Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta passed out in his car and blocked the drive-thru at Wendy’s. He woke for the last time to a knock on his window by two police officers, who were called to the scene.
The misfortune to come, in the space of an hour, was such that no sapient being could predict. The contrast of this with George Floyd is stark.
And yet a father of four was killed, which is in and of itself a tragedy; with this we can all be of the same mind. The fact that he did not have to die has made it all the more tragic.
But the truth is, those who strong-arm a Taser out of an officer’s hand and try to shoot him with it, will fare no better.
In the end, he may well not have lost his life, but for the five fatal errors he made. The first was resisting arrest, which is a felony. The second was when he struck the officers.
The next rose out of him wrestling the Taser away, his third. And then he took off, which led to his fourth. But in lieu of continuing to flee, he turned around, aimed and fired: this is how his fifth came about.
To characterize this as an issue of race negates his deeds, which by and large set in motion the chain of events that led to him being shot.
Why not just give him a free pass? Or give him a ride home? The logical point of contention is that no one is above the law. That’s what we’re told.
A person who gets behind the wheel drunk isn’t just gambling with his life. If he is lucky, the trip will end with him in a cell, not a grave.
But nine times out of 10, the story will unfold with the mourners who had to bury a loved one who was killed by a drunk driver.
Fed up with the racial disparity, the ire of a city railed that they could have chosen to let him flee. Why not pick him up later?
Though if a car had hit him, then they’d have to reap the consequence of that, too. And yet, one can laud the merits of a written reprimand when juxtaposed to the death penalty.
June didn’t start off well for the four officers who Tased two students in Fulton County, Ga.
It looked as if District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. was in a rush to charge them with aggravated assault, since he argued that the Taser, which they fired, was a deadly weapon under Georgia law.
Then, in a stunning jolt, Howard is struck with amnesia. He portrayed Brooks as jovial, cooperative and calm. And he posed him as “peacefully sleeping in his car.”
Can one blame the NAACP for decrying this as just another black man killed by police for sleeping?
He cast a blind eye away from the lethal weapon clause, as well as a deaf ear from the facts, when he claimed, “Mr. Brooks never presented himself as a threat.”
To top it all off, Howard brought charges against both officers before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) had a chance to complete a full probe (Belcher, 2020) (Saavedra, 2020) (WSBTV.com, 2020).
To be sure, the Fulton County Police is not the only institution with a personnel problem. City leaders lay all the blame on them and, in a sign of cowardice and betrayal, turn their backs.
The Machiavellian policies which Howard employs in his pursuit for power unearths a character who is the quintessence of malfeasance.
He holds his bid for re-election above those who he binds to step atop on his way up.
For a start, there is nothing he’d rather do than shift the spotlight off his shady dealings. The hallmark of dirty politics comes in the form of the GBI launching another criminal probe into the county D.A.
Howard faces two allegations of sexual abuse; he stands accused of discrimination; and there have been 12 state ethics complaints filed.
From 2014 through 2017, he funneled $170,000 away from the city and into his pocket through a nonprofit. How will the public ever thrive when crooks like Howard hijack the piggy bank (Rankin, 2020) (Eldridge, 2020)?
To reiterate, the loss of Mr. Brooks was horrific, and he may have been spared had a number of choices been made on both sides that night.
At the same time, Mr. Rolfe is the only one being held culpable so far; he faces a charge, which carries with it a penalty much stiffer than those in the George Floyd case.
The sport of “what if” can last as long as the blame game, and while no one will ever win, we still play on. So, at what point should we take responsibility for our own fate?
We stand united if we all follow the same set of standards. By the same scale, the great divider is applying the law or rules to some and not others.
RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.