It seems to me that what happened in Dallas, Texas a few weeks ago represents a new low in the killing of blacks by white police. The breaking in of police to black homes, with the occupants ending up being dead is an all too familiar story in the history of this nation.. But there is an awful twist to what happened in Dallas: A white off-duty female police officer, in uniform, entered a black man’s apartment and shot him to death. The officer claimed that she mistook the apartment to be her own and thought that the man she encountered was an intruder. The police officer lived in the floor directly below the black man and claims to have made the mistake, despite the fact that the man had a large red mat outside the door of his apartment.
Amber Guyger has been, thus far, charged only with manslaughter… not murder in the Sept. 6th shooting of 26-year-old Botham Jean. There are the usual conflicting versions of what happened. The white police officer says the door to the darkened apartment was ajar, she went in, saw a large figure and shot him twice… after he failed to obey her “verbal commands”. At this point we do not know what those commands were. But, Jean’s next door neighbor says she heard someone knocking on the door, yelling “Let me in!” And, there has been the usual effort by police to smear the victim, turn the victim into the bad guy. Police got a search warrant for Jean’s apartment and found 10.4 grams of marijuana. The local Fox television station sensationalized this discovery as if it had something to do with the police crime. Results of a toxicology test and a search of Guyger’s apartment have not been released to the public.
Manny Fernandez and Marina Trahan Martinez write in The New York Times that there is an increasingly long list phrases being added to the the American vocabulary involving violent interactions between police and black men (quote):
“driving while black, walking while black, shopping while black. The shooting of Botham Jean seemed to demand its own, even more disturbing version: being at home while black.”.
Minister Sammie Berry of the Dallas West Church of Christ said after Jean’s funeral (quote):
“The undeniable reality is that he was slain in his home, where he had the right to be and was abiding by the law.”
Indeed, now, it seems to me that … being at home while black can be deadly!