Yesterday, I noted how the media utterly failed to comment on the racial nature of a black thug killing a white family in D.C. Today, a judge in Cleveland exonerated a cop in killing two individuals after a high-speed chase. The Wall Street Journal described the incident as follows:
- The chase began when Mr. Russell’s car backfired as he sped past Cleveland police headquarters. Police officers and bystanders thought someone inside had fired a gun. More than 100 Cleveland police officers in 62 marked and unmarked cars got involved in a pursuit that saw speeds reach 100 mph during the 22-mile chase. Authorities never learned why Mr. Russell didn’t stop. He had a criminal record including convictions for receiving stolen property and robbery, and had been involved in a previous police pursuit. Ms. Williams had convictions for drug-related charges and attempted abduction. Both were described as mentally ill, homeless and addicted to drugs. A crack pipe was found in the car.
Here’s how my four leading newspapers of record reported the verdict:
- The New York Times. A Cleveland police officer who climbed onto the hood of a car after a chase in 2012 and fired repeatedly at its unarmed occupants, both of them black, was acquitted of manslaughter on Saturday by an Ohio judge.
- The Washington Post. A Cleveland police officer was acquitted Saturday for his role in the 2012 fatal shooting of two unarmed people in a car after officers mistook the sound of the car backfiring as gunshots…. The Brelo verdict follows rioting last month in Baltimore over the death of a man who was fatally injured in police custody and comes at a time of growing national scrutiny over the use of force by law enforcement officers, especially against minorities. Brelo is white, and the two victims were black.
- USA Today. A Cleveland police officer was acquitted Saturday of charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two unarmed people in a 137-shot barrage following a high-speed car chase. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell ruled that Michael Brelo, 31, a white officer, acted within his constitutional rights in the November 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, two unarmed black occupants in the vehicle.
- The Wall Street Journal. A white Cleveland patrolman who fired down through the windshield of a suspect’s car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that left the two unarmed black occupants dead was acquitted Saturday of criminal charges by a judge who said he couldn’t determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots.
Apparently, any time a black person is killed by a policeman, the race of the victim is relevant. And it seems even more important to highlight the fact that the victims were unarmed, even though in this instance (a) there was some backfire that sounded like gunshots, (b) the victims had led police on a high-speed chase in excess of 100 mph, (c) one of the officers was on the hood of the car, and (d) it is hard to determine whether two people in a car are unarmed.
I don’t understand, however, why the media failed to report that the judge who exonerated the cop was white. I suspect the police are considered fair game, but the judges are not – yet.
p.s., how does Time magazine characterize the news – “A white Cleveland patrolman who fired down through the windshield of a suspect’s car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that left the two unarmed black occupants dead was acquitted Saturday of criminal charges by a judge who said he could not determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots.”