Let’s talk about this question (mostly white) people are asking about the police killing of Zachary Hammond, namely, “Where is the outrage?” This was a time for those mindlessly countering “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” to step in and make their straw man argument; they did not. Hammond was shot twice by an officer during an alleged drug bust in a Hardee’s parking lot in Seneca, South Carolina. It is undoubtedly a tragic situation that never should have happened, but my outrage tends to be reserved for those whose humanity is not recognized even in death, such as the many black victims of police violence.
You see, on August 11th Hammond’s parents made a statement demanding a Department of Justice investigation. The DOJ announced it was launching the investigation practically the same day. They asked for a DOJ investigation and they got it, simply by asking for it. The media hasn’t gone out of their way to slander Hammond’s character, like they have done with so many others and are currently attempting to do with Mansur Ball-Bey.
Hammond’s parents asked for a DOJ investigation and they got it, simply by asking….
Police are also on trial charged with second-degree murder for the killing of James Boyd, a homeless man killed by Albuquerque PD after they confronted him over accusations of illegally camping. Boyd was also white. But, in these instances we have seen these victims of police violence being treated with some semblance of dignity and personhood in their death, even though they were robbed of their life.
So while these are all sad situations, my outrage is reserved for those who receive no such treatment. Cases such as Radazz Hearns, the fourteen year old boy in Trenton, NJ shot seven times by police and lived earlier this month, yet police only answered with charges of weapon possession and assaulting an officer weeks later. Or cases such as Sandra Bland, where we still have little to no answers regarding the circumstances surrounding her death. Or cases such as Ralkina Jones, who after explicitly expressing her fear of dying in a jail cell in Ohio was later found dead in the cell; officials admit they may have improperly medicated Jones, but this claim is ‘under investigation.’ Or cases such as Jerame Reid, where a New Jersey grand jury refused to charge the officers who killed him while he was exiting the car with his hands up.
The lack of ‘outrage’ in Hammond’s case isn’t due to a lack of video or the absence of a history of complaints against Seneca police, nor is it simply because he was white. Cases such as Sandra Bland show that no matter how many times a name is tweeted – and no matter how outraged people are – it does not mean it will end in justice if you are black. Cases such as Zachary Hammond show that no matter how often you are not tweeted you will still likely get justice if you are white. I save my outrage for the former; the latter seem to do just fine without it.
by Portia Allen-Kyle