A police officer in the US state of Mississippi has been suspended after shooting an 11-year-old boy while responding to a domestic disturbance. The cop shot Aderrien Murry, who is Black, once in the chest – causing his lung to collapse and leaving him with fractured ribs and a lacerated liver. The boy’s mother, Nakala Murry, said she asked her son to call police after the father of another one of her children turned up at the family home around 4am.
Murry said an officer arrived with his gun drawn and asked those inside the home to come out. She told CNN that her son was shot as he entered the living room with his hands up:
Once he came from around the corner, he got shot. I cannot grasp why.
She said her son “kept asking”:
‘Why did he shoot me? What did I do wrong?’
Indianola is a predominantly African American town of nearly 10,000 residents in the Mississippi Delta. Meanwhile, a Washington Post database claims that police have shot and killed 407 people in the US this year alone.
Carlos Moore, an attorney for the Murry family, said the police officer, Greg Capers, has been suspended pending an investigation. In a statement Moore said:
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Aderrien Murry is blessed to be home and alive. No child should ever be subjected to such violence at the hands of those who are sworn to protect and serve.
We cannot continue to tolerate a system that allows police officers to use deadly force with impunity.
Shocked social media users discussed yet another incident of murderous cops. One person pointed out that the argument for having police is often that they “help” communities:
police in mississippi shot an 11 year old boy who called 911 because his mother needed help. his name is Aderrien Murry and thankfully he survived. the officer who shot him Greg Capers is on paid administrative leave.
but they ask us “who will you call when you need help?” pic.twitter.com/SOvNEMP6QS
— bjamar 🏳️🌈 (@bjamar_) May 26, 2023
Many services are needed at a domestic disturbance, but no one needs to have police officers over to shoot their children. Diversity consultant Dr. Sumun Pendakur reflected on how young Aderrien is:
Aderrien Murry is a BABY. He is one year older than my son. He called the cops, was told to come out, and was then shot in the chest by those cops. He has a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and a lacerated liver. https://t.co/gWFjPYQmzV
— Dr. Sumun Pendakur (@SumunLPendakur) May 25, 2023
Another user questioned why police still hadn’t released body camera footage:
I’m going to go out on a limb & say, if the body-cam footage were exculpatory for the cop, it would have been released by now‼️#SaveMississippi
After being shot in the chest by officer Greg Capers, 11 year old Aderrien Murray asked, ‘Why did he shoot me? What did I do wrong?’… pic.twitter.com/4TI6wsNMUW
— Christopher Webb (@cwebbonline) May 25, 2023
These questions and concerns are all too common. However, it’s horrifyingly easy for police forces to continue to act murderously with no accountability.
Indoctrination of anti-Blackness
The officer who shot Aderrien in the chest is also Black. It’s worth repeating here that policing as a system is inherently anti-Black. That doesn’t mean Black officers are immune from the logic of white supremacy that underpins policing, merely by being Black themselves. Associate professor Rashad Shabazz explained why surprise shouldn’t be part of the conversation when Black officers violate Black people. Shabazz, discussing the role of Black officers in brutalising Tyre Nichols, said:
When we look at skin color or people as racialized subjects, they signify something to us. Black people, in this society – and in other parts of the world – for many signify danger, threat and criminality.
Here, Shabazz argued that Blackness is itself seen as a sign of danger and everybody operates under this system, regardless of race. He continued:
As a result, institutions like the criminal justice system respond to their perceived threat with profiling, harassment and violence.
Our surprise that five Black police officers could brutalize another Black man indicates we have an impoverished understanding of race and racism in this country.
Amara Enyia, a policy and research manager for the Movement for Black Lives, also explained that being Black and a police officer doesn’t undo the indoctrination of white supremacy’s anti-Blackness:
That’s one of the most insidious characteristics of the system, because we may buy into a notion that because they’re Black means they can’t possibly have adopted the norms and values of the system.
Aderrien is a child. Even as a child, he was seen by the cops as a danger. There’s a problem with the officer in Mississippi who shot an 11 year old. More than that, however, there’s a problem with the system that places Black people as inherently and endlessly dangerous. In shooting a child on a domestic disturbance call, this officer continued the work of white supremacy. It’s up to the rest of us to dismantle that work of white supremacy, and see it for the murderous violence that it is.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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