Do We Need This Demonstration to Prove that Law Enforcement is Biased?

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The video above was shared with me by a Facebook friend. I began replying as a comment but I quickly realized that I had too much to say for a Facebook comment box.

First, the obvious. Is this a fair experiment? It is clear that the responding police are from different agencies. Are they even from the same jurisdictions?

I read someplace that the video actually depicted different events that took place states apart. If that’s true, then this was an experiment in editing, rather than race and open carry.

We have brothers and sisters living off of a steady diet of tear gas and pepper spray in Ferguson and Baltimore, just to secure the rights of unarmed Black men and women, to live for long enough to make it to custody. Meanwhile, the NRA has attempted to initiate laws in Texas that will make it explicitly illegal for officers to stop and frisk people who open carry.

It would have cleared things up a lot for me if the two dudes who introduced the video appeared again with the Black guy before he ventured out, alone, with the AR and his pregnant girlfriend.Without knowing exactly where the cops are responding from, and the laws in those jurisdictions, it is hard to see this as a one to one comparison.  (By the way, please don’t do any more potentially dangerous “experiments” with your pregnant girlfriend there.)

That said, I’m not a bit surprised that a Black man would be treated differently when carrying a rifle on his back. A lot of police see us as a threat regardless. Throw an AR on your back, and you run the risk of becoming a statistic very quickly. I get the point that they are trying to prove, and there is an abundance of evidence to back it up.

Demonstrators from the Dallas New Black Panther Party and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, at an open carry demonstration.
Demonstrators from the Dallas New Black Panther Party and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, at an open carry demonstration.

The New Black Panthers regularly do open carry demonstrations. So far, none of them have been arrested, to my knowledge. But there is a difference between going down the street with 20 fellow armed citizens, and walking down the street alone with a rifle on your back. The former is very clearly a demonstration. The latter could be construed as a bit lone gunmen-ish.

But, if the brother is openly carrying a firearm in a state that allows open carry, then those cops were straight up wrong. The police don’t get to decide the constitutional rights that we can exercise. They are there to enforce the law, and if he didn’t break it, there was no reason for them to show up.

You should know, I’m not a fan of open carry or the movement that surrounds it. From what I can tell, it basically comes down to the desire to exercise a right, simply because it is our right to exercise it. I’ve seen open carry demonstrations shut down Starbucks and in one case, a demonstrator marched around an elementary school despite the fact that the administration had to lock the school down.

Still, I admire their hustle. We have brothers and sisters living off of a steady diet of tear gas and pepper spray in Ferguson and Baltimore, just to secure the rights of unarmed Black men and women, to live for long enough to make it to custody. Meanwhile, the NRA has attempted to initiate laws in Texas that will make it explicitly illegal for officers to stop and frisk people who open carry.

Let that sink in.

Stop and frisk means that this young man might end up spread eagle on the ground, with or without an AR on his back.
Stop and frisk means that this young man might end up spread eagle on the ground, with or without an AR on his back.

 

In Philly, cops can lawfully stop and frisk you even if you are just eating a slice of pizza on your front steps, but soon in Texas, you will be able to carry an AR and they will have to look the other way?

How about we make that into a video. A guy open carrying at a 7-11 while the police drag a guy off of his front porch, saying, “I just want to talk to you…”

 

Lawful Firearm Carrier Attacked in Florida Walmart

 

You’ve seen this by now.

Clarence Daniels, 62, enters a Walmart to get some coffee creamer. He’s with his granddaughter. On his hip is a holstered and absolutely legal firearm. He doesn’t get far.

Michael Foster, 43, saw him place the gun into the holster after he left the car. Although it was concealed beneath his coat, Foster knew it was there. So, he tackled Daniels, shouting, “He’s got a gun!”

It’s hard to estimate how many ways this situation could have slid more out of control. Being pinned to the ground by a group of men in front of your grandchild is bad. Being shot by responding police in front of her would have been worse. Or maybe he asphyxiates in Foster’s hastily applied choke hold while waiting for the police arrive.

Or he Daniels shoots Foster. In this scenario, Daniels somehow draws his weapon and shoots, even though he was attacked from behind with absolutely no warning. At this point we are venturing into fantasy, but it is an idea that is thrown around every time the video is shared.

He would have been legally justified, and sitting on my couch hundreds of miles removed from the situation, I admit it, I kind of wish he had.

It’s not easy to watch Foster run into the store and clip him from behind. Harder, to watch the other men help pin him down, for no other reason than Foster, a stranger, asked them to. This is assault. They are making themselves accessories.

But legal justification is one thing. That doesn’t mean that he would have made it out of the situation alive.

Besides, his granddaughter. If he had killed a man in front of her, it would have haunted both of them.

Foster, who was charged with assault, has been called “hapless hero” by some. I can’t help but wonder, however, if he would assumed that Daniels was a robber or terrorist if he had been a white man. After all, despite the weapon, nothing about Daniels screamed, “criminal.”

Daniels will be on my mind as I file for my CCW in the State of Georgia. Is there anything that Daniels could have done to avoid the situation?

Are any of you worried about running into a man like Foster?

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Michael Foster, Walmart Vigilante. Sees armed 62 year old Black man, walking with his granddaughter and thinks, “He’s gonna rob the store!” Even as Daniels shouts, “I have a permit!”