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Sandra Bland, Philando Castile and now Charleena Lyles. Scream their names for all to hear

Philando Castile was 32 years old when he was shot to death in his car by a police officer. Before Castile was shot to death, he got a haircut, ate dinner with his sister and picked up his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, at his apartment. The officer said he pulled Castile over for a brake light problem; an audio transcript later revealed the officer saying, “The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide-set nose.”

According to Reynolds’ account, when asked for his license and registration Castile disclosed that he had a pistol and was licensed to carry. He then reached for his wallet. The officer told him, “Don’t move.”

103 seconds elapsed between when the police officer pulled Castile over and when he shot Castile seven times. Several of the shots the officer fired pierced Castile’s arm and left side.

While Castile was being shot to death, Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat of the car.

Reynolds livestreamed the aftermath for 10 minutes on Facebook. Imagine the presence of mind and strength that required.

On Friday, the police officer who shot Philando Castile to death was acquitted of all charges. The officer’s name is Jeronimo Yanez, and he is a free man.

After the verdict, Castile’s mother Valerie asked, “Where in this planet do you tell the truth and you be honest and you still be murdered by the police of Minnesota while you have your seat belt on and you’re in the company of a woman and a child?”

What would I have done differently?

Absolutely nothing. I would have disclosed my weapon, reached for my wallet, put my hands in the air when instructed. I am white. I get pulled over less frequently than I should, and I am treated fairly when it happens.

Over the weekend, a list circulated on social media:

Philando Castile.

Terence Crutcher.

Sandra Bland.

Eric Garner.

Mike Brown.

Rekia Boyd.

Sean Bell.

Tamir Rice.

Freddie Gray.

Danroy Henry.

Oscar Grant III.

Kendrec McDade.

Aiyana Jones.

Ramarley Graham.

Amadou Diallo.

Trayvon Martin.

John Crawford III.

Jonathan Ferrell.

Timothy Stansbury Jr.

No convictions.

One of the things Philando Castile’s death demonstrates is the depth and pervasiveness of anti-black racism in our country. “Where in this planet?” Valerie Castile asked, reminding us that the answer is here. Anti-blackness is not the exclusive province of white Americans; anti-blackness is so deep in the fabric of our national history that no community is immune to it — even communities of color, some of whose members are in uniform and occasionally the ones pulling the trigger.

In 2015, Sandra Bland died in jail three days after being arrested at a traffic stop. The African American Policy Forum promoted the phrase “Say Her Name” in an effort to center violence against black women in the national conversation.

We need to say their names. We need to scream their names.

These names should ricochet off the hearts and consciences of each person in this country. This is where we live. This is what happens here.

Not once. Not twice. Repeatedly. Not back then. Now. Yesterday.

On Sunday morning, Charleena Lyles called the Seattle police to report a burglary. After two officers arrived at her apartment complex, they shot her to death. Both opened fire. Lyles was a 30-year-old black woman. She was pregnant. Her four children were nearby. The officers were white. They say she confronted them with a knife.

Monika Williams, Lyles’ sister, said: "Even if my sister had a knife in her hand, she weighs like nothing, even if she's soaking wet. There's no way you could've taken a taser and taken her down? There's no way you could've taken a baton and knocked the knife out of her hand?"

Philando Castile.

Terence Crutcher.

Sandra Bland.

Eric Garner.

Mike Brown.

Rekia Boyd.

Sean Bell.

Tamir Rice.

Freddie Gray.

Danroy Henry.

Oscar Grant III.

Kendrec McDade.

Aiyana Jones.

Ramarley Graham.

Amadou Diallo.

Trayvon Martin.

John Crawford III.

Jonathan Ferrell.

Timothy Stansbury Jr.

Charleena Lyles.

Scream their names.

Melissa Batchelor Warnke is a contributing writer to Opinion. Follow her @velvetmelvis on Twitter.

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