Why is it worth noting? Because the news regularly contains stories about people of color who are not taken alive, even when they pose little or no threat.
Mentally ill Lavall Hall was shot and killed by the police after attacking them with a broom. (“An old, red broom,” according to his mother.)
Hall was Black.
Leighton Marchetta was apparently drunk when he fired his 30-06 rifle at Georgia State Troopers in Gainesville. He was taken alive after being shot in the shoulder.
Marchetta is White.
Middleton, who is Black, miraculously survived.
Crawford was Black.
At another Walmart, Sandon Sierad reportedly tried to steal a cash register, terrorized customers in the story, led police on a foot chase and tried three times to grab a deputy’s weapon, was tased, yet still only cuffed, not shot.
Sierad is White.
Great-grandfather Bernard Monroe was shot to death on the porch of his own home in Homer, Louisiana. He was armed with a sports drink according to witnesses, then posthumously armed with a pistol by police.
Monroe was Black.
Reportedly intoxicated 63-year old Joseph Houseman was reported outside a Dairy Queen wearing what appeared to be pajama pants and carrying a rifle. When police tried to talk to him, Houseman gave them “the bird,” grabbed his crotch and shouted about revolution. After 40 minutes, Houseman put down his rifle, which was then confiscated by police. It was returned the next day.
Houseman is White.
Scott was Black.
Following a suicide threat, a 15 minute negotiation with police, and an aggressive move to retrieve his loaded 9 mm pistol, Lance Tamayo was shot once by police in the stomach after pointing his loaded pistol at various people nearby. After being shot he tried to regain possession of his gun. Officers then fired non-lethal rounds to subdue and arrest him.
Tamayo is White.
It is not difficult to see why some Black folks are mystified at the differences in these encounters. Black people are often shot and killed by police when posing little or no threat, while White people who pose a greater threat are only wounded or are taken with no shots fired.
At a protest following the McKinney Pool Party incident, a White male walked around (on the pro-police side of the protest) with a rifle strapped to his back (enlarge photo for clarity). Would a Black man in the same circumstance have been treated with as much indifference? Probably not.
Remember both Tamir Rice and John Crawford were shot by police within seconds in an open carry state. Not after 40 minutes of conversation. Not after 15 minutes of negotiation. Neither were carrying firearms—one had an airsoft pistol, the other a pellet rifle.
Some will say, “If he’s taken alive we have a chance to find out what he was thinking. We need to know why he did it.” (Hate is why Roof did it, if you do not know.)
Are we not interested in why Tamir Rice was shooting a BB gun at car tires? Are we not interested in why John Crawford may have chosen a Crossman over Daisy? Not even for marketing purposes? Are we not interested in what kind of barbecue sauce Bernard Monroe preferred? Apparently not.
If Dylann Roof was unarmed, and surrendering, then he should not have been killed.
The solution isn’t to kill more white people in the process of apprehension and arrest. But killing fewer Black people in the process of apprehension and arrest isn’t such a bad idea, either.
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