When I began writing this piece, in mid-July, more than 500 people had died in police-involved killings in 2016. Since then, we’ve broken the number 800. These are just the names and lives that we know.
I grew up with the privilege of never seeing the police as a threatening institution. I believed that everyone was treated equally, and that the only people who got into altercations with the police were “bad people.” I knew of the possibility of “bad police officers,” but they were only as real to me as crooked cops were in television shows and movies. I never had any reason to fear the police or authority figures until I was much older.
That was because of my older brother, who was and still is a police officer for the city I’ve lived in for more than 20 years. He was and still is like a superhero to me.