"Hatred and Race and Violence Are Taught," Shooting Victim's Sister Says

Sherie Williams, 46, was visiting Dallas from her home in Minneapolis when she learned that her sister, Shetamia Taylor, 38, of Garland, had been shot in the leg during Thursday night’s ambush massacre of police in downtown Dallas.

Williams says Taylor and her four sons had been just about to return home after the Black Lives Matter march when shots rang out. Taylor was shot while running with her sons. She threw herself on top of her 15-year-old son Andrew and remained in that position for five minutes, until police came to her, without realizing she had been shot.

When Williams and another sister found Taylor and her son in the emergency center at Baylor Hospital, her small room was covered with blood. The 15-year-old, who was not injured, was in the room and and inconsolable, Williams says.

“He was like a jitterbug, emotions all over. We walked in, and he just ran up to us and grabbed our necks. He was still upset. He didn’t understand what was going on. He started to calm down a little bit, and then when his dad got there he calmed down more.”

Williams has two sons of her own, ages 26 and 28, back home in Minneapolis. She says she has worried about her sons’ safety and tried to teach them to be safe since they were adolescents. “All the time, whenever they leave out the house. All the time, ‘Be careful.’”

Asked what she taught them about getting stopped by police, she says she told them: “Comply. Don’t just all of a sudden reach or do anything. Just comply.”

But she says she did not teach her sons, when they were adolescents, that they needed to be fearful of white police because they were black males:

“When kids are young, you don’t teach them race. You don’t teach them color. You just teach them to be respectful and be mindful of other people, their belongings and things like that. I think that hatred and racism and violence are taught. I didn’t teach them to be racist.”

She says her sister, blood-soaked and watching television in the E.R. while awaiting a five-hour surgery, expressed deep concern for the families of police officers who had been shot.
“It’s just sad,” Williams says. “It’s sad that our society nowadays is coming to a point where the police are scared of the citizens and the citizens are afraid of the police.

“So now you have this chaos that’s going on and everybody wants to do a gun battle when we all just need to come together and stay prayerful and talk.

“But right now no one wants to talk. There’s no talking. Everybody is just mad right now and ready to shoot or kill off the next person.

“Until we get to where we can actually peacefully sit down and communicate, there’s no telling when this might end or how long it’s going to continue.”

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze