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As Community Mourns, Many Wonder Why Police Are Protecting Teenage Girl’s Shooter

As Community Mourns, Many Wonder Why Police Are Protecting Teenage Girl’s Shooter

One thing everyone can agree on is that the shooting of Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old woman who took a bullet to the face after knocking on the door of a residence at the early hours of the morning, is a tragedy. But as information on the event continues to trickle out, a community is demanding to know whether it is no longer safe for a person of color to seek out help from a stranger without endangering their own lives.

According to news reports, McBride was allegedly in a car accident and unable to call for help due to a dead cell phone. After knocking on the door of a home, the owner opened the door and shot her. Initial reports claim the homeowner said he thought he was acting in self-defense. Police continued to investigate the case without any arrest, incensing McBride’s family and many in the community.

In response, a rally was organized by local activists, who demanded more answers into the death of McBride and why, according to them, the police are protecting the shooter’s identity. “We are outraged and demand to know this man’s identity,” writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton said in the release for the event. ”He doesn’t deserve to have his identity protected and we demand his arrest.”

“We need transparency in this case,” Dream Hampton told The Huffington Post. “I was just outraged by this story, I really was. I asked some friends to meet me at the police department to demand some justice.” Friends did indeed gather — over 100 participants joined together to put pressure on the police to arrest the shooter.

Spokespeople from the African American community in Detroit are pressuring the police as well. The Rev. Wendell Anthony, who is the president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, told Detroit News: “This shooting must be investigated at every level. Following the lead of the Dearborn Heights Police Department and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, we must bring to justice any person found guilty of this tragedy. This death appears to be an overreaction to a young woman in need of help.”

McBride’s family agreed. “He shot her in the head … for what? For knocking on his door,” Bernita Spinks, McBride’s aunt, said. “If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911. … She went looking for help and now she’s dead.”

The shooter, who is now speaking only through a lawyer, is telling the media that the gun went off accidentally, shooting McBride in the face and killing her. Even if that is the full story, that the homeowner felt the need to open the front door with a loaded gun in his or her hands, at face level and ready to fire, has many wondering if it is ever safe for anyone, especially a person of color, to seek out help without potentially putting themselves in more danger.

Whether or not the shooting was “justifiable” will come down mainly to what we as a society agree is “just.” Is an accident that ends a person’s life less reprehensible than the idea that the homeowner, by loading the gun and pointing it at someone knocking at the door, was fully intending to kill that person anyway because he or she perceived the tiniest threat? At what point did the answer to a stranger knocking in the middle of the night become loading a pistol and opening the door rather than calling for police if you sense a dangerous situation?

McBride’s funeral, a three hour remembrance of her short life, was held on Friday.

The investigation remains open, but hopefully, for the sake of McBride’s family and for everyone, all questions will get answered.

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201 comments

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1:08PM PST on Nov 23, 2013

Exactly Dale O

9:36AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

I am armed, if they actually break down the door, I can shoot them and have the advantage in that situation and await the arrival of the police.

Again, if I don’t like what I hear/don’t believe what I hear, I don’t open the door which weakens my home/castle defenses. It means I have to hold my shot gun (single-handedly) or in a way that doesn’t allow me to aim it whileopening the door. By doing so I am placing myself at a disadvantage.

When an invading army approaches you don’t lower the draw bridge giving them access to the castle by allowing them to cross the moat.

9:33AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

Right.

I wake up to loud noises coming from my front door.

Fearful this could be a break-in/robbery I grab my weapon & make sure it’s loaded.

I go downstairs, & approach the door. If I have windows on either side that would allow me the ability to sneak a peek at who is on my porch, I carefully do so. If they are yelling and banging on my door, I stand away from the front door in case they are armed & their intent is to shoot me through my door.

I’ve watched enough movies and tv shows to figure this out. I dial 911 and keep them on the line.

I listen to what they are saying on my front porch. I may try to engage them in conversation. If I don’t buy what they are selling I do not open the door giving an advantage over myself if they are possibly armed and have felonious intentions.

4:11AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

Interesting, Michael T, especially regarding Wafer had opened the heavy front door. If so, 'afraid', why even open the front door? Simply ask through the locked door what she wanted or if truly terrified...wait for the police to arrive and let them deal with the knocking on the door by asking relevant questions. Door knocking in the wee small hours...a capital offence?


We had some coverage in Canada.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/new-orleans-police-id-mother-s-day-shooting-suspect-1.1324577

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/2-brothers-arrested-in-mother-s-day-parade-shooting-1.1326900

12:04PM PST on Nov 17, 2013

I know Jen.

There was a mass shooting in New Orleans involving a parade mostly of African American women with their children. It was a Mother's Day Parade. But since it was perpetrated by an African American on African America women and children it didn't matter much tothe media.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20130516-new-orleans-police-arrest-suspect-in-mother-s-day-parade-mass-shooting.ece

There was probably a small news clip when the McBride shooting occurred, and maybe one recently regarding protests about it or the connection to the Trayvon Martin shooting, but very little exposure at all down here.

11:19AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Michael: Not even in Florida? Wow, the mainstream media's going out of it's way to not report on this.

4:32PM PST on Nov 16, 2013

You are welcome Jen.

It isn't something that is even appearing in the local news here in Florida. so when an email from either Truthout, Alternet, or Reader Supported News arrives and I see that things have moved in this case the first thing I thought of was sharing it, especially after some of the rhetoric that sometimes clouds Care2 discussion sites.

3:33PM PST on Nov 16, 2013

Thank you for the update, Michael T!

10:22AM PST on Nov 16, 2013

Thanks Aurea

Yes I wonder when the police realize that they are merely a tool of the upper classes for whom the laws and their application are significantly different than for the rest of us. In some ways it is what has contributed to the clique of the police, causing them to see themselves above citizens as well. It has led to their mindset.

Very little has been done to prosecute them, and they caused a recession not only in the US but their BS caused economic reversal throughout the world and they remain above it all.
Some cases are being prosecuted now. Most only levee fines. But some convictions have been coming forth. I suspect the Justice Dept hopes its enough and some other event or series of events distracts the populace enough that they can stop prosecuting. It is suspected they have done so only through the hue and cry that began with OWS and continues today via other means.

Which tells us they have bought their way into the system and own it.

7:02AM PST on Nov 16, 2013

Michael T - thank you so much for posting FACTS! Sent you a star of course and would have sent a 1000 if it was allowed. In New York with the "stop and frisk" policy it was thought that would lower crime rates, of course it was aimed at African Americans and Latinos. Seemingly that was effective as crime went down, but at the same time the Wall Street boys, who are BIG TIME cocaine addicted crooks brought the economy to its knees. Their punishment was what? Nothing, not a damn thing has been done against them. I do so hope Ms. McBride's killer gets a real trial for his heinous crime. Shooting and killing this young girl thru a CLOSED screen door leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Did he turn on his porch light? how tall was Ms. McBride in relation to the killer? How big a threat did she appear to be since she was unarmed? Why did this killer not call 911 first? And most importantly why did he open the door if he felt so threatend? He was alone, so he did not have to worry about anyone else's well being.

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