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'Reminds Us Of The Lynching Photos': Reggie Jackson On Why He Doesn't Watch Police Killing Videos

Police Shooting Death Of Daunte Wright Near Minneapolis Sparks Protests
Scott Olson
Getty Images
A demonstrator holds up a sign during a protest after the death of Daunte Wright outside the Brooklyn Center police station on April 17 in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

The number of videos documenting a police officer killing someone in their custody only continues to grow. Eric Garner, George Floyd and Daunte Wright are only a few of the countless people whose killing has been caught on camera.

Reggie Jackson is the co-founder of the diversity, equity and inclusion consulting firm Nurturing Diversity Partners and served at the Head Griot for America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) for 17 years.

Jackson recently wrote a column for the Milwaukee Independent explaining why he no longer watches these examples of police brutality.

“It’s gotten to the point for me, personally, where it’s just too emotionally draining to watch it and I do want to give credence to the fact that these are the last moment of someone’s life but I see the videos now as snuff films,” he explains.

Instead, he reads the accounts of what happened and understands that watching the video of someone losing their life only further hurts himself.

He points to another historical trend of documenting the moment someone was killed — lynching photos. He says unlike these videos, lynching photos were usually staged and used to profit off of the mob killing of a Black person. Many lynching photos were taken by professional photographers and included large crowds of people posing in front of the dead body.

Jackson’s mentor and founder of the ABHM, James Cameron, was the survivor of a lynching attempt that claimed the lives of two others and produced a lynching photo.

“When we see these videos, it reminds us of the lynching photos. That’s how many of us in our community that feel that we’re simply watching the modern-day version of a lynching,” he says.

The fact that these videos continue to arise shows Jackson that nothing is being done to address the problems that lead to the deaths in the videos.

>> Despite Protests Against Police Brutality, Reggie Jackson Says Significant Change Hasn't Been Made

He says since the creation of policing systems in America, the fact that police use violence has been accepted by a majority of Americans and until that changes, real change can’t be made within the practices of policing.

“It has to be about changing not only the mindset of police officers but the mindset of the public that when it comes to police officers, we have to stop being OK with this,” he says.

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.