So far this year, 30 black people have been killed in the US by police, security, or "neighborhood watch" vigilantes. And that doesn't even include cases like the murder of 13-year-old Darius Simmons, who was shot in the chest by his white, 75-year-old neighbor John Henry Spooner, who believed Simmons to be a thief who'd stolen weapons from him.
Not that it would in any way justify the shooting if he had, but Simmons was in school on the day of the theft and a police search of Simmons' family home turned up nothing. So, on what basis Spooner suspected Simmons is a total fucking mystery. (Sure.)
John Henry Spooner was charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon. Spooner was arrested Thursday after waiting for police at the crime scene on Milwaukee's south side.One might be left with the impression that Spooner was simply a confused elderly man who didn't know or understand what he was doing, except for this:
...According to the complaint, Spooner approached Simmons as the boy retrieved a garbage cart from in front of a house Thursday morning. The boy's mother, Patricia Larry, who saw the shooting, said Spooner told her son he "wanted his stuff back and that he wanted his shotguns back," the complaint said.
Simmons and his mother told Spooner they did not have his property. Spooner then pulled a gun, pointed it at Simmons and fired one shot from about five feet away, the complaint said.
Spooner fired a second shot at Simmons as the boy was running away, according to the complaint. An autopsy found the boy suffered a gunshot wound to his chest, and the bullet damaged the ventricles of his heart before exiting his back. Police recovered a weapon as well as two spent casings.
Alderman Bob Donovan had breakfast with Spooner earlier in the day at a George Webb restaurant. Donovan said the man told him he had lost $3,000 worth of shotguns in a burglary this week, was frustrated with police and was dying of lung cancer.Apparently, no call to police was placed to warn them of this potential threat of violent vigilantism—something that may or may not have been taken seriously, even though Spooner had "called 911 at least 15 times in five years."
"He seemed burdened, truly burdened," Donovan said. Spooner also said something about "there are other ways to deal with situations" the police couldn't resolve, Donovan added.
Does that sound familiar? George Zimmerman also had a habit of calling 911 to report "suspicious activity" in his neighborhood before shooting Trayvon Martin, who, like, Darius Simmons, was unarmed and minding his own business.
I note that even if the Alderman had made a call to police, it might not have been taken seriously, because, even after admittedly killing Simmons in cold blood, Spooner was reportedly treated like the victim and Simmons' family like criminals by investigators:
After police arrived, Darius's body remained on the sidewalk, while police questioned his mother, Patricia Larry, in a squad car for approximately two hours.At least it didn't take a national fucking referendum to get Spooner arrested. That's not exactly meaningful progress, though. Meaningful progress will be when paranoid white racists with arsenals of loaded weaponry stop killing black people. Fuck.
During the police investigation of the shooting, they searched Ms. Larry's home again. Finding nothing, they then proceeded to arrest his older brother for having truancy tickets.
In contrast, Spooner's family was allowed to go into the home and remove "items" despite it being [part of] the crime scene.
John Spooner was given a $300,000 bail, (only $30,000 would have to be posted for him to be free). This is uncommon when the charge is murder in the first degree.