Songs about Victims of Police Shootings
Stand Up (The Sean Bell Tribute Song) – Various Artists
Sean Bell was killed on the day of his wedding. Again, it was plain clothes police officers who shot at him and his two friends, over fifty times.
One of the officers later claimed there was a fourth man with Sean and his friends, that the fourth guy had a gun and ran away and the police searched for him. Later it turned out that the police didn’t search for anyone after the shooting and that this mysterious fourth guy was never even mentioned in their initial reports.
So, the police probably ran out of cocaine and had to find a different excuse for killing an innocent person.
The Ballad of Jean-Charles de Menezes – Roger Waters
Jean-Charles de Menezes was a Brazilian man killed by – guess who – plain clothes police officers who didn’t identify themselves before shooting him in the head seven times at close range. They said he looked like a terror-suspect, but even if he was an actual terrorist, executing someone in a subway train without trial or even trying to arrest him isn’t really the fine English gentleman’s way of reacting.
The 27-year-old’s death sparked a public debate about racial profiling and the police’s shoot-to-kill policy, which is still practiced.
41 Shots (American Skin) – Bruce Springsteen
Another tribute to Amadou Diallo, often dedicated to Trayvon Martin at Bruce Springsteen’s shows:
Made You Die – Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), Dead Prez and Mikeflo
Although Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer and not police officers, there were several elements of the story that made it resonate with people.
Trayvon was seen as suspicious for wearing a hoodie, but “suspicious” means “black” too often. Here’s a short documentary about the NYPD’s stop and frisk policies, in case you want to learn more.
Today, speaking about the funeral of Michael Brown, Trayvon’s father said he often wondered who was on trial – the killer or his son? That’s another common element of murders involving police officers – victim-blaming. The logic seems to be: wearing a hoodie -> looking suspicious -> “justified” killing.
Let’s leave the rest of the story to the song: