White teen killed by black cop in Alabama mirrors Ferguson
A two-year-old case involving the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old white man by a black police officer is gaining attention on social media in the wake of this week’s protests and rioting in Ferguson, Missouri.Gilbert Collar, a white, unarmed 18-year-old under the influence of drugs was shot and killed Oct. 6, 2012, by Officer Trevis Austin, who is black, in Mobile, Alabama. Despite public pressure for an indictment, a Mobile County grand jury refused to bring charges against Officer Austin, concluding that the officer acted in self-defense.
The circumstances mirror those of the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, a black unarmed 18-year-old under the influence of drugs by Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in Ferguson.
A St. Louis County grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict the officer ignited violence and looting in Ferguson and days of protests nationwide against racial injustice.
The discrepancy in the reaction to and coverage of the two grand jury decisions has not been lost on social media, where critics are citing the Collar case to counter those who say Brown was the victim of racism in both law enforcement and judicial system.
Critics also note there has been no rioting or sustained protest in Mobile, even though the slightly built Collar, unlike Brown, never touched the officer and, because he was naked when he was shot, was more obviously unarmed.
Both shooting victims were found with marijuana in their systems.
“There’s riots for #MikeBrown but none for #GilCollar,” said one commenter, @samstuff, in a Wednesday post on Twitter.
“Nobody burnt buildings to the ground for them,” said commenter Gomer Pyle on Twitter, referring to Collar and Dillon Taylor, a white 20-year-old shot Aug. 11 by a minority police officer in Utah. “You never even heard of them until now.”
Others have pointed to the cases as evidence that police are routinely using excessive force against young men no matter what their race. (Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!)
Not holding my breath waiting for an indictment.