Ty’rese West was 18 years old when he was killed by a Mount Pleasant Police Officer in Racine, Wisconsin. He was alone riding his bicycle during the early morning hours of June 15, 2019 when he was stopped, the police allege, for not having a bike light. As for what happened next, the only certainty is seen in Ty’rese’s autopsy photo: two neatly-grouped bullet holes in the forehead of a young, now dead, Black man. His body had lain cooling in the street for hours while his community prepared to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday, to commemorate the emancipation of Black America, just blocks away.
One year after his death, Ty’rese’s mother, Monique West, continues to demand answers as she pursues his case – and justice – in the federal courts. Questions surrounding the validity of the police report continue to be raised, as the systemic corruption within our national justice system is again challenged in public by those who will no longer wait patiently for justice or change.
Ty’rese West is another name that we must know; with George, Trayvon, Michael, Breonna, Sandra, the long list of Black lives taken senselessly and brazenly by police grows. Ty’rese, Eric, Tamir, Philando, Freddie; each of these names represent individually the countless names we don’t know – so many names that have not gone viral, so many deaths that have gone unwitnessed, so many facts obfuscated and concealed. Insipid narratives found in headlines and police reports alike that echo one another and are echoed back by our skewed justice system have had their day in the guise of honest law-keeping. The time for truth and a full accounting is now – for Ty’rese, for the known, for the unknown.