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I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video.

The still images alone were enough to recall the lynchings of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, and Emmett Till. The facial expression on the officer’s face shows his confusion as to why people are making it such a big deal. The fact that the other officer stood by like this was normal takes it another level up. And as I type this, I don’t even have to go on social media to know that there are apologists out there digging up reasons why this lynching should be justified:

“He shouldn’t have resisted.”

“He fit the description.”

There are plenty of dissertations and think pieces on the systemic racism within each fiber of the criminal justice system. How the roots of the American police force were built around slave patrol. The laws that were put in place for no other reason than to “keep black people in their place”. How an officer’s visceral reaction changes based on the perceived suspect’s skin color. How white people with rifles are considered patriots as they walk around terrorizing people, while black people just breathing are automatically considered suspects.

George Floyd’s slaughter is one of thousands of cases that prove how “protect and serve” doesn’t exist for black people. It doesn’t matter how many examples of “Officer Friendly” exist if they can’t facilitate the change needed for us to heal. It doesn’t matter that the four officers involved were fired, because history has shown is that they will likely be hired by another city’s police department. It doesn’t matter if the main murderer is charged for the crime, because history has shown that he will likely walk free with little consequence. (He’s already hired the law firm that successfully got Philando Castille’s murderer acquitted.)

These lynchings have been happening for centuries, only being brought to the forefront because of camera phones. Yet and still, with all the proof in the world that things need to change… nothing ever does. I try to remain hopeful, but the evidence presented never supports that hope. The restraint needed to exist in a world that hates you is beyond anything the other side can imagine. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, the ignorance and toddler-level behaviors are sickening.

How can we move forward if no one will acknowledge the truth, let alone atone for it?


Orondé Jenkins is a multidisciplinary artist and media consultant based in Nashville. No Average Journey was born out of his desire to help artists grow in their lives and careers.