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

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

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