And Again

[Content Note: Police brutality; death; guns; racism; ageism.]

James Howard Allen, a 74-year-old black man, was killed by police who were asked to do a welfare check on him:
State officials in North Carolina have launched an investigation after a police officer in Gastonia shot and killed a 74-year-old man while performing a welfare check.

Gastonia police Chief Robert Helton explained at a press conference on Sunday that a family member had asked officers to check on James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Helton said that Allen's family had asked for the welfare check because the 74-year-old veteran had recently undergone surgery.

An officer first visited Allen's home at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, but there was no answer.

Gastonia police then contacted the Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services at 11:30 p.m. and a "decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance," Helton said.

According to the chief, Gastonia police Officer Josh Lefevers announced himself before coming through the backdoor of the home, but Allen was pointing a gun at officers when they entered.

"He was challenged to lower the gun down," Helton insisted. "The gun was pointed in the direction of the officers, and a shot was fired that fatally wounded him."
North Carolina is a Stand Your Ground state, which means Allen had no duty to retreat if he believed he was defending himself from harm anywhere, no less in his own home.

But, of course, Stand Your Ground laws do not apply to black people, as we have seen over and over and over and over.

Repeatedly, when armed (and unarmed) black people are killed by police, we are told that there was no other option; that we don't understand what it's like in the heat of the moment, etc. But the police created this moment and its heat: There was certainly a better approach that could have been taken here.

I understand the inherent urgency in requests for welfare checks. But I also understand that any regular person who hears people coming to their door, and then breaking through their door, at 11:30 at night, also doesn't assume it's someone concerned about their welfare.

"He was challenged to lower the gun down." Well, we've heard that before. More than once.

How much time was Allen given to register what was happening before he was shot? How much time was afforded an elderly man who was recovering from surgery and possibly just waking up to understand it was police unaccountably (from his perspective) breaking into his house?

This is intolerable. Intolerable.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus