Use of force: a double standard

Notes from the 7/14/22 issue

Use of force: a double standard

On the morning of June 27, Akron, Ohio police fatally shot twenty-five year old Jayland Walker. Seven white officers and one Black officer shot Walker, who was unarmed, with more than sixty rounds. According to CNN, The Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7 stated “The decision to deploy lethal force as well as the number of shots fired is consistent with use of force protocols and officers’ training.” This is questionable considering the continued lack of force used to deescalate and disarm the perpetrators of mass shootings, such as the tragedy that transpired in Highland Park just a weekend after Jayland Walker was murdered. 

Robert Crimo III managed to fire more than seventy rounds into a Fourth of July parade taking place in the Illinois suburb while perched on top of a building. He then fled the scene, dressed in disguise as a woman. Crimo, who legally obtained the firearms he used in the shooting, was later arrested and taken into custody unscathed. Seven people were killed and over thirty more were injured as chaos erupted in the community of Highland Park, where many of the residents are Jewish. Crimo was alleged to have attempted to enter a synagogue during passover in April, but was turned away, suggesting that the attack could have been rooted in anti-Semitism. 

The question of use of force protocols in certain situations as opposed to others has been of recent discussion in light of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which police officers refused to enter the building and barred parents from rescuing their children as a gunman claimed the lives of nineteen students and two teachers. It wasn’t Uvalde PD that fatally shot the gunman after the rampage, but rather a Border Patrol Agent who’s child and wife were inside the school. 

The Weekly extends our condolences to the loved ones of Jayland Walker and the victims of the Highland Park shooting.

Fifty-one migrants die in trailer truck

On Monday, June 27, fifty-one migrants died inside a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio Texas. According to investigators, smugglers abandoned the truck before carrying them to cross the U.S. border to avoid detection at immigration checkpoints. Texas state officials said that thirty-nine of the victims were men and twelve were women and that among them five were children. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard tweeted that those found dead include people from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. In response, president Joe Biden said he wants to go after the “multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants.” Yet, immigration advocates nationwide think the U.S. needs better immigration policies to prevent instances like this from happening in the first place. 

Responding to the deaths, Xanat Sobrevilla with Organized Communities Against Deportations, a Chicago-based immigration advocacy organization, said more legal pathways to enter the U.S. are needed: “Our hearts are full of grief and rage. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that migrants of all ages have been killed attempting to cross into the U.S. It is clear to us that as long as we continue to have political candidates and legislative policies that prioritize border enforcement and the criminalization of immigrants, the lives of people migrating across the border will continue to be at risk and in danger. This administration cannot claim shock at this tragedy because it is, in fact, their own attitudes and policies that led to the outcome of the death of 51 migrants. We will continue to demand that our administration invests in our lives, the lives of migrants and undocumented people, and divest from law enforcement agencies like ICE and CBP Customs and Border Patrol which only cause greater harm.”

At least 650 people have died attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border this year.

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