No accountability, no trust in law enforcement

“I’ll blow your f***ing head off” is a line you’d think came out of a thug’s mouth, but it was said by Blane Salamoni, the Baton Rouge police officer who shot and killed Alton Sterling in July of 2016. The footage from Salamoni’s body camera, which was released on Friday, allowed viewers to hear the foul words uttered by a man who was once considered to be an enforcer of the law.

A policeman’s duty is to keep the peace, though Salamoni did not attempt to do so, he only escalated the situation. Through his taunting and use of excessive force, Salamoni used his position to impose fear and ultimately abused his power as an officer.

Within 90 seconds, Sterling was lying in a pool of blood. It took Salamoni a minute and a half to pull the trigger of his gun, but the Baton Rouge Police Department let two years pass before firing him and releasing footage from the incident.

In Sacramento, protests are continuing to be held two weeks after the death of Stephon Clark. Clark, who was shot 20 times, is the latest victim in a long line of unarmed black men killed by law enforcement. While the officers claimed he was a threat, the results of an autopsy that was ordered by the family proved his back was turned towards them, contradicting the information they provided.

Unarmed black men are being killed by police at an alarming rate. It seems as though every few months, one of these cases makes national headlines, protests are organized and calls for justice are made, but nothing ever happens. The cycle continues to repeat itself, people’s hopes for change diminishing more and more each time.

Police officers were once thought of as heroes, the prime example of what every person should strive to be like. Now, the public’s trust of law enforcement is low, and not much of an effort has been made to regain it.

At a time when we are in peril, the police are supposed to be who we call. Though if we can’t trust the very people meant to serve and protect us, who can we rely on?