[Spoken Word/Read aloud]
After my death, the New York Times reported that you all gave me “at least 71 commands.”
“Many were contradictory or impossible,” the Times tweeted.
In a mob frenzy throughout the whole ordeal, y’all kept shouting at me over each other.
When I couldn’t comply – and even when I did manage to obey– you…(SMH)
“Responded with escalating force.”
NYT’s tweet is cleverly crafted, with a photo – a bird’s eye view of us from the street camera.
There we see 4 of you hunched down on me, pressing my whole body against the ground.
The 5th thug is lunging toward me with a weapon.
After my death, I wonder how y’all will explain this footage –
Knowing the nature of these viral tweets?
I’ve personally reposted too many posts of Black bodies in my exact position to count.
I know I didn’t have to do anything to get here,
Knowing this brings me no comfort in this moment.
All of your commands ignore my humanity.
I am powerless and yet you persist.
In the many video angles of your fatal attack, we all see that…
Each of you had so many chances to just stop!
I’ve always tried to make sense of such lethal violence.
I try to understand the who, what and why of your attack that led to my death.
You had me pinned and pressed to the ground when you kept barking:
“Get on the ground.”
When you kept yelling, one after the other, “Give me your hands,”
Two or three of you were already bending my arms backward and forward with force.
I contort myself and try to comply, yet
You keep screaming “Stop resisting,” meanwhile,
At the same time, two or three of you are manhandling some part of me, at all times.
At the end when you leaned my beaten-up, bleeding, limp body against your car,
One of you snaps-n-shares pictures of me with colleagues and friends.
He’s proud and reaching out to folks who’ll pat him on the back for his latest accomplishment.
During the whole attack, I notice this is the only time he’s cool. He smiles.
He’s clearly used to this exact same rush, this exact same thrill.
I’m more disappointed than angered by his grin.
Mine is an all-American honor killing –
Most just get shot, but many have been tortured just like me.
We see this is how too many of his brethren defend their shield.
Where was I to go?
Appeal to the other officers on the scene whose negligence is pristine?
I tried to run, you captured me, which provoked more torture; nowhere feels safe.
Why was I being terrorized?
And by you, who’ve pledged to protect us from (this) terrorism and (this) thug behavior.
What was I to do?
Flight, freeze or fight.
I am tiny compared to any one of you, y’alls combat training and y’alls five big bodies built-up for battle.
I am a fly; you act like lords.
“Bruh,” you call me, but there is no evidence of brotherliness here.
Or, does your fraternity honor and practice such sadomasochistic rituals?
I like skateboarding and photography, another magazine writes, trying to digest my senseless murder.
Yet the videos of me captured for the world to see are
“…absent all beauty and sterilized of hope.”
When would this end?
Would I have to die for you to stop.
How had I possibly provoked this attack?
Who was I to obey?
You? You’re no good, like Linda Ronstadt said:
You’re no good. You’re no good. Baby, you’re no gooooooood…..
You’re no good.
Or perhaps good in your god’s eyes?
Or, are you God?
You’re not anybody’s God, but…
You play one out here on these streets.
Now, you’re playing my God… my life is keenly in your fists.
Yes! These unceasing murders that I’ve seen – not just mine now–
Is what makes this place hell on Earth in the here and now.
So perhaps y’all’re just agents of the devil,
A force unleashed from the depths upon these streets.
“Momma,” I cry out as loud as I can, and you continue to holler obscenities at me.
Momma used to say all people are fundamentally good,
But lately, I’ve felt fundamentally unsure, and now I’m convinced.
“I didn’t do anything,” I plea, rolling on the ground with my hands behind my back.
Y’all kick me.
“Mom,” I cry out again.
I will die here alone.
No mother should lose her child like this.
The agony inside now, as I call out to my momma, is not for her help,
But because I can already feel her pain once she hears how I’m dying.
Since momma fought for the public release of the videos of my attack,
My name is a hashtag and we have been written about a plenty.
“Every Black mother knows she is a split second,” one newspaper writes,
“… a quirk of chance, from joining a lineage of suffering that stretches back through Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley…”
When she saw y’all in court for my kidnapping, assault, oppression, and murder,
Momma said you didn’t even have the courage to look her in the face.
Momma said you’re gonna see her each time you are called to see the judge.