Monday, March 16, 2009

Probing bias behind the badge

This article is extremely disturbing. Not in a blood and gore sort of way, but a 'how did we get here?' way. Even if my review looks too long for you to read, just check out this story or look at the direct quote at the bottom of this blog to understand. Link to read the article:,0,7686526.story

This article is about the shooting of Bernard Monroe, a 73-year-old black man. While sitting in his front yard, hosting a cook out for his family and friends, two white officers invaded the party and fatally shot Monroe. According to those present, Monroe was simply walking towards the door to try and calm the situation down. After shooting Monroe, witnesses said that one officer moved a shot gun that had been on the porch to near the victim. The official reports state that Monroe had been holding the gun to begin with. Recent police activity has led to some scrutiny about racial bias in the police force.

I wasn't a big fan of the lede, which led my attention to the state of his house as opposed to the topic of the article. The intro to the next paragraph explains that Monroe had throat cancer and could no longer speak, a fact that I felt could've waited until the end as it wasn't crucial to the story. The first couple of paragraphs give a very vague outline of the events and then the following paragraphs go into more detail. I think this style would've been much more effective had he condensed his first couple of paragraphs, giving the story a bit more of an initial punch.

The writer includes a couple of other incidents that coincide with this one.

One of the major things I think is relevant to our most recent discussions is a direct quote from the police chief of the Homer Police Department, the department of the two white cops that shot Monroe. His is the only quote that is in the article from the police. Apparently, they didn't want to comment on the specific case of Monroe, but would comment on the broader topic of racial profiling.

"If I see three of four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names," said Mills, who is white. "I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested. We're not out there trying to abuse and harass people - we're trying to protect the law-abiding citizens locked behind their doors in fear."


After the initial shock of reading this quote, I wondered if the chief would regret his words or if he would stand by them. It reminded me of the conversation we had of libel and what we should do if someone says something and then asks for it to be struck from the record. I think this is a good example of when it should be used. It is really important to the topic of this article and, if anything, cements the reasoning of the FBI to look into the Monroe case.

1 comment:

  1. The quote reveals the attitude. When we capture such quotes we must use them. That's how other people get the message.