White Indianapolis police officer shoots black homeowner who reported a robbery at his house. The 48-year-old homeowner, who has been identified as Carl Williams, had placed a call to the emergency dispatcher during the early hours of Tuesday morning, reporting that an armed man tried to assault his wife outside his house and steal her car.

According to an article published by the Washington Post, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) gave a statement that Williams had said the man had stolen his wife’s keys and driven away with her car. The dispatcher who received the call reported that Williams yelled “is that him?” before the line was disconnected. They tried to retrieve the call but were unsuccessful. When police arrived on the scene, they saw the Nissan, that was reported stolen, with the lights on and proceeded to take cover in an attempt to investigate the car in a “covert manner,” Indianapolis Star said.

Carl Williams had placed an emergency call reporting a robbery in his house when he was shot by a white police officer while they were answering his call. Photo credit: The Politicus
Carl Williams had placed an emergency call reporting a robbery in his house when he was shot by a white police officer while they were answering his call. Photo credit: The Politicus

Then, shortly afterward, they noticed the garage door of the 3636 Foxtail Drive home opened to a Carl Williams holding a handgun. One of the two officers present, Christopher Mills, then opened fire on Williams mistaking him for the robber. Williams, who was shot in the stomach by the same police he called to protect him, was rushed to the hospital where he is currently recovering.

Unraveling the incident

There are some loopholes in the narrative of this event. One is why the 911 audio recording the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released was edited? Or to what extent was it edited? The alterations made to the recording could have been due to a possible poor sound quality and thus editing it improved the audibility. There have yet to be reports on why and how the recording was changed. However, one must admit that it is strange that police failed to use the untainted audio as a piece of evidence in the case that could have led to a better understanding of the context.

Another mystery is whether the officer who was so quick to pull the trigger even followed what one would assume to be the procedure and tell the perceived suspect to drop their weapon. Or did Williams display violent behavior towards the police upon opening the garage door to merit a severe gunshot wound in the stomach? Were there any verbal exchanges that occurred between the two officials and the homeowner? Did Williams even fit the description he himself gave of the robber?

IMPD spokesperson, Major Richard Riddle referred to the incident as a “tragic event”. Riddle also offered his deepest sympathies to the homeowner and his family.

“This incident occurred within a few seconds, and those judgment calls are made within a few split seconds,” the Indianapolis Star cited.

Police officers are tasked with the overwhelming duty to protect the public and make conscious, unbiased decisions before they choose any course of action. Unfortunately, the ugly truth remains that these often brave individuals of authority also fall victim to human error. One of the most severe of these mistakes is conditional respect for human life. This means, deeming some lives more valuable than others. Such flaws in judgment can lead to severe or even fatal consequences where innocent people are unfairly targeted due to an overlapping between professionalism and particular personal beliefs.

More than 600 people have been shot and killed in the US by representatives of law enforcement this year alone. The unsightly degree of police brutality has sparked many protests among African-Americans dating back to the Civil Rights Movement itself. The social conflict between police officials and African-Americans is not a recent occurrence, it has been happening since it was publicly allowed and encouraged to let vicious, possibly rabies infected, dogs attack African-Americans for sport., when humiliation and degradation of blackness was a popular game.

These acts of hatred are deemed unacceptable in the public eye, yet some continue to occur when the right people are not looking. The African-American population are still profoundly affected by the institutional racism that sees to it that white police officers who shoot first and ask questions later can hide behind claims of self-defense. That the likely outcome for an African-American male from a disadvantaged background will be incarceration, continuing the divide of black families, a classic strategy attributed to colonisation and slavery.

There are still question marks dangling that have yet to be answered. Hopefully, more clarity will be brought to the case once the victim, Carl Williams, recovers enough to give his account of the incident. In the meantime, police officer Christopher Mills, who shot the victim, is on paid leave while the case is under investigation. There have yet to be reports on whether the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will cover Williams’ medical treatment of the wound.

Source: The Washington Post