PATRIK JONSSON: Is it safe for a black man to be the ‘good guy with a gun’?
On Thanksgiving night, a shooter opened fire at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Ala. Police killed one man.
But as has become increasingly clear, Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. was one of the good guys.
The military veteran and legal gun carrier from Hueytown, Ala., was likely killed while trying to protect his fellow citizens, according to eyewitness reports. And for that, his family says, he died ignominiously. Police arrested the alleged shooter Thursday. . . .
The killing of Mr. Bradford is not a stand-alone example. Three days before his death, a young man named Jemel Roberson was buried in Illinois. An aspiring police officer and legal gun-carrier, Mr. Roberson singlehandedly apprehended a mass shooter at Manny’s Blue Room bar in Robbins, where Roberson worked as a security guard. A Midlothian police officer responded, and shot and killed Roberson. In June, Navy veteran Jason Washington was shot and killed by Portland State University police in Oregon, after reportedly trying to stop a fight outside a bar. Witnesses say Washington was trying to de-escalate the situation, including confiscating his friend’s gun. He had a pistol permit. A grand jury declined to indict the two officers involved.
Cops are too trigger-happy, thanks in part to training that treats officer lives as more valuable than anyone else’s. That sort of training brings stereotypes into play. Police need to be better trained — and when they get it wrong, they need to be held accountable, just as an ordinary armed citizen who made the same mistake would be.