In 2014, Black Lives Matter used the wrongful death of Michael Brown to powerfully call the nation’s attention to a growing problem of police violence across America. Not only did it ask us if we believed the story that Michael Brown was a craven, dangerous suspect (many of us did), it asked us to reconsider the narratives surrounding police violence.
Many on the right have rightfully pointed out that while black people are disproportionately the beneficiaries of police violence, it is not simply a black issue. So, if they recognize an issue with unjustified police force that affects more than just black Americans, then it stands to reason that they’d support police reform, right?
As reported by The Daily Mail, footage has recently emerged showing Airman Michael Davidson being shot by Opelika police officer Phillip Hancock after Hancock mistook his wallet for a gun. Davidson survived the incident, but Officer Hancock was cleared of all charges, the courts upholding that the shooting was “reasonable force.”
Davidson isn’t black. He doesn’t have a darker skin tone. He was shot within six seconds of leaving his car.
An aversion to the racial politics of groups like Black Lives Matter still wouldn’t explain why others wouldn’t support specific policy changes to reduce the amount of errant officer shootings, to bar problematic officers from simply switching stations and continuing work after incidents, to increase or improve officer training, or to reduce the grade of weapons available to the police such as tanks.
Shouting down black people speaking up about problems surrounding police departments because it’s not just a race problem is just as nonsensical as reminding a black cancer research group that other people suffer from cancer, and then opposing advances in cancer research.
You can either support concrete ways to reduce police violence, or you can admit that you don’t care about it. It seems pretty difficult, though, not to do either. If all lives really do matter, that is.
Watch the confrontation between Hancock and Davidson below:
Featured image from WTVM.