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Illustration by John Hiller/Staff Illustrator

 

Opinion| It's Time Justice is Spread Equally

 

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Jordan Smith                   
Contributing Columnist    
Smithj16@uab.edu

 

The high-volume killings of unarmed black people have sparked protests and attention in the media due to a problem of systematic racism. The attitude toward the police continues to deepen. 

Amber  Guyger, a white former Dallas police officer, was found guilty of murdering her unarmed black neighbor while in his home. 

 

Guyger’s case is an extraordinary one. She walked in Botham Jean’s apartment while he was sitting on his sofa eating ice cream when she mistook him for an intruder and shot him. 

 

Jean’s horrific death has sparked outrage. 

 

He was a defenseless black man who was killed by a white trigger happy police officer. We have a problem in America. 

 

Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison and will be eligible for parole after five years. The convicted killer received countless hugs and hair fixings, and an unusual display public of forgiveness. She received a lenient punishment, prosecutors asked for no less than twenty-eight years in honor of Jean’s birthday and unfortunately did not receive that.

 

Guyger’s case has sparked emotional fallout throughout the United States because the American justice system does not hold white individuals accountable for their actions.

 

For example, the Dallas Police Department has a record of brutal events that involve minorities, the most barbaric occurring in the 1980s.

 

The Washington Post states that “in 1973, an officer shot and killed a handcuffed 12-year old Hispanic boy, Santos Rodriguez, who had been accused of stealing $8 from a vending machine. In 1986, an officer shot and killed Etta Collins, a black Sunday school teacher standing on her porch, who had called the police because she thought she heard a burglar.” The first officer only served 2 ½ years while the other officer was not indicted. 

 

On the other hand, black inmates remain in jail for lesser offenses and lengthier sentences. 

 

According to Philip Stinson, a legal expert on police shootings, he says that “106 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter for an on-duty shooting. Of that number 36 have been convicted of crimes so far, often for lesser chargers, such as misconduct.” 

 

“Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the United States population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015”, according to the National Advancement of Colored People.

 

Guyger’s case is triggering. 

 

She received hugs as if her suffering for her consequences needed sympathy. White police officers rarely receive consequences, the victim is often dismissed, and black people are asked to “make nice.” 

 

Black people have continuously taken the emotional toll of seeing their loved ones be killed or incarcerated by hatred and told to get over the racism always directed at them.

 

Tamir Rice was fatally killed at twelve years old, E.J Bradford was killed in an attempt to be the hero in protecting others in the Riverchase Galleria Thanksgiving shooting, Micheal Brown who was unarmed and killed, and Trayvon Martin who was walking home from the convenience store where he bought candy. These are just a few black men unjustly killed. 

 

How many of us does it take to get proper justice? How many times must we be slapped in the face with levels of injustice? 

 

Our lives matter.

 

Police corruption must stop and equal justice must begin in the courtroom. Indictments and convictions of officers need not vary depending on race.

 

 

 

 

About - Student Media

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