We who believe in freedom are weary today…

 

“Until the killing of black men (and women), black mothers’ sons (and daughters), becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son (or daughter), we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.” ~ Ella Baker 
Black Lives Matter

We regret coming to you yet again to bemoan the senseless murder of an African-American man at the hands of police officers who are sworn to protect and serve EVERYBODY.

Last night, Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, was shot by police in a traffic stop in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Earlier in the day the Justice Department announced it was opening a civil rights investigation into the police shooting on Tuesday of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA. Video of both shooting incidents indicate police used what is euphemistically referred to as “excessive force”. Today, both men are dead.

As lawyers we are sworn to defend the law and make judgements based on facts and evidence. In both these cases, the video footage is an unimpeachable witness. These men did not deserve to die.

Where do we go from here? Well, we pick ourselves up, dry our tears and continue to try and make a difference. We hold clinics to help people who are seeking a second chance to make their lives worth living. We write briefs, and reports, and file lawsuits, and head to court and hope that along the way we can create lasting change and make laws that serve all of us. We have in the past, but today it all feels a bit hollow. The climb is steep and uphill and tiresome. We brace ourselves for the next time not because we are pessimists or fortune tellers, but because we live in a society that continues to devalue the lives of its’ black citizens. Philando Castile was the 123rd Black person killed by U.S. law enforcement THIS YEAR. And so…there will be another.

We who believe in freedom cannot rest…