Black lives are not expendable

Abigail Prichett, Assistant Growl Editor

On Sunday, Daunte Wright, a 20-year old Black man, was murdered by police during a traffic stop. Wright was apparently pulled over due to air fresheners hanging from the rear-view mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota. Police discovered Wright had a warrant for his arrest and attempted to apprehend him. Wright struggled and got back into his vehicle and it was at this moment when an unidentified officer discharged their gun, fatally shooting Wright.

His mother, Katie Wright, was on the phone with him when he was pulled over. She listened to the dialogue between her son and the officers, hearing the officers say, “Daunte, don’t run.” The call then ended until she received another call from Daunte’s girlfriend, the passenger, telling her that he was dead.

Soon after the incident, people gathered and protests commenced. They were met with tear gas, flash bang grenades, and projectiles from police. The timing of the shooting has also been called into question, as the trial on the death of George Floyd is currently taking place in Minneapolis.

This shooting only serves to prove the point that police are killing an inordinate number of black people. And they’re killing them for reasons that don’t warrant being killed for!

What makes this incident even worse is that apparently the officer who shot Wright actually meant to use her taser! Now I ask, how do you make that mistake when tasers are specifically made to feel different than a gun?

How about the fact that an officer’s gun and taser are on opposite sides of their belt? You cannot claim that you made a mistake when dealing with the lives of human beings. From what I’ve seen, though, it appears the police view Black people as expendable objects, rather than living beings.

How many Black people need to be murdered by the police before there are major reforms to the field? How much blood needs to be shed? Already, countless Black children, teenagers, and adults have been killed by police, yet no changes have been made.

When will the police stop making excuses for their actions? Did the police really pull Daunte Wright over because of the air fresheners? Or did they pull him over because they saw a Black man driving and they made assumptions?

Racism is very much alive in today’s society and many of the people set to protect us are absolutely filled to the brim with racist ideology. This racism is apparent in every Blue Lives Matter flag that I see. The fact that people are so against the Black Lives Matter movement that they tout the Blue Lives Matter symbol is quite frankly, disgusting.

Newsflash! Blue lives don’t exist! Police aren’t born police officers, they choose that path for themselves. Black people are born Black, they don’t choose the color of their skin. Trying to equate the two movements is disrespectful.

Here’s a popular example of police attitudes and behavior towards white people vs. Black people. Dylann Roof, a white neo-nazi and mass murderer, walked into an African American Church and murdered nine Black people.

Despite having murdered nine people, he was apprehended peacefully and then taken to Burger King for lunch! On the other hand, George Floyd was accused on using a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. The police attempted to arrest him and in doing this, officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, killing him.

This is only one of many examples. Too often, we see white serial killers and mass shooters peacefully apprehended after committing mass murder. But on the other hand, Black people are killed because they had air fresheners on their rear view mirror? Or a supposed counterfeit bill? If you have common sense, you should be able to see the issue with this!

Major reforms are necessary with our country’s police. This includes rigid racial sensitivity training taught by people of color, weapons training (like being able to tell the difference between a gun and a taser), and mental health training.

I will never know what it feels like to be a Black person in today’s society. I know that I am a privileged individual, through and through. But I will use my voice, my energy, and everything I have to fight for those who are being silenced.

Daunte Wright should be alive today, but his light went out on Sunday night. The police need to change and stop turning a blind eye to those they have continually silenced.