Opinion: Black Lives Matter movement is winning many more victories

Bruce Walton is the Opinion Editor. Contact him at bwalton4@kent.edu.

Bruce Walton is the Opinion Editor. Contact him at [email protected]

Bruce Walton

It has been a long battle to challenge the authority of power-tripping police officers attacking and beating and shooting the citizens they were supposed to protect and serve, more specifically unarmed black males.

As we all know this has erupted to a protest after the killing of Mike Brown and the Ferguson, Missouri protests. It was amazing to see that kind of social unrest fighting to keep the lives of innocent people safe from officers who use their power to frighten and bully them.

However, I had a slight fear, one I tried to hide and keep to myself. I was afraid this would die too soon. I was afraid we would loose steam and nothing would change. This happened to Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. I was right behind their goal to change the way there was a socioeconomic gap widening to criminal levels between the haves and have-nots. But the movement became a media circus and the movement died because of many reasons: lack of leadership, having the wrong message of change and lack of funding, etc. It petered out and dispersed with a whisper into obscurity.

I didn’t want that to happen to the Black Lives Matter movement, but I trusted that there were people who had so much more to lose with not their bank accounts but their lives on the line as their children and friends and families were shot like dogs if they stood around doing nothing. And still from all the protests I was hearing more and more officers who have killed young black men and walked free.

But recently, I learned of Walter Scott who was running away from police officer Michael Slager who shot at him eight times dead in South Carolina. Another senseless killing but with the exception of the entire event captured on video from the time Scott ran away to Slager walking from his bleeding body after handcuffing him.

But through the hard work of his friends and family and their legal counsel, Slager was indicted without bail, for shooting Scott when it was against state law for an officer to shoot a suspect running away from them.

This has happened before but not quite in this way. It wasn’t a heated scuffle that could be defended as acting in the heat of the moment. There wasn’t a shortage of witnesses or in the dark. This officer shot at a man in a field running away in broad daylight.

Slager is not in jail and charged with murder and will be tried for his crime. But will this be enough to have him guilty? I think it has with not just the video evidence but the hard work the Black Lives Matter movement changing the way things are being done.

Checking back in Ferguson, the black population has not only been still fighting for justice against police brutality and racism but also have been taking protesting a step higher with being a part of the system, making now getting more representation in the city council. Ferguson was also just given its due with the Justice Department’s investigation finding the well of evidence of prejudice and racial bias in the Ferguson Police departments that led to even more backlash for the department.

People are still fighting, still challenging the system and with it, moods and ways of thinking are changing in ways we haven’t seen in decades. Any doubts I’ve had of this movement dying are laid to rest knowing that we are now taking another step in actively changing the system as well as challenging it.