When an officer stops and approaches a vehicle, both the cop and the driver are vulnerable. Any wrong move or misjudgment can turn the encounter deadly.
Another tragedy overarches the killings of police and black men last week: America’s ongoing struggle to reconcile itself along lines of race. We are still fighting over what being black means — and should mean — in a nation that ostensibly holds equality as a foundational belief.
“We have a mandate: to avenge the sufferings of our ancestors, earn the respect of future generations and be transformed in the service of the work. That is what we are in the streets for. We’re going to take as much time as we need.”
As these words are written, I am on a cruise ship pulling into the harbor of the Greek island of Crete. All around me, the morning sparkles. The water is placid, the sky is clear and pale blue, our ship is embraced by gently sloping hills dotted with houses and shops. And I just turned on the television.
There was madness, indeed, on the street in the suburbs of Minneapolis Wednesday, but you can be sure it is not confined to the state of Minnesota, that evening or this.
The deaths of five Dallas police officers and Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have exposed the fissures in American society, bringing together some of the toughest issues the nation faces into one week: mistrust of police within the Black community, gun violence, and hyper-partisanship.
Larry Wilmore wrote his monologue for last night’s The Nightly Show after the police killing of Alton Sterling, who was shot multiple times in the chest while pinned to the ground by two police officers. But he wrote it before the police killing of Philando Castille.
It was another traffic stop. Philando Castile was driving with his girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, when they were pulled over at a traffic stop for a broken taillight, according to a video Reynolds posted on Facebook just after he was shot.