mercredi 13 juillet 2016

U.S : Criminalizing Alton STERLING and Philando CASTILE.

Why do media outlets immediately criminalize and dehumanize every Black person killed by police?
Sign the open letter to national news outlets demanding new policies that don’t victim-blame Black folks killed by cops.

Dear friends, 

Barely 24-hours after police killed 37-year old Alton Sterling for selling CDs, police in Minnesota shot and killed Philando Castile - in front of his girlfriend and child - for reaching for his wallet during a traffic stop.2 He was just nine days away from his 35th birthday.
Neither man did anything to justify being killed by the police. But that hasn’t stopped national news outlets from criminalizing and dehumanizing these two fathers – explicitly diverting attention away from the actions of the police officers.
Instead of discussing out-of-control police brutality, national news outlets persist in criminalizing Black people even in death – posting old mugshots, painting them as potential suspects without proof, and doing all that they can to justify our deaths at the hands of the police.2 Some outlets even said that Alton “has to take responsibility” for his own death and wondered “does he have a history of violence?”4

We’ve seen this with Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and so many others before.National media outlets victim-blaming Black folks for their own deaths and perpetuating a narrative that they had it coming, that because they “were no angels” that they deserved to die.
Enough is enough. It’s time for our community to pressure national news outlets to reassess their coverage policies around incidents of police killings and to stop victim-blaming practices like detailing past criminal history of victims and sharing old mugshots.

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile became the 135th and 136th Black people killed by police this year.5 But you wouldn’t know it from national news coverage. National outlets rarely cover police killings of Black folks, but when they do, it’s the most degrading coverage they can provide.
In 2016, national outlets barely covered the release of ‘unprecedented’ evidence from nearly 100 investigations into Chicago police shootings, the resignation of the San Francisco Police chief following a number of police shootings, and the indictment of Michael Slager for the killing of Walter Scott. This lack of coverage into the atrocities police are committing across the country equates to a virtual media blackout of police brutalityHowever, many national outlets and news analysts have no problem blaming the entire movement for Black lives in the wake of the tragic killing of police officers in Dallas.9 Media outlets regularly rush to declare white people who commit mass shootings "lone wolves", but here, media have openly insinuated that this shooter must be a part of the movement for Black lives. This, despite clear evidence that this had nothing to do with our peaceful movement for equality and justice.
Right now, national news outlets respond to police killings in just these two ways. Either they completely ignore our pain or they criminalize us and say the police were justified in killing us. It’s time for national news outlets to take responsibility for all of the ways that their biased and pro-police coverage perpetuates the cycle of violence against our communities.

Until Justice is Real,

Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Evan, Bernard and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.

References :

1. “Cop Fatally Shoots Black Man, Leaves Victim’s Girlfriend To Record Tragic Aftermath,” The Huffington Post, 07-07-2016
2. “CBS Report On Police Shooting Of Alton Sterling Inappropriately Highlights Victim's Record,” Media Matters, 07-07-2016
3. “Fox’s Mark Fuhrman Says Alton Sterling “Has To Take Responsibility” For His Own Death At Hands Of Cops,” Media Matters, 07-07-2016
4. “CNN digs up old mug shot of Louisiana man killed by police: ‘Does he have a history of violence?’,” RawStory, 07-06-2016
5. “The Counted; People killed by police in the US,” The Guardian
6. “Chicago releases ‘unprecedented’ evidence from nearly 100 investigations into police shootings, use of force,” The Washington Post, 06-03-2016
7. “SFPD Chief Greg Suhr ousted following string of deadly officer shootings, scandals,” Kron 4, 05-19-2016
8. “Ex-North Charleston officer indicted on federal charges in Walter Scott death,” CNN, 05-11-2016
9. “Rudy Giuliani says black children have a ‘99% chance’ of killing each other, calls Black Lives Matter ‘inherently racist’,” Daily News, 07-10-2016

ColorOfChange is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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