For the past couple years, police shootings involving racial bias have been rampant. Now, the state of Washington seems to think it has come to our own backyard.
At around 1 a.m. on May 21, Officer Ryan Donald responded to a call about two men trying to steal a case of beer from the Westside Safeway in Olympia.
The suspects, Bryson Tyler Chaplin and Andre Damon Thompson, were two young black men in their early 20’s. Donald, however, is white.
Considering the cop was a white male and the suspects were black, this situation was already volatile.
According to Donald, the two men flung beer bottles at him and then continued to try to assault him with their skateboards. This is when Donald shot the two men.
Later, it was confirmed that the skateboards were indeed not damaged and that Donald did not have any injuries.
Through cases like Eric Garner and Michael Brown, it’s simple to see who was in the wrong. This time around, I can’t easily point any fingers because I don’t think that what Donald did was an act of racial injustice or police brutality at all.
It is undeniable that Donald should have tried other methods first, but I don’t believe that his intentions were to try and kill or harm the men simply because they were black.
If I was being swung at with skateboards by two grown men and I had a gun, I would defend myself as well.
Regardless of what color the suspects were, that is a scary situation and one that can’t be taken lightly.
Had Donald been hit in the head, ribs or anywhere really, he could have been badly hurt. It’s a shame that Thompson and Chaplin were severely injured, but Donald was doing what he had to do – defend himself in the line of duty.
Seeing how I wasn’t present at the incident, I can’t say that Donald made the wrong choice. I personally believe he should have tried to tase the men or call for backup rather than jumping right to shooting them.
One of the bullets that Donald fired went through the window of a nearby home, but luckily nobody was injured.
Following the Olympia shooting, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook were buzzing with hashtags about the confrontation.
People immediately started making statements about Donald being racist, for going after two unarmed black men and so forth. On the other hand, there were thousands of people making ignorant, racist remarks about Chaplin and Thompson as well.
In situations like this, why is it always about race? Most of the people living in this country are so focused on their own ethnography and refuse to accept that we are all equal.
If they suspects had been Mexican, Native American, or any other race, the uproar would’ve been the same – but if they had been white, it wouldn’t have been as big of a story.
What we as a country have to collectively realize is that bad decisions are not limited to one skin color. One whole entire community of people are not bad people because some individuals of that community have made a bad choice. That’s like saying that all white people are going to go into a movie theater and shoot it up because James Holmes did it, or that all black people are going to go steal because Chaplin and Thompson did it.
In the cases of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and more recently the Hispanic man in Washington who was shot 17 times for throwing rocks, I point freely towards the police force.
This time around, I believe that the Chaplin and Thompson were asking for what they got. Two men swinging skateboards and throwing beer bottles against one man isn’t going to end well, especially when that man has a gun.
With how prevalent these issues have been recently, it’s smart for police forces to tighten up their standards and for civilians to stop being so reckless.
Police should know not to immediately jump to using their guns, but civilians shouldn’t be out here swinging skateboards over a case of beer.
Over the next few weeks, more information will be coming out regarding the Olympia shooting.
If it does indeed come out that Donald was racially motivated, I’ll be nothing short of surprised.