Why the Police Shoot to Injure Some and Kill Others?

The two recent high profile incidents of policing shooting in New Jersey and Oklahoma offer remarkable difference in their outcome that warrants attention. At a time when there has been a national outcry about the police shooting black men, the police have come under severe criticism and deadly retaliation in some cases. These shootings have also spawned the controversial Black-Lives Matter movement. Considering these dynamics, these two shootings should be helpful in helping us to understand why the difference in their outcome.

In the first shooting incident, the man police alleged to plant the NY bombs, Ahmad Khan Rahami was taken into custody after being shot by police in the shoulder. In the second incident, Terence Crutcher, a black man whom the police encountered near his disabled car in Tulsa, Oklahoma was seen walking towards his car with his hands up and the police with guns drawn pointing at him. Moments later, he fell to the ground and was pronounced dead.

We can draw the conclusion from both shooting incidents that the police prefer not to fatally shoot a suspected terrorist because they want to know if others are involved. This is a reasonable assumption. In the case of the shooting of the black man in Tulsa and the many other black people who have been killed by the police (some unarmed), the conclusion is that the police are intent on killing them.

Clearly, police officers seem to be operating on two different levels with respect to apprehending suspected terrorists and black people. We know that black people are perceived to be dangerous and that their lives are deemed less valued that other people. There is also the history of police brutality against cops and we know that racism is real in America and affect the lives of black people. All these factors could contribute to the difference we see in the two recent shootings described here.