Yesterday, when I wrote about a police shooting in the northeast corner of Illinois, I received some of the same questions which always come up after the cops kill a suspect. Why, some readers ask, must you always defend the police? Why don’t you talk about the bad cops who act maliciously? In general, the answer has been that there are so many good cops and so few bad ones that they tend to merit the benefit of the doubt. But in nearly every one of these situations I have included the caveat that police forces are composed of fallible human beings and there are some bad ones out there. Unfortunately, we seem to have found one of them in South Carolina.
"One bad apple." Got it.
Unfortunately, this incident will be run up the flagpole to build on the narrative that there are armies of racist, evil cops out there. It’s equally sad that essentially all of the media coverage – including the article linked above – still has to begin with “a white officer” and “a black suspect” since this would be an equally tragic story regardless of the race of the actors involved. That can’t be avoided, but the best thing that South Carolina can do at this point is to ensure that Officer Slager has a speedy, fair trial and, if found guilty, is punished appropriately. That’s the only thing that will maintain the credibility of the police and keep the system on track.
"All lives matter." Got it.
But some lives aren't as equal as others.
So keep yelling "one bad apple" and "all lives matter" until a white cop shoots and kills another unarmed black man, and we can play this game all over again, to infinity. It'll always be "one bad apple" but that apple will always be a white cop killing a black man. It'll always be "all lives matter" but it will always be a black victim shot and killed by a white cop, and the victim deserved it.
It'll always be.