Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled More Georgia Justice: Shannon Brown’s Case Highlights The Bias In Law Enforcement
Photo: AP

You never have to look very hard to see the bias toward black people in this country.

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It shows itself every single day, and this week has been no exception.

Former Los Angeles Laker and two-time NBA champion Shannon Brown was arrested and charged with aggravated assault earlier this week, after a perplexing open-house viewing mixup ended with Brown shooting at a couple who walked into his Georgia home — the same state where the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery walked free for months after chasing him down a road in their truck.

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The couple told law enforcement that they were looking at homes for sale, and decided to stop at a home in River Oaks subdivision with a for-sale sign outside.

According to the couple’s statement to the Tyrone Police Department, the gate to the property as well as the front door were both open. They even announced their entrance, and claimed they heard a voice say, “Come in.”

Brown allegedly confronted them with a rifle, and the couple says Brown fired five or six rounds in their direction as they were leaving the house. Approximately four hours after initially entering the house, the couple reported the incident to police and Brown was charged.

Brown told the officers that he thought the couple was breaking into his residence. When authorities searched the house further, they found one empty shell case at the scene.

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Brown made bond and was released from jail on May 4, two days after the incident.

While the details of the incident are crazy enough, the most mind-boggling thing coming out of Brown’s situation is how quickly Georgia law enforcement was able to act in arresting him.

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Especially considering the fact that it took nearly three months to arrest Gregory and Travis McMichael, the racist father and son duo that chased and murdered 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in broad daylight while he was out jogging.

And if it had not been for the justified public outrage on social media that followed the surfacing of video footage of Arbery’s last moments, these two men would likely still not have been charged.

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When you sit back and think about both of these incidents, it’s impossible to miss the significant effects of racial bias in our police departments around this country.

Gregory McMichael was a former investigator in Brunswick’s district attorney’s offices. His ties to law enforcement forced two district attorney’s to recuse themselves from the case and halted police from making any arrests even though a man had been killed. Brown killed no one and was arrested the same day as his incident because of one couple’s story that was far from indisputable.

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Georgia is one of the many states that have “stand your ground laws.” These laws remove any obligation to retreat before using force in self-defense. It’s one of the statutes that factored into the acquittal of racist George Zimmerman for the 2013 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Arbery has been accused of fighting back against the two men who had a shotgun, who claim they were defending themselves. But what about Arbery’s right to stand his ground against two men pursuing him in a truck with a loaded shotgun? Where’s his right to defend himself? How does he not have the right to fear for his life?

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We don’t know all the details in Brown’s case or the racial identity of the couple that came into the house. But, what if he was legitimately fearing for his life because the couple was entering the residence at a time where he wasn’t expecting company?

Does he not deserve the benefit of the doubt as we’ve seen with countless cases of whites claiming the same?

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Under Georgia’s stand your ground laws, wouldn’t he have a right to use force to defend himself if he felt there was an impending threat?

Instead of debating that question, law enforcement arrested Brown hours later because of the couple’s story. The McMichaels hunted down Arbery and murdered him in the street and it took the voices of millions and video of their actions for them to be charged three months later.

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The playing field isn’t level.

The rules are different for us, and they always have been.

If you didn’t know before, you know now. This is the plight of the black community.

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