UPDATED: 9:45 a.m. ET, Sept. 7, 2021 —
Only in America can police respond to separate calls for similar incidents and have two drastically different results depending on the race of the suspect.
A variation of that dichotomic truth continued to play out in real life in Florida early Sunday morning when Bryan Riley, high on methamphetamines, killed four people he didn’t know, including a baby, a mother and a grandmother before shooting at police and later separately attacking a different officer.
Incredibly, Riley survived and was not killed during the police encounter, the polar opposite results typically seen if the suspect is Black regardless of the severity of any alleged crime. The 33-year-old former Marine sharpshooter also shot an 11-year-old girl who was left fighting for her life in critical condition.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a press conference that Riley was “a cold, calculated murderer” who “was ready for battle” when he went on his shooting rampage in Lakeland, which is about 36 miles northeast of Tampa, around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
While Riley lived to see his day in court, for perspective’s sake, convicted murderer and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd over nonviolent allegations surrounding a counterfeit $20 bill.
The examples of the difference along racial lines in law enforcement reactions to similar reports of crime keep pouring in.
One glaring instance 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.
In Florida, 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 over suspicions about a pen knife.
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.
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 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 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.
Oh, and who can forget how Ahmaud Arbery‘s accused killers — father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael — who are on video shooting the jogger were gently handled during their arrest? More on that below.
That treatment stood in stark contrast to the videos circulating on social media showing how police were responding to nonviolent Black people accused of violating social distancing guidelines during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Roger Hedgpeth was arrested a block away from the White House after threatening to kill the president of the United States. 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.
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.
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 as a result smiled 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.
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.
The list of similar examples literally goes on and on and serves as further proof that when you are white, no matter if you gun down people at a church or even assault police officers, you can expect to be peacefully arrested. Must be nice. See below for more.
1. Miami airport violence
A man at Miami International Airport on Aug. 27, 2021, was recorded on video throwing a violent temper tantrum complete with threatening to fistfight people and spewing the N-word.
The unidentified man is identified in a tweet as an “anti-masker” and is shown in the video skulking around an airline’s check-in area, getting in the face of airport employees and ultimately grabbing a security post and threatening to hit someone with it before he violently flung it across the floor. In doing so, he managed to call someone the N-word before kicking “wet floor” signs like an NFL punter.
The video promptly went viral for all the wrong reasons.
Local 10 News in South Florida reported that a witness claimed the suspect “entered the women’s restroom near gate D23 and got into a physical altercation with his girlfriend. The viewer said the man was then denied boarding on the flight due to his aggressive and possibly intoxicated behavior.”
The man was later identified the man as a military veteran who the police were kind enough “to a treatment center for evaluation” instead of greeting his violence with their own — something that typically happens when Black people are suspected of doing far less.
2. Floyd Ray Roseberry
Floyd Ray Roseberry, of North Carolina, parked his pickup truck in front of the Library of Congress and threatened to blow up two city blocks in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 20. Roseberry had propane tanks in his vehicle and he posted a live video on Facebook demanding to speak with President Joe Biden or else he would set off bombs he said he had placed in the truck.
Capitol Police took the threat seriously enough to evacuate local homes during the hours-long standoff before authorities were able to apprehend Roseberry without resorting to using lethal force against a suspect who threatened violence during an hours-long standoff that put the public at risk.
Instead, Roseberry will be able to have his day in court to defend himself whatever charges — since none were immediately announced — he faces for his threat of committing a violent act, on federal property, no less. There were no reports that Roseberry sustained any injuries during his apparently otherwise peaceful arrest.
3. Jeffrey Nicholas
Jeffrey Nicholas faces capital murder charges for killing two deputies from the Concho County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. They engaged in a shootout with Nicholas after the 28-year-old fled as the deputies responded to a complaint about a dog, according to local news outlet KTXS.
Nicholas reportedly resisted arrest by fleeing in his car and “barricading” himself in his home in the town of Eden before the deadly shootout broke out. Eden’s mayor ultimately convinced Nicholas to surrender after about 30 minutes.
4. Robert Aaron Long, suspect in Asian massage parlor killing spree in GASource:Crisp County Sheriff's Office
A suspected white supremacist named Robert Aaron Long was arrested for allegedly going on a deadly shooting spree at multiple Asian massage parlors in the metro Atlanta area, leaving at least eight people dead. Six of them were Asian women. There was no motive for the shooting immediately announced, but the killings came as reports of anti-Asian violence were sweeping across the country.
Despite being a suspected mass murderer who led police on a car chase before his arrest, Long still managed to be “taken into custody without incident.”
5. Duke Webb, bowling alley gunman in Rockford, IllinoisSource:Winnebago County Sheriff's Office
Duke Webb killed three people and injured three others in a shooting at a bowling alley on Dec. 26 in Rockford, Illinois. Webb, an active-duty member of the U.S. Army who is 37-year-old, was not subjected to lethal force and was instead able to be taken safely into custody.
Subsequent reports about Webb were expressed in sympathetic terms and absent of any of the kind of demonization in death we see directed toward Black and brown suspects accused of doing far less before law enforcement killed them.
The Army described him as honorable and lamented the shooting that it said was “completely out of character” for Webb.
6. Car Drives Into Group Of Protesters In New YorkSource:Getty
Kathleen Casillo enjoyed the privilege of being arrested and charged with reckless endangerment for speeding her car through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters and hospitalizing six people. However, despite the severity of her actions that, considering the circumstances, carry heavy political and racial implications, the 52-year-old white woman was still able to be released on her own recognizance without having to pay any bail.
7. Brad Parscale, demoted former Trump campaign managerSource:Getty
According to the Miami Herald, Parscale’s wife told police her husband had recently become violent and even showed them bruises on her body. A Fort Lauderdale police detective wrote in his incident report, “noticed several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead.” The report also stated that she told the detective “Brad Parscale hits her.”
That allegation coupled with the 10 guns police confiscated from the home would probably result in some kind of violence if the suspect was Black. But Parscale, who stands at an intimidating 6’8, wasn’t even charged with a crime, let alone arrested.
8. Brett HankisonSource:Shelby County Sheriff's Department
Brett Hankison, the only person held responsible for Breonna Taylor‘s killing because some of the shots he fired hit a neighboring apartment, was able to surrender to his former colleague for the accusation of wanton endangerment even though he blindly shot his service weapon at least 10 times when he and his partners botched a suspiciously obtained no-knock warrant in Louisville.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. White supremacist who beat a woman on video
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. Matthew Bernard, Killed Three People
19-year-old Matthew Bernard shot and killed two women and a child in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. Patrick Crusius, El Paso Mall Mass Shooting Suspect
Patrick Crusius, the El Paso mass shooter who is accused of killing at least 20 people, 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.
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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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)
27. Matthew Sloan Punched And Spit On Police…
28. Assaulted Police And Even Chased Them…
29. Shot At Police At Trump Tower…
30. Shot At Police At Walmart — And Was Let Go…
31. Man Holds Black Man At Gunpoint And He Is Calmly Arrested…
32. Grady Wayne Wilkes
Grady Wayne Wilkes in Alabama shot and killed a police officer and wounded two others. He was calmly arrested… imagine if he was Black.