Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Michael Brown. Amadou Diallo. 12-year old Tamir Rice. And just week, Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Seattle woman. Each was a precious human being - Philando, a beloved son, brother, boyfriend and cafeteria worker who served hundreds of children; Alton, a beloved father of five, nephew, and son known in his Baton Rouge community as "CD Man"; Michael, a college-bound 18 year old beloved by his parents, family and friends; Amadou, a beloved 23-year-old son and Guinean immigrant who aspired to be computer programmer; Tamir, a beloved 12-year old son, brother and sixth grader who loved to swim, draw, and play basketball; Charleena, a beloved mother of four - shot to death by the police.
In each case the officer was not charged. Why? Because the legal standard established by the Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor is that reasonable use of force by an officer must be viewed from the perspective of what appeared reasonable in the moment of its application - not 20/20 hindsight. Or, as Trevor Noah said this week on the Daily Show: “What they are basically saying is, that in America, it is officially reasonable to be afraid of a person just because they are black.”
This week all-of-us must fight for criminal justice reform by recognizing every black family affected by these killings.