By Bryn Fawn
Black Lives Matter received earth-shattering support in 2020, with the murder of George Floyd. Floyd was restricted by police with a knee on his neck for nine minutes. Protests spanned the nation that summer, and police brutality was further documented.
Sadly, police still abuse their position of power. Jaheim McMillan, a 15-year-old from Gulfport, Mississippi, was shot and killed Oct. 6. The name of the police officer has not been released. Police responded to a 911 call of supposedly six individuals brandishing guns. Police report McMillan pointed a weapon, where he was then fired upon. McMillan was shot in the head, and later died when taken off life support.
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the McMillan family, stated: “This child had his whole life ahead of him, but bullets from those officers took all possibility of that away in an instant. While much remains unknown about this case, we fully intend to put pressure on officials in Mississippi until this family gets the answers they need and deserve.”
Community members gathered Nov. 29 to mourn McMillan and demand justice for the child. Police footage has yet to be released, and Crump is fighting for the release. The police officer who fatally shot McMillan has not been fired, but has been placed on “non-enforcement” duties.
Katrina Mateen, McMillan’s mother, told a local news outlet: “He was sitting in the car and he seen the police pull up with guns, so he got out the car and tried to run in the store and they shot him in the head. The video I seen on Facebook is basically my son didn’t do anything. He had his hands up, so why did y’all shoot him?”
Communities need to rally together, not just the city of Gulfport, to refuse to let McMillan become just another statistic. People need to cry out. Cry out for justice. Scream for something to be done. For justice. Justice for McMillan, justice for Floyd, justice for Breonna Taylor, justice for Dante Wright and the hundreds others murdered by police.
Another protest is planned to be held Dec. 3. People are implored to join the protest, even outside Mississippi. Be angry, be upset and demand change. BLM protests in summer 2020 caused a ripple effect of change. The murderer of Floyd was convicted. Police were cornered with hundreds of hours of misconduct videotaped.
SUNY Plattsburgh is not shy of protests or students’ raising their voices. Last year the campus saw several sit-ins and speak-outs for injustice against BIPOC students and individuals. The Friday before Thanksgiving break, several POC clubs such as Fuerza, African Unity and Black Onyx gathered in Kehoe to support Troy Joseph after he received a racist email. Plattsburgh’s students are capable to plan, collaborate and hold a protest.
Students can and should join the fight for justice for McMillan. McMillan was still a child, and the police department has been oddly silent. Black lives matter, always.
Hopefully, any and all protests from this tragedy will lead to less police brutality. The chance is slim, but there is always a hope. Perhaps America will one day see police not abuse the system they have crafted nor their privileges. Police are supposed to protect and serve. How can ending the life of a child protect and serve society?