Dave Worthams says he can no longer be docile when it comes to African-Americans and the police. He says the not guilty verdict in the case of the officer who shot and killed Philando Castile makes him wonder when people will realize “something has to change.”
Worthams is Policy Director of the Michigan Bankers Association, a Kalamazoo County Road Commissioner and former Chairman of the Kalamazoo County Republican party. But he says
“If someone expects me just to be that poster child for African-American Republicans, don’t do that, I can’t do that anymore.”
Worthams wrote a post on his blog about the verdict in the Castile case called I Can’t Do This Anymore. He discussed it with WMUK’s Gordon Evans.
While Castile’s death is the latest in a long line after African-Americans encountered police, Worthams says it felt different because Castile was a properly licensed concealed weapon holder, who told officer he had a weapon and permit. Worthams linked to a video of Trevor Noah discussing the issue on the Daily Show, and says he agrees that the silence from groups like the NRA who claim to protect 2nd amendment right to bear arms is disappointing. Worthams says something has to change with training to get the “bad apples” out of the bunch (the police force).
There are multiple videos of the incident, and Worthams says body cameras were supposed to make the system work. But he says a jury of Philando Castile’s peers saw the video and said “there’s nothing wrong here.” Worthams adds there could be other reasons for the not guilty verdict. Perhaps it was confusion or a poor job by the prosecutors. But he says
“This was the perfect storm, you’ve got it on tape, you’ve got the video, you’ve got the audio, it’s right there, you still said ‘not guilty’ What more is it going to take for there to be justice?”
Worthams, who grew up in Kalamazoo and went to Western Michigan University, says he had his own encounters with the police while in high school and at Western. Worthams says similar things have happened to his son. Worthams says what’s most disappointing is good friends telling him he’s wrong or that he doesn’t know how the police are supposed to do their job.
In his blog post Worthams quotes the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” but says he doesn’t think he will live to see that day. “If my son or if my daughter were to ask me ‘dad is it going to get better?’ I don’t know I could look them in the eye and say ‘yes it’s going to get better.’”