This is a story we hear all too often with alarming frequency. Police officers stop an unarmed person for a minor infraction. It escalates. Then said person is either killed or beaten senseless. Most of the time, we see them harming and killing black victims—although, this is an issue that impacts other people of color and whites as well. It is well documented that blacks are more likely to be killed by police proportionate to our representation in the population. It is also true that the media loves capitalizing on black trauma and death, which is why we hear about this so much. And these facts deserves our proper attention.
But, we cannot stop there. Non-black people need to be invested in this issue as well. Of course, one reason is because it’s a social justice issue and reminds us how far we have to go when it comes to race relations and equity in this country. But, while anti-blackness is a root cause of much of this behavior, this type of violence doesn’t end with black folks. We must face the truth that police officers engage in brutality and deadly force way too much without justification or accountability. And that should concern everyone because, as a society, we are way too complacent about how pervasive this issue really is.
In Asheville, North Carolina, right now, there is an ongoing case that highlights concern about this issue. It has both disgusted and angered the local community.
Federal authorities are investigating body camera footage from August that shows two white police officers Tasering and beating a black man whom they accused of jaywalking in Asheville, N.C.
The footage, obtained by The Citizen Times, has created an uproar in town. One of the officers has resigned, and the police chief has offered to follow suit.
“The city is in outrage,” Councilwoman Sheneika Smith said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Facebook was flaming. It was on fire.”
Johnnie Jermaine Rush was coming home after his dishwashing shift at Cracker Barrel. It was after midnight when he was approached by a police officer, Verino Ruggiero. Ruggiero told Rush that he had failed to cross the street using the crosswalk multiple times. He then said that he was left with the choice of either arresting Rush or writing him a ticket. When Rush responds with something that equates to the equivalent of “do what you’ve got to do, but leave me alone,” that’s when the situation became serious.