This Masquerade; What Does Justice Really Look Like?
By J.C. Riley #288310
As a Prisoner doing life, as a Teenage Offender doing a life sentence, it is really hard for me to wish Prison on anyone. I know, and I understand, what it is like to lose people close me, in a variety of ways, through violence, through drug use, through disease and sickness. Of course I know and understand the call for Justice. Justice for George Floyd, Justice against Derek Chauvin.
So let me ask this question; what is Justice? As a Black Man taken off the streets at 20 years old, honestly, I admit that I don’t know what Justice is. I know what Justice is supposed to be. The Scripture says that Justice is the Principle of Fair Dealing. But I myself have never experienced Justice. Surely one can never know what one hasn’t experienced, right?
A Wise Man once told me a story about Justice. He said one day Justice and Injustice both got in the pool for a swim. While Justice was swimming around having a good ole time, Injustice got out of the pool and put on the clothes of Justice. Ever since that day Injustice has had an easy time masquerading as Justice.
The last time that I checked, Officer Derek Chauvin was a Police Officer who was called to the scene to apprehend our Brother George. Derek Chauvin wasn’t a Vigilante, he wasn’t alone, he was a Tool connected to an Apparatus designed to do exactly what he did. Because our Brother George died, the Apparatus put its hands behind its back, and said the Tool malfunctioned.
Put another way Derek Chauvin was a bullet fired from an automatic rifle that’s been pointed at urban neighborhoods throughout America since I was born. And so, being that America leads the world in gun violence amongst its own citizens, when a gun is fired and a bullet strikes a victim, who gets the criminal charges? Is it the Gun Manufacturers who made the weapon? Does America place charges against the bullets that strike the victim? No. Charges are brought against the Person or Persons who brandished and employed the weapon that took the life of the victim.
Why would “Justice” look any different in the case of our Brother George? Are we going to pretend that because this Officer was removed from the Police Force, tried and convicted (Of an Unintentional Murder?) that the same people who empowered and employed him don’t have an entire clip full of Chauvin’s to fire at the Black Community?
Are we really going to pretend to be that Blind, with the murder of Daunte Wright only blocks from where the Chauvin Trial was taking place, at the hands of guess who…?
…Another bullet fired in the form of a murderous cop who claims they don’t know the difference between a big yellow taser and a service pistol. Let me give Officer Porter a hint, the Service Pistol would be the big black thing with the clip full of bullets that she supposedly learned to fire sometime within the previous 26 years of her Public Service Career. Again, the System that empowered Porter, trained her, loaded her up and aimed her at the Black Community gets to drop this woman and pretend to have no association with her actions.
In fact, it is the same people who prosecuted Chauvin, who will prosecute other officers who get dropped after their handlers can’t Justify their actions, are the same people who work officers every day until they’re caught doing something they can’t Justify. This is why Chauvin was only charged with an Unintentional killing, this is why the killer of Daunte Wright will only be charged with an Unintentional killing. If you or I had committed the very same act, we would be charged with 1st Degree Murder.
So now that Chauvin has been prosecuted we can talk about Justice like we really know what Justice is. Like suddenly, because the World was watching and an obvious killer was slapped on the wrist (we don’t know that yet, either) that “Oh, you see, the Justice System does work!”
I may not know what Justice looks like in America, but I sure as hell can tell you what Injustice is. And as long as people refuse to address The Apparatus that put people like Chauvin on the streets to kill, to manufacture evidence against people, to keep Black and Poor people in line, Injustice will be able to masquerade as Justice, and we’ll never know the difference.