“If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.” – Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz)

Black people should reconsider dying for a country that does not see fit for us to live. Since the US project began, Black people have been on the frontlines doing the work behind building, expanding and protecting this empire. This empire has never returned the favor – it has never fully recognized the humanity of or granted protection to Black people, in exchange for endless Black labor, blood, sweat and tears.

The death of Sgt. James Brown, an active-duty soldier who self-reported for a two-day sentence at the El Paso, Texas, county jail and died behind bars, is one more death in a long string of Black soldiers who have returned home from wars to be killed. Brown checked himself into the jail in July 2012 for driving under the influence. He expected to serve 48 hours of jail time. After he died in custody, authorities stated Brown died from a pre-existing medical condition. However, KFOX14 news obtained video from the jail showing Brown’s final moments were much more complex than what authorities led his family to believe.  According to his mother, Brown was given an injection after becoming reportedly “combative,” and 45 minutes later, his body was shutting down. Whatever he was given led to his body’s complete dysfunction. Something, likely the injection, caused Brown to bleed in his cell; he wasn’t speaking with the jail guards. (Source)


Afterward, a team of riot police became involved, restraining Brown while he repeatedly yelled that he could not breathe. After yelling this several times and being placed in a restraining chair, with a mask over his face, Brown slowly began losing consciousness. Near the end of the video footage, Brown appears completely unresponsive and no longer able to beg and plead for his life. Family attorneys say no ambulance or 911 call was made to obtain help, despite Brown’s pleas.

Brown’s death is not an isolated incident. It is not simply an “unfortunate tragedy,” as Sheriff Richard Wiles described it. Army veteran James Allen, 74, was killed earlier this year in Gastonia, North Carolina, after his family asked authorities to check on his well-being. Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. died the same way a few years ago, when police arrived at his residence responding to an alert via a medical device he wore to alert emergency responders in times of need. The same is true of Brenda Williams.  A 27-year-old Air Force veteran, Anthony Hill, was naked and unarmed when he was killed by police this March in the parking lot of his apartment complex


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