there is no perfect victim

I wrote this last week, but I was so tired from work that I forgot to post it. Figured it was still relevant.

Two weeks ago, Rayshard Brooks’s death caused a great deal of outrage – both against the police and for them.

It was the first widely publicised death by the hands of the police since George Floyd and in some ways, it was interesting to see how people reacted.

Compared to George Floyd, it was perhaps less gut-wrenching. It all happened so quickly that it didn’t invoke the same emotion and thus, the reactions were varied.

Personally, I was horrified to see him getting shot in the back.

Some thought it was justified because he fought with the police.

In my opinion, resisting arrest shouldnt be a death sentence and I’m fairly certain things would have gone down very differently if he was white.
Some will bring up his criminal history, but did any of that justify them killing him?


The New York Times have a video investigation here which sums up what happened.

From Wiki:

On the evening of June 12, 2020, Rayshard Brooksa 27-year-old black American man, was shot and killed by an Atlanta Police Department officer Garrett Rolfe following a complaint about a man asleep in a car blocking a fast-food drive-through lane. Brooks, whose blood alcohol content was measured at 35% above the legal limit (0.028 points above), had resisted arrest and stolen a taser as he wrestled on the ground with two police officers. During a foot chase, Brooks fired the taser at one of the officers, who then shot at Brooks three times, striking him twice in the back. The killing has been ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.

Garrett Rolfe has now been charged with felony murder and other counts.

As Brooks laid on the ground injured, Rolfe kicked him and Brosnan stood on his shoulders. Neither officer provided medical attention to Brooks until two minutes later when Rolfe unrolled a bandage

At the very least, Rolfe deserves some time for kicking a man who lay bleeding on the ground.

According to this article, Rolfe was involved in a covered up shooting four years ago so if we’re judging the victim, I guess we can judge the perpetrators.

Back to Rayshard Brooks, from The Daily Mail:

  • Rayshard Brooks was on probation and faced going back to prison if he was charged with a DUI, can reveal
  • The charges to which Brooks pleaded guilty and for which he was still on probation dated back to August 2014
  • He was convicted on four counts – False Imprisonment, Simple Battery/Family, Battery Simple and Felony Cruelty/Cruelty to Children
  • Brooks had not been in trouble since 2016 until last December when he went to Ohio without informing his probation officer – but the case was dismissed

I read ‘there is no perfect victim’ somewhere and it’s absolutely correct. Too often, people point out the misdeeds of victims and use it to justify what has happened.

The fact is that, what happened to Rayshard Brooks could happen to anybody – maybe even someone with a clean record – and that’s what matters.

It’s not for the police to play judge, jury and executioner and it’s not for us either. There are justice systems in place to deal with such situations.

Unfortunately, those systems are biased and broken, but they’re all we’ve got until the necessary reforms are in place.

If the police shoot a man in the back, there’s no self-defence argument that could ever be valid.


It doesn’t matter who they are – wrong is wrong.

On the other hand, I do understand why this case is so polarising. The ‘perfect’ victim has been ingrained in society for so long that we often allow emotions to override our sense of what’s right and what’s wrong.

The fact is that for 43 odd minutes, the police were able to talk to Rayshard Brooks calmly and that when it came down to it, they were unable to keep the situation from spiralling out of control. Once it did spiral, they simply stood by for two minutes and did nothing.

That is not justice.


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