The Stockley Verdict: guilty of being black

Posted on 10 October 2017 by Ian Schrauth

How being a young black male in St. Louis puts you on an automatic watch list

 

By: Will Murry
Art & Life Editor

 

If two years ago I’d been asked, “Do you think St. Louis will still be the epicenter of what is wrong with race relations in America in 2017?” I would have unequivocally answered, “No”. Two years ago I would have never imagined the potency of issues regarding race, the same issue that plagues the rest of this nation, to be as potent as it is here still.

About two weeks ago, after a short day of school, I found myself complacent on my front porch, completely beside myself, just staring at the sky. I couldn’t help but worry about my friends. I couldn’t help but worry about their safety and their loved ones who care about them. I winced at the thought of the tears that would adorn the faces of their mothers like sorrowful Christmas ornaments upon the realization that their sons were shot dead in the street by a crooked cop for a reason that would only convict someone of a lighter complexion.

Of course my friends don’t share the stain of a criminal history, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Not that it ever really did, but history has proven that if you’re caught just being black with a hoodie means you’re worthy of execution without due process and a fair trial, if there’s even a crime to be charged with at all. All of this raises the question, “Does the black man not deserve rehabilitation? Who says they don’t deserve a second chance in this world like everyone else does?”4

To elaborate, it seems most often that white men get politer treatment from police, and I know this from firsthand experience.

My friends and I, who are mostly white males, have done several stupid things late at night in public that could have definitely gotten us in trouble with the cops. In fact, police cruisers passed us on some of these occasions and never even stopped to check to see what we were doing. But one time three of my friends were walking down the street, one of them black. They were stopped by cops on Brentwood, got questioned and had their identifications run.

The officer showed a startling amount of unpleasant attention to my black friend. They patted him down and ran his identification a second time, and when it became clear that he had no record they finally let them go, but not until after a half hour of waiting and repeated questioning.

When they returned from their walk they gave me a call and told me the whole situation. I was just relieved he walked away unscathed. I couldn’t imagine having to call his mother to tell her what happened to her only son.

I motion that if you have a stance on the recent events, there is no better time that now to have your voice heard. Protest or write, take advantage of these times and put your word out there.

I encourage you to stand on the highest platform you can and have your voice heard. The only way that we, as a society, can get past these difficult issues is through discourse and debate. It is by no means easy, especially with issues such as this, but it has to be done.

 

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