At around 2:30 AM on Saturday, 19-year-old Renisha McBride’s car crashed and she was stuck in a neighborhood outside of Detroit. She didn’t know the area and began knocking on doors, asking for help. One homeowner, who is as of yet unidentified, shot the young woman in the head, killing her.
The police are keeping much of the story under wraps, claiming that it was an act of self-defense. A neighbor agrees that the shooter was frightened. The homeowner, police claim, saw McBride as a threat, although nothing suggests that she was. Unfortunately, Michigan’s law includes “stand your ground” regulations, so it’s going to be hard to do justice by McBride and her family.
McBride’s family explains that she was a peaceful girl stuck in an area that she didn’t know. What the police don’t seem to be addressing is that she was a black woman in a predominantly white neighborhood; the girl’s aunt Bernita Spinks explains that it was not self-defense but a violent act of racism. Renisha only knocked on his door, and he shot her, for goodness sake! Spinks is adamant that if the situation had been reversed, if a black individual shot a white individual, he or she would be put in jail.
And it looks like she’s right. Race-related violent crimes are a terrible reality that we have to address; the list of such crimes range from the Trayvon Martin case to the Jonathan Ferrell case, two additional situations in which black youth were shot and killed despite not exhibiting violent behavior.
The police story also doesn’t add up: the initial report claims that McBride’s body was dumped, but it has since been altered to state that she was found on the front porch near where she was shot. It is has not been made public who called in the authorities; it might well not even have been the shooter.
This looks like a truly terrible, racist crime; let’s hope that McBride’s case gets the attention that it deserves ASAP. And from the looks of it, her family will fight for her until the truth comes out and those at fault are held responsible.
Image via Salon and Daily Mail