Op-Ed: Killer Mike on the Problems Underlying the Chaos in Ferguson
"This week I have seen tanks, rubber bullets and tear gas used by police against the citizens that pay them."
I have searched all night and day for new and better words that could express my feelings and fear for the people of this country. I found no new words. I have no hope-filled insight to deliver. I only have this warning to all Americans: Whatever this country is willing to do to the least of us, it will one day do to us all.
The police are paid by the public and carry a public trust, and they take an oath to protect us as citizens. The police have lost sight of that and must be reminded that we pay them to protect us, not to simply engage and cage us.
We trust police with the power of life and death and with that trust comes a greater responsibility to be better than the current standard of policing I see across America everyday. Being a cop must be hard. My dad was one, and never wanted any of his children to follow in his footsteps. Being a cop is often seeing the worst of the human condition and behavior. With all of that said, there is no reason that Mike Brown and also Eric Garner are dead today -- except bad policing, excessive force and the hunt-and-capture-prey mentality many thrill-seeking cops have adapted.
This week I have seen tanks, rubber bullets and tear gas used by police against the citizens that pay them. This is not Egypt or Syria or Palestine, but today it feels that way. It feels as if death can come, without reason, from a uniformed government official and, if we do not press back against this Blue Wall of Silence and gang-like mentality of our local police, we all are in danger. Whether it is illegal rd stops & checkpoints, where your rights are being violated -- through being forced to answer questions that the 5th Amendment protects you from, or illegal stop-and-frisk that the 4th Amendment is designed to protect you from -- all of our rights are violated and in danger when any American's rights are violated.
I have chimed in about the brutality that killed this child, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, and so many others. It's shameful, but these are not simply words to commiserate; these words, I hope, serve as a wake-up call to all Americans. Our rights are being violated by people we pay daily. This must end, or every American has failed.
The police have the power of life and death in their decisions -- they need to know that Americans hold them to a higher standard than these examples, of American men laying lifeless like deer. Slaughtered hogs in the street.
Today, it is just a guy in the news that a corrupt, pathetic police chief tried to slander by leaking a tape. Tomorrow it could be you for not moving fast enough when a siren screams. Or your child, because he or she protest something they see as unfair. As an American today I simply say: Enough! My rights are precious, and I value those provided to me through the United States Constitution so much. I will never take a day off policing the people we pay and keep a public trust with. I will use my camera, my pen, my pad and my network to do my part, to make sure that American will no longer fear their government. or it's employees. They work for us -- not the other way around.
Support these victims. On the day they were murdered by rogue officers, all of our rights drained onto that hot concrete along with that child's blood. Government should fear the people, not the other way around. Salutes and love to all, from a fellow American.
Killer Mike is one-half of rap duo Run The Jewels and a solo artist with four full-length albums to his name, the most recent of which, R.A.P. Music, was released in 2012.