The Grand Jury Process—The Judicial Explicitness of Implicit Bias

The Grand Jury Process—The Judicial Explicitness of Implicit Bias2016-11-29T17:39:09-05:00

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Grand Jury Process—The Judicial Explicitness of Implicit Bias

By Betsy L. Angert | Originally Published at EmpathyEducates December 28, 2015

Less than two seconds.
Let that sink in.
It took less than two seconds to make,
What a Grand Jury rules is a legally reasonable decision.

The patrol car was still rolling onto the scene.
And yet, the Officer, Timothy Loehmann, pleads,
He shouted four times for our child,
Twelve year-old, Tamir Rice
“Show your hands” before he opened fire.
Four times to say what in the excitement of the moment
We might surmise were four brief sentences.
It is doable,
But is it believable?

Perhaps it is more than just believable.
It is what we do in a world where we excuse racism
And call it instead, implicit bias.
We live and breathe
We breed,
Explicit and brutal violence.

#Tamir Rice was but a child
Barely 12 years of age
A threat, “real and active”?
Only on a white American stage”

He is one of many
Fatally shot by Police.
965 this year
90 unarmed—
That is one in ten
A child
A father
Our brothers and sisters
Black and Unarmed

It all too frequently begins with a relatively minor incident
And ends with a shot or
A chokehold killed him.
It was a homicide.
Just another killing
A Black Life
Taken down by Police.
Now, it is our theme
In remembrance
We shout the meme
“I can’t breathe!”

Eric Garner.
Another unarmed Black man killed
First by an Officer of the Law
Then by a Grand Jury.
It’s a process
Sealed in official documents.
It is The Judicial Explicitness of Implicit Bias

It is why the struggle continues
And why we remember
#Eric Garner
And the others…or do we?

Do we remember #JerameReid
And what about “Big Mike”?
Laid in a pool of his own blood, drying
For near four and one-half hours…
He was dying
In the hot Missouri, August afternoon sun
Big Mike was
Denied his rights
And the love of his tearful mother
It was his time of greatest need.
What did we breed?

Who would stand for such a scene?
Initially, or is it superficially…
The Cop
did the deed.
Darren Wilson
But we too were there.
We took a shot.
We took many.

A photograph
A video
A barrage of bigotry expressed in and excused
Implicit Bias
That is the fuse
That leads to Explicit Violence.

A Black Child
A student
Soon to enter college
He was “A demon”
“Bulking up” before Officer Wilson’s eyes
“I shoot a series of shots.”
“I don’t know how many I shot,”
“I just know I shot it.”
Our child.

Racism lives
It lives because we, as a society are comfortable with what is.
We do not mind if…
No one notified the parent. No one.
Not even to identify her son’s body.
“The only way I learned about him was from a guy calling me on my phone…”
“I was able to look on his phone and say that is my son lying in the streets for hours.”

“Minutes” and records.
Become just tools in the hands of Prosecutors
“We have all seen the video of … His death, of course, was a tragedy,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.
All eschewed.

Lesley McSpadden,
All of us live with the unambiguous violence
Unspoken bigotry
The intolerance
We see in the acquittal.
The many acquittals
The bias.
The Grand Jury declined to charge Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

Explicit Violence is excused
Darren Wilson is free
Implicit Bias cannot seem to capture is our rapture with
And violence….
Or is it rather an obsession with Police killings of unarmed Black Lives?

Police Integrity is Lost.
Records are skewed.
If reported…
The Data Won’t Do
Uniform Crime Reporting guidelines are not followed.
There is another rule that throughout the nation is followed—
Judicial Explicitness of Implicit Bias

Ah, the research…
Do we read it?
Or avoid what we do not wish to acknowledge?
41 officers in the U.S. were charged
with either murder
or manslaughter in connection with on-duty shootings
over a seven-year period…”
Seven years of horror
Ending before #TamirRice #EricGarner #MichaelBrown were murdered.

In those seven years,
Ending before 2011
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s reported 2,718 slayings.
Incomplete as the count is…
Are these justified homicides?

Do we acknowledge…
The experts?
The research..
The reality of what is…
“It’s very rare that an officer gets charged with a homicide offense resulting from their on-duty conduct
even though people are killed on a fairly regular basis.”
Philip Stinson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Principal Researcher
Studied more than 6,700 cases of police officers arrested for any crime across all states
But it is not a crime.
“Horrible, unfortunate and regrettable, but it was not, by the law that binds us, a crime.”
These are the words of the Ohio prosecutor.

Prosecution is the
Judicial Explicitness is Explicit Bias
Another Grand Jury.
Another failure to indict…
Another case of Overt Injustice!

It matters not in a system, a country
That is explicitly violent
That is the nature of Implicit Bias.
It is quiet.

Betsy L. Angert is an Educator, Author, a student of life.