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Justice For Philando Castile, At Last

The police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile was charged with manslaughter today, offering a small glimmer of hope throughout the country. Castile was killed in his own vehicle in front of his girlfriend and daughter. The live facebook video portraying the gruesome incident sparked outrage in cities across the country. Even from the shaky video, viewers could tell that the seemingly mundane roadside police stop was escalated to a point where it should have never been taken. When Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled over Castile, I’m unsure that he even knew why he was stopping the vehicle besides the blatant fact that a Black man was in a suburban neighborhood. When Officer Yanez approached the car, Castile warned that he had a license to carry a firearm and to combat the officer’s warning to not pull the firearm out, Castile assured the man in blue that he was merely getting his license from his pocket. Unsurprisingly, his words of assurance were not good enough and a melanin hand reaching into the abyss that is the pocket of baggy jeans was a threat that Officer Yanez could not ignore. He proceeded to shoot Castille not once or twice but several times, killing him for committing absolutely no crime. 

This wasn’t the first time a Black man or woman has been murdered at the hands of the police and was definitely not the last. We have seen the situation play out one too many times, and so we were accustommed to what typically follows after an officer shoots someone from the Black community. The officer hires an expensive lawyer, the whole case becomes a ‘he said’ ‘she said’ situation except the victim is dead and the officer has an overwhelming amount of respect and privelege, and the officer usually gets off with no jail time. We’ve seen this happen with Mike Brown, and Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice, and so many others who’s names cannot rest in piece because their killers never recieved accountability.

I must admit that I myself was weary that this case would be any different. But finally, our U.S justice system has proved me wrong and showed that it has at least a shred of humanity left. It knew where to draw the line, recognizing that there was no possible way to justify this killing of a Black man in front of his family. I wish this epiphany would have come sooner, I wish that so many other families that have lost their sons, daughters, husbands, and wives to the people that are meant to protect us could have the same feeling of knowing that their loved one’s killer would be held accountable. And yet, even this is not enough. There will always be loopholes and get out of jail free cards and nothing will ever bring the deceased back to breathe another day. But for now, this will have to be good enough.

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