|How old am I:||I am 50|
|My figure type:||My body features is fat|
|What is my favourite drink:||Stout|
Kalief Browder had been as much symbol as man long before he hung himself last weekend. Accused of stealing a backpack in when he was 16 years old, he was sent—as so many New York youth are—to Rikers Island. As Jennifer Gonnerman detailed in The New Yorker last fallBrowder steadfastly denied the crime, and was eventually released without a trial.
But thanks to a clogged court system, for more than one thousand dayshis jailers isolated him and his fellow inmates tortured him in one of the harshest prison environments in our lockup-happy nation. In the process, Browder became a case to cite by an aspiring White House resident and a mayor seeking prison reform.
Gonnerman eulogized Browder in a plaintive post the evening after his suicide, a death that shone yet another light on how carelessly this nation continues to discard black youth, disappearing their futures with a criminal record or a bullet. The night before Browder hanged himself at his home in the Bronx, Brandon Brooks, a white teenager in McKinney, Texas, had the presence of mind to start recording video of McKinney patrol supervisor Cpl.
The image of Casebolt yanking year-old Dajerria Becton by her braids to the ground, putting his knee firmly in her back before pulling his pistol and aiming it at the two black boys who tried to come to her aid, rightfully has been the image on which most have focused.
Multiple reports late Tuesday indicated that Casebolt has reed from the force. The taunt about public housing is telling. Like the place I grew up, McKinney has its poorer, blacker section and its wealthier, whiter part.
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Thing is, this occurred in a section in the western part of town called Craig Ranchwhere most of the black kids at the party reportedly live. This time was no different. The implied threat of blackness is only the reflection of white fear. That day, as with nearly every other, fear was quickly accompanied by overreaction. It seems that nearly every time the police are called on black people, someone dies. Nor did they think about how the cops could have ensnared every black youth at that party in the legal system, jeopardizing their futures. It was criminal, nearly mortal negligence.
The McKinney incident is a rather stark example of white Americans eager to keep themselves isolated and their communities monochromatic. Cops are loosed upon innocent black kids like so many dogs. Only one adult was taken into custody, but I imagine Becton will have her scars from the experience of being assaulted by Casebolt, as will the two boys at whom the officer pointed his weapon.
We cannot stop being blackso the change will have to come from the other side. The cavalier deployment of law enforcement on black Americans needs to be addressed with policy that sets forth specific and harsh consequences for officers who behave as Casebolt did.
On Tuesday morning, The Guardian published an interview with a national champion of those policing tactics, New York police commissioner William Bratton.
Overpolicing is not simply leaving we black Americans less able to police ourselves. It is ruining our futures.
That needs to matter, too. Jamil Smith is a journalist, radio host, and contributing editor at The New Republic.
He was ly a senior editor for the magazine and hosted the podcast Intersection. You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser and improve your visit to our site.
Jamil Smith JamilSmith. : RacismCulturePolitics.