On June 17th, a jury of seven men and five women deliberated for four days before acquitting St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez on charges of second-degree manslaughter charges related to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, 32, last July. Castile’s death, as you may recall, happened in real time via his girlfriend’s phone on Facebook live.
It seemed pretty cut and dried to anyone that watched the same video that I did. A man is pulled over by a cop, the man tells cop he owns a legally registered weapon, cop shits himself and shoots the black man. It really seemed like a slam dunk. The cop got caught up in his own excitement and completely overstepped his boundaries. And for what, for a broken tail light?
We should all be used to this feeling by now. The day Trayvon Martin’s assassin was given a pat on the back and a judicial sendoff I knew the goal posts had been shifted. If you can’t convict a man for shooting a black child for walking back from the corner store, any notion of systemic justice pertaining to the jury exoneration of Officer Yanez last week was a long shot.
And Trevor Noah summed up this jaded horror perfectly, by calling on the very organization that insists it’s there for the armed citizen: the NRA:
How does a black person not get shot in America?
Trevor Noah is absolutely correct in his summation, the posts are always changing for black people, and there are no hardened set rules for POC. Philando Castile was a legal gun owner, who had committed no crime. In the hours, weeks and months after his needless death the one organization that swears it stands for Castille fell silent, so silent it was deafening.
When it comes to race, the NRA is organized silence.