Blog Assignment # 6
In the two years as a transfer to UCLA’s Theater program, I’ve written four plays and one tv pilot. Two of those plays dealt with police brutality. I did not want to talk about police brutality. I had to talk about police brutality. For some reason I will not investigate here, I felt the non-black playwrights felt that black playwrights only wrote about black oppression. As a writer in general, I can write about any thing, any time.
Police brutality is not a fun topic or an easy one, it just happens to be one that pains me. Shakes me up. Saddens me. A topic that’s apparently a never-ending reflection of a continuum of evil in the United States. In 1996 an eighteen-year-old Keith Tucker was killed by Oakland police officer Steve Gray and Steve Chiari. Keith was driving a stolen car that he himself had not stolen. He had intentionally drove down a dead-end street in Sobrante Park. He used to live in the area. The plan was to get to a place where they (four black men and boys total) could all jump out and run. He pulled into a driveway and only one person jumped out. Keith never did. Don’t know why.
He supposedly pulled out of the driveway and faced the policemen who were out of their cars, guns drawn. The two people in the back of the car mentioned Keith’s last words were, “These muthafuckas gon’ kill me.” They did. Killed him while he sat in the driver’s seat. Devastation. It was personal. Keith was my friend.
I wrote the following piece in my late teens after Keith died.
What happened to the one who did what I did to make me love him so? So much that how he was he made other people love him so? Enough to make you think what happened should’t, wouldn’t, didn’t have to happen. “For man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” For what trouble had he gotten into to deserve to be murdered? For thine treacherous, impetuous enemies have caused a repugnant vicissitude in my life. They shall never go without reaping the hideous seed they’ve sown. For they have killed one who helped me be—one who loved, perhaps more than those who killed him. One who I made laugh, smile, oh how I loved his style as he made others do the same—what happened? Laughter turned to cries, clamors even. Heads that were high, went low, all because of the seed that was sown. All because of some infamous, notorious enemies who will be overtaken by the plowman. Pray that God brings upon them continuous pain and make them pay sevenfold, as they stumble over unseen stones and get sick from foods uneaten. Oh, God on no account let them escape, as their loved ones wonder…What’s happening?
After writing this piece, I was informed one (or both) of the young men in the car with Keith (some new followers of his most of us never knew) stated at the trial Keith tried to run the officers over. I know nothing about that. I wasn’t there. And there were no known cameras to verify anyone’s claim.