One of the big reasons Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel for the national anthem last season is because it gave him a chance to protest publicly against an issue that he says needs to be fixed right now: Police brutality. Days after his first protest in August, Kaepernick specifically mentioned police brutality against minorities as something that would have to change before he would be willing to end his protest.
“There’s a lot of things that need to change,” Kaepernick said. “One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”
With his year-long protest, Kaepernick was hoping that at the very least, citizens would start holding officers more accountable.
“There is police brutality,” Kaepernick said. “People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials. They are put in place by the government. So that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher.”
Since Kaepernick’s protest started in August 2016, one of the most high-profile cases involving an officer shooting was the death of Philando Castile. Castile died in July after he was shot five times by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop.
After Castile died, Yanez was charged with manslaughter in a case that went to trial on May 30. Eighteen days after the trial started, the verdict was announced on Friday, and Yanez was found not guilty in Castile’s death. The verdict upset many people, including Kaepernick, who took to Twitter on Friday after the outcome was announced.