“What happened in Detroit happens in Kingston:” Aiyana Jones & Robert “Kentucky Kid” Hill

I tweeted that last night after reading another article about the tragic death of Aiyana Jones.

Imagine this- 40 minutes past midnight, you’re sleeping soundly on your grandmother’s living room sofa, and all of a sudden, you hear the door being broken down and voices- and that’s AFTER a flash grenade is thrown through the window.  You’re going to be defensive.  So imagine the terror of 7-year old Aiyana Jones as she was abruptly awoken by the police.  The horror of her shooting should be clear by now.  And I didn’t even mention that Aiyana was BURNED by the flash bomb.

Yes, the Detroit police had a no-knock warrant, which entitled them to enter civilian homes without prior notification or permission.  Yes, they were looking for a murder suspect.  No, the suspect was not on the premises- he lived in the other living unit in the 2-unit apartment building.  No, the media is not telling you this.  They imply by omission that the suspected murderer was upstairs, when in fact, he was upstairs in a SEPARATE apartment unit.

There is no way that I can just call this an “accident.”

“Because of the ruthless and violent nature of the suspect in this case, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of public safety to execute the search warrant as soon as possible and detain the suspect … while we sought a murder warrant,” Godbee said. [source]

While attempting to apprehend the suspect in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jerean Blake, the Detroit police became [unwitting or not] murderers themselves.   The police say that the suspect was found inside the house, when in fact, he was found in an upstairs apartment.  My first reaction is to wonder why I should trust the police.

To add another layer of heinousness, A&E was in the process of filming a reality show “48 Hours,” tracking the investigation of Jerean Blake’s murder.  When did the tragedy of the oppressed become the entertainment of the privileged?  [Yes, I say privileged- if you have any detachment or “objectivity,” you are likely privileged.]

Having seen this documentary, I could not help but state that “what happened in Detroit happens in Kingston.”   The shooting death of Jamaican entertainer Robert “Kentucky Kid” Hill Jamaica at the hands of the corrupt police.  He set up a video camera in his home because he feared for his safety in addition to his wife and child’s safety.  That videocamera captured his death, leaving evidence of the corrupt police force’s extra-legal vendettas.  His wife, Kumiko, 8-months pregnant was not safe from the violence of the police, as she was beaten brutally alongside her husband.  Finally, on December 8, 2009, Robert Hill was shot to death by the police.  The police officially reported that they were “forced” to shoot because Mr. Hill had a gun.  Really, is it any surprise that a man whose life had been threatened, whose wife and unborn child were endangered by the police would own a gun?

Here is the December 11, 2009 Kingston Sun-Herald newspaper article.  Kumiko challenged media and police reports on her husband’s death, a mere 2 days after the tragedy.  Three months before, Robert predicted his death, naming the policemen who would be responsible.  He was correct.  This prediction came a month after the police purposely hit his car while he was stopped at an intersection.

I anticipate a reader countering my statements with “well, they chose to live in that environment.” “It’s partly their fault.” Dismissing the socio-economic inequalities, institutional biases that created their circumstances [both in Detroit and Kingston], while placing the blame for being brown, criminalized and dead on the Aiyana Stanley Jones and Robert Hill is utterly unsympathetic.  It is a myopic view.

Yes, class played a role, but it does not detract from the responsibility of the police forces to “protect and serve” those in their charge.  Aiyana Jones may have come from a home where a parent was not present, where her maternal figure was her grandmother, but this does not make her death any less tragic and unnecessary.  Robert Hill may have been from the “wrong” neighborhood, but he was human nontheless, and entitled to the rights thereof.  To walk to one’s home unmolested is a HUMAN RIGHT.  To live without fear of [lawful, unlawful] forced entry by paramilitary forces with bombs and guns is a HUMAN RIGHT.

So let’s examine the situation not with objective eyes, but with human eyes.  Countless lights have been prematurely snuffed out.  I don’t give a hoot about “theological” justifications for the untimely deaths of a seven year old girl and a young husband and father.  As far as I’m concerned, these are precious lives in God’s sight who have been violated and injustly treated.

3 Comments

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