This post is a memorial to Secoriea Turner. It is my personal Black Lives Matter protest. Secoriea’s life mattered.
Secoriea Turner was eight years old when she was shot in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 4. She was riding in a car with her mother and another adult. The driver pulled into a parking area near what used to be a Wendy’s restaurant, trying to turn around and leave. That Wendy’s restaurant had been burned and destroyed in a riot following the killing of Rayshard Brooks at that location on June 12, 2020.
Mr. Brooks had been shot by police because he was resisting arrest, had fought with the two officers trying to arrest him, had grabbed a Taser away from one of the officers, and had fired it at the officers. Subsequent to the burning of the Wendy’s, the location had been controlled by the rioters. At the direction of city government, police made no attempt to control the area. When that car pulled into the area on the evening of July 4, the rioters fired several shots into it, killing Secoriea.
On July 5, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant held an emotional news conference. CBS46 in Atlanta has posted most of that news conference online (APD means Atlanta Police Department):
It is well worth watching the entire 40 minutes posted at that link. The participation of Secoriea’s parents starting at about 8:20 is heartbreaking.
The Washington Post reported on these events at 3:50 AM on July 6: ‘You shot and killed a baby’: Atlanta mayor demands an end to violence after 8-year-old slain near where Rayshard Brooks died.
The New York Times published a brief news item about these events early on July 6, and then published this longer article later in the day: ‘It’s Got to Stop’: Atlanta’s Mayor Decries a Surge of Violence as a Girl Is Killed.
The photo above was featured in a poster by the Atlanta Police Department seeking information about the killing of Secoriea Turner. That poster was headed:
** $10,000.00 Reward **
I cannot find that poster online, but it is in the following article in the Epoch Times dated July 6: Father of 8-Year-Old Killed in Atlanta: ‘They Say Black Lives Matter—You Killed Your Own’. The photo above is from this article.
On September 3 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported: 2 months later, police still searching for who killed 8-year-old Secoriea Turner.
Can we learn from this tragic event? Can we honor the lives of Secoriea Turner and other children like her, as well as adults, who have been killed in the riots that followed the death of George Floyd?
Can “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”? (source)
All of the following people are black: Secoriea Turner, her parents, Rayshard Brooks, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Rodney Bryant, George Floyd. Yet there are lessons here for all of us, of all races, even here in mostly white Vermont where we never heard of George Floyd or Rayshard Brooks or Secoriea Turner until their tragic deaths made the news.
In future posts I will write about some of the lessons that I believe we can learn. Lessons about protesting vs. violence, about policing, about leadership, about how we should think about each other to get past our history of racism. I will refer back to some of the links in this post, especially the video of the news conference.
I cannot find a Wikipedia entry for Secoriea Turner. The following comments about Secoriea are from her parents in the news conference, starting at about 8:20:
[Mother:] She would have been on TikTok dancing. And [on] her phone. Just got finished eating. … My baby didn’t mean no harm. … [Father:] She just wanted to get home to see her cousins. That’s all she wanted to do. She just wanted to get home.