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  • 07.11.16

#NoMoreExcuses for police who shoot unarmed black men

Earlier today, it was reported that a North Carolinian driver by the name of William Ray—who is 62 years old and white—had been arrested this month after pulling out a gun out on other drivers on the road. It should be surprising that Ray also pointed his gun at the deputy sheriff who arrived to deescalate the situation. But it’s not.

As actor Jesse Williams remarked in his epic speech at the BET Awards in June, “police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm, and not kill white people every day.” Compare that to officers’ aggression and fear that was put on full display in the video footage of last week’s killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I decided to start a Twitter hashtag, #NoMoreExcuses, that would aggregate recent stories of white people having their lives spared, despite their brandishing of firearms to threaten officers and nearby civilians.

I included the astounding video of San Diego police subduing a man in a park who had pointed his gun at police. They shot him once (!) in the abdomen, and he was taken to the hospital.

When officers showed up to the park where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was playing in 2014, they shot him dead within two seconds.

I also included the story of two drunk white men just hangin’ out in an Idaho Walmart, shooting BB guns and threatening customers.

Must be nice to get to shoot BB guns at people in Walmart and not die. Just a few months earlier, police had gunned down 22-year-old John Crawford at an Ohio Walmart. Crawford was talking on his cell phone while holding a BB gun he had removed from a shelf at the store.

There’s no excuse for these epidemic-level killings when deescalation tactics are used in so many other instances. As we see in these stories and many, many, others, tense encounters with law enforcement don’t have to end in death. Unless, it seems, if you’re black.JJM