Tamar Rice’s Life Reduced to Money

When the news report told the world that the family of Tamir Rice, the unarmed, 12-year-old African American boy who was shot to death by police officers, had been awarded $6 million by the city of Cleveland, I was sick. And angry. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/25/us/tamir-rice-settlement/)

I was sick because once again, a family received money but not justice. The officers who killed Tamir Rice were not charged with his murder. Although they rode up on this young boy, who was holding a toy pellet gun, probably scaring him half to death, and shot him within seconds, they were able to give the standard “I was in fear for my life” line and they got off.  Timothy Loehmann, the officer who fired the fatal shot is still on the police force, still on the streets.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city of Cleveland admits no wrong and the family has agreed to drop criminal charges against the two officers involved in the tragedy. (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35793-tamir-rice-s-family-gets-6-million-settlement-for-police-killing-of-12-year-old)

The whole scenario, one which is repeated over and over in this country, makes me sick.

But I was angry because there is a disconnect between the cry of what “taxpayers” complain about and what they are willing to spend millions of dollars for. “Taxpayers,” which seems to be code for “white” taxpayers, are willing to pay millions of dollars to families of victims of police violence and brutality, and they are also willing to pay millions to keep people, too many of whom are black, poor …and innocent of violent crime – in prison. They are willing to pay millions of dollars to build prisons but not willing to put that same amount of money into building quality schools in urban neighborhoods. They are willing to pay millions of dollars to families of murdered children, but not willing to pay millions to expand Medicaid so that poor people can have access to health care.

It is sickening.

If it were my child who had been murdered as had been Tamir Rice or John Crawford, or Mike Brown …no amount of money would be enough. I would not want money. In the absence of my child, killed unjustly, I would want justice.  I would want some court, somewhere, to make the police pay for what they had done. I would want a movement started that would demand all police departments go through some kind of training, something , to make it so they would have to stop killing unarmed black people. I would want it and I would want it bad.

I wouldn’t care about the money. The hell with the money.

Whenever a loved one is murdered, the ones left behind want justice. It is a normal human reaction and need, but it seems that this society doesn’t understand that the continued lack of justice for families of victims  shot by police only creates more anger, anguish and pain for survivors.

This society doesn’t understand and doesn’t care. That is the nucleus, the center of the pain that the African American community carries and has carried for literally generations. From the time when whites could hunt down and kill escaped slaves legally, to the countless times when blacks were tried by white judges in front of all-white juries, many times for crimes the judge and jury knew they hadn’t committed, this travesty and absence of justice has been a reason for a deep-seated anger and pain for African-Americans.

To add insult to injury, the head of the Cleveland police union, Steve Loomis, had the audacity to suggest that perhaps the family of Tamir Rice would use a part of the money they receive to “educate” children on the dangers of mishandling either toy or real guns. Loomis said he wants something positive to come out of Tamir’s death.

Seriously. The police department of Cleveland, which murdered Tamir Rice, now wants to dictate how the family of this child should spend money they received?

White supremacy, which has deluded white people into thinking that they are superior and that if a black person is shot by police, he or she deserved it, is a sickness. It is a mental illness, and those afflicted, need help and treatment. To think that any family would be satisfied with money after losing a child, is the height of arrogance and racism.

It is insulting and is, frankly, a troubling …candid observation.

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