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     November 30, 2022      #91-334 a2z
 

Ron Jackson: It's justifiable to play the race

If America was a deck of cards, the two most overused cards would be the race card and the fear-for-my-life card. Like the two jokers in a deck of playing cards, they should be removed most times.

The race card is too easy to pull. It happens too often. It is not fair to cast aspersions over an entire industry, in particular, over law enforcement when all things are not equal in every situation. Law enforcement policy and training are not universal.

It is not fair to immediately resort to racism just because an unarmed black man in South Carolina is fatally shot in the back while fleeing police, while a white mass murderer in Aurora, Colo., is taken into custody peacefully. Race may not necessarily be the determining factor in either case. Separate incidents by separate jurisdictions.

Because a black cop killer in Dallas was killed in extraordinary fashion, and a white double-murder suspect in North Hollywood who shot at police officers was taken into custody peacefully without one shot being fired in return by police, does not mean race made the difference. Again, separate incidents by separate jurisdictions.

When a black intoxicated man in Atlanta is fatally shot in the back as he fled from police while pointing a gun toward the officers, and a white mass murderer who kills nine church attendees is not only taken into custody peacefully, law enforcement even makes a stop for food for the famished murderer, it doesn’t mean race was the difference.

When a 16-year-old knife wielding black kid in Chicago walking away from cops is shot 16 times, and a white, 19 year-old Parkland, Fla., male shoots up a school killing 17 and wounding as many others, is taken into custody peacefully, it doesn’t mean race was a factor.

Just because a white man in Harford County, Md., fired 200 rounds at police and officers did not return one shot but arrested him peacefully, and New York police fired 41 shots at an unarmed black man, killing him, does not automatically qualify it as a racial issue.

Because a white man from Virginia fired over 50 shots at police was taken into custody alive, and an unarmed black man arrested on suspicion for wearing a ski mask was put in a choke hold and later died from result of first responders injecting him with a fatal dose of ketamine, it does not mean race was the reason for different arrest approaches.

However, in Kenosha, Wis., an unarmed black man resists arrest and is shot seven times in the back and left paralyzed while foolishly trying to enter his vehicle. Meanwhile, a 17-year-old white kid from Illinois travels to Kenosha armed with an illegal weapon and shoots three people, two fatally, and is able to walk around freely still armed, even waving at Kenosha Police.

Although witnesses identified the shooter to police, he was not arrested until a day later. Same city, same police force, different approach.

How can race not be considered a primary motive for the varied arrest tactics? No illegally armed black teen would have been allowed to cross the state lines only to be peacefully arrested later.

The black Kenosha victim’s police history was immediately brought to the forefront to justify his being shot, while the white kid’s shooting was justified by police, with the sheriff even blaming the deaths of his victims on the victims for violating a curfew.

Citing chaos, the Kenosha Police Department could not definitively explain how the armed suspect was able to leave the scene of the crime and safely make it home to Illinois where he was later charged and is awaiting extradition to Wisconsin. Yet, Kenosha police would not allow an unarmed black man to make it into his car.

Separate incidents, same jurisdiction, different outcome. Play the card. Lead with it.

Ron Jackson can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com.

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