Topeka Kansas, A renewed effort to get justice for Dominique White is underway with PJay Carter and Natasha Neal, of the Topeka and Lawrence Black Lives Matter chapters in the city. The push is for a just investigation and charging of the officers involved in the September 2017 shooting that left Dominique dead.
The arguments presented to the court in the November 2019 case, saw problems with qualified immunity and the bodycam footage. The officers were not charged, but must be held accountable, where footage of the killing are stark and not shown to be justified at all. Qualified immunity can not apply because there was clear intent before and after the event that showed the officers lack of humanity and indifference. That act clearly goes against discretionary measures. If they are starting from an inhumane and indifferent position how could their actions be anything but intentional.
The incident had started in a park in the city, where there had been a report of gun shots in the area. The accounts of witnesses and the news reports paint two different pictures of the incident. In neither version do police know who Dominique is, or if he is a gun owner. In the official version the police state what is an obvious assumption, that because Dominique had a criminal history, the police were within their rights to shoot him six times in the back.
In fact, in all accounts the police make no mention they know Dominique or his background. They surround Dominique with an assumption of guilt and proceed from that point. As in all threatening police interrogations there are certain events that take place, that shouldn’t. The first is the language, while one cop states that they are not threatening him at all, and that they are only checking on report (unsubstantiated) of a gun shot. The other cop is walking behind Dominique obviously looking for something. They in no way intimate or say to Dominique they are worried about his behavior, or that he seems to be acting strange. Although, in the official report the cops state over and over that they felt he was acting suspicious and aggressive towards them.
Witnesses report not seeing a gun or Dominique not questioning the officers in anyway. The official statement is that he was defiant. In the bodycam video it is shown that all he gets out is that they have no right to arrest him, which in fact they don’t. There is no cause for a search of Dominique’s person for anything, including a gun.
In reports in the lawsuit filed against the police department, the account from the attorneys for the police recount an event that doesn’t seem to take place on the bodycam footage. That Dominique was reaching a for a gun no one else but the police saw, that is why he was shot.
On the very face of this explanation is the video of Dominique running and obviously not reaching for anything. The other explanation is that the officers feared for their lives from this attempt on their lives, which doesn’t seem to take place either. We shouldn’t be lead down a path of someone else’s making, but view the video as a whole event.
There doesn’t seem to be anything in Dominique’s pocket, and if in fact it is so small to not be noticed how could police not stop to see exactly what is in his pocket. The video after the event shows two completely unconcerned police officers casually rifling through a dead man’s pockets. If they are not doing that, then what in-fact are they doing?
No ambulance, no concern, just another Black Man they decided was a threat, so they shot him, when he knew they were going to do that anyway. I think the focus on answering two police officers explanations, when their very behavior contradicts their concern for their lives, is what needs to be focused on.
These are men, not robots, they would not be standing around casually going through the pockets of a dead man. If their lives had been on the line, they would have called in so many other officers a small army would have arrived. They felt no threat what so ever. They felt totally in control, and how dare that man run away, and what do you expect, I should make an effort to capture him, when shooting him is faster and more efficient.
If you were in the park, know of someone in the park, then you need to contact Topeka Chapter of #BlackLivesMatter and PJay Carter, or Tasha Neal. The way these officers reported what happens belies their obvious disregard for Dominique as a person, they dismissed his humanity so completely they could just shoot him in the back, without a moments hesitation. And unless it is called out at the scene, unless we put ourselves on the line, they will always have the upper hand in the court systems.
Here is the video of them standing around, no ambulance, no back-up not a care in the world.
Here is the reporting from the lawsuit
Please Say His Name – Dominique White