Many people believe that race does play a factor when police officers decide if they will use deadly force. There is a case in Dallas, Texas, where Jason Harrison, a black mentally ill man, was gunned down in front of his mother, who had called the police to escort him to a mental hospital. This incident was captured on one of the officers’ body cams. What was the weapon he threatened the well-armed officers with you ask? A small screw driver (see video here).
A judge gave the green light for a lawsuit filed by the parents of Derrinesha Clay, the 17-year-old girl who was shot execution style in the head by police after they had already shot her in the stomach. It seems she broke into a bank and hid under a desk muttering, “I’m sorry. I’m Sorry.” The young girl had a history of mental problems. Police say she charged the officer with a weapon, however surveillance cameras have yet to confirm any of the officers’ accounts, which were very inconsistent. (See video here).
One has to wonder if white privilege plays a role at even an instinctual level for police officers. Last year we heard of a story involving a Tennessee woman, Julia Shields, who was wearing body armor and driving around a neighborhood shooting at people. She even aimed her gun at the police and was arrested unharmed. This isn’t always the case, however; we also watched in horror as a young teenage white girl, Kristiana Coignard,? was gunned down in the lobby of the Longview, Texas, police station. Officers said she had a knife and charged a much larger male officer, who despite having her pinned down at one point, was unable to subdue her (see video here).
In another case we have a distraught white woman who rams a police cruiser on the TV show “Cops.” When they try to pull her out of the vehicle, she starts swinging a huge butcher knife at the officers. The officers back up and one officer tackles her from behind. She is arrested without further incident. Watch the video below: