No More Bodies: The Bucket of Anger That Is Already Stirring
Memorial for DuBose. Photo by Tom Uhlman/ AP
Things change, and they don't. Even as police continue to gun down unarmed black men, the head of the country's largest police chief organization for the first time acknowledged and apologized for the “historical mistreatment” of people of color. Terrence Cunningham of the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police told 27,000 chiefs at their annual conference that police have been the “face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens,” and called mistrust between police and minorities the “fundamental issue” facing them today. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has announced it will take over the two-year civil rights probe of Eric Garner's death after New York prosecutors failed to move forward with it. All good, small steps.
Garner was killed almost exactly a year before Samuel DuBose, a father of 13 shot in the head and killed in July 2015 by former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing just seconds after he'd stopped DuBose for a missing license plate. Tensing claimed he fear for his life, and other cops backed him up; fortuitous if grisly video - be warned - contradicted them. An independent report found the shooting the result of “poor police tactics” and “critical errors in judgment,” prosecutors called it “senseless” and “asinine,” and Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said the video showed, "This is without question a murder."
Tensing was quickly fired, and charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. Tuesday marked the start of his trial, with over 200 prospective jurors to be questioned. The trial is being carefully watched by a black community that feels "fed up and increasingly cornered" in a country where, for them and their kids, "It's scary everywhere." Local activist groups supporting them and holding rallies include Black Lives Matter, the Amos Project, and anti-police brutality advocates Countdown to Conviction Coalition; they are all demanding, finally, accountability and justice.
As city officials brace for unrest, organizers say their peaceful protests have one goal. Said Brian Taylor of Black Lives Matter: "This is to put a little bit of pressure on the city and try to give them an idea that we see you, we saw the video, and anything less than a conviction, with all this evidence, falls into the bucket of anger that is already stirring." As much of the country watches and waits for long-overdue change, artists Alexa Meade, Jon Boogz and Lil Buck show why it's needed in a haunting video.