For Botham Jean + O’Shae Terry + the Forgotten Ones

Since I became engulfed by the justice system (moreso the lack thereof), I’ve shared some devastating stories about innocent black men and women whose lives were unlawfully taken by law enforcement officers. I hate that my blog has become a sort of grave site for these people, but I feel like my voice and my words are the only weapons I have to fight back for the ones who were brutalized and murdered. When I see injustices occur, I can’t just look away and remark on how sad those stories are. These people are not just stories. They were someone’s mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, partner, friend, and people who deserved to live. If my writings bring even one person a sense of awareness about the outrageous levels of police brutality in America, I will have found a slice of justice that didn’t previously exist. And maybe through these words, we’ll find some peace. For now, I will continue sharing these preventable tragedies and hopefully, you will join me in the fight for justice and *kneel* in protest of every cop-caused murder and racist action.

Last night, 26-year-old Botham Jean (pictured on the left) was murdered in his apartment when a uniformed white female cop walked to his front
door, used her key to try to get in, and shot him dead when he answered. The Dallas Police Department claims that she was confused and thought that Botham was an intruder her house, but she lived in a different apartment on a different
floor of the building. The department also references the cop’s exhaustion after working a 12-hour shift as an excuse for her shooting Botham. Somehow, the cop justified the shooting by claiming he had broken into her home, despite him answering the door when she couldn’t get inside. As if any real intruder would willingly open the door for the home they had illegally entered. Botham graduated from Harding University in Arkansas where he was an active leader of the Good News Singers. After graduating in 2016, Botham accepted an internship at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The firm offered him a full time position in July of 2016 as a risk assurance experienced associate. The cop’s blood was drawn as a sample for alcohol and drug testing and the department is looking to issue a warrant for said cop, who is not currently in custody. In any situation where a person of color, or even just a person who is not a cop is involved in a killing, they would immediately be held in jail for questioning. And even though Botham was clearly unjustly murdered by this cop, her name is still withheld from the media. She murdered Botham for no reason and for now, she’s getting away with it.

24-year-old O’Shae Terry (pictured on the right) was murdered by an Arlington cop when he attempted to drive away from a routine traffic stop. Pulled over for an expired registration sticker, O’Shae admitted to the female cop that he and the passenger in the car had smoked weed and ate at Sonic before being pulled over. A male cop entered the scene and told O’Shae that his car would have to be searched for paraphernalia at which point, O’Shae panicked and said he was not about to to go to jail. As he attempted to flee the scene, the cop reached into the car and immediately fired multiple shots into O’Shae’s chest, killing him seconds later. Because O’Shae had already put the vehicle into drive and had his foot on the gas pedal, the cop, who could have easily pulled his arm out of the window, was dragged across the road. Within minutes of O’Shae and his passenger interacting with the Arlington cops, the former was dead. By law, it’s illegal for cops to shoot into or at a moving vehicle, but this cop decided the laws didn’t apply to him. Once O’Shae tried to leave, he could have gotten back into his car and followed the vehicle. Instead, he pulled his gun on two nonviolent black men and fired a handful of shots, which could have killed both of them. Following the shooting, cops discovered marijuana, ecstasy tablets, and a handgun in the back of the SUV, but neither O’Shae nor his passenger had easy access to any of these items. They were unarmed on their persons and they were still shot at. Since March 2015, cops in the Arlington Police Department have killed four black men including Jonathan Paul, Christian Taylor, Travis Crane, and O’Shae Terry.

Botham Shem Jean and O’Shae Terry should be alive today. Their killers must be brought to justice. THIS is why we kneel- until police are no longer allowed to murder innocent people without consequence.