The Daily News, a left-leaning New York newspaper, has apparently had enough of the police killing black men for no reason. In the video that’s been seen by millions of outraged Americans, it’s not clear what Sterling was doing with his right hand. This gave the usual cadre of cop apologists all the room the needed to claim that, clearly, Sterling was going for his gun or that he already had it in his hand. Obviously, the police HAD to shoot him in the chest several times at point blank range because they were “afraid for their lives.”
Well, the Daily News just threw that crap out of the window with their front page. On it, in full color, is Sterling’s dead or dying body, blood soaking his shirt and splattered on the bumper of the car next to him. And in his right hand? The one that supposedly had a gun? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The only gun we see is the one a cop in a Hollywood action pose is holding as if he’s just waiting for Sterling to twitch so he can pump a few more rounds into his body.
And just to make sure the reader understands what they’re looking at, the headline reads:
His hands were empty
Cops killed Alton Sterling despite his being pinned to ground and never pulling gun.
Here’s the cover as posted by the Daily News on twitter last night (WARNING: This is an uncensored image):
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 7, 2016
Critics will complain that the Daily News is just using Sterling’s corpse for the shock value to sell more papers and there might be some truth to that. But on the other hand, American law enforcement has a serious race problem and we’ve been ignoring it for generations.
The bottom line here is that while showing the image is a choice, so is burying the images of police brutality. When we sanitize or hide violence, we enable it. This applies to war when George W. Bush stopped allowing the media to show the hundreds of dead America troops coming home in flag-covered coffins. It applies to drone strikes when we deliberately use low-resolution cameras so the operators can’t clearly see the people (including children) they are killing. And it absolutely applies to police brutality which is why they tried so hard to make it illegal to film them.
Sure, the Daily News may be exploiting Sterling’s corpse to sell papers but they’re also forcing us to see what out of control police blood lust looks like. If the former offends you more than the latter, you may want to rethink your priorities as a human being.
Featured image via twitter