Opinion: Hold police officers accountable

Rayshaun Stevens, Columnist

There is no place like home. Home is where we all feel the most safe especially with our families. But now, I feel as if there is nowhere safe from law enforcement; police officers are killing us inside of our own homes, our safe havens. 

We know the endless history of police officers racially profiling minorities, the black community to be exact, which resulted in an arrest, or even worse: murder. 

In a recent story this month, Atatiana Jefferson was killed inside of her home by a police officer when the officer shot her through a window while she was babysitting her nephew. 

The police officer’s name is Aaron Dean, and he didn’t give Jefferson a chance to surrender. It hurts to know she was killed inside of her own home, and while a child was in her presence; now that child has to grow up traumatized, which may result in his life taking a turn for the worse. 

Police officers are abusing more of their power as time goes by when their job is to protect the community, but for African-Americans, we are constantly made less of a priority when it comes to our safety in their hands. The fear I already had toward all police officers has made me even more afraid to be in the presence of them since now they aren’t afraid to kill anyone in their own homes. 

You never know what’s going to happen when you are being confronted by a police officer; your heart is racing, palms sweating and you’re wondering if you’re going to make it back to your family. I am glad to say that justice was served with Dean, who was arrested and charged with murder after only initially being put on administrative leave. 

There was also a case in September 2018 when Amber Guyger, former police officer, killed Botham Jean inside of his home after “thinking it was her own home.” The story never made sense to me since you just don’t mistake another apartment as your own. 

Justice was served this year in the beginning of October when Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Although Guyger’s 10-year sentence wasn’t nearly enough and Dean was only arrested, it shows that we are making progress with holding the police force accountable for its actions and the murders of innocent black people. 

Their punishment could never make up for the grief Jefferson and Botham’s families have gone through. I hope this country continues to progress when it comes to the punishment of officers, and that there will be no more stories like these.

Rayshaun Stevens is a freshman political science and journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]