Many will assume that the killing of New York police officer Omar Edwards was an accident with no malice or racial bias at work. “That would be a reasonable conclusion – and a dead wrong one,” says New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis. We never see black or Latino cops accidentally gunning down white undercover officers, but the reverse has been true in several high-profile cases, Louis says.
Edwards may have violated procedures by wheeling around with a weapon in his hand instead of freezing and dropping his gun when ordered to do so. The officers who killed Edwards may have violated policy, too. We don’t know what kind of warning was shouted, and the fatal bullet reportedly entered Edwards’ back, raising questions about why and when he was seen as a deadly threat. Before the evidence is in, Louis says, what every New Yorker can do is battle the malicious myth that most black men are up to no good and likely to commit criminal violence. It’s a mindset that leads the public to believe nuts and fraudsters – most recently, Bonnie Sweeten of Florida, who set off a national search by falsely telling the FBI she and her daughter had been kidnapped by two black men in a Cadillac.