Painfully Honest Tweets Shed Light on Grim Reality Facing Black Teen Boys

June 2nd 2017

Ethan Simon

The April 29 killing of Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old boy in suburban Dallas, Texas, by police has received boatloads of media coverage.

However, many may not know that Edwards wasn't the only unarmed black teen killed by police recently, which one tweet thread expertly breaks down.

According to the Washington Post, police in Balch Springs, Texas, claimed that the car Edwards was in when he was shot was "backing down the street in an 'aggressive manner' toward officers." But the police changed their statement hours later, admitting that the car was driving away from officers when Roy D. Oliver II opened fire with an AR-15, killing Edwards.

On May 5, the Dallas County Police Department, having already fired Mr. Oliver, issued a warrant for his arrest, according to the New York Times.

But according to activist Shaun King's editorial in the New York Daily News, police killed three 15 year olds recently.

"We've never had a single month in this country's history where three different unarmed black boys this young have been shot and killed by police in three different incidents in the same month," according to King's research. The three boys were killed in three remarkably different states.

Jayson Negron was killed in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on May 9 after police claimed he was behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle which attempted to hit an officer.

According to a statement from the Connecticut State Police issued on May 10:

"The operator of the stolen vehicle refused to stop, and engaged officers in a brief vehicle pursuit with the operator of the stolen vehicle traveling the wrong way on Fairfield Ave. While traveling the wrong way, the stolen vehicle struck several vehicles along Fairfield Ave. Once the stolen vehicle came to a stop Bridgeport Police Officers approached it in an attempt to apprehend the operator. As the Bridgeport officers approached, the operator of the stolen vehicle accelerated in reverse and struck at least one Bridgeport Police Officer. As a result, a second Bridgeport Police Officer fired at least one round from their duty weapon, striking both the operator and front seat passenger. The operator was pronounced deceased at the scene. The passenger was transported to Bridgeport Hospital for the evaluation of non-life threatening injuries."

However, recent reports have disputed the initial police statement after a video surfaced online. "Sgt. Eric Haglund of the State Police said in an emailed statement on Tuesday that the agency 'will not comment further until the investigation is complete,'" according to the New York Times.

Darius Smith in Arcadia, California, was "fatally shot by an off-duty U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent" on May 26, reports The Root.

The agent claimed the 15-year-old and two 14-year-olds "tried to rob him at gunpoint after they all exited a train Friday night. One of the boys was Darius’ cousin. The agent, who works at San Francisco International Airport and lives in Arcadia, claims that he was forced to shoot the teens in self-defense, according to CBS Los Angeles," The Root reports.

“Them boys didn’t do that. They aren’t those type of boys to do that,” Reshawna Myricks, Smith's mom, told KCAL9.

Each case showing that the often racial bias in policing is more systemic than a few unfortunate outliers. But according to King, the media didn't give the other two kids enough media coverage, in part, because America has been inundated in bad news lately.

People expressed their frustrations on Twitter, with many offering solace for the victims or even anger at the police.

But one tweet thread in particular— by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. — reflected the frustration with the status quo, and a recognition that these killings — and this pattern — is no accident.

The Princeton University professor's thread goes on to criticize both President Donald Trump, whom he calls "an exaggerated reflection of the rot that rests at the heart of this country," and white progressives who don't "speak this truth."

Furthermore, Glaude's tweets expertly break down how white supremacy affects the country as a whole.

His thread proves something that black intellectuals from Frederick Douglass to James Baldwin have long asserted: that rather than just damaging black lives, white supremacy corrodes the country as a whole, black and white.

Glaude identifies the killings as part of a systemic, and existential problem at the heart of America, rather than isolated, unfortunate incidents.

And ever there was a time to identify a problem as systemic, it's when it happens three times to three 15 year olds.