We stayed with fans in 35 states when we toured the US last fall. During that time we had some eye-opening conversations with our American friends about police brutality & racism in their towns. What we were told was disturbing- while there are plenty of good cops out there, there are more bad ones than you'd think. A lot more. Stories of police harassing black communities, excessive force, racial slurs, barbaric beatings & even shootings were not uncommon. Several of these incidents were witnessed first hand by white friends & experienced first hand by black friends. We heard some horrific things involving homeless people too. What's unbelievable is American police forces are basically self-regulated, meaning they can do whatever they want and are accountable to no-one but themselves.
On Tuesday a cop in South Carolina shot a black man in the back 8 times. A witness filmed the entire incident. Before the video came to light the officer claimed he feared for his life. The video shows the man running away when the officer gunned him down in cold blood. The cop can also be seen planting something- experts believe it to be his tazer- next to the body afterwards. Here's the video (warning- it's graphic):
So does it matter what colour the cop & the victim were? It shouldn't because "All Lives Matter" right? The problem is a large number of cops (and citizens) don't believe in that philosophy. You'd have to bury your head in the sand to deny the institutionalised racism in many police forces. The videos, leaked racist emails, first-hand accounts & statistics are there for all to see. The media is heavily colour-skewed as well.
Here's one of many day-to-day examples: A black friend in Texas told us how two cops stopped him the previous day and asked to search his car. While he had the right to say no, he knew from experience that refusing would cause more problems. They ripped apart his car for 3 hours searching for something... anything... till they found an old bottle of Naproxen (a painkiller you can get from any pharmacy). The label was half ripped off so they arrested him on a drug-related charge. He paid his court fee the next day, the charge was dropped and they released him and "apologised for the mistake." He told us it wasn't the first time it had happened and it wouldn't be the last. Apparently the court fees the black community pays are an important source of revenue for the city. He's an accountant with a college degree who speaks 3 languages. It happens all the time.
Your life matters. My life matters. All lives matter. We all know that, it's common sense & repeating the obvious is pointless. The reason we need to get behind "Black Lives Matter" is because to many people all over the world, they still don't.