Washington Post infers racism from white outrage over Damond shooting

“In Minneapolis, response to police shooting of white woman by Somali officer has been different.” So declares the Washington Post in its headline to a story strongly implying that white Minneapolis residents are guilty of racism because they have reacted differently to the police shooting of Justine Damond than to police shootings of African Americans.

The story is by Janell Ross. The Post identifies her beat as “race.” Judging from this story, she is the paper’s race monger (and probably not its only one).

The salient fact about the shooting of Justine Damond is not her race. Rather it’s the fact that she did nothing that might have caused a reasonable and competent police officer to shoot her. For example, she did not disobey a police order and reach for a gun during a traffic stop, as Philando Castile did. Had she done so, and white outrage significantly exceeded that which followed the Castile shooting, it might be worth an article in the Washington Post.

In her quest to establish racism, Ross dwells on the shooting of Castile. Yet, she never discloses that Castile was shot when he disobeyed a police order and started to pull out a gun. Damond disobeyed no order and she was unarmed. Unlike Castile, she was not stopped by the police; rather, she called the police hoping to stop what she believed was a crime against another person.

Ross cites a statement by Damond’s attorney, Robert Bennett, describing Damond as “the most innocent victim” he’d seen killed by police, and adding that “there just isn’t anything [negative] that can be said about Justine.” Ross says this statement “drew the ire” of police reform advocates, undoubtedly because Damond is white.

She does not consider whether the statements are true (as the facts suggest they are). But the truth (or falsity) of Bennett’s comments is central to Ross’ suggestion that the high level of white outrage over the killing of Damond is racially based. Not all cases of alleged police misconduct are equally outrageous, and some are not outrageous at all. Nor can one rationally infer racial bias from viewing dissimilar situations differently.

These obvious realities somehow have eluded the Washington Post’s “race” reporter.

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