Opinion: Outraging Tale of Two Police Pursuits

Opinion: Outraging Tale of Two Police Pursuits (Matthew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images)

A Black man was fatally shot while running away from police. Sound familiar? A white man, who was the suspect in a mass shooting that killed seven people, was arrested without incident. Sound familiar?

The life of a 25-year-old Black man in Akron, Ohio was taken by police June 27 as he ran away from more than a dozen officers, according to body camera video that was released a week later by the department.

Jayland Walker was shot at least 60 times by eight officers after an attempted traffic stop, car chase and a short foot pursuit. Authorities said during the car chase, he fired one shot inside his car before getting out and running.

Akron police Chief Stephen Mylett said the shots from the officers came after Walker turned towards them, believing he was reaching for his waist and “moving into a firing position.”

No weapon was found on Walker when he was shot. Police said they recovered a weapon from the car.

The eight officers were placed on administrative leave and the Akron Police union said the shooting was justified, “including (with) the number of shots fired,” according to a statement by the Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge No. 7.

HIGHLAND PARK, IL – JULY 06: An American flag flies at half-staff near a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade, on July 6, 2022 in Highland Park, Illinois. Authorities have charged Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, 22, with seven counts of first-degree murder in the attack that also injured 47, according to published reports. | Jim Vondruska via Getty Images

Meanwhile, on the Fourth of July in Highland Park, Illinois, a 22-year-old white man who fired multiple rounds from a high-powered rifle into a parade crowd from a rooftop, killing seven people and injuring more than 30, was arrested hours later after an attempted traffic stop. 

Robert “Bobby” Crimo III fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd and was later caught driving away from the scene, authorities said. 

Lake County Sheriff Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said a “North Chicago Police officer spotted the vehicle, waited for additional backup units to arrive, conducted a traffic stop, and they were able to safely apprehend Crimo with no injuries to the officers.”

Looking at how both of these suspects were pursued, it is clear that use of deadly force would have been far more reasonable in the case of an active mass shooter, versus someone who was simply trying to run away from 13 armed officers.

It is situations and statements such as these that have led to the ongoing protest in Akron, as yet another unarmed Black man was shot and killed, while another heavily armed white mass shooter was able to murder and injure many and live to tell the story.

Again, it sounds familiar, right? 

When will it stop being the norm?

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