Police brutality is based on stereotypes


The Appalachian Online


Sixteen shots, that’s “all” it took for Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke to subdue Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old boy armed only with a 3 inch knife. His only crime: vandalizing a police car.

Meanwhile, Robert Lewis Dear, a 57-year-old man, who is allegedly responsible for killing three people and wounding nine at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, was brought in with nary a scratch on him.

How is it, that a man who allegedly planned and carried out a heinous attack that resulted in the death of a police officer ends up in jail, while a boy engaging in an impromptu act of vandalism is gunned down and left on the street?

The answer to that is pretty simple; some would say it’s black and white. The reason for the difference in their treatment is because McDonald is black and Dear is white.

While the McDonald shooting may have happened over a year ago in October 2014, it is only now that the dash cam footage of the murder has been released. It shows McDonald walking down the road as police officers tell him to stop.

He continues to walk away until he is gunned down by Van Dyke, who unloaded his gun into the boy, killing him on the scene. Had McDonald been white, it can be almost assured that Van Dyke would have opted to use his taser instead of his gun.

Now, 13 months later, officer Van Dyke is being charged with first-degree murder for shooting McDonald, which seems like justice, except for the fact that Van Dyke is now out on bail.

Not only that, but Dean Angelo, the head of the local Fraternal Order of Police Union, has made statements saying Van Dyke believed what he did was “justified.”

Van Dyke has only received minimal sanctions from the police department, amounting only to a suspension without pay after he was charged, according to the Chicago Tribune.

It seems like this will be a nice cherry on top of the 18 complaints he has received during his time as an officer. These range from racist slurs to pointing his gun at someone he had just arrested without justification, according to Yahoo! News.

Why does this keep happening? Why, after all the race-based shootings in the last three years, are police officers still doing this? Even better, why are they still getting away with this?

It’s because, despite all the civil rights efforts in the last 60 years, young black men are still portrayed as future thugs and criminals. Many times in the eye of the public, and especially the police, a young black man’s future is robbed from him before he even has a chance.

This misrepresentation is causing young black teens to be gunned down for minor offenses, while white domestic terrorists such as Dear and Dylann Roof are brought in unharmed. These young men are being condemned before they even have an opportunity to show that this is not who they are.

Michael Brown Jr, Tamir Rice, Cameron Tillman, Laquan McDonald, Quesean Whitten and Roshad McIntosh are just some of the young men who didn’t have to die.

Police officers have shown time and time again with white offenders that they can bring them in alive, so why are they choosing to kill these young men? They’re not even fully grown and yet they’re being killed without being given the chance to prove everyone wrong.

It’s time that we all took a serious look at the endemic racism that exists in police horses across the nation. None of these victims had to die, and none of them deserved it.

Russell, a freshman communications major, is from Charlotte, NC