Police brutality doesn’t seem to stop

Giselle Barajas

The Black Lives Matter Movement has shifted the way Americans view the modern-day civil rights fight.

In particular, the Black Lives Matter Movement strongly aided in emphasizing the issue of police brutality against black Americans. In simple terms, police brutality is unnecessary force placed on a citizen, whether through violent acts or “accidental” death, by a police officer.

Sadly, Botham Jean’s murder is yet another case of hate crime through police brutality, despite the controversy.

According to NPR, Botham Jean, a black American man, was murdered in his own apartment on Sept. 6, 2018. Jean’s murderer, Amber Guyger, a police officer, shot Jean twice in his own apartment.

Guyger shot him while off-duty after a long 13-hour work shift. She claimed to have mistaken his apartment as her own since she stepped off the wrong floor of the elevator. This situation, at first glance, appears to be an innocent mistake.

However, once you analyze the nitty-gritty of the murder case it appears quite intentional.

I understand Guyger could have easily mistaken Jeans apartment for her own since his apartment was in the same location on a different floor. However, Jean’s apartment had a distinct bright red floor mat outside his door. Therefore, the red mat was an obvious indicator that the apartment Guyger went to wasn’t her own. While, Guyger was exhausted from her long work shift, the way she handled the situation was still negligent.

Personally, I have worked 12 hour shifts multiple times before in retail, and while I agree it is exhausting, it never once hindered me as badly as Guyger. Particularly, I once closed at 11:30 pm on a 10 hour shift, and opened the next day at 6 am for another 12 hour shift.

Yet, I was never dysfunctional to the point of being unaware of my surroundings. While working in the police force entails of different job duties, she still should have been aware enough to eventually realize she wasn’t in her own apartment, considering the red mat and different apartment decor.

Specifically, since Guyger is a trained police officer, she’s more equipped than the average person on how to deal with fight or flight situations, such as a home invasion.

In fact, NPR reported that if Guyger followed through with her training she would’ve stepped back, hid and called for back-up. Instead Guyger shot Jean twice — once in the chest.

It was completely superfluous to shoot Jean twice, and it isn’t even a proper defense mechanism in this situation. Jean was simply sitting on his couch and eating ice-cream when Guyger walked in. An innocent man who’s unarmed and eating ice-cream was never an evident threat to Guyger.

As bold as it may sound, with Black Americans being constantly targeted in police brutality crimes such as the murders of Freddie Gray, Sam Dubose, Alton Sterling, and many more, it’s hard to believe any of this is a mere “accident.”

A true accident would have occurred if Guyger felt reasonably threatened and took proper steps to get back-up. A murder doesn’t just “accidentally” happen.

While Guyger may have not had malicious intent to murder an innocent man after her long day of work, her “mistake” caused a great deal of harm to not only Jean’s family, but also the black community as a whole.

To make matters worse, Guyger was only sentenced 10 years in prison for murder.  The Washington Post reports, 1,097 federal inmates are currently serving life sentences on non-violent crimes.

Alice Marie Johnson, an African American woman, was sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking in an effort to financially get by.

To put it into perspective, Guyger — a murderer — will be out of prison before Johnson and a majority of those 1,097 people serving life for drug offenses. Under no circumstance should it be tolerable for a murderer to serve less in prison than someone who committed nonviolent offenses.

Mass incarceration disparities are practically America’s form of modern-day slavery; and no police brutality case ending in murder deserves a minor sentence when there are thousands spending the rest of their lives in prison for lesser crimes.

While no one at Augustana directly knew Jean, his death impacts us all. Jean’s devastating death was not served justice. Guyger deserves to spend life in prison for her crime.

Jean’s death is yet another of many more to come from the seemingly never-ending brutality based on the color of one’s skin.