Outrage Not Necessary

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
#whyracestillmatters

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2 comments

  1. Ms. Allen-Kyle,

    You should be most outraged at the situation where someone drives into a parking lot, never quite parks, never gets out of the car, never interacts personally with anyone else except his date, never commits a crime, never resists arrest and never threatens anyone, does not defy police orders (contrary to the police version) then GETS SHOT TWICE IN THE BACK (FIRST) THEN FROM THE BACK/SIDE AS HE TURNED TOWARDS HIS DATE LOOKING HER IN THE EYE. See how many times these criteria fit your agenda.

    The solicitor, Chrissy Adams, is doing everything possible to break the law and to NOT CHARGE the policeman WITH ANYTHING! Would you like to see the pictures? It will be obvious that Zachary was shot literally from inside the open window with his back to the officer. Regardless of what was “found” in the car (and this remains to be verified), Zachary did not deserve to be shot twice in the back. This could have happened to YOU or your family. Would you then like to see your life dismissed by someone with your viewpoint? Zachary was shot because the policeman, Lt. Mark Tiller, is not well trained and has no moral compass. The police department is abundantly corrupt. The solicitor’s office is complicit.

    THERE IS NO OTHER CASE IN THE COUNTRY THAT HAS WITHHELD THE VIDEO AND AUDIO EVIDENCE THIS LONG. Do you wonder why? This is not anyone’s version of the USA that we learn about in school. Your commentary indicates an obvious prejudice. We have received phone calls of support from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the Black Lives Matter supporters. They recognize what you apparently do not. It’s not about the color of one’s skin. It’s about what happened that matters. Everyone deserves fair treatment.

    I sympathize with some of your positions but your dismissal of Zachary’s case demonstrates an uninformed opinion. The DOJ/FBI entered the case because there are multiple, flagrant transgressions. They stepped in after the Arlington, TX shooting which happened one week later. I challenge you to follow the story to discover the unfolding truth and see how crooked this case really is.

    Thomas McFadden, MD
    Uncle to Zachary Hammond

    1. Mr. McFadden,

      My condolences to you and your family, as I am very sorry for your loss in this tragic situation. What you have read here is my opinion on differences in access to justice in the aftermath of these unwarranted acts of police violence, and the lack of access for some as yet another function of systemic racism. It is unfortunate that you view my opinion as dismissive of your nephew’s death when, in fact, I am extremely sympathetic and believe that the DOJ investigation is the first step in accessing the justice that your family deserves. I have no agenda, nor prejudice, and have been following the case closely (as well as many others). I make no comparisons as to the “crooked[-ness]” of your case versus the others. I challenge you to follow the myriad of similar cases where not only is audiovisual evidence withheld, but so are the names of officers involved; many such cases are never even considered by the DOJ despite multiple transgressions. As you mentioned the circumstances of each case certainly matter, but that does not preclude or diminish the role of race. And in no case should the blockage of access to the justice system be tolerated.

      Again, I am very sorry for your loss.
      Portia Allen-Kyle, JD

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