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The Black Panic defense

Joe McKnight

The shooting of former football player Joe McKnight in New Orleans last week during a “road rage incident” highlights the new racist defense strategy: Black Panic. A white person, or police officer, has an interaction with a black man and instantly they fear for their lives.

McKnight was shot to death in an altercation with another driver who was released after a brief police interview with no charges. Why would someone who shot an unarmed man in cold blood be released? Based upon what? The perpetrator’s version of events? As they say dead men tell no tales.

What’s worse is that it is discovered that McKnight’s killer, Ronald Gasser, had another altercation at the same intersection 10 years earlier where he punched another driver. Could that possibly be relevant? Perhaps the police should have done more of an investigation before releasing Gasser with no charges or at least held him overnight.

Meanwhile in a courtroom in South Carolina, a jury is deadlocked concerning the potential conviction of Michael Slager, a police officer that killed Walter Scott who was running away from the scene of a traffic stop. Scott was shot in the back five times. The jury is composed of 11 white jurors and one black juror. Despite the testimony of 55 witnesses and a video of the incident that clearly shows Slager shooting Scott in the back from 18 feet, it has been revealed that 11 of the jurors are ready to convict on one of the charges, one juror is a holdout.

The Black Panic defense works. It allowed police officers to walk free in the Rodney King case. It allowed George Zimmerman to walk free in the Trayvon Martin case. It may allow Slager to walk free. The Black Panic defense is further supported by stand your ground laws which allow a person to use deadly force to defend themselves from perceived threats. When a person believes that any approach by, or altercation with, a black man is a perceived threat, then per the stand your ground law that person can use deadly force to protect themselves or others.

You might say that my analysis is ridiculous, but you are wrong. I have walked through the streets of San Diego late at night and watched women, gay men and others cross the street to avoid the large black man approaching them. That’s Black Panic. That fear is being used to support the killing of black men in court rooms across America.



San Diego LGBT Weekly


Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=75961

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016. Filed under Editorial, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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