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  • Anthony J. Mungin

The Scent Of Betrayal

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Bold actions, powerful quotes; and yet, the threat of another acquitted cop!

There has been a number of violent protests in our history that have reached the tipping point—Watts, Ferguson, Baltimore, Los Angeles. But the recent protests in honor of George Floyd and others has had an unprecedented look and feel—courthouses vandalized, police precincts up in flames, cops fleeing for their lives, the Whitehouse corridors breached, white and black Americans marching, hand-in-hand.

George Floyd’s utterance of “I can’t breathe” and the bellowing cries to a dead mother were akin to shots heard from around the world—Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Syria all weighing in on the horrific site of a nonchalant, unmerciful cop with his knees planted on a black man’s neck, death his only relief.

There was this strange aura in the atmosphere coupled with a sense that this time, black people’s patience had boiled over, as equally hot as the raging fires that burned. So strident was the angst that if they were alive today, Dr. Martin Luther King would pass the torch to Malcolm X and his "nonviolent movement" would freely acquiesce to X’s, “By any means necessary” manifestations.

But more than these signs of changing tides, we witnessed an unparalleled outpouring of whites protesting alongside blacks. They stood toe-to-toe, angrily waving signs—and fists—at cops, prostrating themselves upon heated pavements role playing, “I can’t breathe,” and for the first time, got a taste of what mass incarceration was really like.

Whether our new-found allies opposed the pulverizing nature of their once beloved cop’s; empathized with the black struggle; or, finally realized racism and threats of genocide had outstayed its welcome, white protesters were fervently wreaking havoc upon their depraved men in blue the likes of which the world has never seen.

Now, the Minneapolis justice system is setting the stage for a lengthy court battle. We expect that at some point the case will be handed over to a jury of these cops' peers.

While some blacks are content in giving their white counterparts the benefit of the doubt, I gather many skeptics in the black community are wondering if the solidarity we’ve seen played out in the streets will trickle down to the jury box. Historically, black people’s views of police brutality have been polar opposite from their white rivals.

Come judgement day, whites will find themselves facing a monumental decision, if not walking a tight rope. Remain unified in the black cause or else, close ranks in reverence to nefarious cops. The pains of black America's wounds are too raw and too deep to accept anything less than a jury of twelve whites viewing yet another black man's lynching through the same lens of justice as a jury of twelve blacks.

Undeniably, the scent of betrayal lie dormant in our beaks and the only way to mask its pungent smell is with a unanimous verdict traversing all racial lines. For Officer Derek Chauvin that verdict must be, Guilty of Second-Degree Manslaughter and for his accomplices, Guilty of Aiding and abetting Second-Degree Manslaughter.

No doubt, we want to trust and believe in the pretrial gestures of our fairweather friends. But olden times has likewise primed us for the knife in the back. Alas, this time it could prove indistinguishable from the dagger used in severing our ties.

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