I heard about another shooting in Minneapolis recently, and I was immediately filled with sorrow. Then, I heard about the circumstances, and a white-hot rage filled me. Not because another life was needlessly lost, though that is what saddened me, but because the shooter was a Somalian man, and the victim was a pretty white blond (Australian) lady. I knew what was going to happen, though I hoped against hope that I would be wrong.
I need to back up here for the three people who aren’t aware of Black Lives Matter. The movement started in response to the umpteenth killing of a black person by a white cop, and predictably, a wide swath of white America pushed back at the notion that our police system is racist and needs revamping. Not only is it racist (which is inevitable because racism is soaked in the foundation on which our country is built), it’s become increasingly antagonistic and militaristic in mentality. I’m not sure the picture of the cop walking the local beat was ever truly a reality, but it’s certainly not true now. Many cops don’t live in the neighborhoods in which they are policing, and even if they do, they don’t consider the people they’re arresting as part of their community.
Standard disclaimer: Being a cop is a really hard and stressful job. It’s made even more difficult by the fact that we are a gun-happy country, so cops don’t know what they’re facing when they go out on a call. That said, there are ways to de-escalate a situation, but cops are not being taught these techniques. Instead, they are relying more and more on authoritarian tactics, and they’re not allowing for human responses to being shouted at by the cops, even if you’re not guilty. In addition, because the police have so much responsibility and power, it’s incumbent upon them to be scrupulous about how they wield such power. Sadly, the way the laws are written, they can shoot at pretty much anyone they want and not suffer any consequences.
The facts of this case are sketchy. Justine Damond or Ruszczyk*, the victim, reportedly called 911 to report a possible sexual assault occurring. When the cops came, she approached the car and was shot by Mohamed Noor, the first Somalian to be a Minneapolis police officer. The minute I saw the photo of Damond and heard the nationality of the police officer who killed her, I knew how this was going to go, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Noor’s partner, Michael Harrity claims he heard a loud noise, and then Noor shot and killed Damond. That’s the story Harrity is telling, and Noor is not talking at all. Smart on his part, but not helping the public perception of the case.