Three years ago during a police raid of a Detroit home, seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was killed in the crossfire by officers searching for a murder suspect.
It wasn't the first but certainly one of the more notable instances of bystanders dying at the hands of law enforcement. At the time, citizens and leaders alike were outraged — particularly since the events were also being documented for a reality show. The officer accused of killing Aiyana, Joseph Weekley, will be retried in December.
This year has been a banner one for explorations into police shootings of bystanders, particularly young African-Americans. "Fruitvale Station," a re-telling of the death of Oscar Grant at the hands of Bay Area Rapid Transit officers, debuted in theaters this summer (incidentally, at the same time of the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial) while North Carolina deals with the shooting of Jonathan Ferrell by a Charlotte police officer.
Well aware of this, J. Cole delivers a powerful video today for "Crooked Smile," whose lyrics ordinarily deal with self-esteem and being true to one's self. Instead, Cole tells two stories — one of a DEA agent, the one apparently a drug dealer — that intersect and end in tragedy.
It's admittedly left field considering the song's subject matter, but it's undoubtedly brave. If you started getting a bit misty-eyed, you're not the only one.