The NRA’s catch-22 for Black men shot by police

NRA logo with guns

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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Van Dyke trial: Jury sees video of white Chicago police officer shooting Laquan McDonald

Police reaching for pistol

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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Never Stop Fighting for Justice

Police shooting at targets

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.

NBL member reaches $3.5M settlement over DC police shooting

police lightsNational Black Lawyers member Jason Downs has reached a $3.5 million settlement with the District of Columbia over a fatal shooting by a police officer of an unarmed motorcyclist. Downs says Terrence Sterling was unlawfully shot in the back and killed by Metropolitan Police Officer Brian Trainer on September 11, 2016. At the time he was killed, Mr. Sterling posed no threat to the officer and was not armed. According to the Washington Post, Sterling was shot by Trainer during an attempted arrest for reckless driving. The Post reports that District officials say the settlement is the largest ever reached in a fatal shooting by an on-duty officer. More details are available at the Washington Post.

When white lives are at stake, society takes notice

police protest

A month after a former Minnesota police officer was found not guilty of fatally shooting Philando Castile in July 2016, Justine Ruszczyk was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer. But the reactions to the shootings were different. Why is there a greater outrage over Ruszczyk’s shooting than Castile’s, or the many other instances where blacks were shot and killed by white police officers? David A. Love takes a closer look in this opinion story at CNN.

‘Shooting police is not a civil rights tactic’: Activists condemn killing of officers – The Washington Post

As the nation awaited answers about the shooting that left three police officers dead, civil rights activists were quick to condemn the incident.

Source: ‘Shooting police is not a civil rights tactic’: Activists condemn killing of officers – The Washington Post

FBI investigation underway in deadly police shooting of teen that cost taxpayers $5 million

Laquan McDonald at graduation | Provided photo

Laquan McDonald at graduation | Provided photo

A City Council Committee agreed Monday to pay $5 million to the family of a black teenager shot 16 times by a Chicago Police officer — even before a lawsuit was filed — amid word that the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald is the subject of an FBI investigation.

Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton disclosed the existence of a “pending and active” state and federal investigation of the October 20, 2014, shooting as he justified the unusual settlement before a lawsuit was filed. In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the U.S. attorney’s office confirmed that the FBI office in Chicago was leading the investigation “in coordination with the Independent Police Review Authority, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.”

The shooting followed a police chase that ensued after a man called 911 to report that a knife-wielding offender had threatened him and was attempting to break into vehicles in an Archer Heights trucking yard at 41st and Kildare.

Two police officers responded to the call and found the alleged offender, subsequently identified as 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, about a block away holding a knife in his right hand, Patton said.

When McDonald was ordered to show his hands, the knife was visible, Patton said. When the teenager was ordered to drop the knife, he ignored the demand and kept walking along 40th Street toward Pulaski away from the officers.

Patton then described a chase that saw one of the officers follow McDonald on foot “kind of beside” the teenager while the other officer followed behind in a marked squad car and called a dispatcher to request a back-up unit with a Taser.

The chase continued until McDonald neared Pulaski, potentially endangering civilians. That’s when the officer in the squad car pulled in front of the teenager to block his path. According to Patton, McDonald responded by using the knife to puncture one of the squad car’s front tires and struck the windshield with a knife before continuing through a Burger King parking lot and onto Pulaski.

By that point, two additional squad cars had reported to the scene, one of them equipped with a dashboard camera that recorded the deadly shooting. The squad car with the camera followed behind McDonald.

The other squad car pulled up beside, then in front of the teenager and both officers jumped out with their guns drawn. One of those two officers then opened fire and shot McDonald 16 times, all of it captured on videotape.

The shooting officer contends that McDonald was moving toward him and that he opened fire to protect himself.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have countered that the teenager was continuing to walk away from police at the time of the shooting. Patton said the video supports that version of events and that McDonald posed no imminent threat because there were no pedestrians or vehicles nearby at the time of the shooting.

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Man shot by Atlanta police

Authorities said they retrieved a gun after a man was shot by Atlanta police on Wednesday night. (HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM)

Authorities said they retrieved a gun after a man was shot by Atlanta police on Wednesday night. (HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM)

A member of the Atlanta Police Department’s crime scene investigation unit bent over to retrieve a handgun from a grassy lot in southwest Atlanta late Wednesday.

Authorities said the gun — abandoned under a 60-foot oak tree flanked by new construction townhomes and a run-down building — was the same one a fleeing suspect produced before being shot by multiple officers.

The suspect, identified only as a man in his 20s, was in surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital on Wednesday night and in stable condition. Few other details were released regarding the shooting, which occurred near the intersection of Garibaldi Street and Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard.

Atlanta police Capt. Michael O’Connor said the department was “not prepared” to release information regarding the original stop, but did say that several officers responded to the initial “chase call.”

O’Connor said he believed “more than one” officer fired at the suspect, who allegedly led police on a foot chase covering several blocks around 7 p.m. The number of shots fired was unclear, O’Connor said, adding that he was unsure if the suspect fired at officers.

The suspect was believed to be “local,” police said. O’Connor said it was unclear if he was running away from police when the shots were fired.

“We know he ran away from officers initially,” O’Connor said, “but how the actual shooting took place we can’t confirm one way or another at this time.”

Per department policy, any officers who fired shots will be placed on a minimum of three days’ administrative duty, O’Connor said.

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