Jesse Williams Shuts Down Racially Biased Policing in an Epic Tweet Storm

July 23rd 2015

Kyle Jaeger

Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams had a lot to say about our policing problems in the wake of Sandra Bland's death in a Texas jail cell on July 13. So much, in fact, that he had to condense his argument into 24 separate posts on Twitter, covering a wide range of issues related to the country's law enforcement activities.

Williams, who advocates for civil rights with the Advancement Project, talked about the privileges—namely white privilege—that he said many officers operate under, leaving them protected from prosecution and "lauded as heroes." The Texas trooper who arrested Bland for an improper lane change gave the 28-year-old Black woman "unlawful, unclear orders," Williams wrote, and that the trooper's exercise of power reflects greater and more troubling trends in policing in the United States.

Here is the dashcam video footage of Sandra Bland's arrest.

New police dashcam video reveals how the Sandra Bland arrest escalated. The full video can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1MHb4IZ

Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"A select segment of Americans are granted the privilege of being able to resist said tyranny, scream at it, punch, shove or elude it," the actor added. And that select segment is, in a word, white. Williams raised attention to the racial biases of some officers and departments, describing the way some police perceive Black people differently, too often in a negative light, and what that says about the country's criminal justice system.

Williams also debunked the common mischaracterization that police are "the law." He pointed out that their job is to uphold and enforce the law—not dictate law—in a "professional, courteous manner, whenever possible." His tone, even across the character-limiting social media platform, resonated with many of Bland's supporters; he spoke to civil rights concerns regularly cited by the Black Lives Matter movement, and he also had several choice words for police apologists.

"Those who relentlessly excuse all anti-black state violence cheerlead when people born of their same complexion resist cops & presidents," Williams posted. "What follows is an easily searchable sampling of the glaring daily white privilege not afforded to millions of Americans who's lives are forever damaged or destroyed, while millions cheer and/or avert their gaze."