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Between Police Brutality and COVID, We’re Still ‘Under Siege’

On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure discuss the barrage of police violence in the wake of the George Floyd case and vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans.

  • Another week, another police murder: North Carolina man Andrew Brown, Jr., was shot in the back of the head when police stopped him on a drug warrant.

  • In California, a police officer killed a 26-year-old Hispanic man accused of shoplifting by restraining him with a knee to the back.

  • As if being Black in America isn’t hard enough, why are so many of us reluctant (or refusing) to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Just last week, our hosts discussed Derek Chauvin’s conviction for killing George Floyd and the police murder of M'khia Bryant. Now we add Andrew Brown, Jr., to the ever-expanding list of names.

In coastal North Carolina, Andrew was shot in the back of the head while driving –– “and somehow the local police are finding every possible excuse not to put out the body cam footage, which tells me they know it's bad,” says Toure.

“Once again, we are under siege from the police on a day-to-day basis,” he adds. “I feel far more afraid of the police than criminals. Police are taught by each other to behave as warriors. And that's the way they approach us in daily society.”

Danielle feels like “police departments are where fragile white men go to live out their fantasies of being strong. They’ve become a dumping ground for white male fragility.”

That’s exacerbated by “policies, laws and practices based on lies about Black people,” she says. “It’s why we have one kind of conviction for crack and another for cocaine ... because it’s based on tropes about us being dangerous, drug addicts, animals, all of these different things.”

If we don't address those untruths about Black folks being inherently criminal and dangerous, “we are never going to heal,” Danielle argues.

“But we are also more inherently vulnerable than other communities,” Toure notes –– “in terms of politics and economics. Institutions like the police believe that they can attack us and get away with it because we tend to lack the finances and political power that would allow us to fight back in an effective way.”

And that won’t ever happen unless Black people take the damn vaccine. Roll up a sleeve and let’s get into it.

Episode Highlights –– We All Gon’ Die

A warrant isn’t a license to kill

The police department playbook is pretty clear by now: When body cam footage is released right away, the cops want transparency, and that usually happens when it appears as if the victim posed a threat.

“If it looked like Andrew Brown, Jr., was doing something heinous, they would never have halted the video’s release,” says Danielle.

Apparently, the cops were pursuing Andrew Brown on a drug warrant, “so they had to have all of this SWAT combat gear,” she says. But they still claim he was “trying to run over them with his car.”

Yeah, something about that just doesn’t track.

“Show me the receipts,” says Toure. “Show me the video.”

Andrew Brown was shot ‘execution’ style

A local judge ruled to delay releasing the entire body cam video to avoid tainting the jury pool. However, he allowed 20 seconds of the footage to be released to Andrew Brown’s family and lawyers, who called it an “execution.”

A private autopsy showed he was killed with a shot to the back of head by one of five bullets.

The family claims Andrew’s hands were “firmly on the wheel” of his car and attempted to drive away as the shots were fired.

That “teeny sliver” of video proves the police are nervous, says Toure.

“These are people who declared a state of emergency before the video was released, meaning they know they’re about to have another George Floyd situation because they fucked up.”

Danielle is “fucking tired of seeing white male judges tell us what we can and cannot do, what is important and what is not.”