The rallying cry of Black Lives Matter seemed to galvanize the Black community. The hashtag spread like social media wildfire as the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray took center stage for calls of justice. Sadly, the deaths of these young Black men have resulted in no convictions for the officers and individuals accused as having a part in their deaths.
Michael Brown– The city of Ferguson, Missouri was rocked by riots and the placement of National Guard troops in the community. Despite being unarmed and multiple witnesses stating that Brown had his armed raised when shot by police officer Darren Wilson, the officer was found not guilty.
Eric Garner whose repeated cries of “I can’t breathe” traumatized those who saw the life being choked out of him by NYPD officer Pantaleo. Prosecutors ruled that Garner’s death had nothing to do with the chokehold that he was placed in that resulted in him dying from multiple health complications.
Tamir Rice: Officer Timothy Loehmann, a trainee, shot Tamir moments after arriving in response to the call. Police said the boy was pulling out what was later found to be a toy gun when he was shot. A grand jury failed to indict Loehmann calling the death of Rice “perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communications.” The city of Cleveland settled a lawsuit for $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice that exonerated the city for any role in his death.
Trayvon Martin– George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the stalking and murder of Martin. Since Martin’s death Zimmerman has been infamous in his comments and actions. The latest reprehensible act was the selling of the handgun used to kill Martin.
Freddie Gray– After the trials of two of the six officers named in the death of Gray, the courts have found the officer blameless in his death. Many have stated that prosecutor Marilyn Mosby overreached and over reacted in bringing charges of depraved homicide against the officers involved. The latest trial was held not in front of a jury but instead was held before a judge who rendered his decision.
Besides anger, the question has to be asked: what benefits has the Black Lives Matter movement garnered for these murdered Black men? The movement has been vilified by conservative media and members were called terrorists. The organization has no central body and in major cities self proclaimed leaders claim to raise the banner of protest to no avail. When the rallying cry is shouted, “Black Lives Matter” opponents mention Black on Black crime in hyper violent cities such as Chicago, deflating the message and power of the phrase.