I sat down to write about Jordan Edwards last night and I couldn't.
I got up to write about him this morning. And couldn't.
I still can't.
On Saturday, April 29th, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was murdered by a Balch Springs, TX police officer while leaving a party with his brother and friends. Officers were supposed to be responding to a neighbor's call about underage drinking but instead focused their attention on the vehicle that Jordan was in. The officer fired a rifle at the car, striking Jordan in the head, killing him.
The natural hair and loc shop I got to when I'm in Texas is in the same city he was shot.
Around 5, 475 days.
It didn't matter that he was leaving a party with friends. Probably dancing, laughing, showing off his outfit, and taking pictures.
It didn't matter that he was a straight A student.
It didn't matter that he has a bald fade- not braids, twists, cornrows, or locs.
It didn't matter that he wore skinny jeans and fitted tshirts- not sagging pants and hooded sweatshirts.
It didn't matter that he was loved by his peers, teacher, community, parents, and family.
It didn't matter that he had hobbies, goals, aspirations, or even a biology test on Friday.
It didn't matter that he was a person who didn't need any of the above attachments to be treated with dignity and respect of his personhood.
And even if he was a student with a 1.4 GPA, with saggy pants, a mouth full of profanities, no fresh taper, no intention on going to college, and a juvenile record, he didn't deserve to die. Him upholding respectability politics and the expectations that come from that and all of his "good" virtues doesn't diminish his worthiness or need to be treated like an American citizen by law enforcement.
His Blackness was a weapon.
And when those bullets speedily evacuated that gun it proved the allegiance to white supremacy and racialized rhetoric that exacerbated their fear and fueled the adrenaline pumping through their veins.
What a rush to see the blood come from another Black body as it collapses.
Officer Roy Oliver used his power to lord over, abuse, and murder a child. While his colleagues joined in dispensing bullets.
Agents of the state killed him. And lied. On paper. On camera. They lied. And are being protected by the same agents that take my tax dollars. The same agents that I served in the military under. The same agents that I work for now.
There won't be any words from them that are attached to conscience. Instead, it will be carefully crafted talking points vetted by attorneys and public relations professionals. They will talk at the family and blame them for raising such a boy. They will talk in condescending tones to the community and tell us to fix ourselves. They will garner community support because in all their training, desire to make this a career, and weapons attached to their waists undergirded in a system that will always protect them tell us that "it was an accident."
They will find reasons to say his parents were horrible. That his grandparents were horrible. That his community was horrible. That his bloodline was polluted.
They will expect us to trust their autopsy. Police reports. And video evidence even though none of it is the truth. Or coincides with any narrative that isn't from them.
They lied. They blamed him for his own death. They are still covering up murdering a 15-year-old unarmed Black boy.
Where are the good cops? Where were they when the bullets went through his head? Piercing his skull and taking all of his breaths away until he lie dead?
In 2013, Officer Oliver admitted to being "angry and aggressive" in court. During an interaction with several District Attorneys he got so angry he yelled profanities at the court staff while under oath. In his personnel file, there was sufficient evidence that he had repeatedly violated several internal policy rules. He'd been suspended and ordered to attend anger management classes as well as classes to improve his professional bearing within the courtroom. In an ethics complaint filed against him, it showed that he demonstrated a poor ability to communicate with the public, colleagues, and other employees in both oral and written communication.
In 2014, Oliver was recommended to gain familiarity with official policies and procedures so that there'd be less paperwork for the police department that he worked for. And hopefully fewer policy violations.
And in January 2017, it was noted in his personnel file that he'd been disrespectful to a civilian on a routine call.
Officer Roy Oliver kept getting chances. Event after event. Person after person. Year after year.
But Jordan has no more chances. None.
And they keep defending Oliver's humanity. And believe that they exist for us. But "us" doesn't include me. Or people who look like me. History teaches "us" that. Never has. Never will.
I think of Kingston and Truett. How their identity as biracial young men is irrelevant in a society that will always view, treat, stereotype, and garnish on them all of the tropes of Blackness on them. I think about how in just a year based on statistical data that white educators and people who don't know Kingston will start to criminalize his behavior. And depending on where he is in the country consider him a Black man and treat him as such. Never with honor. Or respect. But dominance. Aggression. Intimidation. Hostility. Never the same deference that we teach him to have for other people.
And I know you thought of your Black sons, nephews, cousins, and brothers too. Crying. And breathing conflicted breaths as your mourn the life of Jordan. And celebrate the lives of the young boys around you still living.
Jordan didn't get his childhood. He didn't get to have #Blackboyjoy. Because I'm sure his parents know the same reality that I did and from a young age taught him that in order to thrive in this world and survive under the construction of white supremacy that he has to watch, observe, submit, acclimate, code switch, defend, be docile, smile, make them comfortable, be less loud, more respectful, be... more than what he is ready to be. Because he is only 15. He was only 15. Until they killed him.
His parents sit in guilt because they thought that telling him to be what they were taught was "good" didn't work. Because the state didn't know how much of a "good" young man Jordan was.
He was Black.
And that's all they saw.
Hug your babies tonight. Hold them. Don't let them go. Tell them that you are here. That you love them.
Kiss your sons. Even if they think it is weird. Tell them they are beautiful. Smart. Strong. Courageous. That you support their dreams.
Jordan's parents will never be able to.
Because he's dead.
And even after they lower his tiny, cold, and lifeless body into the ground, they will still have to pay taxes to the government that killed him. They will still have to say "Yes Sir" to the police officer that pulls them over for a broken tail light. They will incite fees for clean up from the murder of their son. They will sit and hear their president spew racist rhetoric on the daily news while they pack up Jordan's room. They will watch Jeff Sessions call for tougher community policing whole they fill out insurance documents. Supporters of this administration will say they need more evidence before they can say something. They will start sentences with, "Not all cops..." and "Not all white people..."
But we know what that coded language means.
And it doesn't hurt any less.
It doesn't sting any less.
All I can do is say his name.
And type it.