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Tribune News Service
Leonard Greene

Leonard Greene: 60 shots. The unreasonable price a Black man pays for running from police

He shouldn’t have run from the police.

OK, let’s start there, because the cops-can-do-no-wrong crowd always goes there whenever an unarmed Black person gets shot to death or choked to death after a traffic stop or a counterfeit bill or some other such nonsense.

They say that if the suspect had just stayed put or not resisted arrest or kept his big mouth shut he’d still be alive today, which is not necessarily true, but we can agree to disagree.

But here it is one more time: Jayland Walker should not have run from the police.

Happy now?

Because it doesn’t matter if Walker ran from Akron, Ohio cops, peed on their patrol car or talked about their mothers, there is no reason why an unarmed man should be dead on the sidewalk with more than 60 gunshot wounds to his body.

Sixty. That’s not counting the shots that missed. That’s about 20 more than the 41 shots fired in 1999 by cops in the Bronx who killed Amadou Diallo because they thought his wallet was a gun.

Sixty. That’s about 10 more than the 50 shots that were fired in 2006 at Sean Bell, 23, and his two friends after they left Bell’s bachelor party in Queens.

Cops who said one of Bell’s friends was reaching for a gun in Bell’s car — there was no gun — killed the groom just hours before his wedding.

Unlike Bell’s vehicle, there was a gun in Walker’s car, which cops had pulled over on a routine traffic stop.

But even the officers’ own body-camera video showed their lives were in no immediate danger when they opened fire on Walker.

Contrast that with how cops treated a shooting suspect in Highland Park, Illinois. Police said Robert Crimo III, 22, climbed to a rooftop and used a high-powered rifle to pick off paradegoers at a crowded Fourth of July celebration.

He fired more than 70 rounds. Seven people were killed. Dozens of others were wounded. A kid was paralyzed from the waist down.

Yet, when cops caught up with the suspected shooter, an “armed and dangerous” white man, far fewer than 60 shots were needed to take him down. In fact, Crimo was arrested without a single shot being fired.

Days after Crimo’s arrest, an article appeared online about a Michigan police department that uses pictures of Black men with guns as part of their tactical training.

According to the article in Vice, one of the men in the picture is wearing a hoodie. The other has a baseball cap on backward.

More proof of the dangers Black men face when crossing paths with police.

So, no, Walker should not have run. Not just because it made him look guilty, but because you can’t outrun a bullet.


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