THE ATLANTIC – The city of Dallas, Texas, has been rocked by news of an off-duty police officer shooting a black man in his own apartment. On September 6, the off-duty police officer Amber Guyger entered Botham Jean’s apartment and shot him dead.
Most people reacted to the news of the shooting with outrage…
The National Rifle Association’s spokesperson sees the incident a bit differently. Dana Loesch argued that Jean would still be alive had he been armed and shot Guyger instead.
“I don’t think there’s any context that the actions would have been justified,” Loesch acknowledged, but asserted that “this could have been very different if Botham Jean had been, say he was a law-abiding gun owner and he saw somebody coming into his apartment.”
At a time when many conservative writers were expressing empathy for Jean and hoping that justice would be served, Loesch’s disciplined adherence to the NRA’s bottom line stands out.
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NBC NEWS – Prosecutors on Monday showed jurors video of a white Chicago police officer opening fire on black teenager Laquan McDonald, saying the 2014 fatal shooting was “completely unnecessary.”
The video shows Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as the 17-year-old, carrying a small knife in one hand, walks away from officers.
Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon told jurors that “not a single shot was necessary or justified” before showing them the video 15 minutes into his opening statement as the trial got underway.
But defense attorney Daniel Herbert argued that Van Dyke “is not a murderer. … He is a scared police officer who was fearful for his life and the life of others and acted as he was trained to do.”
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Once again, another unarmed Black man was shot and killed by the police. His crime? Running away. As articulated by The Washington Post:
“A Pennsylvania police officer’s fatal shooting of a 17-year-old who police said had fled a car that the officer had pulled over Tuesday night in East Pittsburgh is drawing wide outcry, as video circulated showing the teenager gunned down as he appeared to run with his back to the officer.”
As I watched the video, it reminded me of a hunter killing his prey. Although you are not supposed to run from the police, doing so should not result in your demise. Blacks oftentimes run from the police because we are scared, terrified for our lives. Historically, the police have not been there to protect and serve our communities, but rather to control. Unfortunately, I am not surprised by the tragic events that happened in East Pittsburgh. The sad reality is that Black lives appear not to matter. This is evidenced by the routine killing of unarmed persons of color.
What will it take for it to stop? We need to demand accountability and transparency in all facets of our criminal justice system. Contact your legislators, volunteer in your community, and spread the word about your efforts to effectuate change. Above all, never stop fighting for justice.
Melanie Bates is a former NBL member and a contributor to NBL News.
NFL star Michael Bennett criticized Las Vegas police who detained him in August, accusing them of excessive force and racial profiling. Now, Las Vegas police are striking back, accusing the Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman of being a liar, a publicity hound and a potential criminal, according to Slate. Bennett’s attorney says he’s considering a lawsuit alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. Attorney John Burris says police illegally detained Bennett and used excessive force by pointing a gun at his head. Meanwhile, Las Vegas police have yet to offer an account of what happened in the incident. Bennett has received support from a number of civil rights leaders and athletes after going public with his accusations of police brutality.