Friday, March 21, 2008

The Power of the B.A.D.G.E

Cops really have too much flexibility when it comes to how they handle suspects. Yesterday, 17 year old Darryl Turner was killed by Charlotte police officers after he was tasered at the Food Lion grocery store. Turner worked at the store, and apparently got into it with his manager and after police arrived at the scene, the young man threw an object at his manager (or as the police said, he “assaulted” the manager). Police say Turner began ignoring verbal commands and started approaching the officers, at which point he was tasered. Darryl Turner died a few hours later at a local hospital.

This happened just days after an Ohio police officer who killed an innocent woman in January during a drug raid, was charged with a misdemeanor for her death. Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, shot and killed Tarika Wilson and wounded her 1 year old baby, whom she was holding at the time. The baby had to have his finger amputated because of the wound. Wilson, a 26 year old mother of six, was unarmed when SWAT members came in looking for her boyfriend (who was later arrested). Officer Chavalia faces up to a whopping eight months in jail if convicted for negligent homicide, and he’s been suspended with pay.

Police brutality is an age old tale that minorities have been dealing with for years. Not that it’s acceptable or warranted, but it’s nothing new. Now people aren’t getting abused or excessively handled, they’re getting killed. Police officers will shoot a mother holding her baby, or taser a 17 year old who argued with his manager. I argued with managers plenty of times when I was a teenager, but I never thought I could get killed over it. Cops need to be held a little more accountable for their actions when this kind of carelessness happens. I’d get lynched if I shot a woman and her baby by "accident," but if I had a badge I can get a max of eight months. The same folks that are supposed to protect us, are taking us out one by one.