First, I want to express how deeply disappointed I am in a justice system that can allow for the Diallo murder to go by unpunished. A man can’t even sit on the stoop of his apartment, even if it is 12:40 at night, without the fear of being gunned down. I think I have fundamentally lost all hope and trust in the police departments of this country. They make too many mistakes, they shoot far too quickly and it seems like killing the “suspicious” looking black guy is almost an automatic first response.
In news reports, the defendants say that first, Diallo fit the general description of a serial rapist that they were looking out for, then in the next breath (to disclaim racism charges) they say that it was so dark that they couldn’t make out what race he was. Okay, now, is it just me, or is there a problem there? And also, since when does fitting a general description give rise to the right for someone to be shot at 41 times? What ever happened to shooting to disable (like in the foot or shooting the alleged gun out his hand)? This was shooting to kill!
My final opinion is, if I were sitting on a stoop in the Bronx at 12:40 a.m. and four big guys in plain clothes jumped out of an unmarked car and came running up to me, yelling “Don’t Move!” I would be more than a just a little perturbed, don’t you think?
The setup of the American justice system, the appointment of a jury, the deliberation in a trial, is impressive, but the actual workings of the system, to me, fail too many times. All this says to me is that if you’re black (and maybe even from another country) watch out, because you’re “suspicious,” even when you’re just sitting around.
Tracey A. Jackson ’02