On the evening of March 18, 22 year-old Stephon Clark was gunned down by two members of the Sacramento Police Department. The two members of the police force shot Clark eight times-six times in the back. It’s a far cry from the story that is being told by the department, in which they assumed Clark was the suspect who was breaking windows in the Meadowview neighborhood. Because they believed Clark perpetrated the crimes and had a gun, they “feared for their lives” and fired 20 shots, killing Clark in the process. But it turns out that the “weapon” in question, was actually Clark’s iPhone.
As with many other African American men, Clark was unarmed, and the comparisons to Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and others were swift. The plight against police shooting unarmed black men has been stagnant with justice and it’s only gotten worse with the logic that they used their weapons because of fear for their life. This phrase has been used by accused policemen: even when the evidence goes against that notion. So when the news of Clark’s autopsy went public, Diddy displayed on his Instagram page Saturday night (March 31,) he was irate with the truth.
In all seriousness, can we blame Diddy? We have seen time and time again unarmed African American men killed by the police. And in that same frame, the policemen involved in the shootings weren’t held accountable for their actions. Diddy has every right to be angry. In fact, anybody who has a conscious does. Because it’s become more apparent that if you’re black, you’re a threat. You won’t have the luxury of benefit of the doubt. In the case of Stephon Clark, a simple misunderstanding: or refusal to understand, resulted in his unjustified death.
Diddy comprehends that if an African American man is killed because an iPhone is mistaken as a gun, what will stop the police from putting him, or his sons in that same predicament? Wealth? Fame? None of that will matter in the heat of the moment. What will matter, though, is that his skin color will always be a deciding factor. And no matter the money, power and respect Diddy has, there’s no hiding from an armed policeman who already has a pre-conceived notion about him.