There are signs of actual hope in the case of Philando Castile’s death. In the few days since the acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting of Philando Castile: 1) Protests here in the Cities have been vocal and noticed, but no “huge” incidents to get white people upset too quickly, and 2) I have run into 3 places on the web calling the case a miscarriage of justice that surprise me.
I read a conservative theologian quite regularly, so when this normally mild-mannered academic posted with the title: “Is There a New Form of Lynching in America?” I took notice. I had to see if it was a guest post, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t a normally quiet man raging at injustice.
He concludes with these intense words:
I believe we, in America, are once again living in a racist social atmosphere in which no innocent black boys or men are safe and in which police have reason to believe they are safe to kill unarmed black boys and men. It is time for outrage and outcry (not violence) from those who are “on the fence” and have “mixed feelings” and are not yet ready to name this evil for what it really seems to be: a new form of lynching.
Then, David French at National Review called the decision a miscarriage of justice. He walks through the timeline of the traffic stop. Realize this: only 74 seconds elapsed from the pulling over of the vehicle to the shooting of Philando Castile.
These chilling words, again, from a conservative:
If you read carefully, you’ll note that it appears that the officer shot Castile for doing exactly what the officer told him to do. Yanez asked for Castile’s license. Castile told him that he had a gun, and the officer – rather than asking for his carry permit, or asking where the gun was, or asking to see Castile’s hands – just says, “Don’t reach for it then.”
At that point, Castile is operating under two commands. Get his license, and don’t reach for his gun. As Castile reaches for his license (following the officer’s orders), and he assures him that he’s not reaching for the gun (also following the officer’s orders). The entire encounter, he assures Yanez that he’s following Yanez’s instructions.
He died anyway.
Then, there is The Federalist. Again, NOT a bastion of liberal ideology! Daniel Payne writes that the decision was an abomination.
It honestly should be THIS SIMPLE:
Philando Castile is dead, and he’s dead because Yanez killed him for no good reason. This is not a hard nut to crack. We should not be afraid to prosecute and convict law enforcement officers for unjustly killing innocent people. The police, good as they can be, are not above the law. Nobody is.
But… it is NOT that simple. Not if you’re black in America.