Editorial: It is our responsibility to combat injustice

Police+brutality+is+a+nationwide+dilemma%2C+of+which+the+Bay+Area+is+not+exempt.+

"SFPD making arrests at police protest on Powell St" by Steve Rhodes is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Police brutality is a nationwide dilemma, of which the Bay Area is not exempt.

When Jacob Blake was shot by police officers last week, his name resonated throughout Kenosha, WI. 

Blake was unarmed and trying to break-up a fight, yet he was shot seven times.

And despite all odds, he survived.

A study from the Washington Post revealed that at least 1,019 people have been shot and killed by the police in the last year. However, the actual number is most likely higher: Police departments choose for themselves whether to report a death. 

What is even more staggering is the study from Mapping Police Violence that states that 99% of police killings between 2013-2019 have not resulted in any officers being charged. This may come across as shocking — but it is not unrealistic. 

Although there are those of us in San Mateo County who shrug off these instances of police brutality as a foreign threat, that is not the case. 

Here in San Mateo County

In 2018, Palo Alto teacher Kyle Hart was shot dead by the Redwood City police department. It was only three days after the birth of his daughter and during a mental health crisis. 

The district attorney called the shooting “justified” because Hart approached the officers with a knife he was using to harm himself. 

This highlights the unfortunate fact that police officers, more often than not, escalate situations involving mental illness. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, people with untreated mental health disorders are 16 times more likely to be killed in an encounter with the police than an encounter with civilians. 

However, Hart is far from the only victim of police violence in San Mateo County. 

From a father who was killed after allegedly jaywalking to a man who one day refused to take his medication for his mental illness, more and more lives are being taken away each year by law enforcement. 

In every one of the three cases mentioned above, all of the officers were cleared. 

These deaths are not just numbers. These are our middle school teachers, our poets, our parents, our children, and other irreplaceable members of our community. Their lives were cut short by officers who may have never known them, understood them, or even sought to help. 

The fight against injustice is all of our responsibilities. It is our duty to protect the marginalized members of our community, and come out of it stronger together. 

*This editorial reflects the views of the Scot Scoop editorial board and was written by Zachary Khouri.

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