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King writes: "A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine told me 'Shaun - I don't think this country is ever really going to give a damn about police brutality until they see it destroying the lives of white families.' I think he's right. That's the American way."

Justine Damond was fatally shot by police in 
Minneapolis. (photo: Stephen Govel)
Justine Damond was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis. (photo: Stephen Govel)


Police Brutality Jumped a Racial Fence With Minneapolis Cop Shooting of Justine Damond

By Shaun King, New York Daily News

19 July 17

 

ore than 660 people have been killed by American police so far in 2017. This year is on pace to be the deadliest on record for people killed by American police since national databases began keeping track in 2013. No other developed nation in the world has 10% of that number. We are experiencing a full-blown crisis of police brutality in this country, but it's hardly getting any coverage as Donald Trump absolutely sucks the wind out of the news cycle every single day.

A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine told me "Shaun — I don't think this country is ever really going to give a damn about police brutality until they see it destroying the lives of white families." I think he's right. That's the American way. It's what we're basically seeing with the opioid crisis in our country right now. As our nation seems to be coming to grips with the alarming crisis of drug addiction affecting and destroying families from coast to coast, we're beginning to see emergency solutions bust right on through the war on drugs. The level of humanity and compassion being shown to those affected by the opioid crisis is right. I support it. But that same humanity and compassion was absolutely missing during the crack epidemic of the 80s and 90s. Instead, America's jails and prisons were stocked full with addicts and dealers alike.

This weekend in Minneapolis, I believe police brutality jumped the racial fence when a beautiful, blonde haired, white woman, Justine Damond, a yoga and meditation instructor from Australia, who was just a few weeks away from getting married, was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer outside of her home. From all indications, Damond called the police herself when she believed she heard some type of disturbance in the alley behind her home. At almost midnight on Saturday, when she met the officers outside in her pajamas, an officer inside of the car shot and killed Justine. She wasn't found to be carrying a weapon. The cops shot and killed an unarmed white yoga instructor in her pajamas who called them for help. It's ludicrous.

Police have so far refused to give any adequate details on why officers felt the need to shoot this woman. But local activists and leaders weren't so worried about the initial statement from the department because every single officer in Minneapolis now wears a body camera — a reform that was hard-fought from the community. Except, just like we've seen in numerous cases of police brutality against African Americans in this country, both officers claim that their cameras weren't turned on at the time of the shooting. They also claim that the camera in their squad car failed to capture anything.

In other words, the only witness besides the cops to the shooting is dead, no known footage of it exists, and all we will have left to go by is the word of the cops who did the shooting. If the past is any indication, we should expect the officers to corroborate each other's stories and speak of how the yoga instructor caused them to fear for their lives. Except this time, police will not be able to lean on racist stereotypes and tropes to carry them through a wave of public backlash. Not only that, but their shooting death of Justine Damond is already dominating news headlines in the United States and Australia.

Here's the thing — I think Eric Garner, who was choked to death by the NYPD three years ago today, is the perfect face of police brutality victims. So is Sandra Bland. So is Tamir Rice. So is Amadou Diallo. So is Rekia Boyd. So is Jordan Edwards. So is Philando Castile. But I'll be honest with you, I think a lot of well-meaning white people have looked at the most well-known cases of police brutality, and have seen a black problem that is simply unlikely to visit them like it is now visiting the family of Justine Damond.

I don't know how familiar you are with the concept of "mirror neurons." Google it. It's some deeply fascinating stuff. Simply put, it's the concept of how when you see something happening to someone who looks like you, or reminds you of yourself, you have neurons in your brain that fire off almost like you yourself are experiencing the thing you are watching. For the past three years, African Americans across the country have been watching the horrors of police brutality and internalizing so much of the pain as those mirror neurons fire off. The pain and the plight are personal.

Maybe, just maybe, with the shooting death of Justine Damond, millions of white people, for the very first time, will now see a victim of police brutality, and see themselves.


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-49 # Old School Conservative 2017-07-19 17:26
2nd to last paragraph:

I don't know how familiar you are with the concept of "mirror neurons." Google it. It's some deeply fascinating stuff. Simply put, it's the concept of how when you see something happening to someone who looks like you, or reminds you of yourself, you have neurons in your brain that fire off almost like you yourself are experiencing the thing you are watching. For the past three years, African Americans across the country have been watching the horrors of police brutality and internalizing so much of the pain as those mirror neurons fire off. The pain and the plight are personal.

He is exactly right, and it is this same concept that the dishonest media, and the race baters use to create a misconception that there is an epidemic of cops killing black people in this country. In 2015 and 2016 there were about twice as many white people killed by police than black people with a similar trend so far in 2017. You can make a case that there are way too many shootings and cops need to be better trained to deal with people with mental illness (about 25% of shootings) but race is not the issue.
 
 
+16 # tedrey 2017-07-19 19:35
There IS a continuing epidemic of cops killing (i) unarmed (ii) unthreatening black people in this country (iii) without punishment, (iv) well above per capita expectations.
 
 
0 # economagic 2017-07-21 20:05
All of which is well documented in the public domain. But of course "beliefs" are not subject to tests on preponderance of evidence.
 
 
+11 # economagic 2017-07-19 20:10
Quoting Old School Conservative:
"a misconception that there is an epidemic of cops killing black people in this country. In 2015 and 2016 there were about twice as many white people killed by police than black people with a similar trend so far in 2017."


OSC: You are entitled to your opinions, but they would get more respect if they were based on facts that are merely "true" but relevant. To the best of my knowledge your NUMBERS for police killings of those two groups. But to use that as a basis for comparison of such killings is like trying to express the length of a football field in gallons, or your car's gas mileage in acres.

The ONLY meaningful way to compare those number is to compare the RATES or PERCENTAGES of the respective groups killed. Now I realize that percent is one of the two worst taught topics in math, and it wasn't much better when we were in school. But it isn't that difficult:

African-Americans are about 13% of the population, and non-Hispanic/La tino whites are about 63 percent. Regardless of the specific numbers, that means there are about 5 times as many non-H/L whites in this country as there are blacks. If the cops killed equal numbers, they would be killing blacks at FIVE TIME the rate of whites. Since they're killing twice as many whiles as blacks numerically, they're killing blacks at about 2.5 times as high a rate as whites.

BTW, conservatism is less a set of specific beliefs than a way of reasoning about issues.
 
 
-12 # Old School Conservative 2017-07-20 09:50
What you conveniently left out of your analysis is that blacks commit murder at 7 times the rate of whites, and commit robbery at 8 times the rate of whites. Therefore on a percentage basis are interacting with police at 7 to 8 times as often but are victims of police shoots at half the rate. The percentages are about the same for other types of crimes.
 
 
0 # economagic 2017-07-21 20:03
Are you still here? Aside from several sweeping but unacknowledged assumptions (some of which are matters of opinion or judgment so neither "true" nor "false"), your math is still fuzzy at best, at worst bogus. To parse and correct your statement honestly would take way more than 1500 characters.
 
 
-5 # Old School Conservative 2017-07-22 05:35
The bottom line is that as a percentage blacks are shot more by police because blacks as a percentage commit more crime and therefore are interacting with police more than whites on a percentage basis.
 
 
0 # trimegestus 2017-07-21 09:29
HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. - 2015 - This taser video just released to the public, showing the shooting of an unarmed man by a Hummelstown police officer.

The Dauphin County District Attorney made the video public on the office's website, after the jury found Officer Lisa Mearkle not guilty in the murder of David Kassick.

Mearkle chased Kassick after he fled from a traffic stop on February 2. She then chased him on foot near his home in South Hanover Township, tased him repeatedly, and shot him twice in the back, killing him.

Her taser video captures the shooting in less than two minutes. It was a key piece of evidence in the trial.

http://fox43.com/2015/11/05/public-reacts-video-of-hummelstown-police-shooting-of-unarmed-man/
 
 
+48 # Missrayraythegreat 2017-07-19 17:34
As a black woman, who was raised by a black attorney... Who was raised by two black cops... I'll be getting my popcorn ready to hear The internalizing from my Caucasian brethren on this one. Maybe now they'll understand"the talk" is a real thing that actually takes place in our lives from the womb to adulthood. Yes white people, you CAN get shot for no reason whatsoever. We really didn't make it up, scouts honor
 
 
-1 # trimegestus 2017-07-21 09:31
HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. - 2015 - This taser video just released to the public, showing the shooting of an unarmed man by a Hummelstown police officer.

The Dauphin County District Attorney made the video public on the office's website, after the jury found Officer Lisa Mearkle not guilty in the murder of David Kassick.

Mearkle chased Kassick after he fled from a traffic stop on February 2. She then chased him on foot near his home in South Hanover Township, tased him repeatedly, and shot him twice in the back, killing him.

Her taser video captures the shooting in less than two minutes. It was a key piece of evidence in the trial.

http://fox43.com/2015/11/05/public-reacts-video-of-hummelstown-police-shooting-of-unarmed-man/
 
 
0 # economagic 2017-07-22 17:43
Yes, Ma'm. Some of us really do understand that, and I apologize for not posting this comment sooner.
 
 
+14 # elizabethblock 2017-07-19 17:45
Even in the New York Daily News!!!!!
 
 
+31 # dotlady 2017-07-19 18:17
Maybe this pitiful tragedy can stir some new understanding of the almost daily grief of black people.
 
 
+72 # swamp yankee 2017-07-19 18:33
I'm white and female, but when I saw the video of Eric Garner getting the life choked out of him, I thought: "He looks like me!" Same when that thug cop went ballistic on Sandra Bland, same when Philando Castile was murdered in cold blood in a car, reaching for his papers.

They all looked enough like me--that is to say, human--to make my mirror neurons fire.
 
 
+8 # John of Milpitas 2017-07-19 18:51
This is the point I was trying to get across when this story was reported on this site two days ago, but I was apparently misunderstood. I've always wondered about the warning shots that they show in the older movies. I asked one of my local unarmed peace officers as respectfully as a 68 year old white guy could at a local well populated festival about this and he said that's only in the movies. He then rambled on for what seemed like quite a while, while pretending to point a gun in my face about his hazards. For me it was scary. This really isn't a new thing. Growing up in the projects in the early 60's my friends and I (All races) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan were always being unjustly hassled by the project police.
 
 
+2 # rednancy 2017-07-19 18:52
WOW! as a white woman who has practiced yoga throughout the past 50 years of America's history, there might be a possibility that Justine's highest Self offered herself to shine a light on our current cultural story. Shaun King, this is a poignant, beautifully written piece.
 
 
+10 # Saberoff 2017-07-19 19:32
"We are experiencing a full-blown crisis of police brutality in this country, but it's hardly getting any coverage as Donald Trump absolutely sucks the wind out of the news cycle every single day."

He's just an excuse; and used here, as well. If it weren't Trump it would be something else to defer the news away from police-state brutality.
 
 
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-07-19 20:41
This event makes the clear point that police violence is endemic to this ideologically corrupt profession, &, though it still includes it, goes beyond the usual racist element.
 
 
+17 # Jbeezz 2017-07-19 23:33
Old School Conservative

I don't know what world you are living in but a study by the Washington Post found that in 2015, there were 990 fatal shootings by police, 93 of which involved people who were unarmed.
Black men accounted for about 40 percent of the unarmed people fatally shot by police and, when adjusted by population, were seven times as likely as unarmed white men to die from police gunfire,
So you are obviously not up on what is really happening in the real world. This is a common problem in people who only watch Fox (so called) News.
 
 
-5 # Old School Conservative 2017-07-20 09:58
A report called the color of crime published in 2016 revealed that the race of people shot by police, were about equivalent to the percentage of crimes committed by that race.
 
 
+2 # economagic 2017-07-21 19:47
Quoting Old School Conservative:
A report called the color of crime published in 2016 revealed that the race of people shot by police, were about equivalent to the percentage of crimes committed by that race.

OSC: Your comments are not always this incoherent, and the fact that we cannot see and edit what we have actually written (as opposed to what we THOUGHT we wrote or intended to write) for anywhere from 2 to 10 hours militates against coherent writing.

But you have equated "the race of people shot by police" with "the percentage of crimes committed by that race." If this were the first time or the second that you have written something of this sort, your credibility here would be greater. That is not a gratuitous ("free") insult of the sort you are fond of making, nor is it a slam on your intelligence, but an example of the fuzzy thinking and/or careless expression that earns you red thumbs.
 
 
-3 # Old School Conservative 2017-07-22 05:38
In other words, regardless of your race, the more you interact with police, the more likely you are to be shot. Read the report.
 
 
-1 # economagic 2017-07-22 08:57
Oh, right,"Color of Crime" -- sorry, I missed it. When writing in unformatted text we customarily capitalize titles and place them in quotation marks in order to communicate clearly.

That report, published by the New Century Foundation, appeared originally in their magazine, "American Renaissance," now online at AmRen.com. NCF is a white supremacist organization and quite proud of it. (Of course they prefer to call themselves "White Separatists.") I recommend that YOU read the book of the same title ("Color of Crime") published in 1998, which debunks most of the claims made by by NCF.
 
 
+18 # lorenbliss 2017-07-20 02:49
We the People need to wake up to the bitter truth the local police are no longer law enforcement officers.

Trained like combat soldiers and equipped as if they were armored infantry -- think "Waffen SS" -- they are a fascist army of occupation that answers only to our Capitalist overlords.

Conditioned as they are, their first instinct -- and no doubt their greatest joy -- is killing, forever assured their murderousness will never be punished precisely because the deaths they inflict are intended to send us a message.

What these murders do is underscore the message of government offices so fortified by security measures that to enter them is like crossing into a hostile realm. This alone tell us we are a conquered people, oppressed by our conquerors' sneering soldiery in the same merciless, ultimately sadistic way the Soviet Union was (briefly) occupied by the forces of Nazi Germany. The murders -- and there is no doubt they are intentional -- underscore the messages of these heavily guarded barriers that now protect the bureaucrats and politicians from those of us they rule.

That in fact is the one and only lesson in the skyrocketing death toll of unarmed civilians gunned down by cops.

And until all of us regardless of race or gender acknowledge this terrible truth -- this hideous tyranny inflicted on us by Capitalism as it inevitably morphs into a uniquely USian form of Nazism -- these atrocities will continue unabated.
 
 
+2 # jrobbie 2017-07-20 03:59
I do declare. Sounds like "friendly fire".

The 'gun' did it!!
Are chickens coming home to rouse??
 
 
+2 # Adoregon 2017-07-20 09:44
Do not call the police.

Do not approach the police.

Vote to defund the police.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2017-07-21 20:13
Anarchy is no remedy for corruption.
 
 
+7 # lorenbliss 2017-07-20 11:03
In the long-ago past, the only cops I truly feared were in the South when I was active in the Civil Rights Movement and damned by the Ku Klux Klanners and their police allies as a traitor to my race.

In those days the mere sight of a cop or a sheriff's deputy would -- with only a very few exceptions -- trigger a fear reaction.

But once I was north of the Ohio River and back in civilization, all that changed. Though I was surely wary of the cops when I was covering a demonstration or participating in it, I regarded police violence as situational. My work as an investigative reporter netted me several invaluable police sources whose whistle-blowing led to a number of pivotal and often award-winning stories.

But that was long ago and far away, when the United States was truly another country.

In today's USian Empire, which is the predatory personification of Capitalism morphing into a zero-tolerance combination of fascism and theocracy that is best described as JesuNazism, the police are to be feared under any and all circumstances, precisely as the Nazi SS was feared in the German-occupied portions of the Soviet Union and Western Europe.
 
 
+8 # trimegestus 2017-07-20 11:54
Killer police incidents occur because there are few disincentives to police violence.

We need innovative state-level legislation that defines disincentives.

Cops like their pensions.

If the civil awards to the families of victims, paid by local governments, was deducted from the police pension fund (and every cop's pension check), then cops would be less inclined to shoot people.

The legislation necessary to implement a "Pension Adjustment Penalty" would be complex. Nevertheless the majority of people, black and white, would support the state law-makers who sponsored the legislation.

The consequence of this reform would be at least a few less killer police incidents.
 
 
+5 # Larry 2017-07-20 12:17
According to professional gun shill and paid NRA liar Wayne La Pierre, "The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Ignoring for a moment the fallacy of this inane sound bite, and its mother-of-all-l ies that anyone, good or bad, can stop a bad guy with a gun before he kills a lot of people, the question is begged: Hey, Wayne, where was the good guy in this tragedy? Oh, wait: The cops with the guns, including the shooter, were, according to you, ALL GOOD GUYS. So Wayne, how is it that this unarmed, completely harmless, perfectly innocent victim, whose only crime was calling the police for help, was shot dead in her own home? Maybe your infantile slogan about good guys and bad guys doesn't actually work in the real world where the difference between "good" and "bad" is often a subjective, controversial matter affected by perception, context, and judgment.

So Wayne, what if a private citizen (armed, of course) saw this cop (who was not being threatened in any way) aim his murder weapon at the poor woman-victim in her pajamas, and shot the cop in defense of the victim/target. Would that citizen be a good guy stopping a bad guy? Or would he be a bad guy stopping a good guy? Or maybe a good guy going bad so he could stop another good guy before he could also go bad?

So, Wayne, the absurdity of all this proves you are both bad and full of crap. Go sell some more guns.
 
 
-9 # Old School Conservative 2017-07-20 12:46
When these cops are acquitted for charges in these shootings, they are acquitted by a jury of their peers, and are people of all races. Do you ever stop to think that maybe after listening to days of courtroom evidence and deliberation outside of the media bias that they may see things that you are not seeing when reading your biased so called journalism, or do you just think that the people on these juries are just a bunch of bumbling idiots. Even if acquitted these peoples careers are often destroyed.
 
 
+1 # economagic 2017-07-21 19:52
Sorry OSC, that is simply false, as you can easily learn by a little diligent and critical research. You are entitled to your opinions and beliefs, but neither you are no more entitled to claim them as fact than T-Rump is.
 
 
-1 # economagic 2017-07-21 20:52
"When these cops are acquitted for charges in these shootings, they are acquitted by a jury of their peers, and are people of all races."

I may have misunderstood you, though I don't think so. Did you mean to say that the "cops [who] are acquitted" are "people of all races"? If not, again, careless expression of fuzzy thinking.

Words, and the ways we use and combine them, matter. All that together is called "communication, " which requires clear and precise thinking but also a good deal more.
 
 
+5 # gnusman 2017-07-20 13:18
Training ... Training ... Training
Professional training, vetting, community policing and civilian review boards are all tools that will help reduce this scourge.
All of the police shootings mentioned here would be unlikely to happen if there was more of the above, but even before that, "extreme vetting" of want-to-be police. Many come from the military, whose training rarely equates to civilians. Plus there's an us vs theme ethic among many cops. Community Policing is a technique helping a bit, but not enough.
I am so sad and angry about these cop mistakes and they MUST be tried in court.
I would advocate civilian review boards for all police in cities, counties etc. I know they hate to hear that, but too bad, suck it up, you work for the community, not against it.
As for some recent assassinations against police, I'm equally as sad and angry about those.
 

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