Murder and Unrequited Justice

Around the time George Zimmerman was acquitted for murdering Trayvon Martin, I took to Facebook to vent my frustration over the case and my fears for my kid, a black boy who was quickly transforming into a black teenager who would soon be categorized as a black man because “black kids look older.”

“Don’t let one idiot make you feel this way,” replied my high school band director. In one sentence, this 40-something, white man from Alabama dismissed my anger and concern as trivial and irrational. That hurt, but I also understood that my lived experiences were different from his. He had never, and would never, fear that his child’s life would be taken from him in the way I did because of the privilege their white skin awarded them.

“It’s not the one stupid bigot that I fear,” I replied after calming my initial anger and gathering my words. “I fear a system that denies justice by refusing to convict these bigoted murderers when they kill black children. I can wrap my mind around losing my child. I can not make peace with his life being stolen and the system not giving him justice.” My high school band director never responded…and eventually he unfriended me.

Deep down, I hoped that George Zimmerman’s acquittal would be the last time I felt the system deny humanity and justice when a black life was lost. But it wasn’t.

Since George Zimmerman was acquitted for murdering Trayvon Martin, there has been Jordan Davis[1], Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland…and these are just the names I can remember without the assistance of Google. On Monday, Tamir Rice’s name was added to this ever-growing list of black people who were denied justice by a fundamentally broken system that is drenched in white supremacy.

I saw Trayvon’s murder as a catalyst for a conversation. I viewed Mike Brown as a martyr for a cause bigger than himself. But Tamir’s death just makes me angry. I’m tired of burying black children. I’m over hoping their death is the Emmett Till moment that changes something. If my son’s life is ever stolen, I want to find comfort in the fact that his killer is punished. The thought of burying him sans justice is overwhelming, and I can only sit in awe and amazement at the fact that some how the mothers of Trayvon, and Jordan, and Michael, and John, and Eric, and Sandra, and Tamir press on.

Why does the system, which we are told is there to protect us, allow so much black death to go unavenged? Why is it so hard for us to hold cops accountable? How can this remotely resemble the country we were taught to love in school?

This is not okay. We have to fix this.


Read the words of Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty, who recommended charges not be filed against officers Timothy Loehmann, who had been deemed unstable for duty when previous employed by a police department, and Frank Garmback, who had been previous named in a settled excessive force lawsuit.

Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, releases a statement on the non-indictment of officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.

UCC leader calls Tamir Rice killing “murder by law enforcement.”



[1] Jordan Davis’ murderer was convicted in a second trial.