|Akai Gurley. Photo via New York Times.|
I'm not going to push this over there and be that white guy who insists on making it a debate and trying to be the winner, but I'd like to use my space here to address what Char says: it looks that way to him precisely because the killers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice and so many others have gone unpunished. If it were normal for justice to be done in these cases, we wouldn't be looking at this one so hard and so bitterly.
Peter Liang was probably a bad cop who shouldn't have been issued a gun. He was unjustifiably fearful, he panicked, he violated many rules, and after he pulled the trigger he seems to have been more worried about himself than his victim. But he did not aim his gun at anybody, and it was wildly improbable that his bullet would ricochet its way into a man's heart. Only it did.
Also, as Alan Feuer points out in today's Times, there's a lot of blame in the Gurley case that we can all share in New York City, voters, regulators and civil servants, Liang's own supervisors, the very facts of extreme inequality:
Would a private building on the Upper East Side have had an elevator persistently out of service as was the case at the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York? Would the stairwell lights in such a building have been broken? Would armed officers — one of them with his gun drawn — have been on patrol inside?The argument is just that he shouldn't be treated less leniently than all those white cops who consciously and deliberately took black lives; he shouldn't be the only person to be held accountable; he shouldn't have to bear all the responsibility for all this killing with which he had nothing to do. And the fact that the only person convicted of any crime (so far, we'll see what happens in the Freddy Gray case) in this plague of murders is a person of color—that's an injustice too.