Ifetayo Maryland

Racial Supremacy and Profiling in the Justice System

Should the average person of color fear for their life, or are they blowing this out of proportion?

Dear Mr/Mrs. President,

Every day, something new happens in the world that is documented for everyone to see. The most common ways for new information to spread includes conversation, social media, or the news. But no matter what, there is always something new to learn in the world. Have you heard about the deadly encounter between a policeman and a black man in Charlotte? Did you hear about the shooting that happened in Tulsa? Have you heard about the occasional riots happening all over the United States? My name is Ifetayo. I am fifteen years old, I live in Baltimore, Maryland, and I fear for the continued lives of my friends, family, and myself.

There has always been racial supremacy and profiling in the justice system, but in the past two years, this racial profiling has been recorded, and reported. The leading cause for racial profiling in the justice system are the stereotypes that are held against people of color. Other causes include racial segregation in previous years, prejudice, and just plain ignorance. In order for our country to improve for the future, we need to demolish these stereotypes. Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore City Police Department for possessing what the police believed to be an illegal switch blade. Gray died in police custody. The six policemen involved in the case denied using unnecessary force during the arrest. Freddie Gray sustained an injury in transport, and his death was considered a homicide due to the carelessness of the police during the arrest. One out of the six policemen involved was charged with second degree depraved-heart murder. The other five were charged with involuntary manslaughter and given a paid leave. If America is supposedly the greatest nation in the world, why are we still battling this problem?

According to the census, as of July 1, 2015, there is a percentage of 77.1% of white people and 13.3% of black people in the United States. There are nearly 160 million more white people in the United States than black people. Based on an article featured in The Washington Post, fatal shootings of civilians occur about once a day in the United States, and disproportionately, these civilians happen to be black. Black people account for about 24% of those killed by police. A majority of these black people killed happen to be unarmed or falsely accused of a crime. Unarmed black people are more likely to be involved with police than unarmed white people. Everyone is affected by this profiling. This profiling leads to the death of many Americans, whether they be white, black, or another race. We as a community can’t do much because when people of color would protest, it would seem as though we are rioting and break out into unwanted violence. According to the media, we need guidance because our tactics aren’t working.

A majority of the cops involved in fatally shooting a black person did not get convicted or sent to trial. A list of a few people’s names who were fatally shot in the past two years includes “Dontre Hamilton, John Crawford III, Michael Brown Jr., Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Akai Gurney, Rumain Brisbane, and Jermane Reid.” Only 2 of the 102 deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) were the cops involved, convicted. Tamar Rice was a 12 year old boy holding a toy gun that the police thought was real. Dante Parker was riding a bike to improve his health, and unfortunately, Parker fit the description of an attempted burglar. Ezell Ford made suspicious movements provoking the police to shoot.

Based off of reasons given by policemen, the leading cause for arrests are stereotypes. On September 16, 2016, Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby fatally shot Terence Crutcher, a 40-year old unarmed black man after his car was found abandoned in the middle of the road. There is much more information that has to do with if shooting Crutcher was justifiable, but in the footage from the police copter, circling above in the sky while the shooting took place, the pilot can be heard as describing Crutcher as a “bad man.” According to video footage and police reports, Terence Crutcher was unarmed and his hands were above his hands signaling that he surrendered for whatever crime he committed. There is no logical evidence that proves why Shelby shot Crutcher besides the fact that the police thought that Terence Crutcher looked like a bad man. The stereotypes against black lead to the death of an innocent man who just needed help with his car.

Racial supremacy is not only seen with the police, but also in the court system. An example of racial supremacy in the judicial system is Brock Turner. Turner was charged with rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an unconscious person, assault with intent to rape an intoxicated women, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. The judge involved in this case sentenced him to six months. Turner was supposed to be sentenced for 6 years. A petition was made and signed to recall the judge. The petition deliberated “Judge Persky failed to see the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency. He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender, or other factors.” Overall, the punishment did not fit the crime. However when Corey Batey, a former black Vanderbilt University football player, was charged with rape, the judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison. According to multiple sources, including The Tennessean, the Washington Post, and New York Times, the prison term that Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins handed was the minimum amount of years for the crime committed. Corey Batey must serve all fifteen years. The women raped was 21 an unconscious when police say that four men raped her on the floor of a university dorm room on June 23, 2013. According to the victim, sexual assault was not where it ended. She delineates “Mr. Batey continued to abuse and degrade me, urinating on my face while uttering horrific racial hate speech that suggested i deserved what he was doing to me because of the color of my skin. He didn’t even know who i was.” This sentencing was fitting to the crime.

So Mr. President, should I be scared or am I blowing this out of proportion? Are you going to let the police get away with this unacceptable behavior or are we going to be able to trust the police once more? We need to hold police responsible for their actions. Just because they are policemen doesn’t mean that they are exempt from all laws. Are we going to go back to our old ways of racial segregation or are we going to continue onto the future and get rid of this discrimination, racial profiling and injustice? I’m asking you, Mr. President, to help our nation demolish segregation and move on to a better and brighter future. Please ensure the continued lives of my people family, friends, and me Mr/Mrs. President.

Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts

Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts

A comprehensive high school, with an arts magnet program, serving 1500 students in Dundalk, Baltimore County, MD.

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