Question of racial bias raised after white officer shoots black colleague
By Jennifer Cruz
Authorities investigate after an exchange of gunfire that occurred during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle. (Photo: Fox 2)
A white St. Louis police officer — saying he feared for his safety — shot and wounded an off-duty black colleague who was assisting during a pursuit last week. The incident refreshes the question of how race plays a role in when law enforcement decides to use deadly force.
“This happens to be the first time in the national discourse that we’re aware of a black professional, or a law enforcement officer himself, being shot or treated as an ordinary black guy on the street and we can see that this is a real problem,” said Rufus Tate, an attorney for the black officer’s union, to local media.
Tate said there’s no description in the police report that the 38-year-old off-duty officer with 11 years on the force acted in a threatening manner, but rather “there is this perception that a black man is automatically feared.”
According to June 22 statement by the St. Louis Police Department, the shooting occurred on June 21 after a high-speed police chase ended when three suspects crashed a stolen vehicle after hitting spike strips in the off-duty officer’s neighborhood