On June 27, Jayland Walker was pursued by police in a chase before dying by 60 bullet wounds to his body. This happened before the young man had the chance to plea his case. A week later on July 4th, Highland Park shooter Robert E. Crimo opened fire on a parade of people from a rooftop, killing some of them, wounding many yet he was taken into custody—alive.
Nearly every white suspect of a crime has been able to exercise their right to a fair trial. On the other hand a Black suspect may find themselves dead before they get a chance to be proven innocent. The recent cases of Jayland Walker and Robert E. Crimo demonstrate this phenomenon.
Jayland Walker had been planning his future.
Before Walker was killed, he was planning to wed his fiancee Jaymeisha Beasley. However, she was killed in a violent car crash just a mont before his killing, reported WKYC. People who knew Walker told reporters the incident shook him as well as his behavior which they called “strange.” Before the police shooting, he had no previous issues with the authorities. Family attorney Bobby DiCello also described Walker’s last days “bizarre” but that his behavior was not lethal nor an excuse for the shooting.
It’s unclear whether Walker shot his firearm at the police during the chase as authorities claim.
Robert E. Crimo was a ticking timebomb.
Robert E. Crimo cleared four background checks in June 2020 and September 2021 to buy the Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle he used to shoot into a crowd of people, per CNN. His only previous offense was a tobacco possession violation in January 2016. However, in 2019, he had been confronted by police once for threatening to harm himself then a second time for threatening to kill his family.
From CNN’s report on Crimo in 2019:
Police confiscated a collection of bladed items — 16 knives, a dagger and a “Samurai type blade” that were in Crimo’s closet. Later that afternoon, the father went to the police station and picked up the collection and told authorities it belonged to him, according to the police report.
No arrests were made during that incident because there were no signed complaints against Crimo. At the time, involuntary commitment wasn’t an option, Covelli said.
After escaping a potential arrest, Crimo began plotting.
Crimo’s history didn’t establish a clear and present danger to deny his application for a FOID card. However, he did post music and music videos streaming platforms alluding to gun violence and depicting school shootings which has since been taken down, per Chicago’s WGN 9 News.
Investigators say he planned the Fourth of July attack for weeks and also planned another shooting with the 60 rounds of ammunition he’d had in his car, said Chris Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.
So how is it that a Black man with no criminal background gets 60 bullets to the body but a white mass shooter - who’s shown multiple signs of being dangerous - lives to see another day? Even if the rest of Crimo’s days are spent in a prison cell, Walker never got the chance to sit before a judge.