This is an old poem I wrote in 2009 after a black boy named Victor Steen was killed by City of Pensacola police deputy Gerald Ard on his way home from a friend’s house where he was working on a gospel song. He was unfairly portrayed as a troublemaker by the local media, and there were some seriously suspicious circumstances surrounding his death that are included in the poem. I met his very kind family who was being constantly harassed and intimidated by local police to the point where they were afraid to leave their homes and their employment suffered.
It was shortly after the murder of Oscar Grant and other police brutality cases, and I found it particularly relevant as these instances seem to be on the rise. I included the video from the cruiser, so you can see for yourself how this officer broke numerous laws simply to harass a terrified boy who had done nothing wrong. The officer was given a paid vacation only to be reassigned to the area despite public outcry and other complaints of formerly abusive behavior. The family did end up winning a lawsuit against the city a couple years later, but the money they received can never replace the life of their child.
The debate was centered on whether or not it was right for him to run from the cops. Anyone who has experienced harassment from the police knows the intense fear associated with their interaction, and I fault no one especially a young, black boy in the South who decides it is in their best interests to avoid any altercation with them.
It was not running from the cops that ended this boy’s life; it was a flagrant abuse of power by a determined agent of the state that was known for causing trouble in the area.
The headline read, “Tragedy, but not a crime”
When it was a travesty, cop outta line
But who polices the pigs?
Who do you call when a cop kills a kid?
Do we need cocktails Molotov
When a cop breaks the law?
Policeman passes prevalent prostitute in pursuit (silently)
Of a boy on a bike whose skin color
Passing a construction site getting closer
Suspecting the boy could steal
Who polices plotting, planting, paramedics,
And truth hiding fire trucks?
Who cops the cop outs drop outs in the courtroom?
With their cigarettes and scorn, thorns reaching upward tearing truth…
It takes a lifetime to recover from a loss
And just seconds to gloss
Turns, and speed limits, and curbs, and guns, and bullets
Finding their way into a dead boy’s pockets
With no prints…
Well, someone had the gloves
Mrs. Piggy and planter paramedic switching bunks
And reversed testimony from trust fund punks
Laughter from hearts of shrunk
At the video of a boy falling
Into the accelerator of a justice abater
::::::::::“Hey that cop killed that kid!”
“Nevermind, we could get in trouble, it was
“No crime here, let the chief deal the fear.”
(But you better not dismiss Piggy Ard ‘cause you’ll have
The fraternal order of police to deal with)::::::::::
I have seen the little piggies in their
blue black shirts
Getting worse and worse
Brothers forever, regardless of the lies
Well, I see why
How can you see the truth
Behind the fire truck guise?
My town, you never fail to depress me
When defending a hog
Through racist emanations
In the newspaper’s blog
“Good job Ard,
One more thug off the street.”
Lacking the time to meet
The mother who lost her son
The sisters who lost their brother
The brothers who lost a friend
God knows it’s not a sin to
To ride a bike at night
With darker skin
Or take flight
From cops too lazy
To use legs right
We would like to make
A citizen’s arrest
‘Cause if the cops won’t police themselves
It’s up to us to attest
To their power filled delves
Better yet, let’s know our rights
And make this an intellectual fight
Point and shoot cameras at night
Until the truth comes to light
We’re still in the dark
As long as our bite is weaker than our bark
Too often “to serve and protect” means
To rape and neglect
To hate and eject
To shoot not reflect
To lie and inspect
The abuse of power behind badges runs free
But don’t listen to me
Read your headlines and your by-lines
But most importantly
Read between the lines
The headline read, “Tragedy, but not a crime.”
When it was a heresy along the blue line
But who polices the pigs?
Who can you call when a cop kills a kid?
*Author’s note: I wish to apologize to the animals in the genus Sus. The domestic pigs as well as their wild counterparts are highly intelligent and mostly peaceful animals; only lashing out in the case of real threats. It is insulting to them to equate them with abusive Persons In Government.