Tamir Rice Still Not Buried Pending Investigation

While police in Baltimore are attacking Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, saying she brought charges against six Baltimore City police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, there lays the body of a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland Police Officers five months ago.

Cleveland police are still “investigating” the incident, and say the child cannot be buried until they complete the investigation because they may need to examine the body further for medical evidence. (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/04/tamir-rice-family-judge-not-delay-civil-rights-case-against-cleveland)

What in the world needs to be investigated …and why is it taking so long? Why is the Cleveland Police Department adding insult to injury to the family of this child by holding up his burial? And why isn’t the press covering this story?

There are reasons people get angry and take to the streets, and being dehumanized is one of them. I as a mother cannot imagine sitting by while police performed a prolonged “investigation” after they murdered my child. Can any mother be expected to be all right with that? Keeping that child from being buried is the height of disrespect to his person, his family …and his community.

Tamir Rice, you remember, was the 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy gun. Someone called in to police, saying there was someone with a gun but allegedly said “it might be a toy.”

Police rolled up on the child moments later, got about 10 feet away from him, and opened fire, killing him. They said they shouted “police!” but in the video it looks like they drove up, got out, fired their guns …and maybe said “police” afterward.

Would any police officer be all right with a member of his or her family being kept from being buried while an “investigation” was going on? Wait. Would any HUMAN be all right with that?

Some people balk at the phrase “black lives matter,” but can anyone wonder why those words are being lifted up? Where in the world is the dignity this child deserves? He was a human being, somebody’s son, a child …playing with a toy gun. Officers rolled up on him and shot him like he was a dangerous wild animal…and now, they are keeping him from being buried?

Although officers are upset with Maryland State Attorney Mosby, at least her actions afforded the people who are grieving the murder (the state medical examiner ruled his death a homicide) the appearance of concern for them and for the quest of justice. Everyone knows that filing charges is only a first step; police officers are rarely convicted on charges they face, even when a case seems cut and dry. Remember, the evidence of police beating Rodney King was crystal clear, and the officers were brought up on charges, but they were all acquitted. That verdict caused the streets in Los Angeles to erupt in anger and frustration. So, justice for Freddie Gray is not a sure thing. But at least Mosby recognized that something wrong happened and brought charges against the officers involved swiftly.

The prolonged “investigation” in the Michael Brown case caused the same kind of anger and frustration. The lack of immediate action in Brown’s case, beginning with leaving him lying dead in the street for hours began the tortuous “investigation” which concluded that the officer who shot him was without fault. In fact, that investigation really seemed to concentrate on making the case that Brown was a criminal, and, therefore, deserved what he got. Police were able to say the proverbial “I was in fear for my life,” and those who are inclined to believe that if one is shot by an officer, he or she deserved it were satisfied.

But what in the world can Cleveland police possibly be looking for after five months? How in the world can they and do they justify this prolonged “investigation?”

I hardly know what to say. This is most definitely the most painful candid observation I have come across since I have been writing this blog. A long time ago, a friend of mine said that going to church on Sunday morning, and shouting, was “grief release.” Black people held a lot in, she said, in order to survive. Sunday morning, through the shout, they were able to release the pressure of being dehumanized, ignored and oppressed.

The Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore are enraged at Mosby’s swift actions, calling it a “rush to judgement.”  They say their officers have done nothing wrong. That does not seem likely. But their being charged while the investigation is going on feels a lot better than letting them continue to patrol the community in which Freddie Gray was killed, as if nothing happened at all.

The taking to the streets is yet another form of “grief release.” There are no words to describe how the parents and family of Tamir Rice are feeling. It is as though they do not exist, and do not have feelings.

This is shameful.

A candid observation …

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