AIC Yellow Jacket

The latest in an epidemic: the death of Zoe Dowdell

Ventine Richardson Jr., Staff Writer

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When we hear of police violence, we attempt to spread awareness in an abundant amount of ways, and also protest to try and get the issue to end.

However, one never expects it to happen in a place where you come from, to someone you know personally.

This one came too close to home for me, and other AIC students who knew Zoe Dowdell.

On December 14, 2017 at 6:43 p.m., New Britain, Conn. police suspected a vehicle to have been involved in several carjackings over the last two weeks.

When the police tried to stop the vehicle, more than one officer opened fire, injuring two teens and killing one. Police said the vehicle drove towards them. An investigation is underway.

Zoe Dowdell from Bloomfield, Conn., an aspiring rapper whose life was cut short at 20 years, was a creative artisan towards the urban interests.

From the fifth through eighth grades (2008-2012), he spent hours perfecting his dancing. At the time the dance “jerking” was at its all time peak and Zoe was determined to be the face of it anyway he could.

Not only building his image by becoming one of the best dancers in Connecticut, his dancing was recorded and added to his resume. He created extensive videos, and edited them using applications on his computer at his Bloomfield residence.

He uploaded all of his videos on YouTube, eventually working himself up to be an internet sensation before he learned how to do Algebra. Entering high school, he fooled around with music, freestyling with his friends using elementary vocabulary.

People loved Zoe because he was funny and entertaining to say the least. With experience in computer applications, he would go to Prosser Public Library, in Bloomfield and use a program where made beats and then record his voice freestyling.

His music interest began as a legitimate joke, it was all fun and games – he even named himself “Gangstalicious” after the TV show The Boondocks, until he made a song called, “Not Supposed To Be” which completely changed his image.

He wasn’t this creative, funny, energetic Zoe anymore; he was something greater. Once he saw how his first couple of songs hit thousands and thousands of views on YouTube and Soundcloud, he thought, why not keep going?

Furthermore, he and his crew, Full Effect, which consisted of Elijah Young, Malik Melius, Sadiki Blake, Teddy Little, and more, built a brand for themselves with clothing, promoting, and most importantly music.

Zoe Dowdell inspired Sadiki to rhyme on the mic, built a bond and strived with Malik, and was with Elijah in grade school at Prosser Library joking around with beats.

Intviewed recently, Malik Melius said, “It’s so unreal. You spend so much time with someone, and it’s so sad to say I can’t even see his smile anymore or turn up with him. I loved him like a brother.”

Melius is a former student of AIC and told stories about he and Zoe being here around the AIC community.

Jalah Oates, a full-time student at AIC, speaks on her experience with Dowdell.

“He was a constant burst of energy. I didn’t know him personally, however you can see that he was full of life,” she noted.

Zoe Dowdell was nothing short of a loving, caring, talented, and positive human being.

Unfortunately he falls into a statistic and adds fuel to the fire in an ongoing stereotype, that being white police officers killing young men of color. Now the police report says that the cops only followed the car out of pure assumption.

The officers assumed this was the car suspected of many carjacking incidents in the New Britain area. Little do they know Zoe Dowdell, (the driver) resides in Hartford, and isn’t in New Britain frequently.

As the terrified driver he tried to evade the police, and that’s where his life ended, being shot in the head, neck, and lower body.

In addition, the media is now labeling this young black man as a common criminal, a street thief.

Just labeling him without any research or further investigation.

I caught up with Elijah Young on the fact that the media is already labeling him, and he says, “This was my brother Ventine. I’ve been with him through everything. How could they sit here and say Zoe was a violent criminal, that only knew trouble? It doesn’t make sense. Just because he was a black man in a “suspected” vehicle doesn’t automatically change his entire image.”

Hundreds of people showed up to his candle lighting, and WFSB news was there to record it all. All of the people that were there knew what kind of person he was, and would do anything to hear that laugh again.

We lost a creative soul full of life, due to police officers. Zoe Dowdell was such a good person, and a loving friend. I’ve known Zoe since the 2nd grade, and at one point he was my best friend.

May he rest in peace.

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The latest in an epidemic: the death of Zoe Dowdell