How White Privilege Allows White Men to Survive Police Encounters

How White Privilege Allows White Men to Survive Police Encounters

Overview

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Police would rather kill a Black man than let him get away. Fact.

Black men who dare to run for their lives trigger moments of explosive rage shown by police-terrorists. Evidence tells us that police interactions are fatal, so it’s not surprising that Black men pick the escape option as opposed to the stay-and-die option. Sadly, the lynch mob terminates last minute attempts at self-preservation.

Just look at the way 26-year-old Mario Woods was executed. Woods was surrounded by officers with guns like he was a hunted animal. Woods showed vulnerability through his slow and decrepit demeanor. Anyone with common sense could tell he was not a deadly threat to police. Maybe Woods was armed with a knife, but it didn’t justify killing him to disarm — police fired at Woods at least 15 times. It seems we have trigger-happy police so high on adrenaline and power that the ability to exhibit compassion has disappeared.

Back in September 2014, Darrien Hunt, 22 was shot at six times — at least once in the back — while running away from police after allegedly swinging a “samurai-type” sword at officers. Of course, reports from officers are questionable, and Hunt’s family and lawyers refute claims that Hunt was swinging at officers.

In October 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald — who was holding a knife at the time — was fatally shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer despite the fact that he was walking away from police.

Similarly, in December 2015 Nicholas Robertson, 28, who was allegedly armed and behaving erratically, was shot dead while walking away from officers. After being shot repeatedly, Robertson appeared to be crawling on the ground, at which point officers continued to shoot him.

The deaths of these men are indicative of the endemic dehumanization and devaluing of Black people by those hired to uphold morality. Liberals should not only challenge the number of killings, but the grotesque form or topography these killings assume, especially when there are alternative means to disarm.

After Black lives are destroyed, cover-ups arise to preserve white privilege in all its shining glory. But are armed white people massacred in the same way?

Take the case of 32-year-old Eric Frein, a white man and one of the FBI’s 10-most-wanted fugitives. He was captured in October 2014 after 48 days on the run. Frein was charged with wounding a Pennsylvania state trooper and murdering another state trooper, and yet the manhunt ended with Frein’s arrest.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, killed nine parishioners during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof’s brutal act of white supremacist terrorism aimed to stimulate a race war. After a manhunt, Roof was arrested the morning after the shooting. Once again, a dangerous white man survived an encounter with police — Roof’s trial in state court is set to begin in July 2016.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57,  is accused of murdering three people in November 2015 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Dear is a white male who engaged in anti-abortion terrorism. At the time of the incident — which involved a standoff that was reported to of lasted for five hours — police SWAT teams crashed armored vehicles into the lobby of the clinic and Dear surrendered. Dear was arrested, once again demonstrating the differential treatment of armed white men compared to “armed” Black men.

Police interventions that are used with white men are inconsistently applied to Black men. Less fatal courses of action such as verbal de-escalation, pausing and reassessing, or structured negotiation have been thwarted by racist knee-jerk reactions that involve drawing a gun and pulling the trigger. Here, hooligans in uniform fire guns and end lives simply because they shoot first and think later.

I don’t want to live in a world where the police are allowed to kill.

I don’t want to bring children into the world knowing that I have to teach them not to call the police.

We need to eradicate the differentiated treatment of suspects, and advocate for a system of policing that is humane and committed to maintaining the dignity of all, regardless of race.