In a powerful segment on Saturday, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry gave a short tribute to unarmed African Americans killed by police in America. Reading the names of some of the hundreds of black men indiscriminately mowed down by police “in the past decade alone,” despite that they had no weapon and briefly covered America’s history of injustice and discrimination toward African-Americans.
“From 2006 to 2012 a white police officer killed a black person at least twice a week in this country,” she said.
Perry drew a chilling comparison between the situation in Ferguson and the Dred Scott case in 1957 that originated in nearby St. Louis. Scott sued for his freedom, but his plea for humanity was rejected by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roger Taney said that “It is too clear for dispute the enslaved African race were not intended to be included and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration.” Taney continued, explaining that African-Americans “had no rights, which the white man was bound to respect.”
She repeated that last part, “no rights, which the white man was bound to respect,” many times, all the while rolling photos of the oppression faced by African-Americans in Ferguson–people who are simply demanding justice for the latest unarmed black teenager to be mowed down without a thought by police–where curfew has been imposed, and those who seek justice are expected to corral themselves in their homes, dissent safely tucked away from the public eye.
It took six days for police to release the name of Michael Brown’s murderer. When they finally caved to public pressure, they were sure to include a video that allegedly shows Brown “robbing” a store in an effort to demonize the victim, as if to say that someone who may have stolen some Swisher Sweets is deserving of a “street justice” execution. Police later admitted the video had nothing to do with why Michael Brown was stopped, or the shooting in general, but only after allowing right-wing blogs and news to push the lie that Brown was shot because he was a “thug,” the ‘socially-acceptable’ right-wing “n-word.”
Watch this powerful segment below: