Jarrell “J-Brick” Walker was only 19 years old when sheriff’s deputies burst in waking him from sleep and shot him three times in the back.
BY SATEESH ROGERS
ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Three-year-old Kamau Walker was sleeping in his bed when one of three “flash-bang” grenades that were tossed into his family’s house detonated in his room. The detonation blinded and deafened Kamau from seeing or hearing U.S. troops murder his father.
Kamau would only witness the aftermath of the invasion of the Special Weapons Assault Team (SWAT) — an invasion where, under the premise of executing a warrant, Corporal Christopher Taylor of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department executed Kamau’s father, 19-year-old Jarrell Walker.
Dorian Williams, Jarrell’s cousin, witnessed the execution.
Eight members of the SWAT burst in the house after detonating the grenades. “Smoke was everywhere. You couldn’t really see anything. The only thing you could see were red lights,” said Jarrell’s surviving cousin.
The red lights piercing the smoke of the exploded grenades were infrared beams attached to high-powered weapons that were aimed at the occupants of the house. In an instant, three bullets ripped through Kamau’s father’s back. The unarmed 19-year-old, known and loved throughout the community as “J-Brick” died on the scene.
Autopsy photos revealed that two bullets entered the left side of his back and another bullet entered the right side. All three rounds exited through his chest cavity.
The hooded and heavily armed troops screamed at Dorian, directing him not to look at their face or make any move to help Jarrell. If he did, he was told his face would be kicked in.
Jarrell Walker is the second African gunned down by law enforcement here in St. Petersburg in less than a year. On May 2, 2004, 17 year-old Marquell McCullough was ambushed by deputies who opened fire at his pick-up truck 14 times, striking him with nine shots.
After murdering young Marquell McCullough in a hail of bullets, deputies said he wasn’t even the person they were looking for. Though the deputies identified and pursued the wrong person and the wrong vehicle, the shooting death of Marquell McCullough was still ruled “justifiable.”
The actions of triggerman Christopher Taylor in the murder of Jarrell Walker have also been ruled justified. The ruling from state’s attorney Bernie McCabe that stated Chris Taylor acted in the “legal performance of his lawful duties,” when he shot Jarrell Walker three times in the back came one year to the day of Marquell’s murder on May 2.
Police murder of Africans always “justifiable”
In case after case the U.S. courts always justify the actions of U.S. police taken against African people.
The message widely perceived by the African community, especially among younger people, is that the police agencies have a license to kill no matter what the situation.
This view is supported by the fact that after Jarrell’s murder, Chris Taylor has been promoted to a position in which he now trains new SWAT members.
The same night Jarrell was awakened from his sleep and shot three times in the back, a white man in a standoff with the same sheriff’s department fired multiple shots at deputies. Interestingly, he was shot once in the leg.
Care was taken by the deputies to “shoot to wound” the white individual, whereas law enforcement “shoots to kill” when it comes to African people. This is a clear indication of the completely different policies the sheriff’s department has for the African community and the white community.
Oran Walker has been working with InPDUM fighting for justice since his brother Jarrell was murdered.
“The red lights piercing the smoke of the exploded grenades were infrared beams attached to high-powered weapons that were aimed at the occupants of the house. In an instant, three bullets ripped through Kamau’s father’s back. ”
This most recent killing has left people saddened, angered as well as energized to bring an end to the anti-African policies that come down from city hall, its council and its mayor, Rick Baker.
During an emotional press conference Kamau’s grandmother, Cynthia Allen, spoke to the media about how her grandson could not sleep, the nightmares he kept having and how he kept asking for his father.
It remains to be seen the exact kind of trauma that this whole ordeal will cause Kamau throughout his life.
Oran Walker, Jarrell’s older brother spoke to The Burning Spear about his younger sibling’s love for his son.
He had several conversations with Jarrell about what he should expect in terms of being a father before Kamau was born. “He was real nervous and excited about his son. I sat and talked with him to calm him down and get him ready.”
“Jarrell was a fun person to be around. He was the type of person that would make you laugh at least three or four times a day.”
“He was an excellent athlete. He set county and state records for most home runs in a city tournament. He played point guard in basketball, wide receiver in football and he could eat some of everything.”
When asked how he felt when he got the news of Jarrell’s murder, Oran said, “when I heard that he had died I couldn’t believe it.”
Family of Jarrell Walker stands in defense of African community
Oran and other members of the family have spoken out courageously in defense of not just Jarrell, but the entire African community ever since the April 12 attack. This has made them targets of local law enforcement, which has been following them ever since that fateful night.
Jarrell’s other brother Orrin and his cousin Dorian were arrested the week of May 9 on the charge of “inciting to riot,” after a crowd of people responded to police officers pepper-spraying the crowd in Childs Park that had gathered to hear the family and members of the Uhuru Movement speak about what hap pened to Jarrell.
Both Orrin and Dorian posted bond, but Dorian was arrested again a week later. He is currently being held on $150,000 bond for charges that police have not been forthcoming with at the time of this printing.
These most recent moves made by the city of St. Pete are widely recognized throughout the African community as an attempt to silence protest and quiet witnesses to Jarrell’s execution. The city would rather not have to deal with the community’s organized demands for justice as expressed by the Uhuru Movement and the powerful condemnation of Jarrell’s murder and murderers by the family and organization. Tensions are running high in St. Pete as the better majority of the African community is coming to the realization that the police, courts, jails and military are organized and so we must be as well.
Jarrell was not the first African murdered by police organizations in St. Pete, but the whole community is rallying and joining the efforts of the Uhuru Movement to make sure that he is the last.
Justice for J-Brick!
Three-year-old Kamau was kidnapped and fingerprinted after deputies murdered his father. His mother was forced to take drug tests and have her home inspected before she could have him back.