On March 2 Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced she will not indict officers Terrence Mercadal and Jarad Robinet in the March 2018 shooting death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark.
According to a March 2 New York Times report, Schubert said no crime was committed by the two officers and officers are legally justified in using deadly force “if the officer honestly and reasonably believes” he is in danger of death or injury. Schubert also said “both officers believed that he (Clark) was pointing a gun at them.” The report also said Clark was found unarmed with his cell phone under his body.
Who can forget unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a Black teen from Florida killed by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman initiated the confrontation yet used the “stand your ground” defense. Zimmerman was acquitted.
Or what about the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year old Mike Brown Jr. by police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri? Wilson said “I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan” comparing Brown to a super muscular adult man, stoking the white fears of a menacing, innately overpowering Black threat. Wilson was not charged.
Of course, there is 12-year old Tamir Rice, fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer just seconds after officers arrived on the scene. Throughout proceedings the child was constantly referred to as “Mr. Rice” as if he were an adult. The two officers were not charged. A recent few in the long history of Black citizens terrorized and killed by white police officers or white citizens.
These tragic encounters where killing unarmed Black people under the pretense of being “afraid for their lives” isn’t new at all. This pattern plays out almost daily in cities around the country. Only the names are different. What is consistent is their ability to kills a Black citizen, often with impunity. The narrative of white fear of non-white people, but specifically Black people is chillingly brilliant in that it plays on the deep-rooted false perception that non-whites are menaces to society and are to be feared. When white supremist mythology promotes that Black people are super strong, desensitized to pain, criminally inclined and morally inferior, how does one argue when a person claims they’re “afraid for their lives?”
In 1996, former first lady of the united states, Hilary Clinton referred to Black youth as “super-predators.” I believe, the now-infamous statement, compelled her husband, President Bill Clinton to write the 1994 crime bill, with its long-lasting devastating and irreparable effects on the Black community. The comment by Clinton fueled the fear of whites regarding Blacks and gave comfort in their misplaced fears. Law enforcement agencies around the country militarized themselves with weapons of war in order to “defend” themselves against the young, Black “super threat.”
But upon what is their fear based?
In my opinion, this pernicious assault excused by “white fear” is born of white supremist myth and a way of saying that Black people don’t belong here. Therefore, America has developed stratagems and structures that decide how Black people live, move and navigate through life. As Charles Mills writes in his book, “The Racial Contact,” “… global white supremacy is itself a political system, a particular power structure of formal or informal rule, socioeconomic privilege, and norms for the differential distribution of material wealth and opportunities, benefits and burdens, rights and duties.”
In my opinion, white America’s “fear” is actually the threat of Black advancement, mobility, power and independence. They are afraid of an equal playing field where ability and character are evenly assessed. They have convinced themselves of a form of white inferiority that will inevitably cause them to lose when Black people gain.