I’m trying to imagine

The tragic stories keep piling on, one atop the other. One that has recently cycled back to public consciousness was the teenage boy shot to death by a cop — in the kid’s mom’s bathroom.

This was in 2012 right here in New York City. The police department says they thought the young man might have a gun, and that he was running from the police. But surveillance video shows the teenager calmly walking to and entering his mother’s apartment building.

A group of cops then ran into the building, guns drawn, without a warrant. When they burst into his mother’s bathroom, they found the teen trying to dump some marijuana down the toilet.

One cop, thinking the teenager might be reaching for a gun, shot him dead in the chest where he stood, while his six year old brother and grandmother looked on. Afterward, the cops took his grandmother down to the precinct for seven hours of questioning, not letting her lawyer talk to her for about two hours.

No gun was ever found.

What I have been trying to imagine is how this scene would have played out if the kid had been white. Would the police officer have shot the blue eyed youngster right in front of his tousle headed six year old brother, and his sweet old white grandma? Would the police department then have interrogated the old lady, who wasn’t charged with any crime, for seven hours straight, right after she’d just seen her grandson shot dead?

I’m trying to imagine whether that policeman would have pulled the trigger — whether he would have been emotionally capable of pulling that trigger. I’m trying to imagine whether, if the kid had been white, such a scenario — such a now horribly familiar scenario — could ever ever happen, even once, in these United States of America.

And I cannot.

One Response to “I’m trying to imagine”

  1. John says:

    Indeed. very sad Ken. It seems every month there is a new story of cops shooting a young black man. My classmates made Fruitvale and since the news has gotten worse. I hope things get better.

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