Race shapes perceptions of cop-involved shootings

It seems you can’t win with the police if you are black. After more than a year of national reporting on police killings of African-Americans, some of them caught on video, FBI Director James Comey said last week that too much scrutiny and criticism of police may be leading to higher crime rates in black communities because cops hesitate to confront criminals.

It seems you also can’t win if you’re a cop. Even when cops have acted appropriately, the media continue to report, as they do of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, that police shot and killed an unarmed black man. But, according to the Justice Department, Brown had attacked the officer who shot him and tried to get the officer’s gun.

Meanwhile, much of the media seem unwilling to address the violence in urban black communities, and that violence occasionally is directed at the police. The most recent example is the fatal shooting of Officer Randolph Holder, a black NYPD officer and the fourth cop killed in the line of duty in 11 months.

Where is the outrage by black politicians against blacks killing other blacks? Where was the outrage following the killing of Carey Gabay, the 43-year-old first deputy counsel to the Empire State Development Corp. last month, on the eve of Brooklyn’s West Indian Day parade, which has seen violence in the past?

Did either former Gov. David Paterson or Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries call for demonstrations? Did either demand accountability from parade organizers?

Where, for that matter, is their outrage over the death of Officer Holder? Compare Paterson’s silence and Jeffries’ muted response over Gabay’s death with those that followed the police “chokehold” death of Eric Garner on Staten Island in 2014, when Paterson said, “We will not stop until someone goes to jail.”

Said Jeffries: “The only way we will be satisfied is if the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner will be convicted and sent upstate.”

Still, fatal police encounters with African-Americans continue. In Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Officer Nouman Raja pulled up behind Corey Jones, a black musician whose car had broken down before dawn on Oct. 18. Raja was in plainclothes. Jones possessed a legally registered handgun. God only knows what happened next.

Except that Raja fired and Jones was dead.