UPDATED: 10:20 a.m. ET, Sept. 10, 2020 —
A white man accused of shooting a police officer during a traffic stop in Georgia and then shooting another man days later was safely apprehended in a situation that, if history is any indication, would have typically left a Black suspect either dead or suffering from gunshot wounds. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation tweeted Wednesday night that Dalton Potter was “in custody.” There were no injuries reported with Potter’s arrest.
In addition to Potter’s alleged shooting of a deputy during a traffic stop in Georgia on Monday night, he is also suspected of shooting another man on Wednesday prior to his arrest. Both the officer and the other unidentified shooting victim were expected to recover. Potter is also accused of larceny and theft of over $2500. For perspective’s sake, police killed George Floyd over allegations surrounding a counterfeit $20 bill.
The way law enforcement handled Potter’s arrest lent further credence to the notion of white folks being able to commit violent crimes only to be peacefully arrested. It is neither a coincidence nor a foreign concept as opposed to the manner in which Black and brown suspects are treated when facing similar allegations, which far too often ends in death.
The examples of the difference along racial lines in law enforcement reactions to similar reports of crime keep pouring in. Prior to Potter, the latest apparent proof of law enforcement not being nearly as trigger happy with white people as they are with Black suspects came courtesy of a viral video on social media. While it was unclear when, where and why a violent encounter happened between a store patron and a police officer, it was very clear that the cop never once felt threatened enough to use lethal force.
Precious context was missing from the video, which began recording as the cop and suspect were already grappling in an aisle of what appeared to be a liquor store. The cop, who employed a leg-sweep takedown of the suspect likely learned from departmental training, exercised the kind of restraint rarely if ever seen with nonviolent Black suspects, like Jacob Blake, who was unarmed when he was shot in the back multiple times at close range as he tried to enter his car in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The video ended with the cop handcuffing the suspect, who had clearly assaulted the officer. Scroll down to see the full video.
A similar scene played out last week with the safe apprehension of alleged murderer Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white male who is accused of shooting at people protesting Blake’s shooting in Kenosha. Rittenhouse was arrested Wednesday in Illinois more than 12 hours after his alleged gun violence killed at least two people and injured at least one other.
Despite the heavy presumption that Rittenhouse could at the very least be armed and very dangerous with the same AR-15 cameras recorded him shooting with, police were able to take him safely into custody in treatment that stands in stark contrast to Black people suspected of nonviolent crimes.
That was also true earlier this month in Florida when a self-described Trump-supporting white supremacist with a huge swastika tattooed on his chest caused a racist disruption at a restaurant, threatened to sexually assault one woman and then physically attacked another. When the police finally arrived, there was no brutality to be seen; no reckless shoving of the suspect’s head into a squad car. Instead, there was some jovial joking taking place as the suspect, identified as Nicholas Arnold Schock, was carefully eased into the back of a police cruiser.
In fact, the restaurant’s employees and patrons used more force than the police did.
It was a far cry from, say, how Baltimore cops treated Freddie Gray before he sustained his deadly injury in the back of a police van. It also stood in stark contrast to how a cop killed George Floyd over the nonviolent suspicion that he used counterfeit money.
In another stunningly similar example, an armed white man who allegedly shot and injured a police officer after barricading himself in a home during a contentious standoff with law enforcement managed to be peacefully arrested in North Hollywood, California, in June. Police responded to a reported active shooting and somehow took the armed man into custody without resorting to the lethal force we see officers use so many times with unarmed Black people.
Without wishing someone had died, people on social media were pointing out the apparent racist difference in police responses to white suspects who are armed and Black suspects who are not. A witness recorded video footage that showed the suspect was able to walk out of the home before he was put in a police vehicle.
Local news outlet KTLA reported that LAPD’s North Hollywood Division said there was an officer-involved shooting without any further details of injury or whether anyone was injured.
The incident in West Hollywood came nearly two weeks after a suspected double murderer who was also accused of a range of other violent crimes was safely taken into custody without the police resorting to any violence, let alone lethal force. Peter Manfredonia was arrested May 27 in Maryland six days after he allegedly killed a 62-year-old man with a machete, held anther man hostage, stole the hostage’s guns and vehicle, killed a former classmate, kidnapped the former classmate’s girlfriend in her car in Connecticut.
The Hartford Courant reported that police said “no one was injured when he was arrested.” He’s also a white man, which likely explains his life being spared by members of a profession that have typically responded with deadly intentions to Black people suspected of lesser crimes, if any at all. It was a stark contrast to the reports of police shooting unarmed Black people who were not suspected of multiple murders and leading police on an inter-state chase for nearly a week.
Prior to that, a suspected white supremacist father and son who racially profiled, chased down and shot a Black jogger to death in Georgia were finally arrested more than two months after they killed Ahmaud Arbery in cold blood and in broad daylight. However, Gregory and Travis McMichael almost were not arrested and it took someone leaking the video of the shooting to place enough pressure on authorities to take steps toward justice. Turns out that “someone” was
The video of their arrests earlier this month showed cops gently handling the two men who should have been considered armed and dangerous after seeing how they reacted to noticing a Black man jogging through their neighborhood.
That treatment stood in stark contrast to the videos circulating on social media showing how police have been responding to nonviolent Black people accused of violating social distancing guidelines because of the coronavirus.
The arrests of the McMichaels came the same week that a suspected white supremacist who shot an unarmed Black driver at close range following a deadly episode of road rage in Minnesota managed to be arrested peacefully the day after the shooting took place in St. Paul on May 1. Anthony Trifiletti was legally armed at the time of the shooting — but, he was armed and killed someone, which in theory and in practice makes him a very dangerous person. Still, there were no reports of police shooting at him first and asking questions later like we’ve seen when the racial roles are reversed.
Trifiletti’s gentle arrest following his very violent shooting of Douglas Lewis came less than a month after an off-duty pice officer who beat another man unconscious got arrested without incident. These arrests stood in stark contrast to the police treatment that is many times given to Black and brown suspects of alleged crimes that are lesser in nature to the violent beating reported in Milwaukee.
Michael Mattioli, an officer with the Milwaukee Police Department who was accused — but not immediately charged — of assaulting the unidentified 25-year-old man, was arrested at his home and remained in custody in April, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But the fact that Mattioli still hadn’t been charged with a crime more than 24 hours after he was taken into custody could raise suspicions.
Roger Hedgpeth was arrested a block away from the White House after threatening to kill the president in February. The Florida man was armed with a sheathed knife on his left hip, according to a report from The Washington Post.
A D.C. police report revealed that Hedgpeth told a Secret Service officer, “I am here to assassinate President Donald Trump. I have a knife to do it with.”
The report described the 25-year-old as a “critically missing/endangered person as well as a mental health consumer.” He was taken into custody by the Secret Service for threatening “to do bodily harm and possession of a prohibited weapon.” The knife on Hedgpeth’s person had a 3 ½ inch blade. He was also wearing an empty pistol holder, according to the report.
Also in February, Lorne Brown a Margate, Florida firefighter shot unarmed Simeon Brown in Cooper City on Super Bowl Sunday. The shooting occurred after Simeon Brown and a friend following him in another car drove around cones blocking entry to a neighborhood block that had been cut off for a block party celebrating the annual football championship game.
Shortly after Simeon Brown and his friend drove onto the street, a verbal exchange transpired with a neighbor kicking one of the cars. Officials said Brown and the other driver left the area but returned after dropping off one of the vehicles. The firefighter and another neighbor proceeded to approach the car with guns drawn. Lorne Brown fired a shot into the car, striking Simeon Brown in the arm. A bullet fragment was also lodged in his neck, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Lorne Brown, who has been employed with the Margate-Coconut Creek Fire Rescue Department for 25 years, was soon arrested on charges including first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and shooting or throwing a missile into a vehicle, according to Broward Sheriff’s Office officials.
He was ordered to remain behind bars, without bond.
Additionally, a spokesman for the Margate Police Department has confirmed that the firefighter is still on the department’s payroll, as he has been suspended with pay.
The same goes for Benjamin Murdy of Harford County, Maryland fired nearly 200 rounds from a rifle and a handgun, while “police never fired a single shot,” according to WMAR Baltimore. After an hour-and-a-half standoff with Harford County police, the Maryland man eventually called 911 and turned himself in. Despite the evident threat Murdy posed to the arresting officers – a threat that has resulted in the killing of many Black suspects – Murdy who was taken into custody peacefully and later charged.
Murdy opened fire on Harford Sheriff’s deputies after they arrived at his home following a report made by Murdy’s girlfriend who claims that he shot and killed her dog during a dispute.
“We’re familiar with him,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, “He’s been the subject of a couple of protective orders from a previous relationship and then I think from the current one. I’m not up to spec on all of those, but he had made statements in there that he would take out police if they ever came to the house.”
Murdy’s neighbor was heading to take out his trash at the time and had to quickly seek cover to avoid being hit with the rapidly fired bullets. Bobby Schell said that although he hid on the other side of his truck, which ended up being riddled with bullet holes, he was grazed on his right knee and hit in the scrotum.
Murdy was charged with attempted first-and-second degree murder, first-and-second degree assault, reckless endangerment, aggravated animal cruelty and other related charges.
In January, Florida woman Serina Probus was accused of two separate violent felonies, one of which the 20-year-old admitted to being “too high on cocaine to remember,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. Despite the clear threat to the safety of the arresting officers — a threat that police have quickly killed Black suspects over — Probus was somehow able to be peacefully taken into custody and allowed to smile proudly in her mugshot. Her treatment stood in stark contrast to how cops typically react to Black suspects accused of the same or less.
Police said Probus was drunk when she bit her sister on the hand for trying to prevent her from leaving a home with her 6-month-old daughter early in the morning of New Year Day. When police responded, “Probus cursed at them and tried to kick out a window in the patrol vehicle as she was being arrested and was placed in a hobble restraint to bind her legs,” the Tampa Bay Times wrote. “As she was being restrained, deputies said she tried to pee on them, then spit on them once she was in the car.”
After Probus was booked on “the misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer,” she was hit with another felony charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon stemming from an accusation in October when she allegedly intentionally hit a man with her SUV.
History has shown that Black people accused of much less have suffered much worse fates at the hands of police, especially in Florida. But the rules change when white folks are involved, as shown by the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, which happily snapped Probus’ gleeful mugshot.
It was unclear if deputies stopped to get her some Burger King on the way to being booked, which is exactly what happened after Dylann Roof — the admitted racist murderer of nine parishioners in a historic Black church in South Carolina in 2015 — was peacefully arrested even though he was considered armed and very dangerous.
The list of similar examples literally goes on and on.
It was certainly true for Mark Boisey of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. On Nov. 13, 2019, he strangled, pistol-whipped a woman and fired nearly 50 shots at police. Nonetheless, after a seven-hour standoff, he was still peacefully arrested and seen in handcuffs with a confident smile on his face.
Prior to that, 19-year-old Matthew Bernard shot and killed two women and a child in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in August. Bernard, who was naked and armed with a rifle, also choked a church caretaker and chased a police officer. He posed such a threat to the public that seven local schools were locked down, according to WDBJ-TV.
Yet, somehow, police found a way to de-escalate the situation without resorting to the type of lethal force cops often rely on when confronting Black suspects accused of far less.
USA Today reported that Bernard was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder. The sheriff’s office released the following statement, “The names of the deceased are being held until family members are notified. Investigators are still on-scene collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. A first court appearance has not been scheduled.”
However, there were reports that two of the victims were the wife and child of Blake Bivens, a Double-A pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization and that Bernard is the brother of Bivens’ wife.
Rest in peace to the victims. How incredible with all of this violence that police still managed to peacefully arrest the alleged killer.
Also in August, Jerri Kelly decided the best reaction to four Black teenagers who knocked on her door while fund-raising for their high school was to pull a gun on them and keep her firearm aimed at them until police arrived. While the obviously racist episode that unfolded in Arkansas resulted in Kelly being arrested, it took the Wynne Police Department — which arrived on the scene to see Kelly holding the boys at gunpoint while they were forced to lie on the ground — five days to actually take her into custody.
Kelly, the wife of the local jail administrator, was arrested with tender loving care for something — if the roles were reversed — that arguably would have gotten one or all of the boys shot and/or killed by police. She had the audacity to plead not guilty to four counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Similarly, privileged treatment was afforded to the accused El Paso mass shooter who allegedly killed at least 20 people earlier this month. Patrick Crusius was booked without a scratch on him after his surrender for launching a racially motivated mass killing that reportedly targeted Hispanics in the Texas border city on Aug. 3.
The mass shooting suspect, who was reportedly pro-Trump and against “race mixing,” was said to have used an AK-47 assault rifle, which should automatically consider him armed and dangerous. However, responding law enforcement was somehow able to apprehend the heavily armed Crusius, 21, and arrest him safely.
That and the other aforementioned police treatments were the polar opposite to when San Francisco police officers gunned down Mario Woods in 2015. The 26-year-old mentally ill man was suspected of stabbing someone when officers surrounded him. When Woods failed to drop the knife as ordered by the cops, they fired 26 rounds at him, even though cellphone videos showed that Woods was not directly threatening the officers as the cops claimed.
In another case, Sacramento police officers fired at 51-year-old Joseph Mann 18 times in 2016 after receiving reports of a man with a knife acting erratically. Police videos show Mann walking down the street making strange gestures when the cops at first tried to run him down with their police cruiser before shooting him.
In April 2018, four officers — one in uniform, three in plainclothes — killed Saheed Vassell, 34, in a hail of 10 bullets on a Brooklyn sidewalk. The officers responded to calls about a Black man with a gun. But it turned out that Vassell, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was holding a pipe. No firearm was found at the scene.
Of course, there is Laquan McDonald in October of 2014. Horrific video of the killing of McDonald showed Jason Van Dyke fired at him 16 times within 14 seconds. The video was released one year after McDonald’s death. The teen was seen walking away instead of confronting officers, which is what Van Dyke falsely said happened. McDonald continued to be shot at even after he fell to the ground from the initial bullets.
Two police officers and one detective were acquitted of trying to cover up the shooting for Jason Van Dyke, even though that was precisely what they did. The three men all said Van Dyke, who was convicted in October, was justified in shooting the teenager 16 times within 14 seconds. Van Dyke’s partner the night of the shooting, even said: “McDonald was walking toward Van Dyke and with his arms raised when he was shot.” The video would later contradict that account, showing Walsh lied. Still, he and his co-defendants were acquitted. Van Dyke received the light sentence of 81 months in prison.
However, when you are white, no matter if you gun down people at a church or even assault police officers, you can be peacefully arrested. Must be nice. See below for more.
1. Thomas Kinworthy accused of killing Black cop, shooting another
Thomas Kinworthy was arrested Aug. 30, one day after he allegedly shot two police officers in St. Louis, killing one. Both officers are Black. According to local news outlet KMOV, police had identified Kinworthy as the suspect before arresting him and knew that he had a lengthy violent criminal record, including offenses for a shooting during a road rage incident. Still, law enforcement managed to capture him alive without firing a single shot, the latter of which seems to be protocol for police when searching for Black suspects accused of murdering civilians, let alone a police officer.
2. Dalton Potter allegedly shot a cop and another man
Dalton Potter was not only wanted for larceny and theft of more than $2,500 in Texas but he also allegedly shot a cop during a traffic stop in Georgia and then shot another man days later. Still, somehow, police were able to arrest him without firing off a single shot or employing a deadly restraint while attempting to detain him. Local news outlet WDEF reported that “No one was injured in the arrest.”
Police apparently arrested him without incident when “authorities stumbled upon the fugitive and took him into custody,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“Officers basically just walked up on him,” Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood. “They were coming out to refresh their batteries and literally just jumped him right there on the spot.”
It was literally the polar opposite type of response we’ve seen when there is a Black suspect, as evidenced by Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back at least seven times last month in Wisconsin while the unarmed Black man was trying to get into his own car.
3. White suspect physically attacking officer
This unidentified white man assaulted a police officer in public and was still somehow able to avoid being Tasered, let alone shot to death by the cop. At one point the cop gestures like he’s going to use his Taser, but he ultimately decides against it. The cop never once used his actual gun.
Now, think about what would have happened had the suspect in this video been Black.
4. Kyle Rittenhouse, Kenosha Jacob Blake shooterSource:Twitter
This photo shows 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse the night that he shot at least three people and killed two of them during a protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Prior to Rittenhouse’s shooting spree, video footage showed local law enforcement seemingly consulting with the teenager, who is too young to legally own the AR-15 assault rifle he was brandishing while speaking with cops.
That could be why it took more than 12 hours to peacefully arrest the suspect who should have been considered armed and dangerous.
5. White supremacist who beat a woman on video
6. West Hollywood shooter
An unidentified white man suspected of being an active shooter who allegedly injured a police officer was still able to walk out of the West Hollywood, California, home that he had barricaded himself in during an intense standoff with cops. Reports said the man was armed. However, even if he wasn’t, it is still noteworthy he was not killed, which is the typical response to similar situations involving Black suspects.
7. Gregory and Travis McMichaelsSource:Glynn County Sheriff's Office
This suspected white supremacist father-son duo was arrested and charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was jogging when he was killed after he was racially profiled. The arrests of Gregory and Travis McMichaels came more than two months after they killed him, a cold-blooded act that was recorded on a video that leaked on social media.
8. Anthony J. Trifiletti, shot an unarmed Black manSource:Saint Paul Police Department
Anthony J. Trifiletti reportedly told the Saint Paul Police Department that he saw Douglas Lewis “reaching toward his waistband as he advanced,” the supposed reason for shooting the unarmed Black drive four times at close range in an apparent fit of road rage. To make matters worse, Trifiletti tried to imply that Lewis identified himself as a gang member. However, two witnesses said they never heard Lewis say that he was “GD,” a reference to the Gangster Disciples street gang.
Trifiletti, armed and dangerous, was peacefully taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder.
9. Matthew Bernard, Killed Three People
Matthew Bernard, 19, shot and killed two women and a child in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He also choked a church caretaker, ran after a police officer and was just maced before he was finally arrested.
11. Mark Boisey
Mark Boisey, 31, of New Cumberland County, Pennsylvania strangled and pistol-whipped a woman, and fired nearly 50 shots at police. Nonetheless, he was still peacefully arrested and seen in handcuffs with a confident smile on his face. Watch the clip above.
12. Lorne BrownSource:NBC Miami
Lorne Brown, 39, of the Margate-Coconut Creek Fire Rescue Department in Florida shot unarmed Simeon Brown, 22, after the 22-year-old drove onto a Cooper City street where a Super Bowl block party was being held. He faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, shooting into a vehicle and aggravated assault with a firearm. He was ordered to remain behind bars, without bond, and has been suspended with pay.
13. Patrick Crusius, El Paso Mall Mass Shooting Suspect
Crusius was suspected of killing at least 15 people during a public shooting in and near the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas. Eye-witnesses identified him as the shooter to various news outlets. Still, despite his reported carnage and good chances of being armed and dangerous, responding law enforcement managed to arrest the alleged killer without using the same lethal force police many times employ on unarmed Black people.
14. Aaron DeanSource:Tarrant County Jail
Former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean shot through Atatiana Jefferson‘s window and killed her on Oct. 12, 2019 while she was playing video games with her nephew. He resigned, reportedly was not cooperating with police and finally arrested late in the day on Oct. 14, 2019.
15. Amber Guyger
It took three days Amber Guyger, who gunned down 26-year-old Botham Jean in his own home on Sept. 6, 2018, to be arrested and charged. She was released on bond in less than an hour.
16. James Holmes
On July 20, Holmes killed 12 and injured 49 others at a movie theater in Colorado. He was seriously armed and dangerous but, according to USA Today, he was calmly arrested. Aurora police officer Jason Oviatt reportedly found “him outside, standing with his hands on top of his car. Oviatt said Holmes was ‘completely compliant’ when told to surrender.” Oviatt said, “He was just standing there not doing anything, not urgent about anything.” Yet, police seized a semiautomatic handgun with a laser sight, a semiautomatic shotgun and an AR-15 military assault rifle equipped with a 100-round magazine drum from the scene.
17. Michael Mattioli
The officer with the Milwaukee Police Department who was accused — but not immediately charged — of assaulting a 25-year-old man who was beaten unconscious, was peacefully arrested at his home, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
18. Dylann RoofSource:Getty
In June of 2015, nine churchgoers were gunned down at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The killer, Dylann Roof, was treated so kindly by police that they reportedly bought him Burger King. (Photo by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images)