Yesterday was Wednesday, so you know what that means. Yet another black guy was killed by the police for no apparent reason.
Poorly shot cell phone video captured the incident down in Baton Rouge, LA. A guy's just kinda standing there, not arguing with the cops or being violent. All of a sudden, 5-0 tackles him to the ground. One of the cops, probably trying to touch the guy's peen, announces that he has a gun. One of the cops yells, "If you move, I swear to FN god!" And then they just pump several rounds into him anyway. The camera turns away right before the guns go off. At least no one shouted World Star!
People are killed by police literally every day of the week, but it had been a minute since we've seen such a sizable outrage, maybe because the whole thing was caught on tape. The incident went down in the parking lot of an Arab-owned convenience store, and a guy parked nearby, who just so happened to be an activist, was rolling film before the cops busted out any wrestling moves. He could tell some shit was about to pop off. Later, an even better quality video emerged, like someone was standing right over the cops. It couldn't have been the cops' body cams, because they accidentally fell off during the incident. Whoops.
Last night, people were out in these streets, partying as if it were 2014, so to speak, if social media is any indication. On Instagram, Combat Jack posted a flyer announcing a march to demand justice for the guy who was shot down in Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling, and another guy, who was recently killed by 5-0 there in New York. Across the bottom, it read that all "shooters" were welcome and needed. Combat just posts any ol' bullshit he can get his hands on, to drive social media engagement, but I'm thinking whoever originally posted that may have been an agent, possibly someone associated with the late, great Ebony magazine. The dead giveaway is elsewhere in the flyer, where it says that protection of the black woman is paramount. Because yeah, that seems to be the problem here.
Here in the STL, a march was held in Ferguson, site of the Mike Brown shooting, in solidarity with the people of Baton Rouge, LA, and probably also with the people of Palestine for good measure. They tried to pull one of those things where they stand out in the middle of the street and block traffic, so that people on their way home from work (that doesn't have shit to do with shooting black kids dead in the street) can understand how serious they are about the significance of the act. One motorist, probably a woman (I'm assuming, due to the heartlessness of the act), was like fuck that shit! She plowed into a group of protesters, running one person over in her car. Alas, video I saw on Twitter didn't capture the vehicle, or, tragically, the actual incident, only the immediate aftermath.
This was the first big police shooting since DeRay Mckesson landed a cushy job with the public school system in Baltimore, firing middle-aged hoodrats with high-paying teaching jobs so they can eventually be replaced by people making 20 grand a year, who, for what it's worth, probably aren't significantly less capable. Though if they end up increasing the minimum wage in Baltimore to $15 an hour, like they already have in a few other cities, they'll have to pay more than 20 grand a year. And they'll be under pressure to pay slightly more than the absolute least they're allowed to pay by law, which sends out the wrong message. At that point, even someone whose job is just to stand there and hit various food items with the sour cream gun at Taco Bell would be making 30k-plus per year. We wouldn't even need free college! You don't even want to know how many years of my life I haven't made $30,000.
Hillary Clinton was in favor of a $15 minimum wage at one point, on the campaign trail, when she was trying to woo impressionable young Bernie voters who may have already been swayed to a certain degree by the identity politics case for voting Hillary. But as Politifact pointed out, her campaign site was never altered to remove the original text, which read that she's in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $12, and now that she's robbed Bernie of the nomination through voter suppression it looks like she's once again in favor of a $12 minimum wage. Similarly, for a minute there she was going around saying she was against the TPP trade agreement, which would have made it the only one of umpteen of these things that she wasn't in favor of, but now that she's locked down the nomination she's for it again. Who knows what she's got in store once she takes office?
But I digress.
Anyway, I'm thinking DeRay might not be in town this summer, what with the traffic and his new job. Protests will eventually die down here, in part because the guy wasn't even from here and in part because we already spent the past couple of years protesting, and look what good it is. I'm not sure what's going on down in Baton Rouge. It seems like I've seen more protests going on elsewhere, maybe because other cities already had a Twitter-based activism infrastructure in place, just waiting for another one of these police shootings to be caught on video. The only thing I saw out of Baton Rouge was one of the guy's baby's mothers on TV urging the people there not to tear up the city, which I took to mean that Baton Rouge is fucked the fuck up as it is; the last thing we need is a riot.
I can't imagine that justice will be served in this case. The two cops have been placed on leave, but by law they get 30 days to get their story together before they have to issue a statement. That's plenty of time even for a bayou resident. The "Justice" Department announced that they're launching an investigation, the same Justice Department that just refused to press charges against Hillary for running her own, private, illegal email system, after Bill Clinton had a special meeting with the prosecutor in the case. The victim, Alton Sterling, hardly seems like a sympathetic figure, which, as pointed out by the New York Times in their article about how Mike Brown was "no angel," is important in these cases. He's got a lengthy-ass rap sheet, with charges for everything from banging underage girls and domestic violence to weapons violations and an assault on a police officer during which a gun fell from his waist. Worse, he used to sell CDs outside that store. In 2016! He was probably intimidating people into buying those CDs. Some people who do that just use blank discs.
What this case will come down to is the fact that Sterling had a gun on him. You can see one of the cops fish it from his pocket in the second, better quality, video of the incident. He didn't have the gun out, nor did he have any way of reaching for it, but that's neither here nor there. Look at how many times cops got off in cases where the perp didn't have a damn thing.