Opinion: Racism and Law Enforcement – Choose Your Worlds Carefully
There should be no argument that the shooting death of Daunte Wright in Minnesota this week was an absolute tragedy and this innocent loss of life is one that we should all mourn. Outrage over the death of the 20-year old was and is expected but is it wrong to simply label this as another example of a racist white cop killing a young black man?
You have by now probably seen the video in which a veteran female officer shot Wright while he was in his car and struggling with another officer who was trying to handcuff him. Kim Potter clearly thought she was using her Taser and not her handgun which does not lessen or excuse this senseless death…however it does explain it. Or does it? Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, resigned on Tuesday and 24 hours later was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Clearly her defense will be based on her claim that she made a mistake although some law enforcement experts are questioning how you could not know the difference between a Taser and handgun as they look and feel differently. However this case will not be the first in which a police officer claims they grabbed the wrong one in the heat of the moment. It’s also fair to question how a veteran like Potter could make such a grievous mistake after so many years on the job. Was it poor training or maybe just a case of folding under the pressure of being in a situation she had never been in before? In truth it really does not matter because she took a life and has to answer for that.
However here is the one thing we should not say is this is just another example of racism because in truth only Potter knows if that entered the picture. I hate generalizations and this is partly the blame for what is happening in America right now. Racism is everywhere and you’re a fool if you expect that to change anytime soon or at all. There are racist cops just like there are in every other profession. Since we should hold police to a higher standard then every effort needs to be made to get those who are off the job.
But don’t look at all those in blue and assume what you don’t know. Despite the ridiculous efforts of some to defund or disband the police we need them more than ever and that goes for everyone. There’s plenty of bad guys out there and we need the good ones to enforce the law…just do it the right way.