Some thoughts after after watching the videos of Kyle Rittenhouse try to turn himself in to police & the police drive right by him. And what this reveals about the other side of anti-Black racism in policing and how this further undermines our safety.
In the video, Kyle walks toward multiple vehicles and they zoom past him. Let’s be clear: there is an active shooter/s situation. Multiple people shot and killed. A young man walks toward the police, holding an AR-15, raises his hands to turn himself in, and bystanders yell that he was involved in the shooting. Do the police detain him? Do they even question him? No, they drive right by him and leave him on his own. He ended up turning himself in the following day. The cops do essentially nothing to apprehend him.
Think about this for a moment. There is an active shooter situation in a crowd, multiple people shot, and an armed man self and witness identified as a shooter turns himself in and the cops pay him no mind. Now, we can say that the cops endorsed his actions (which documentation now shows some supported his presence there) – but in that moment they likely had no idea who the shooter was or the full details. They likely would not have known he was involved prior to him turning himself in. And they simply do *not* care.
In no way does this keep us safe or protect the public. This is yet another massive spotlight on the problems in policing, safety, and anti-Black racism in America.
The cops driving past him is the other side of racial profiling and anti-Black policing. They couldn’t or wouldn’t conceive of him as the perpetrator of a violent act even though he was armed, came from the scene, and was identified as a shooter. Meanwhile, Black men and women around the country are killed for much, much less – simply the imagined aura of a weapon, or identifying you have a weapon and a license to hold it, for being 12 and playing with a toy gun, for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, taking a cigar, passing a counterfeit $20 bill, for sleeping. Jacob Blake was given none of this deference. Breonna Taylor was murdered in her bed. Tamir Rice was murdered playing in a park. Countless more Black Americans have been subjected to regular abuse and harm through stop and frisk, use of force, and surveillance.
This shows – once more – that this entrenched form of policing is *not* about public safety or keeping communities protected, but actually does the opposite. It’s about anti-Black racism, control, and violence.