustrate the officers who used deadly force on Andrew Brown Jr. did so reasonably and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to place their lives in danger”

The DA is doing a horrible job of appearing impartial. Note how he had to describe Brown as a “violent felon”? It’s like during the Chauvin trial when conservatives engaged in a campaign of smearing George Floyd. This district attorney is working with the police. In fact, his office is in the police station. The conflict of interest here stinks worse than that vinegar-based BBQ they peddle in North Carolina.

The incident began when a bunch of cops in a speeding pickup truck attempted to serve search and arrest warrants on a non-violent drug charge. The arrest warrant was for possession with intent to sell “approximately three grams of cocaine.” After killing Brown, the cops failed to find any drugs on him, his property, or inside the car.

The Justice Department is conducting an investigation to see if any federal laws were violated by police in violating Brown’s civil rights. It seems like Brown had a right not to get shot in the back of the head by cops.

North Carolina’s justice system is reminding us the struggle for equality remains and that an unfair and racist system remains, especially in the deep south. The good-ole-boy system of cops, district attorneys, and judges is alive and well.

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