Saturday, July 18, 2020

Aurora Colorado Police Kill Elijah McClain And Make Jokes

So many Black men and boys are accosted, harassed, assaulted, and murdered by their local police departments that it's difficult to keep up with the numbers and stories. Somehow Black men and boys lack any patriarchal privilege to protect them. More on that later.

One August night in Aurora, Colorado in 2019, an anemic massage therapist and violinist named Elijah McClain was walking home from the convenience store, having just purchased an iced tea for his brother. Unfortunately Mr. McClain was Black. McClain was wearing some sort of face covering to protect himself against the cool night air. That was enough for some other citizen to call the police to report McClain as suspicious. Aurora's finest rushed to the scene and immediately choked out McClain as he begged for his life.  


The police called paramedics, who injected McClain with the sedative ketamine. McClain had a heart attack and died three days later. McClain was unarmed and as far as I know had no criminal record. Unsurprisingly the coroner claimed that the cause of death was undetermined, while the district attorney promptly declined to charge any of the police or paramedics involved. 


Move along folks, nothing to see here. We didn't kill him. All we did was cut off his airflow and overload him with sedatives. Him dying is between him and God. Apparently irritated by any grief over McClain's demise, some other police officers thought it would be hilarious to take pictures of themselves mocking McClain's death near a memorial set up to honor McClain.


Three Aurora, Colo., police officers have been fired over photos that show two of them grinning and mocking the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist who was arrested and placed in a chokehold last August. Mr. McClain died several days later.
Vanessa Wilson, the interim chief of the Aurora Police Department, said she fired the officers on Friday morning for conduct unbecoming. A fourth officer resigned on Tuesday.

“While the allegations of this internal affairs case are not criminal, it is a crime against humanity and decency,” Chief Wilson said at a Friday afternoon news conference.
 “To even think about doing such a thing is beyond comprehension and it’s reprehensible. It shows a lack of morals, values and integrity, and a judgment that I can no longer trust to allow them to wear this badge.”


Chief Wilson shook her head as she revealed a photo of Officers Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich and Jaron Jones grinning in selfies they took last October near a memorial that had been set up in Mr. McClain’s memory. Another photo showed Officer Dittrich smiling widely as Officer Jones wraps his arm around his neck. Officer Marrero is grinning in the background. The photos were then sent to Officer Jason Rosenblatt, one of the three officers who arrested Mr. McClain last summer. He texted back “haha,” according to Chief Wilson.

This is the definition of systemic racism. The entire structure diminishes or dismisses the value of Black life. It's not just a few bad apples. It's only because of the more recent death of George Floyd that most people outside of Aurora, Colorado have even heard of Elijah McClain.
The picture of the joking officers is similar to pictures of these police officers' ideological and/or perhaps actual ancestors taking selfies at the smoldering remains of lynched, burned, castrated Black men or smirking at Nazi death camps while standing in front of stacked Jewish corpses. 

It shows an utter rejection of human decency or common humanity. These devilish people have made their decision. Black people do not matter to them. Black people will never matter to them. Black death is humorous to them. They can not be shamed or guilt-tripped into thinking otherwise. They simply do not and can not think of Black men as human. They can't be retrained any more than one could retrain a rabid dog. The only thing you can do with such a beast is put it down. 


Spending money and time on retraining or community outreach or de-escalation approaches is a waste. All that does is line some people's pockets and alternately irritate or amuse police officers forced to attend the sessions. We've tried that approach. It doesn't work.


Such vile police officers and their enablers won't understand the value of human life until they suffer a similar loss. They won't stop killing Black people until they know that they too can and will suffer immediate and/or lethal consequences. That's how the world works. Hoping otherwise is in my opinion dangerously naive at this late date. We are not dealing with moral people.
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