Picture it: being Black in the comfort of your own home, Netflix and chilling, casually walking around naked, checking Instagram, your usual day-to-day shit. Then suddenly a white woman breaks through your door with a gun calling YOU an intruder and shoots you down in cold blood. (Cue the Suburban Dictionary’s definition of “self-defense.”) The story gets out. Every media outlet in America uncovers that the woman was an off-duty police officer trying to peacefully go into her OWN apartment, but somehow mistakenly broke into an unarmed Black person’s home...and welp… it was just an accident, ‘cause you know, (white) people/cops make mistakes. In my opinion, that’s what Jordan Peele’s movie Get Out SHOULD’VE been about, but I digress.
Sadly to say, my intro isn’t the comic relief of a feature film, but the true story of victim Botham Shem Jean. The 26-year-old St. Lucian native was peacefully relaxing in his Dallas apartment when he was “accidentally” gunned down by a white female police officer, Amber Guyger, who lived in the unit below him in the same complex. Truly, where do we begin with the questions? Were they lovers, friends, enemies? Didn’t she realize the key to “her” apartment wasn’t working upon attempting to enter the premises? Didn’t she realize as she walked into the apartment that it wasn’t decorated the same? Were the “intruders” a part of the California Closets or Ikea showroom street teams?
Meanwhile speaking of the streets, neighboring witnesses reported that the officer was banging on the door shouting, “Open up” and “Let me in!” which sounds like a strange thing to say when you’re going to your own apartment. The officer claimed the door was ajar when she got to Jean’s apartment, so wasn’t the door already opened? Seriously, chile, you missed an entire floor of YOUR building? How is her civil duty to protect the masses when she doesn’t even know what floor she’s on in her own residential building? I’ve been intoxicated plenty in my life and even then couldn’t fathom walking into someone else’s apartment claiming it as my own territory. On a scale of Bob Marley to trance trap music, what kind of high was she on?!
In Texas, a state historically known for racially charged crimes and discrimination, it breaks my heart to conclude that you can’t even be "Black While Home" in 2018. We get it, we can’t be "Black While Driving," or "Black While Selling CDs," shit, or even "Black While Wearing a Hoody." But damn, Amurrrica, we can’t even scratch our balls on our couches without white cops disrupting the minimal peace warranted for our sanity. Then a few days after this story broke on the internet, a new ballsy headline appeared. “DEVELOPING. SEARCH WARRANT: marijuana found in Botham Jean’s apartment after deadly shooting.” Wait, so Bothan got killed because he… smoked… weed?
The audacity of the police to mention they found marijuana in Mr. Jean’s apartment in an effort to smear his name and credibility. Is this the same multi-million dollar marijuana industry that has a shit-ton of white farmers breaking into young "under 30" entrepreneurs on the Forbes list via their dispensaries? The racial disparity, specifically as it pertains to marijuana, is so wild to me. On one coastline, it’s God’s blessing grown from the Earth, yet on another it’s the reason you’ll end up in central bookings overnight… or dead, apparently. How disproportionately tarnished are the lives of many a Black/brown young adults due to the dealings and usage of marijuana than our fairer-skinned neighbors? Very.
Circling back to our white lady cop, Amber Guyger. She was desperately on a mission to come out as the world’s number-one damsel in distress (only second to Mario’s boo, Princess Peach) by pulling whatever spade she has in her hand to illegally cut everyone’s books. So the Dallas PD gets kind and penalizes her. Guyger gets arrested and charged for manslaughter and then released on a $300,000 bond. #HEARDYOUJUDGE. Released? Manslaughter? It took all of Nike’s $76 billion company to put Colin Kaepernick’s efforts on a pedestal in saying that BLACK LIVES MATTER, but time and time again, Amurrica proves us wrong. If that white woman had been anything short of biracial, Middle Eastern, or full on deeply complected she would’ve gotten charged with first-degree murder. Purely and simply based on the fact that only a clinically diagnosed moron would walk into someone else’s apartment and consider THEM the intruder with no rhyme or reason, no ounce of drug use, and in the professional position of saving lives on a daily basis.
There is no worse scenario than being killed in your own home, and nothing more horrible than the very person whose sole profession is to protect and defend the innocent to be the offender. People will debate the “price” for murder based on circumstance but manslaughter and the ability to roam free because a bond was met is morally unfair, considering the now-posthumous Bothan Jean is powerless. My prayers go out to the Jean family in this unmitigated tragedy.
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(Photo: Kaufman County Sheriff's Office, CBS News)