Too Many Black Bodies


Memorial outside the Triple S Food Mart where Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police. Photo by  Jonathan Bachman/Reuters. 

Enough Is Enough Redux: This week, it's Louisiana's decision not to charge the two white Baton Rouge cops who killed Alton Sterling, a black father of five, in July 2016. Their attorney general made the call "after a thorough and exhaustive review of the evidence," though to most people, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, "The final moments of (Sterling's) life looked less like a police stop and more like a public execution." The killing left yet another anguished, keening, enraged black family. "They took away a human, they took away a father," said Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Sterling's eldest son. "We're all out of tears." Sterling's aunt Veda Washington shed a few before moving on to bitter truth- telling. "They're not going to bring charges on anybody," she said. "This is white America."

The Sterling travesty comes about a week after two white Sacramento cops killed Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black father of two, by blasting him 20 times for standing in his own backyard holding a cell phone. His death, which prompted widespread protests, was likewise deemed "an execution." "They gunned him down like a dog," charged his brother Stevante. "It was like stepping on a roach." Clark's murder was so egregious California's Department of Justice says it will undertake its own investigation; Clark's family will also seek its own autopsy. Still, it keeps happening. The names of Sequita Thompson, Stephon Clark's grandmother, speak for them all and their shattered families with, "Please give us justice."


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