ABOVE: Ronald Greene
We hear the phrase “video evidence” too much these days. It is usually associated with beatings and killings.
The term has become synonymous with African American men, and I will add, in the wrong way.
The police and law enforcement have a challenging relationship with our community. It has always been this way, in my opinion. There are pockets of good; however there are too many valleys of bad. We are guilty at first glance, and many times without any evidence. We are what I call “color guilty.”
Assumptions about us are turned into facts. We do not get breaks, we get broken.
The trauma associated with African American men and the police is real. It is always there. The difference today is that we can see it.
Back in the day, we heard these stories about police being unjust and physically attacking Black men. Law enforcement exerted free reign over us. Our ancestors, who were victimized, always told us to look out.
We have looked out and now we are telling a new generation of Black men to look out.
Videos have shown the world, up close and personal, what is happening to us.
Do you remember Rodney King?
His beating by the police was graphic and gruesome. I thought this attack on King would land the police in jail for a long time.
It did not. They were found not guilty on almost all of the charges. This happened in 1991.
Afterwards, then Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley said, “The jury’s verdict will never blind the world to what we saw on video tape.”
In 1994, the city of Los Angeles awarded Rodney King $3.8 million dollars. Was money the only remedy for the police beating a Black man almost to death?
Within the past week, we were shown another video of a Black man being brutally assaulted by law enforcement.
It happened in Louisiana. Ronald Greene, 49 years of age from Monroe, Louisiana, was killed at the hands of the Louisiana State Police.
The sad fact is that this incident occurred two years ago. Yes, two years ago in 2019!
Parts of the video were released, and this heinous crime was witnessed by all.
The cover-up started with the state police saying that Ronald Greene died in a car crash.
That was a lie. Brother Ronald Greene was punched, kicked, tased and dragged to his death.
David Thomas, a former police officer and now a professor of forensic science at Florida Gulf Coast University said, “It literally was torture. There was no regard for humanity. As a Black man, I am torn between what I know a good cop should be and what this profession is doing to my community.”
Mona Hardin, the mother of Ronald Greene, told CNN she could not watch the entire video because of how horrific it was.
She said, “Everyone that put their hands on Ronald Greene should be arrested and two minutes after they are arrested, anyone who participated in the cover-up should follow them right into the jail cell.”
Her pain cannot be measured. It will last forever.
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis said a few days ago that they were making significant changes.
I am flummoxed about the changes and choices made by law enforcement when they are caught in the act of wrongdoing.
Sometimes these changes are too few and too far in between.
Transparency and full disclosure are familiar words that law enforcement officers use these days, but is it selective transparency and selective full disclosure?
There is compelling and tragic video evidence in the death of Ronald Greene.
Is that enough?