On Saturday, September 16th, there was a peaceful protest over a judge’s acquittal of white police officer Jason Stockley, who was charged with the first-degree murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a young black man. In 2001, on December 20th, Officer Stockley shot Smith five times and killed him, claiming that Smith was chasing him. His partner attempted to arrest him for a drug deal and Stockley said he feared for his life because Smith had a silver revolver on him. However, the prosecutor believed the gun to be planted since it had Stockley’s DNA on it but no trace of Smith’s DNA. Officer Stockley was also recorded via body cam saying that he was going to kill Smith.
After the peaceful protest had officially ended, saying they would reconvene on Sunday, several protestors stayed behind and continued to protest. Police officers arrived and told the remaining protesters to go home, saying that their protest was unlawful. Things quickly turned violent and several windows of surrounding businesses were smashed and several arrests were made.
This is yet another result of the justice system failing and people are, quite clearly, sick of it. There was strong evidence that Officer Stockley was guilty but he got away with murder. So we have people protesting in the street, decrying this injustice, and even people who believe simple protests are not enough and feel the need to resort to violence. And if protests and words will not work, and more African Americans continued to get killed while their murderers go free, who can blame them for escalation? If the people we put our faith in to uphold the law and treat everyone equally fail to do so, then the people will inevitably and eventually take matters into their own hands. This is not to say people will start mobs and attack whoever they believe is guilty, but that the public can and will find a way to make sure people pay attention to injustice and do something about it. An entire group of people cannot be discriminated against and killed without that same group fighting back.
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