EDITOR’S COLUMN: Shoot Me, Kill Me — So the Family Can Get Paid

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigators process the scene of where a St. Anthony Police officer shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile in a car near Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on July 6, 2016. (Tony Webster via Wikipedia)
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigators process the scene of where a St. Anthony Police officer shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile in a car near Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on July 6, 2016. (Tony Webster via Wikipedia)

Valerie Castile, the mother of a Black motorist, Philando Castile, shot and killed by a Minnesota police officer a year ago, has agreed to a $2.99 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony lawyers announced earlier this week.

In this instance, the money will come from insurance funds and not the taxpayers according to a statement issued by the city and the family’s attorneys.

Yes, it’s entirely plausible that a routine traffic stop can lead to the death of a Black man. Yes, it’s entirely plausible that that same officer would be acquitted of manslaughter and other related charges by a jury of his peers.

And yes, tragically, it’s very plausible that because “all Blacks look alike,” that the officer in question, Jeronimo Yanez, could have easily mistaken Castile, guilty of driving with a broken taillight, for a suspect in a convenience store robbery just days before losing his life.

No amount of money can ever replace the 32-year-old man.

Driving while Black remains a dangerous notion here in America. And now that our president has opened the doors to unadulterated prejudice and hatred, seeming to approve of the actions of those who don’t like Blacks, gays, immigrants, Muslims, transgenders, etc., I fear that things will get much worse in our country before they get better.

We need saner voices to step up and say enough is enough.

We need Trump to be at the head of the pact.

But until that occurs, Black men may need to consider going into hiding for a while. The writing on the wall seems to imply that it’s now open season. And because of my Black skin, I have no way of removing the bull’s eye.

Rest in peace, Brother Castile!

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About D. Kevin McNeir – Washington Informer Editor 165 Articles

Award-winning journalist, book editor, voice-over specialist and author with 17 years in the industry. Currently an education and religion beat reporter for The Washington Informer. But I also tackle local (D.C. and Maryland) politics, entertainment, business and health articles to maintain my edge.

Born and raised in Motown and a staunch Wolverine – that is a graduate of the University of Michigan, I left corporate America (IBM) to pursue my passion for writing, accepting a beat reporter’s gig under the tutelage of the late Sam Logan, founding publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. I continued to hone my craft at N’DIGO Magapaper, Windy City Times and The Wednesday Journal, all in Chicagoland; the Atlanta Voice and The Miami Times. I’ve been fortunate to be chosen twice as the Feature Writer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. Later, as the senior editor of one of the country’s oldest Black-owned newspapers, The Miami Times, I helped my staff bring home the NNPA’s highest honor – Publication of the Year, 2001. That same year I picked up first and second place awards for news and feature writing, respectively, also from the NNPA.

Today I’m based in the nation’s capital where I’m honored to serve as the editor for The Washington Informer. Recognizing the importance of education, I’ve earned two master’s degrees from Emory University, Summa Cum Laude and Princeton Theological Seminary, majoring in theology and philosophy.

If I can slow down, I may actually complete and publish a collection of essays I’ve been working on for many years, “Growing up Motown,” sharing childhood memories of experiences with musical legends like Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Gladys Knight and Take Six. My favorite foods: spinach, lasagna, pancakes and Oysters Rockefeller. My mom, 86, always my “best friend” and “cheerleader,” now lives with me and she brings me great joy. I’m a fiercely protective yet encouraging father and grandfather always down for traveling, shopping or celebrating the natural beauty of God’s world. I live by the following words: “Less is more” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

You can reach me on Twitter (@dkevinmcneir), Facebook (Kevin McNeir) or via e-mail, mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com

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