– Washington Post, September 12 [the incident dates to May 6]
I’m too flabbergasted to comment intelligently. Can readers help me understand wtf is going on? By “going on”, I mean the clear pattern of American police shooting African-American men and boys who do not in fact pose a significant threat to their lives or those of third parties. Not bad judgement calls, but massive and egregious errors. The police chief’s firing of Steven Mader implies that killing armed African-American men is his firm SOP, whether or not they represent a deadly threat.
European cops kill people by mistake too. London cops killed the harmless Brazilian turnstile-jumper de Menezes in the panicky aftermath of the bus bombings. French cops have been known to shoot young Arabs who don’t stop at roadside checkpoints, and suspects “fleeing the scene of the crime”. British cops run over pedestrians in high-speed car chases. These bavures (French: “droolings”) are not regarded as SOP and get investigated.
A suggestion for Barack Obama. The fired officer in West Virginia, ex-Marine Steven Mader, read a dangerous situation correctly – Ronald Williams had a gun at his side which was in fact unloaded. (He was sadly killed by the backup officers who followed Mader to the scene). He looks the kind of level-headed person the Secret Service or FBI could use. A phone call would send a good message.
Help me out here.
[Note: an earlier version of this post included a second headline claiming police shot a young black mother in Atlanta in an altercation over her breastfeeding her baby. This story, according to Snopes, is a fabrication. I thank my commenter to letting me know, and apologise for my credulity. This is also shocking in a different way. Made-up stories apparently reinforcing a true narrative tend to discredit it, and objectively reinforce denial. The truth is quite bad enough.]