Why on Earth do I have to write about this again? At what point does this become normal?
Sadly, you guessed it…another young Black kid was senselessly murdered by a member of law enforcement in Balch Springs, Texas, and once again it has many people in this nation reeling.
Here we find yet another example of a 15-year-old Black male, Jordan Edwards, who was an outstanding and gifted honor roll student-athlete as a freshman at Mesquite High School, having his young life cut short because of an irresponsible decision that turned out to be fatal.
Jordan was fatally shot in the head with a high-powered rifle by an officer, whose name has yet to be released, after he and four other teenagers decided to leave a party they were attending after allegedly hearing gunshots. Initially, the Balch Springs Police Department said the officer shot at the car because it was being driven backwards toward the officer in an “aggressive manner.”
The next day, however, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber decided to flip the script, and revealed that upon reviewing the body-cam video footage of the incident, the video showed a different, conflicting narrative. Chief Haber changed his tune and stated that the officer actually shot at the car as it was “moving forward as the officers approached,” not the way it was originally reported. In other words…they lied!
According to Chief Haber, the actions of the unnamed officer “did not meet” their “core values.”
What does that actually mean? To me, that’s just like saying, “Oops, my bad!”
There are too many “Oops, my bad” occurrences happening in many cities and towns across America, with dangerous individuals holding key positions in government, the judicial system and yes, in law enforcement.
As soon as I heard about this incident, I couldn’t help but recall an encounter I had on social media with a former Balch Springs City Council Member named Howard D. Arnold back in 2012, which speaks to the type of culture I knew existed in cities like Balch Springs, Texas.
I was on Facebook one day, when I made a comment on another person’s Facebook post and out of nowhere, Council Member Arnold chimed in and started railing about African Americans, giving out unjustifiable statistics. Well…when I pushed back on those “alternative facts,” Arnold decided he would go straight nuclear on me and all Black people, saying:
“The only popcorn you Obama lovers pop is ACORNS. Popped ACORNS and Kool-Aid, what a match!”
“If you are an African American, then quit bitching and try to educate YOUR people and tell them to stop using the N-word so much, it makes them look dumb.”
“99.6% of all African Americans voted for Obama based on skin color.”
“The most racist people in this country are African Americans. African Americans have committed millions more crimes against whites versus the 10,000 of Whites against Blacks. Who’s the racist? Who needs to be protected by the Hate Crimes Act?”
There was a lot more, and I don’t have enough space to share them all, but he called me a moron and an idiot. His true colors had been revealed to me and others, and all I could do was think about how this man was an elected official, with that type of mindset; responsible for making decisions about other people’s daily lives – such as providing oversight and governance over the city’s police chief and other key city positions.
Sadly, you find that there are many community leaders, business professionals, religious leaders, elected officials and law enforcement officials who openly express their prejudicial beliefs and racist nature. I strongly support members of law enforcement and our public servants who are charged to keep us safe, but this has gone too far and for way too long without being fully addressed. If there is anything that happens that requires the use of deadly force, it should be justifiable and the facts should back it up.
That wasn’t the case with Jordan Edwards and the Balch Springs Police Department.
Didn’t we just deal with the murder, caught on camera, of one of our young Black boys back on November 23, 2014, when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot in the chest by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, after they responded to a 9-1-1 call that Rice was in the city park playing with a gun, which turned out to be a toy gun? He was murdered in cold-blood in less than two seconds of the cops rolling up on him at the park, while the car was still moving. No warning. No threat. No first aid. No chance. Rice died on the scene at the ripe young age of 12.
Listen…if we haven’t already realized this – at some point we are going to have to acknowledge that people of color are not just whining and complaining. There is a REAL issue here, which leads to the emotional and angry responses we witness from people of color.
Does anyone really believe that people of color enjoy this? Or that we make it one of our annual traditions?
Who do you know that enjoys continuously having to complain and mourn whenever they experience or hear about recurring episodes of what appears to be the overwhelmingly consistent killings of people of color by police officers each year?
We’re tired of the excuses. We’re tired of the abuse of power. Most importantly, however, we’re tired of the lies and the cover-ups. For far too long, many people of color have fallen victim to a select group of rogue police officers who have used their position of authority to justify and get away with criminal behavior, which in many cases have had fatal consequences.
This has to stop, and until it does, we will continue to fight; but more importantly, we need to all ‘Kiss Our Sons’ and ‘Hug Our Daughters’, while praying that it’s not our very last time doing so.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and has a daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney. He is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org