I probably don’t need to tell you how tense things are in the United States right now. From the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to the shootings of law enforcement officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, America is far, far past its tolerance level of horrible tragedies. Disgusting people of all stripes have come out of the woodwork to make themselves known as advocates or apologists for the murder of innocent people on both sides of the equation.
If the latest police shooting, this time of an unarmed behavioral therapist named Charles Kinsey, doesn’t silence the people who automatically try to blame victims of violence perpetrated by authority figures, nothing will.
Let’s review the facts. When an autistic man left a group home holding a toy truck, someone who mistook the truck for a gun called the police. Kinsey came out of the home to bring the man back inside. When police arrived on the scene, he lied down on the ground, put his hands in the air, and tried to carefully explain the situation. Then, for no reason we can understand, one of the police officers shot him in the leg.
Local Miami news station WSVN has the full story, including video of the moments leading up to the shooting:
There’s a phenomenon that people online have dubbed the “he’s no angel” effect, in which anytime a person of color is the victim of high-profile violence, coded racists will try to dig through their backgrounds to determine what that person must have done to deserve being victimized. The name comes from the description George Zimmerman’s attorneys gave to Trayvon Martin, but has been applied to almost every case of comparable violence since.
But this time, the victim has no background to pick apart. Searches for a criminal record came up empty. He was not suspected of any crime. He was complying with law enforcement’s directives. He wasn’t armed or reaching for a gun — his hands were up in the air. And beyond that, he’s a behavioral therapist and community volunteer (not that any of that should matter). So how on earth does anyone justify the police’s actions this time?
Musician Questlove summed it up well in a tweet that has since gone viral:
What do you think? How much should Charles Kinsey get in his inevitable settlement with the North Miami police? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter.