There are so many things I could say about the senseless shooting of Levar Edward Jones by former S.C. Highway patrol officer Sean Groubert. It would be easy for me to slant this article and make it about Race or something more sinister, but instead I am going to give my opinion and let the video speak for itself. Before I delve into it more, here’s the video. (WARNING: GRAPHIC, VIOLENT DISTURBING VIDEO)
What you just saw is not out of the ordinary, and that is ultimately the problem . For so long I will be the first to admit that I was on the fence about writing or giving my opinion about police shootings because in 9 out of 10 cases the videos of them are either mishandled, altered, or supposedly don’t exist. In so many previous incidents we don’t see everything that went on. But in the case of this video there is absolutely no denying how it happened. The only thing we don’t know is WHY.
I am inclined to believe that our society has in fact evolve into a violent, shoot first ask questions later. Or in this case ask questions and shoot when someone tries to answer or comply. Was it fear of being shot that drove the trooper to open fire? Was it fear of a black man and the ridiculous stereotypes that society and law enforcement has driven home? Or was it simply a case of a poorly trained, overlooked square peg in a round hole trooper who has represented his disregard for the public safety on other occasions. That is NOT for me to decide, but one thing I can and have decided is that something is seriously wrong with the mindset and training ideology of today’s law enforcement. Granted, police officers have an extremely dangerous and sometimes stressful job to do. But it has never been as apparent than right now that some serious changes need to be made. I am not talking about the let’s hold a press conference and give legal-speak about how the SCDHP and SLED are going to retrain, blah blah blah. Police officers needs to be vetted and put under scrutiny and pressure BEFORE they are given a gun and a license to kill.
The elephant in the room here is the Race factor. Much like the incidents that have happened in other parts of the country, an African American was involved. To automatically say that Levar Edward Jones was shot because he was black is somewhat prejudgemental. However, to say that he wasn’t shot because he was black, and just try to dismiss it as an overzealous cop is just as obtuse. Let’s face it, there seems to be a target on anyone’s back who happens to be black in this country by law enforcement. You can accept that at face value or argue it, it makes no difference. Perception is always going to trump reality when dealing with this subject. It is a sad and undeniable tragedy that someone who lives in this world has to fear for his life because of the color of his/her skin. I read an article recently that stated most of the criminals are black and the jails are full of black men. That is absolute bullshit (sorry, but sometimes you can’t sugarcoat things). A criminal is a criminal regardless, and even though prison statistics seem to purvey that the prison population is not a perfect 50/50 Racial balance, to me they are all criminals and hold the same status. The media and politicians chooses to portray things as they do to drive ratings and get votes, period.
We don’t need riots, looting, giant protests and more violence to break the cycle, we need truth, justice and accountability. I do commend the SCDHP, SLED and Richland County for actually releasing the raw video, investigating the shooting properly, and moving towards JUSTICE FOR LEVAR EDWARD JONES by charging the former trooper with the CRIME. Doing so just might save the life of another innocent black man who finds himself in the same position.
from the editor: It is important for me to say that this case could have easily went in another direction, and we as South Carolinians could find ourselves in the middle of riots and violence right here in our streets. It says alot to the character and resolve of many, including our Civil Rights Leaders and the community as a whole that we as a people took a step back and allowed justice to set itself on course. In so many cases outside influences fuel the fire that burns the torch for Racism and violence. I hope that we can continue to stand together as a unified people and not let the actions of a few dictate the lives of many. Racism may have been born in South, but I’ll be damned if I will stand idly by and let it live and prosper here.