Baltimore, the city that erupted in riots after an alleged racially motivated police killing, is calm tonight despite a completely unjustified police shooting. It may have something to do with the fact the victim was an unarmed white man and the assaulting officer was black. As you know, injustice only flows in the white-on-black direction.
The AP reports that a yet-to-be identified black Baltimore City police officer was on his way to a community meeting Monday night when he stopped at an intersection to speak with a white man. I guess the sight of a white guy in Baltimore is unusual enough to warrant a stop. While talking to this white man, the officer demanded that he take his hands out of his pockets. The man refused and the officer issued the command several more times.
Feeling he was at an impasse, the black officer took out his gun and shot the white man in the leg. The man did not have a weapon of any type in his possession. The white man, who has also not been identified, was taken to the hospital where he is listed in serious condition.
Unless some more details emerge, this seems like one of the least justified police shootings I’ve ever heard about. First, the cop had absolutely no reason to stop and question this man. Other than having his hands in his pockets, the white guy was just walking down the street. He wasn’t doing anything suspicious and wasn’t a suspect in a crime.
Second, the shooting is bad police work. The officer didn’t see a weapon, nor did he have any reasonable belief that the white guy was armed. The guy just had his hands in his pockets, which he has a right to do. If he had pulled his hands out quickly, holding an item that could be mistaken for a weapon, or made a quick threatening move towards the officer, then yes, the shooting would have been justified. Cops however, cannot just shoot people for standing on the sidewalk with their hands in their pockets.
Lastly, and this is the big one, the officer has no claim to self-defense because he shot the man in the leg. Shooting to wound is a big disqualifier in a self-defense situation. If the officer were truly in fear for his life, he would have shot the man center mass until he was incapacitated. Instead, he popped him in the leg one time. And from what I can tell, the cop shot the man simply because he was frustrated that he wouldn’t obey his commands.
Throw all of these things in with the fact that the man was not armed, and it adds up to a completely unjustified shooting.
If we’ve learned anything over the past year or so it’s that anytime a police officer shoots someone with different skin color, no matter what the circumstances, it’s a racially motivated hate crime. I’m a little confused with this case though. I haven’t heard anything about massive riots and protests calling for justice. I don’t believe President Obama has sent the Justice Department to Baltimore on a civil rights investigation. To my knowledge, Al Sharpton isn’t hustling the city for any shakedown money.
As weird as it seems, the rules for a white cop shooting a black guy are not the same for a black cop shooting a white guy. We really do have a long way to go before we realize racial equality in this country.