Oh yes they’ve killed a Black Man
Not just any but a native Afrikan
Oh yes they’ve shown they are true Blue
a slaughter by authority, Police who are supposed to protect you
He they say looked like a suspect
Here they show their lack of respect
Does every Black Man have to fit their profile
let us think on this for a while
Oh mother, they’ve taken your son
We pray he is not the only one
Oh father what should a village do?
Avenge a son, or let god handle this one
For in their scale justice is line with enamel and steel
and there is no impression of a fair deal.
Oh yes, they’ve killed a Black Man
—by the Pollitikat © 1999
This poem was written in response to the shooting of 24 year old Amadou Diallo, who was killed after being shot 19 times by four police officers in the Bronx, on Feb. 4, 1999. Here the officer said they thought Diallo was reaching for a gun when he put his hands in his pocket and fired a total of 41 rounds. The gun turned out to be his wallet, which he was taking out to show officer his identification. Officers shot Amadou as he was standing in his vestibule. These officers were found not guilty.
I am writing this because of the incidents that took place in November 25, of 2006 early in the morning in the midst of a family celebration. Once again we seem to have trigger happy officers over reacting, in a situation that should have been easily controllable for five people hold a gun on three people sitting in a car. How many times are we going to accept the “I thought I saw a gun defense?” Shouldn’t an officer be sure he sees a gun before he starts shooting at someone. I am disturbed whenever I hear police saying their lives are at risk. Would someone please remind them that police officers chose to be police officers. No one is forcing them. They could just as easy get a job doing something else. By choosing to be an officer they volunteer their lives in service. Also they get extensive training to think and work in situations of extreme pressure, I know they are not just given a gun and turned onto the streets. Our officers should not be this scared on the street. Aren’t are trained for these exact situations, and they should turn out better than three unarmed civilian persons shot, one of them fatal. I expect the police to take extra care, because they are the police and have the capability to end someones life, we trust them to have good judgement in making such a life changing decision. Yet time and time again we allow officers to brutally kill unarmed citizens and use the fact they might have seen the person was reaching for something as an excuse for taking those lives. How does an officer, Michael Oliver, who has never fired his gun in twelve years, fire 31 bullets at three people sitting in a parked car. He even reloaded, how did he manage that if he wasn’t trying to kill someone. Also there were five officers, did all five of them have to fire, who was assessing the situation. When I try to picture the scene in my mind I cannot come up with any other scenario other than the police came walking towards the car firing their weapons, or were standing over the car and firing. They had to fire 54 times before doing checking to see what was really happening.
I try to put myself in the officers shoes, but only have pictures of them slaughtering someone. Where is the respect for human life, or the feeling of protecting the community. What about the transit workers who were standing on the in the train station, or the family at home who could have been killed by the officers recklessness. I just cannot have any sympathy for these officers, I cannot understand how they justify this one. Also the cover up and fable about a fourth man who was shooting and running away just does not hold water. None of the five officers who were on the scene ran after this so called fourth man. If there was another person who ran away, and who allegedly had the weapon they were defending against, should maybe two of those officer have pursued this person. Why did they let him get away only to take the life of the person who was not shooting. Also reporting is that forensics have confirmed only shell casings from the police officers guns were found. There were no casings from any mysterious person supposedly firing at them. If someone was firing at them where is the shell casing. There was no gun found in Sean Bell’s car. I am tired of the lies from the police, because they have a built in alibi, being officers and all, they should take extra care. The behavior after the shooting also shows the willingness for these officers to cover up to protect one of their own, I don’t put it past these officer to somehow create evidence for their defense. How many times are they going to get away with it. The attitude of the police union seems to be that the police is more important than the community or the society. Where is the accountability. Shouldn’t the police union want a better police force for the community. It is a failure of the police department not to be able to assess its officers properly before sending them into the community. Shouldn’t officers go under routine evaluation to determine their ability to perform their duties. I agree it is a high pressure, stressful, and sensitive job but that is exactly why we need the best in there.
Now officers Cooper, Oliver, and Igsnora have been indicted. Igsnora and Oliver on five counts each including manslaughter in the first and second degree, as well as assault with a deadly weapon. Cooper on a single misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. The trial is not expected until sometime next year.