Black Policewoman Expresses Her Pain and Anger at Alton Sterling’s Death
The aftermath of a police shooting, particularly one resulting in the death of a black civilian, is always a time of great emotion. In addition to grief, there is anger and frustration at an event that seems to keep reoccurring (according to The Guardian, 136 black people have been killed by police in 2016 so far). It is also a time of national debate, as some attempt to counter cries of “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter,” in a show of solidarity for police officers.
Nakia Jones is a police officer from Warrensville Heights, Ohio. She is also a black woman. On Wednesday, she took to her Facebook page to express her anger at the death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, in a video that has since gone viral.
Sterling was shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday night. Video footage has circulated showing him being tackled by a police officer, held down on the ground, and then shot multiple times after the police struggled with him.
Jones, who has been a police officer since 1996, starts off by acknowledging how the perception of police officers as abusive or corrupt has affected her:
“It bothers me when I hear people […] put us in this negative category,” she says, “when I’m saying to myself: ‘I’m not that type of police officer. I know officers that are like me, that would give their life for other people.’”
In the seven-minute video, which has gotten over 5.6 million views (as of press time), Jones expands on the crime and violence she has had to deal with throughout her career, and on the difficulties she has had dealing with arresting people who were overwhelmingly black.
But she reserves her strongest fury and outrage for police officers who are prejudiced.
“If you are white and you work in a black community and you are racist, you need to be ashamed of yourself. You stood up there and took an oath,” says Jones, directly addressing these officers.
She goes on: “How dare you stand next to me in the same uniform and murder somebody? How dare you? You ought to be ashamed of yourself. […] If you are that officer, [and] you are afraid of people that don’t look like you, you have no business in that uniform. Take it off.”
Jones, who repeatedly expresses that she became a police officer to make a difference and to help her community, ends with a plea to other African Americans for unity and calm in these times of turmoil:
“To my juvenile brothers and sisters: I am your keeper. Put the guns down.”
With tears brimming, she reiterates her desire to serve and protect, despite having been close to quitting after she saw the footage of Sterling’s death: “I am my brother and my sister’s keeper, and that’s why I’m going to keep this uniform on.”
Watch the entire video here: