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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is so suspicious about a young man sitting under a tree at the library?

I read an article in the paper about a young black man who reportedly had a gun across the street from a school.  The good news- the police got the "bad guy" and he is in jail.   That sounds great on the evening news or as a blurb in the paper  but that's not how this story plays out.  As a mom to a Ethiopian child (who is black) and a mom to a child who was diagnosed with institutional autism, this story breaks my heart on so many levels.  As I read more about the facts, I see the story is much more than reported. 
Here's what I read:
  • Someone calls the police saying they saw a suspicious man at the library with a gun.
  • Schools go into lockdown
  • police officers are dispatched
  • officer sees suspect and question him
  • Suspect gets irate, attacks officer
  • suspect breaks free
  • Canine unit finds suspect
  • Suspect arrested
  Okay- above is my abbreviated version. 

Click here for the complete story

 The part that wasn't in the newspaper:
  • Investigators never found a gun, and now say the initial caller never actually saw a weapon
  • The young man was waiting for the library to open (outside the library!)
  • The young man has autism
  • Schools are locked down because of false report
  • An innocent man is being chased by the police and hunted down by dogs
  • an officer is hurt
Someone saw a young, black man sitting under tree at the library.  This person assumed the young, black man was bad and had a gun.  The police were called.  Seriously?  This is 2010, why would you ASSUME any of that?  What made this person call the police?  If the young man were white would the call have been made?  Should this young man be in jail because someone reported he had a gun?
I wonder - what if this happened to Igor or Henry.  What would I be feeling as a mother and what should "justice" look like for all involved?
Here's the mom's version of the story

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