Policing in America needs change

Beatriz da Costa, Contributing Writer

“That looks like a bad dude.” These were words used to describe Terence Crutcher in his final seconds before death.

In fact, those words were the determining factor of whether or not the father of four would be unreasonably murdered, or allowed to live. Unfortunately, it was not the latter.

People often say that history repeats itself, and in the last five years that statement seems to have rung true.

Maybe it is because I am 18 now and I pay attention to the news, or maybe it is because the situation is getting so bad that it is impossible to contain it any longer.

Regardless, America has a problem with police brutality and unfortunately, the cause of it appears to be stemming from the ones who are supposed to protect us, not kill us without probable cause.

Not all cops are bad. As a matter of fact, I firmly believe that there are more good, respectable cops than not.

However, it is getting harder and harder every day to walk past a cop and not wonder, “Will my name be the next Twitter hashtag?” or even worse, “will this be the last day I see my brother or father?”

If an unarmed man can be murdered just for looking like a bad guy, who is to say that I can’t? After all, how can we determine who looks like a “bad guy?” Is it by the way they dress? By the way they talk? In 2016, it seems like it is by the color of your skin, the darker the better.

Eric Garner. Alton Sterling. Kendra Jones. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown.

Those are just a few names of the precious, black lives lost at the hands of the police. Brown’s death, after years of quiet chatter regarding these events, initiated a national protest that started in Ferguson, back in 2014, and has now landed in Charlotte, N.C.

Although Crutcher was killed in Tulsa, where protests are also taking place, the protests in Charlotte have garnered mass media attention. Perhaps it is because the governor has called the National Guard and has declared a state of emergency in the city. Maybe it is because the people are fed up.

Police brutality has got to be put to an end.

For once, instead of the victims’ families speaking up, or political figures, or entertainment personalities, it is time for police officers all around America to speak up.

It is time for the “good” cops to come out and say that what is going on is blatantly wrong, it is time for police reform, it is time for change.

Without change, Americans might just find themselves back in the oppressive 1960s instead of the “unprejudiced” 2000s.