It seems that the number one go-to defense strategy for police officers who shoot Black men is, "I feared for my life." It worked for Jeronimo Yanez, the cop who murdered Philando Castile, and it'll probably work for a St. Louis officer who shot a Black man even after he was told that the brother was a fellow officer.
It all started when some local patrolmen were in pursuit of three people riding in a stolen vehicle. The situation quickly escalated into a shootout in the North Pointe neighborhood at the corner of Park Lane and Astra Avenue. The brother, though off-duty, ran outside of his home to assist as the passengers of the stolen car tried to flee on foot. The officers managed to apprehend two of the suspects while the third is still at large.
The 38-year old man found out quickly that no good deed ever goes unpunished. He was ordered to get down on the ground and surrender. He did. At that moment, one of the officers recognized the brother as one of their own and told the other officers to let him go. That should have been the end of it, right? Well, it wasn't. Some White officer "feared for his life" and shot our man in the arm.
He should recover, but the bigger issue here is that Black men are perceived as a threat. The injured officer's attorney finds this whole incident disturbing. "This is the first time that we are aware, that a Black professional in law enforcement himself being shot and treated as an ordinary Black guy on the street," attorney Rufus J. Tate, Jr. said.
Tate calls B.S. on the whole "fear" defense. "In the police report you have so far, there is no description of threat he received. So we have a real problem with that," he continued. "But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a Black man is automatically feared."
Now we all know that this story could have had a very different ending in regards to the brother's life and extent of his injuries. But whether or not the shooter is held accountable is an entirely different matter. The Blue Wall usually protects its own, but what happens when both the shooter and the victim wear a badge?