For the record, activists are not just paying attention to police violence against Black people, but to all cases in which officers abuse communities that they are supposed to protect. It just so happens that more often than not, cases of deadly police encounters involve Black victims, hence the focus of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Really, the #AllLivesMatter crew should be joining BLM in the fight against police brutality rather than attacking calls for police reform. But I guess we all know the hashtag is really just a gross case of white people’s “whataboutism” and impressively willful ignorance.
So with that said, I’ll let this story tell you why it’s hard to ignore the need for interracial support against police brutality:
Former Arkansas sheriff’s deputy Michael Davis was charged with manslaughter on Friday in the fatal shooting death of a white teen motorist. NBC News reports Pope County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Phillips, who is acting as the special prosecutor in this case, announced the felony charge during a news conference.
Davis shot 17-year-old Hunter Brittain this past June, drawing the attention of national civil rights activists.
Here’s what happened that day, according to NBC:
Brittain and friend Jordan King had been up late fixing the transmission of the victim’s GMC truck before going for a test drive at 3 a.m. on State Highway 89 in Cabot, about 25 miles northeast of downtown Little Rock, according to a warrant for Davis’ arrest.
As Davis pulled them over, the truck did not slip into park, prompting Brittain to jump out and reach into the GMC’s bed, the complaint said. Davis allegedly told investigators he didn’t see what was in Brittain’s hands when he fired one fatal shot into the teen’s neck, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Davis says as he observed the bullet strike Brittain, a container came from Brittain’s hands that originated from the bed of the truck,” according to the complaint. “The container landed on the ground.”
The victim’s family said that was a bottle of antifreeze that Brittain intended to use to block his truck from rolling backward toward Davis’ squad car.
Brittain’s friend said the officer did not ask Brittain to show his hands or issue a warning prior to the shot being fired. NBC also notes that there was no evidence of firearms in or around the car.
CBS reports that Davis surrendered to the Arkansas State Police around noon on Friday. He was fired in July for not turning on his body camera until after the shooting took place. There is no bodycam footage of the shooting, only of the aftermath.
Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Devon Jacob, who represented George Floyd’s family, are on the case. In a joint statement about the charges, according to CBS, the lawyers and family wrote, “Nothing will bring Hunter back, but we can honor his memory and legacy by calling for justice and change in his name.”
CBS notes that Brittain was eulogized by Rev. Al Sharpton and the two attorneys during his memorial service in July. The family has been demonstrating outside the Lonoke County sheriff’s office and called on the Arkansas legislature to require officers to wear body cameras that would be turned on when their shift begins.