Devastated But Never Surprised

by shay bell 

I’m so f*cking sick and tired of grieving over the loss of my people at the hands of police violence. 

On February 22, at Tysons Corner Center mall in Fairfax County, Virginia, police officers James Sadler and Sgt. Wesley Shifflett shot and killed Timothy Johnson after he was suspected of shoplifting sunglasses. Body cam footage has now been released of the incident, and, as with every f*cking situation involving the police these days, the murder of Timothy Johnson was preventable, uncalled for, malicious and evil. 

The footage follows Davis and Shifflett chasing Johnson, a 37-year-old Black man, through the mall. Shouts can be heard for Johnson to “stop reaching” and “get on the ground,” as well as the sounds of gunshots being fired. When questioned, Davis ominously commented that “something” happened that prompted the police to start shooting, which led to three total shots being fired, one hitting Johnson fatally in the chest. Shifflett was the one to deliver the fatal bullet. 

As police officers dedicated to serving and protecting the people of Virginia, in what way is pulling out a gun to shoot at an UNARMED man protecting or serving ANYONE?! And what is this “something” that happened that COMPELLED you to both pull out your guns and murder a man? 

Congratulations, Fairfax County Police; because of your lack of training, your hiring of racist unprofessional uncompassionate scum, you have murdered yet another Black man for some f*cking sunglasses. 

It’s time to reimagine policing in this country. Since they don’t wanna use the $3 billion public safety budget to pay for the training of these officers on how not to be racist, how to de-escalate situations, and how not to be murderers and shoot unarmed people, then we need to break the whole system down, and put those dollars to better use where it’s REALLY needed. We could do a lot with $3 billion. We could hire mental health professionals, social workers, and other trained experts who won’t shoot innocent people. We could strengthen our public schools and work towards dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. I have a lot of ideas that don’t include buying military-grade weapons for racists who don’t know how to use them. 

We demand JUSTICE FOR JOHNSON. These officers being fired or put on suspension is NOT enough. These men need to be held accountable and put behind bars serving time for the murder of Timothy Johnson. 

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