by Hunadi Aphane
For years police brutality has been a problem across the world, innocent individuals being murdered for something they are not responsible for; mothers and fathers fearing to let their children out in case that those who are meant to protect them end up pulling the trigger that could end their lives. The evolution of man seems to be wired backwards, when will it be truly safe for a person of colour to live in this world?
Police brutality has been evident for the longest time, dating back to the Great Railroad strike in 1877 America, the Amritsar Massacre in 1919 India and the Apartheid Regime in 1948 South Africa. The police force has killed individuals who were either standing up for their rights and the rights of others, or living peacefully, simply because they are people of colour, which is supposedly a crime. History always repeats itself, however, the aim is to learn from it. But if the police force is still responsible for thousands of deaths each year, has anything actually changed?
The code of conduct for any police officer states that they may only shoot an individual if their safety or the safety of others is at risk, but I don’t recall how a skin colour is a threat to anyone. One’s skin colour can never be a threat. This point has been reiterated multiple times, through movies, songs, protests and petitions. There are many more ways individuals have expressed their emotions and the ways they propose this issue should be solved, but with the police mentality of ‘I AM THE LAW’, change will not come, and the guilty will remain protected.
These individuals lack honour, morality, dignity, accountability, resulting in many questioning how they became police officers in the first place and why they can possibly remain police officers after murdering a human being. This issue does not only occur in one nation either. In South Africa, Collins Khosa, a middle-aged man of colour, was strangled, slammed against a cement wall and a steel gate, and hit with the butt of a machine gun by South African National Defence Force soldiers. In the United States of America, George Floyd, a middle-aged man of colour suffocated because a police-officer pressed his knee on his neck. In Palestine, Razan-al-Najjar, a young-adult female nurse was shot and killed by the Israeli Defence Forces while volunteering as a medic. All over the world, racist people are being handed the power to murder others, without being held accountable or receiving justice for their wrongdoings.
Numerous foundations have funded the movement against police brutality. Strikes and petitions have been established, as people across the globe are enraged by the treatment of people of colour. In the 21st century racism should not have to be such a massive problem, but here we are again, like our grandmothers and grandfathers and those before them, fighting for equality and justice. Countless people who possess the power to change and influence how these issues turn out are staying quiet. At a time when the world needs them the most, their silence is the only thing being contributed. It seems that it is up to us, those behind the curtains, those who are brave enough to stand up against these crimes to take action. Although we do not have as much power, we are the only ones alive and well enough to stand tall against these injustices.
“As young people of colour who are often criminalised for our mere existence, we are the experts in how our communities are treated by law enforcement,” said Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Florida-based organisation, the Dream Defenders. Philip Agnew was one of many who met up with former President Barack Obama to discuss the way forward. The world has come to a halt because we suffer from two viruses, Covid-19 and racism.
We are obligated to protest. Whether it be behind a screen or in front of a police station, whether you are black or not. We have to help in any way we can to prevent the next family from hearing that their loved ones' last words were, “I CAN’T BREATHE.”