By Hollis Wormsby, Jr.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter responded to a request for backup from a Patrol Officer who was on detail to check on car break-ins in the Graymont Avenue area. Carter and another officer encountered two African American males, ages 18 and 31 and tried to detain them for questioning. Somehow in the process one or both of the suspects were able to open fire on Carter and the second officer, leaving Carter dead and another officer fighting for his life.
This is such a senseless crime and also a sad reflection on the state of our community. If the two suspects had simply surrendered, based on the information available it appears likely that they may not have been arrested or if they had been arrested the charges would have been minor and likely they could have bailed out for less than $10,000 each. Instead because of yet another incidence of random violence one police officer’s family is planning a funeral and another officer’s family is sitting in an ICU lobby praying.
Carter was the kind of man that all families hope to create. He had served his country in the United States Air Force before becoming a member of the Birmingham Police Force, who served with such distinction that he was promoted to sergeant in April of last year.
Carter had a wife and children he provided for as a strong black man, and now his wife and children will have nothing left but his pension and his life insurance. His passing is a sad, sad statement on the quality of life in our community.
I was watching an old gangster movie on television when I read the news about Carter’s passing. The movie I was watching included a line where a police chief facing mob violence said, “We are like a community living with an open grave, we have lived with the stench for so long, it no longer offends us.”
That is the saddest takeaway from the death of Carter to me. It is that as a community we are becoming so accustomed to this type of reprehensible violence that it hardly offends us anymore. The family of Carter, and of so many other victims of violent crime in this community, would remind us, that each incident is offensive and personal to each family touched. Or at least that’s the way I see it.
Hollis Wormsby has served as a featured columnist for the Birmingham Times for more than 29 years. He is the former host of Talkback on 98.7 KISS FM and of Real Talk on WAGG AM. If you would like to comment on this column you can email him at email@example.com