Submitted by Standing Together Against Racism
In the aftermath of yet another unarmed black man being fatally shot by a member of law enforcement in the US, many people were shaken. Many were angry. Many were overwhelmed, and at a breaking point with grief for the grave injustices that just keep coming time and time again.
Many of us have come to learn that we cannot read the comment section of the local newspaper, or twitter, or other media sites (social or otherwise) because of the grief, pain, and fear that reading through them causes. But when we tune into our local radio station as a part of our normal routine, we should not face the same kind of comments that we work so hard to avoid or at least limit.
It was disappointing, hurtful, and enraging to hear comments by The Bay’s radio host, Jeff Carter, on April 13, attributing blame to Daunte Wright for his own death. By saying that it is partially the victim’s fault for being killed by a police officer is analogous to saying that a woman in a short skirt or low-cut top is partially to blame for her rapist’s behaviour.
Are we not past victim blaming?
For those who need to hear it (for the first time, or the fiftieth), please listen: when an unarmed black man is shot and killed by the police, it does not matter if he had a criminal record. It does not matter if he was attempting to get into his car. It does not matter if he may have committed a crime. It does not matter.
“Innocent until proven guilty” is a core tenet of Canadian law. People who parrot comments like those above are eroding that right.
While many law enforcement officers are good people who do a difficult job, there is a problem with a system when so many lives are lost for no reason.
There was NO reason for Mr. Wright to lose his life. There is NO blame to ascribe to a man who had his stolen.
Fleeing or not. Record or not. Allegations or not.
A police officer is not the judge, jury, and executioner.
We may not be able to tame the keyboard warriors—we may have to find other ways to cope with that kind of media, but as a community, we can expect more of our local media.
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