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15 Jun, 2020 01:07

Black people are ‘terrified’ of US cops who can pull trigger & walk free due to ‘qualified immunity’ – activists to RT

Black people are ‘terrified’ of US cops who can pull trigger & walk free due to ‘qualified immunity’ – activists to RT

The black community in the US lives in constant fear of trigger-happy officers who routinely avoid responsibility for misconduct, activists told RT, insisting that real change can only be brought by action, not words and retweets.

“We keep hearing about how difficult the jobs of the officers are, but we don’t hear enough about how scared black people are right now... What’s getting lost in all this is the fact people are hurting right now,” community advocate Dontaye Carter told RT.

We’re terrified.

“I don’t condone these riots, I don’t condone these acts, but the reality is there’s a lot of pain,” he said. “You’re seeing the fire that’s been in the hearts of so many people in the black community. They’re angry about what’s going on.”

Expressing similar sentiments, activist Ife Folami accused Atlanta police of failing to “defuse” the situation which led to the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, 27, on Friday night. Multiple videos provide a chronology of what led to the death of Rayshard Brooks, beginning with the officers questioning him in a Wendy’s parking lot, and ending with fatal gunshots as he tried to flee after grabbing an officer’s taser.

Also on rt.com As it happened: VIDEOS show lead-up to Atlanta police shooting of Rayshard Brooks

People are scared to death of the police. I don’t have to know him to know that he feared for his life. He feared dying at the hands of police. And, unfortunately, that is what happened.

Public anger over US police brutality is aggravated by frustration, because “change is taking too long to come,” Folami said. Carter agreed that the situation will not improve “until they start talking about the root issues, and not just talking... but implementing change.”

The latest incident has reignited the raging debate over the limits of police use of deadly force in the US, as well as its ramifications. Atlanta officer Garrett Rolfe was promptly fired, while his partner, Devin Bronsan, was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Police Chief Erika Shields resigned, saying that it is time to build trust between police and the community.

Attorney and vice president of Atlanta’s chapter of the NAACP, Gerald Griggs, who insists that “you cannot use lethal force in a response to non-lethal force,” expressed confidence that Rolfe and Bronsan will be charged with murder.

But as long as the concept of ‘qualified immunity’ exists, there is always a loophole to avoid responsibility by arguing that violations were committed in “good faith” and with “probable cause,” Carter says.

We’ve got to take a hard look at this qualified immunity, because I think it’s also time… police feel the weight of the consequences when they go to pull that trigger.

Also on rt.com ‘Shoot first, think later’: Obscure US law INCREASINGLY helps police officers to get away with using excessive force

“You take away qualified immunity and guess what? It’s a whole lot easier for them to stand before a jury of their peers,” Carter added. “There’s nothing that will straighten out a bad apple or a bad organization better than accountability, transparency, and justice, and that’s where we need to get to.” 

The shooting of Brooks occurred at the height of protests against racism and police brutality in the US and overseas, sparked by the death of another black man, George Floyd, in Minnesota last month. Floyd, who was unarmed, died during a botched chokehold arrest attempt by a white officer. While most of the rallies and marches have been peaceful, on multiple occasions they have escalated into rioting, with arson, looting, and clashes with police occurring across the US. 

Also on rt.com Cop who shot Rayshard Brooks is without a job & declared guilty by media before the law can utter a word

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