Issues pushed aside in favor of racial violence
This month, another black man was shot in the back by police in St. Louis, just two weeks after the anniversary of Michael Brown being shot in the nearby city of Ferguson. Just last week, 18-year-old Mansur Ball-Bey was shot four times after allegedly pointing a gun at two police officers who were trying to serve a search warrant. News of his death and the riot is everywhere.
There seems to be a pattern that has been emerging ever since the Greenwood District race riots in Tulsa in 1921, and the public has taken notice.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson stated he had seen evidence that indicates Ball-Bey and one other allegedly leaped over a fence behind the home when the officers tried to serve the warrant. They ran down an alley where officers ordered them to stop and drop their weapons. Ball-Bey turned, aimed his weapon and was shot four times.
Tonia Harris, the attorney representing Ball-Bey’s family, stated that witnesses claimed Ball-Bey was not in the house at all when it was raided by the police, rather he was in a backyard two houses away. He began to run when he saw the police chasing after him.
In other words, a black, teenage boy was killed by white police officers. The result? Another race riot (or peaceful protest.) A vacant building and at least one car was torched, and officers were struck with bricks and bottles.
Many have called for greater accountability in law enforcement, and in response Attorney General Eric Holder has charged over 400 law-enforcement and corrections officers with violations of constitutional rights. Examining civil rights violations is a step in the right direction.
The media labels the conflict as yet another assault in a long line of potential wrongful death cases against minorities. But many of the issues that drive these conflicts remain.
Perhaps once the issues currently plaguing minority communities become headlines — income, education, healthcare etc. — they can finally receive the attention they deserve.
Racial tension fuels violence and makes headlines, but the deep-seated issues driving these conflicts are pushed to the side.
Opinion columnist Sarah Kim is a Political Science Senior and may be reached at [email protected]