In a fascinating (and dangerous!) experiment posted to YouTube on May 6, two men legally exercise their constitutional rights and open carry the exact same gun- an AR-15. One of the men is white, while the other is black. The difference in reactions from the police is absolutely astonishing.
The first portion of the video is labeled “Test 1 – White Guy With AR-15,” where we meet a man named Warren from Oregon who explains that he is just going out to exercise his right with the rifle.
After the brief interview, it cuts to Warren being approached by a police officer, who is informed that the team is audio recording the interaction, to which the officer responds that he does not care. The officer casually approaches the men and asks to see their identification cards. Which Warren firmly declines.
“Can I see your ID’s?” the officer asks.
“No sir.” Warren responds.
“Because I don’t have to, I’m not [committing] a crime.”
“Okay, any particular reason why you’re carrying an AR especially, around at this point?”
“I’m just exercising my right.”
The conversation remains light and respectful, even though the man who is being pestered by the cop was not committing a crime. Whether you agree with open carry or not is moot, as it is legal and he was doing nothing wrong.
The video then cuts over to the black man who is also open carrying an AR-15. There is no introduction, but it is labeled “Test 2 – Black Guy with AR-15 – same gun, same laws, but he’s black.”
As the unnamed man walks down the street with the rifle, an officer pulls up and immediately aims his service weapon at the man upon exiting his vehicle.
“DOWN ON THE STREET NOW,” the officer yells at the man who had not broken any laws.
A conversation ensues between the officer who is aiming a deadly weapon and the innocent man. The officer yells for the witness who is filming to get down on the ground, but she responds that she is 7 months pregnant. He allows her to sit on the sidewalk. The officer remains behind the open door of the vehicle, far from the man he is holding at gunpoint.
Just as in the first video, the man on the ground informs the officer that he is audio and video recording the incident, the woman with him informs him that she is audio recording as well.
It is difficult to hear, but the detained man begins to explain for his own video that he is being illegally detained for open carrying and states that since he is not being issued a summons or committing any crime, Terry v. Ohio does not apply. The 1968 Supreme Court ruling, which gave way for the Terry Frisk- currently known as “stop and frisk”, even though it states that under the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, there needs to be reasonable cause or individual suspicion for a search to be conducted.
The illegally detained man then asks if his wife is also being detained, to which the officer quietly responds that yes she is. The man asks him one more time, and the officer screams “yes.” She did absolutely nothing wrong, and was simply filming the encounter. Filming police is perfectly legal and protected under the first amendment.
More officers arrive and one approaches as the man on the ground informs him that he does not consent to any searches or seizures of his property. The officer asks him if the gun is real or fake as he removes it from his person. He then has his hands held behind his back as the officer frisks him and ultimately helps him up off the ground.
The video ends as an officer moves in and takes his rifle from the street, leaves his cell phone, and brings out a K9.
Now, as you can see in the video, there are some differences beyond the color of their skin, so this isn’t exactly a perfect study. Many police supporters have noted in the comments on the video that Warren had his gun behind his back, for example. Darrien Hunt had a replica samurai sword in a holder behind his back when he was executed in the street by police, however. The law for open carry also does not forbid a person from carrying their weapon at their side.
The main difference though is that these are different departments and in different locations. The fact of the matter is, the law is the law, and it remains the same in both places. You are either for the Second Amendment, and the constitution, for everyone- or you don’t support it at all.
Apologists for the police also often like to point to a screen shot from CNN which shows that the total number of white people killed by police is higher than the total number of black people killed by police. This is an extremely manipulative figure, as it fails to take into account the fact that black people remain a minority. This means that there are less black people than white people, so statistically they are far more likely to be killed by a police officer than a white person is. This is not downplaying the fact that people of all colors and backgrounds can be victimized by police. But it is important to recognize what their community has been facing to fully understand the police state.
For example, a black male teenager aged 15-19 is 21 times more likely to be killed by police than a white male between the same ages. Black teens from 2010-2012 were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.
Unfortunately, the apologists will find ways to justify this as well, even with the facts presented to them very clearly- in black and white.