Wednesday, August 17

Bloody July 4 in the US: 60 shots and a shooting in Illinois

  • USA At least six dead and 24 injured in a shooting during an Independence Day parade outside Chicago
  • USA Protests in the US after the release of a video of a black man shot by the police

On February 4, 1999, at twenty minutes to one in the morning, four New York police officers shot Senegalese immigrant Amadou Diallo 41 times. They got it right 19 times. Diallo, who was 23 years old, died instantly, although the police continued to shoot at his body. The officers were looking for a serial rapist in the neighborhood, and had stopped him as he was sitting on his doorstep, ordering him to put his hands up. Instead of obeying, Diallo ran into his house and took an object out of his pocket. The cops thought it was a gun. Actually, it was the wallet.

On June 27, 2022, at 12:30 p.m., the police in the city of Akron, in the state of Ohio, stopped Jayland Walker, an African-American from the United States, for an unspecified traffic violation. 25 years old, who the day before, at half past two in the morning, had run a red light and, when stopped, had fled from the police in a spectacular race through the center of the city in which he got to put his car at about 90 kilometers per hour. According to the Akron Police Union, the officers who stopped Walker were aware of the pursuit that had taken place that morning. Be that as it may, the young man escaped, again, at full throttle from the authorities. It was his second run against the police in 22 hours.

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Seven minutes later, Walker was dead in the street, with approximately 60 bullets in his body. According to the agents, he had shot at them from the car on one occasion, something that the young man’s family disputes. What seems confirmed is that, after six minutes of pursuit, Walker slowed down the car and jumped out of it from the passenger seat. He had a balaclava covering his face and for about ten seconds he ran in the direction of a parking lot. The policemen tried to stop him by shooting him with a stun gun. They didn’t get it.

What happened then is a matter of dispute. Authorities say Walker turned on the eight police officers running after him, about to shoot them. Other versions, however, deny that version, and say that the young man was still running. What is clear is that the agents opened fire continuously for about eight seconds with semi-automatic pistols. There were about 90 bullets, of which approximately 60 hit Walker’s body. The deceased did not have any weapons on him, although he did have a pistol in the glove compartment of the car.

Police riddle a black youth in OhioTHE WORLD

It is impossible to imagine how a human being can look after being shot 19 times, like Diallo, or 60, like Walker. Perhaps the best reference is literary. In ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, by Gabriel García Márquez, “a wheelbarrow” is needed to place “the lead-caked body” of Captain Aquiles Ricardo, “which fell apart like soggy bread” after half of Macondo emptied their chargers on his corpse. It is somewhat macabre, but real. At the same time, the fact that, 23 years after Diallo’s assassination, this type of barbarity continues to take place, once again highlights the organization and training of the American police forces.

No one disputes that Diallo’s behavior was suspicious, and even more so in the area of ​​the Bronx where he lived. Likewise, Walker was entitled to direct police action. It is also true that the US is a culturally very violent country. And that it is the only nation on Earth – including Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria, or Iraq – in which there are more weapons than human beings. But that does not seem to justify that the police leave suspected criminals, literally, as sieves.

And yet that is the case. And again. Thus, the US arrives on July 4, the national day on which it celebrates the declaration of independence from Great Britain, with the news stained with blood. Not just because of Walker’s death. Also for the killing of at least six people in a parade to commemorate July 4 in the city of Highland Park, in the Chicago metropolitan area, the third largest urban center in the country, after New York and Los Angeles.

Compared to Diallo’s Bronx in 1999 or the Akron area where Walker died, Highland Pak is another country. Everyone there is white, rich, and very Democratic. The carnage of the parade, too, was very different. The killer had a semi-automatic weapon, the kind used in the killing sprees that make headlines every few months. According to the first information, shot from the street, knee on the ground, suggesting that he had received some training. The murderer was free last night. Because that’s another thing: despite Hollywood movies and television series, the United States police are the most incompetent in the industrialized world. It only solves 40% of reported murders. It’s not just ineffectiveness though. It is also the country’s federal system and its obsession with subsidiarity, which makes collaboration between police forces from different states -and even different cities- minimal.

Be that as it may, this bloody July 4th is just one more example of violence in the US. The best example of this is the main headline of the ‘Columbus Dispatch’, one of the main newspapers in Ohio, where Akron is located. It had nothing to do with Walker’s death, perhaps because that was old news. Instead, it read: “Reward offered for information on who shot a woman driving on Interstate 670 near the center of town.” There is so much violence that the press cannot cope.

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