I have got to be honest. I'm really angry.
On Friday, February 10th, a black man was shot and killed while fleeing a police officer in my old neighborhood. This is an officer who has been disciplined by the Metro Police Department EIGHT times—TWO of which were for poor judgment in regards to excessive use of force during a traffic stop and an arrest. SO I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY Joshua Lippert was allowed to be policing our streets when the department had already determined TWICE that he can take his use of force too far? HIS FILE FROM THE METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT READS THAT HIS POOR JUDGMENT HAS PLACED HIMSELF AND OTHERS IN DANGER.*
How many incidents does it take for an officer to be deemed unfit to patrol our communities?
When is the Metro Police Department going to realize that THEIR poor judgment in keeping someone like Lippert in a position of power and in our streets is placing our people in danger? Who is going to hold THEM accountable? And now that the department has proven to us that they allow unfit officers such as Lippert to be patrolling our communities, how are we supposed to feel safe? The "poor judgment calls" of the department and the officers in it are costing our people their lives. We're looking for accountability not only for the officer who killed Jocques, but for the supervisors who have allowed someone who has proven to have poor judgment of use of force to continue policing our neighborhoods. We want officers who have files that look like this to be taken off our streets. Metro, your job is to protect and serve us—your community. Your actions have allowed this to happen, and your inaction will allow this to happen again. Local legislators, this message is for you too. It is YOUR responsibility to see and fix the flaws—in our system and in our police department—that are placing our people in danger. I don't want to watch another young child stand up and tearfully cry out for justice for their parent. Especially when they are asking for justice from a system that claims to protect them.
Now I hope you take these demands seriously, Nashville. Because now you've taken one of our own.
We want to make public, the protocol for firing the officer involved. We want his job, not just a suspension.
We want body cameras, NOW.
We want the people to organize a citizen review board with the authority to review the videos and evidence ourselves.
- We want the housing authorities to stop putting out threats that if they see anyone speaking out that they will be evicted.
Thank you to the men and women in our police force who do not criminalize people based on race, income, or even rap sheet. Thank you to those of you who see your community members as human beings first. I’m asking you to please stand up for the people you serve if you see your fellow officers not following protocol and putting the lives of others at risk. Or if the protocol itself endangers the people you’ve sworn to protect. Your voices are so crucial and we understand the courage it takes to speak out in your position.
And Nashville, you’ve got to step it up. To all of you who marched in Nashville’s #WomensMarch, we need to see you out here standing up and marching for our black brothers and sisters.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
-Martin Luther King JR.
I know from speaking to a number of my friends that many of you didn’t even know this happened. While that is frightening to me, it’s not your fault. Now that you do know, it is your job to not stay silent. It is your job to let people know what has happened and to demand #JusticeForJocques
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
Lastly, community leaders, pastors, businesses, DO NOT be silent to this injustice. Use your platforms to inform and encourage your people to do the right thing. Your people are looking to you, and your silence will justify theirs.
Photo courtesy of: @mansarashidi
P.S. To the Chasing Lovely fans, I hope you stand by me in speaking out on this issue. It is our mission to chase lovely in every way we see fit, and right now I do not see beauty in staying silent. Much love to you all.
1/2 of sister duo Chasing Lovely. Optimist, creator, dreamer, thinker, encourager.