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Viral Video Sparks Debate on Racial Disparities in How Police Use Force

A video of a white man yelling at a white cop, without physical consequences, has more than 1 million views.

Botham Jean, Jemel Roberson and Emantic Bradford Jr. were all minding their own business, not mouthing off, and they were shot dead by police. Sandra Bland questioned an officer and wound up dead in a jail cell.

So when a video of an unidentified white man spewing expletives at an officer, throwing his license at the officer, and threatening to kill the officer, without any physical consequences, started circulating on Twitter, it went viral with more than 1 million views this week.

People of color on Twitter commented that had it been them in the video, they would've had bullets in the chest by the time the truck passed:

There are studies that well document how Blacks have been treated differently by police. In the case traffic stops, whites were 57 percent more likely to be spoken to with respectful language, whereas Black drivers were 61 percent more likely to experience an exchange that was the least respectful. Officers language with the least respect included calling people, "dude, bro, boss, man, brotha, sista or chief".

FBI data found that U.S. police kill Black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. And 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police are Black.

Yet racists, and some conservatives believe the treatment is deserved because Blacks did something wrong.

For example, in Orlando's International Airport in August, a white male Trump supporter tackled to the ground by police for being a disruptive passenger knew his privilege, when he said, "You're being rough with me. You're f***ing treating me like a Black person."

Reader Question: How does the video of the white man berating the white officer make you feel?

Black Security Guard Doing His Job Shot Dead By Police

Police officers saw, Jemel Roberson, "a Black man with a gun, and basically killed him," said a witness.

WGN Screenshot

Jemel Roberson, age 26, was working as a security guard at Manny's Blue Room bar in Robbins, Ill., when a drunken patron who he had been asked to leave earlier, returned with a gun. The patron shot four people.

Roberson, who was armed at the time, returned fire, grabbed one of the men, held him down and waited for police to arrive, according to witnesses.

"He had somebody on the ground with his knee in back, with his gun in his back like, 'Don't move,'" Adam Harris told WGN-TV.

An unnamed Midloathian police officer, according to other officers in that department who were called to assist Robbins' police, opened fire on Roberson, killing him.

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Feds Take Years to File Civil Rights Charges Against Cops ​

"They don't care how long it takes because there is no one telling them they need to get it done sooner," said a former DOJ official.

The Washington Post examined over 50 civil rights cases against officers and found that charges were filed, on average, more than three years after the event.

For example, Eric Garner, who had asthma, was killed in 2014 by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who along with others tackled him to the ground and put him in a chokehold until Garner couldn't breathe. When the officer wasn't indicted, a civil rights case was opened. There are still no charges filed, four years later.

In 2016, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review studied over 13,000 misconduct cases submitted to the Justice Department over 20 years, and found that 96 percent of cases had no charges filed.

African Americans are only about 13 percent of the population, but make up over 30 percent of people fatally shot by police.

The list of people include Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice and more.

Brittany Packett, activist and former appointed member of the Ferguson Commission and President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing has said, historically, less than one percent of the officers who shoot Black people are ever convicted of that crime.

Walter Scott, driving with a broken tail light, was shot while running away from North Charleston police officer, Michael Slager. Two years later, the officer plead guilty to violation of civil rights by acting under the color of law.

Alton Sterling was killed by Baton Rouge officers who had pinned him down and shot him in July 2016. In May 2017, federal prosecutors said they wouldn't file civil rights charges against the officers. In March 2018, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced no charges would be filed either.

"The bottom line is there's no pressure," said Roy L. Austin Jr., formerly a top official in the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department (and attorney for the family of Bijan Ghaisar, who was shot and killed by park police last November).

"They don't care how long it takes because there is no one telling them they need to get it done sooner. So they aren't concerned about the impact it may have on the community or the impact it may have on the family. That's just their way, because they are answerable to no one except their immediate bosses."

Federal investigator agencies don't have confrontations at community meetings, politicians holding them accountable with real consequences, or overwhelming angry emails.

The DOJ's statement: "It is important to understand that 'color of law' cases in particular have an extremely high burden of proof and it takes time to put together an airtight prosecution. Every single color of law case is unique and length depends on a plethora of factors, including: available evidence, the number of witnesses and subjects, local procedures, and grand jury availability."

A cumbersome process noted by approvals of witnesses and scheduling is part of the issue, but there's also an avoidance of controversy.

"There's first of all the general reluctance on the part of prosecutors to go after people in law enforcement because they consider themselves all working on the same team," said Tim Lynch, director of the Project on Criminal Justice at Cato Institute, a think-tank in Washington that advocates for smaller government.

Ronald T. Hosko, a former FBI agent and president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, which helps officers who need financial or legal assistance in such cases said of the DOJ, "They take their time. There's no rush, and I think some of that is tactical. They're trying to be thorough. But as time goes by, some of the heat is taken out of the community and then they give you the result nine months later."

Black Man Suffering from Mental Health Illness Dies After Police Use Taser and Tackle Him in the Street

His sister, who said she left the U.S. to protect her Black son, never thought her brother would be the victim.

TWITTER/ @opalayo

Chinedu Valentine Okobi, 36, a Black man, father, Morehouse College graduate, uncle and brother died of cardiac arrest after San Mateo County police tackled and repeatedly used a Taser on him in Millibrae, south of San Francisco, Calif.

Okobi was struggling with mental illness and had been weaving in and out of traffic downtown on the busy street, El Camino Real.

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Amber Guyger Can't Be Fired During Investigation, Says Dallas Police Chief

Laws say otherwise as the community calls for justice for Botham Jean.

Screenshot from CBS

At a town hall meeting where the community voiced concerns about why Amber Guyger is still employed and receiving pay, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said any further disciplinary action would compromise the ongoing investigation of Botham Jean's death.

Once the department is "assured, an administrative investigation will not impede on the criminal investigation, we will proceed," Hall said.

Justin Moore, a civil right's attorney, said that "Chief Hall might not have been well informed on the law."

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Georgia police officers threw a wailing 10-year-old to the ground after he ran after them for arresting his daddy. Athens-Clarke County police were called to the home on domestic violence charges.

As the officers led the father away, the boy shouted, "Why? Why? He didn't shoot nobody."

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TWITTER

Harith Augustus, 37, was shot dead by police this past weekend on the South Side of Chicago, and disputes over what really happened have led many activists to question motives of the police and the mayor in how they handle the investigation.

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What On Earth Is Becky Afraid Of?

Student who brings assault rifle to campus gets no arrest, no police shooting thanks to white privilege.

TWITTER

If Kaitlin Bennett wasn't white, you'd be reading about a dead Black student.

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Waffle House Shooter: White Affirmative Action Strikes Again

Blacks are disproportionately killed, while guns are given back to the Waffle House shooter, despite concerns about his mental health issues and previous violent threats.

Travis Reinking / REUTERS

The Waffle House shooter had his guns taken away and given back to him, and the question is whether or not that would've happened if Travis Reinking was Black. His father, who ultimately was given the guns back by the police, promised to keep the weapons secure and out of his son's possession, according to Southern California Public Radio's report. Both the father and the police were aware of Reinking's history of mental instability, but chose to give Reinking another chance.

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Nurse Who Said ‘Stupid’ Stephon Clark ‘Deserved’ to Die Raises Over $24k

"I am not a hateful or discriminatory person," Faith Linthicum said.

GOFUNDME

The woman who said unarmed Stephon Clark "deserved" to die because he was "being stupid" has raised close to $25,000 in a GoFundMe account.

Faith Linthicum was fired from Kaiser Permanente after writing on Facebook that Clark, a young father of two, had it coming when he was shot in the back repeatedly by two Sacramento police officers.

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Stephon Clark Was Shot in the Back: Autopsy

Demonstrations continued throughout the weekend; one protester was struck by a police cruiser.

Salena Manni (L), fiancee of Stephon Clark, holds their son Cairo and an unidentified man holds son Aiden (2nd R) while Basim Elkarra speaks and Rev Shane Harris listens at a rally in Sacramento, Calif. / REUTERS

Results from a private autopsy released over the weekend revealed that Stephon Clark was struck with eight bullets, six of which went in his back.

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Shootings of Black Men Are Not a White House Matter, Spokeswoman Says

Police shootings should be left to "local authorities," Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, even though this has perpetuated a cycle of corruption and violence.

REUTERS

Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a press briefing chalked up fatal police shootings of Black men to a “local matter" and said the president does not have to comment on them.

Reporter April Ryan asked Sanders about the Alton Sterling and Stephon Clark shootings. Sanders called it “a terrible incident" but “a local matter."

Sanders reiterated President Donald Trump's support for law enforcement and added “in these specific instances, those would be left up to local authorities and not something for the federal government to weigh into."

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