A police officer has shared his heartbreak and disenchantment about society and policing in the US before dramatically taking his own life outside the Louisiana police station where he worked.
Before deputy Clyde Kerr III took his own life outside the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office on Monday (local time), he left haunting final words in a series of social media videos that have since gone viral.
The 43-year-old father and military veteran lamented the existence of widespread police brutality against African Americans and dire mental health issues among those in uniform.
He expounded about increasing division in society and the violence that plagues many US cities, which often sees young minority children exposed to murder.
At one point, he said he struggles to explain the death of George Floyd to his son. Floyd was killed at the hands of four Minnesota officers last last year, sparking nationwide social unrest.
Citing other deaths of Black people at the hands of police, he said: “If this feels right to you as a person, then something is wrong with you.
“This is the furthest thing from right. This is a manner of wickedness ... Ya’ll are radicalising people and then when they buck and they want to come against the system because it’s not for them, then you come down on them with a hammer.”
In videos, now circulating on Facebook and YouTube, he hinted at his impending suicide and articulated his struggle to reconcile his identity as a Black man with his chosen profession.
“You have no idea how hard it is to put a uniform on in this day and age with everything that’s going on,” he said in one video.
“My entire life has been in the service of other people,” said Kerr. “Y’all entrust me to safeguard your little ones, your small ones, the thing that’s most precious to you, and I did that well. I passed security clearance in the military … but that has allowed me to see the inner workings of things.”
In one clip, a despondent Kerr simply says: “I’ve had enough.”
The State of America brought Deputy Clyde Kerr, III of the Lafayette PD to take his life. He released a series of videos leading up to his breaking point. RIP sir. #AllPowerToThePeople #EndPoliceBrutality pic.twitter.com/DgsmF0xhh5
— Rachel Ponder (@_rachelponder_) February 4, 2021
A 2019 study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimated that black men have a 1 in 1,000 chance of being killed by police during their lifetimes. That’s 2.5 times the odds for a non-Hispanic white man, the authors found.
According to KADN, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office deputy said the station was mourning the loss of one of its own, in a statement this week.
“The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of its own.
“Deputy Clyde Kerr began his service with the sheriff's office in June of 2015. He has served as a deputy on patrol, a member of the swat team and a school resource officer,” it said.
Sheriff Mark Garber released a statement saying: “My heart goes out to Deputy Kerr, his immediate family and to all of the brothers and sisters he has at the sheriff’s office, as we all grieve.”
Online, the tragic news reinvigorated calls for more to be done to improve racial justice, policing practices and mental health support for first responders in the country.
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