The Other Trayvon Martins
One of the memes surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin has been that people like Rev. Al Sharpton, in fact black people in general, are not protesting the source of most killings of young black men — other black men.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing for The Atlantic, completely demolishes this meme, pointing to easily googlable protests against gun violence held in black neighborhoods in Chicago, Newark, New York, Gary, Pittsburgh and Saginaw. And ones participated in by Sharpton.
He points to a protest held in Brooklyn only last Sunday.
Hundreds of protestors marched through Fort Greene on Palm Sunday to protest three shootings in the Ingersoll and Whitman Houses that resulted in two deaths last month.
“It needs to stop,” said Linda Simpson, resident of the nearby Farragut Houses, and one of the marchers.
Residents of the housing developments blame drugs and disconnected youth for a body count in the 88th Precinct that’s already equal to the number of murders reported in all of 2011.
“I’m tired of the violence,” said Shamecca Davis. “Our childhood friends are dropping like flies,” she added.
But not only are these efforts to fight gun violence within the black community under-reported by America’s national media, so are the ‘other Trayvons’, other young African-Americans murdered in questionable circumstances. These are just some of them.
22-year-old Rekia Boyd was shot and killed last week by an off-duty Chicago police officer in another alleged “Stand Your Ground” incident.
The officer claimed that a gun was pulled on him when he stopped in his car by a group of people by a park to ask them to be less noisy. Firing back, he shot the man he alleged had a gun, hitting him in the hand, and bystander Boyd in the head. Witnesses say no gun was pulled. Prosecutors only charged the man who police say had a gun with aggravated assault, a misdemeanor. No charges have been made on the police officer.
19-year-old Kendrec McDade’s friend was killed by Los Angeles police last weekend after his friend had stolen a backpack and the victim lied, saying that the friend had pulled a gun.
When officers responded to the robbery, they killed McDade, claiming that they saw him reach for his waistband and believed he had a gun. A lawyer for McDade’s parents alleges inconsistencies in the police account of the shooting, including the number of shots fired.
20-year-old Bo Morrison was killed three weeks ago in Wisconsin by a home owner, Adam Kind, when he found Morrison hiding, drunk, on his porch. In an echo of the Martin case, the shooter did not follow police directions. Morrison had not threatened the shooter; he was just on his porch.
Local prosecutors deemed Kind’s deadly force reasonable under the ‘castle doctrine.’ Morrison’s mother said he was trying to hide because he had previous tickets for underage drinking.
“[Adam Kind] executed my son,” she said. “This cannot happen to another kid.”
Whether Mrs. Morrison will get her wish seems unlikely. As Mychal Denzel Smith writes in Ebony, despite the long list of ‘other Trayvons’:
“If you follow the news closely, it’s easy to catch tragedy fatigue.”
Image Justice for Bo Morrison