By the time I graduated high school in 1964, I knew that there are two Americas: one for white Americans and one for black. I no longer felt comfortable in the presence of law enforcement officers. However, in 1967 the situation became worse.
The Supreme Court of the United States approved the doctrine of “qualified immunity.” This protects government officials, including police, from lawsuits over abuses they commit in their official capacities.
“Qualified immunity permits law enforcement and other government officials to violate people’s constitutional rights with virtual impunity,” Amir Ali and Emily Clark wrote at The Appeal last year, because after prosecutors refuse to prosecute, as they often do, or juries fail to convict, as they often do, “Qualified immunity takes away the other avenue that victims of police violence should have available to hold police accountable.”
Now that nearly every man, woman, and child has a wireless phone, and therefore a camera, how many times have we all witnessed physical abuse and even murder by law enforcement of black Americans, and no punishment was administered?
My first question was how could our nation’s highest Court decide that this policy was supported by the Constitution? How can law enforcement receive immunity for the same crimes the average citizen can be punished? The fourth an 14th amendments are clear when discussing the inconsistencies between the men and women who wear a badge and the citizens they swear to “protect and serve?”
Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
14th Amendment: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The last line of the 14th amendment covers many situations and is directly related to police brutality.
What the American people saw as Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds was brutal and inhuman. The phrase used is “excessive force;” in this situation it is “murder.” Mr. Floyd can be heard telling the officer, “I can’t breathe.”
Trump and his failed and racist party are denying the seriousness of racism in America. Fox News’ fake journalists are supporting the fascist regime of Donald John Trump. Fox is one of the reasons racism and bigotry will always be an issue in America.
America needs many things from our government, and addressing racism in America is at the top of the list.
Finally, I heard Fox’ paid liar, Tucker Carlson, lie on a clip from his pitiful show. He claimed that ‘there is less racism in America than in other nations.’ The truth is that in every other developed nation, racism has been eradicated for the most part. All prejudices are a display of ignorance, and most Americans are ignorant of how badly our government continues to fail the people of our country: especially if you are not white.
Op-ed by James Turnage
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