Compliance Will Not Save Me

tags: racism, Police

IBRAM X. KENDI is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is the author of several books, including the National Book Award–winning Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be an Antiracist.

Chicago Police Officer Eric E. Stillman chased a boy down an alleyway.

It was the early morning of March 29. In Minnesota, opening statements in the Derek Chauvin trial were coming in a few hours. Stillman had responded to reports of gunshots in Little Village, a predominantly Latino community on Chicago’s West Side.

“Stop right now!” the officer yelled at Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Gary Elementary School. “Hands. Show me your hands. Drop it. Drop it.”

A video taken by Stillman’s body camera shows Toledo apparently complying.

He appears to drop something.

He stops.

He turns around.

He shows his hands.

Stillman fires a single shot, killing Toledo.

Afterward, Stillman’s attorney insisted that the fatal shooting was justified. “The police officer was put in this split-second situation where he has to make a decision,” said Timothy Grace, a lawyer retained by the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago.

But it was Stillman who put Toledo in a split-second situation where he had to make a decision. Toledo decided to do everything the officer asked him to. He complied, but he is not alive today.

For Black and brown people, this is the terror of American policing. When we do not comply, we die like Daunte Wright did. When we do comply, we die like Adam Toledo did.


Read entire article at The Atlantic

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