Mass Shooting Shows Inherent Bias in Law Enforcement

Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, removed media contact after insensitive comment
Howard Jay Baker

Systemic Racism in Law Enforcement

(GA) – On March 16 there was a mass shooting that killed a total of eight people across three different locations. The majority of the people targeted were Asian. Anti-Asian sentiment has been on the rise due to vile rhetoric by irresponsible people, but it wasn’t the only racism that reared its ugly head.

A newly married couple had been in the spa getting massages. The two were in different rooms. Mario González heard the shots and hunkered down in his room, terrified and worried about his wife. When police came, they took him into custody, handcuffing him. This is common. At this point they don’t know who the shooter is. A shooter could try to get away by pretending to be a victim. However, Mr. González was left in handcuffs for four hours, long after everyone else had been freed.

Throughout the time he was handcuffed, Mr. González kept asking “to be taken to his wife or to tell him whether she was alive or dead.” Officers would not respond. When people who knew Mr. González repeated his request, “the officer said they knew.” It wasn’t a language barrier stopping them from saying anything. They just didn’t care about his distress.

Delaina Ashley Yaun, Mario González’s wife, was killed by the gunman. Not only did Mr. González lose his wife, but he was treated like a criminal and in an inhumane manner long after officers had to have known he was not the gunman. Remember, the gunman continued on to two other locations. The officers would have heard on their radios that he was still out there.

Racial Bias by Sheriff’s Spokesperson

What happened to Mr. González wasn’t the only example of racial bias. In Mr. González’s case, the bias was against. When Captain Howard Jay Baker spoke about the shooting he spoke in a manner that came across as sympathetic toward the killer. Baker commented, per The Hill,

“He was pretty much fed up and had been kind of at the end of his rope,” Baker said of Long. “Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.”

Naturally people were outraged at his White apologist attitude, but we found out that Capt. Baker didn’t just poorly phrase his comments, he is an outright racist. The media quickly uncovered a Facebook post that Capt. Baker had retweeted, adding the comment, “Place your order while they last.” What was he pushing? A shirt that said, “Covid-19 Imported Virus from CHY-NA.” This is the exact kind of rhetoric that has encouraged attacks against the Asian community. In addition, Baker seemed to accept the killer’s claim that it wasn’t a race motivated shooting even though 6 of the 8 people killed were Asian and the killer drove to three locations to kill them. That’s not coincidence.

Sheriff Reynolds Downplays Racism by Captain

It’s unlikely that Sheriff Reynolds will take any kind of significant action against Captain Baker. He did remove Baker from being the media spokesperson, but the sheriff also said, “Captain Baker had a difficult task before him, and this was one of the hardest in his twenty-eight years in law enforcement.” It appears that Sheriff Reynolds is saying that Capt. Baker, like Robert Aaron Long, had a really bad day.

Mass Murderer Caught

We’ve watched while one after another unarmed Black men were killed by police, but what about the Georgia killer? Troopers with the Georgia State Patrol saw Robert Aaron Long driving on the road. Trooper Pollock performed a PIT maneuver, spinning Long’s car around. Long attempted to correct out of the spin in an attempt to get away. Trooper Pollock then used his vehicle to shove the center of Long’s car bringing it to a stop in the middle of the road. According to 11 Alive,

“The driver, later identified as Mr. Robert Aaron Long, sat motionless for approximately 30 seconds. After continuous commands to show his hands, Mr. Long raised his hands,” one trooper said in the report.

Troopers discovered that Long had a folding knife in one pocket and a loaded gun magazine in the other. After murdering eight people, fleeing, refusing to obey orders and being armed, the troopers were able to take Robert Aaron Long into custody without Long sustaining any injuries. I’m glad, but shouldn’t this be what all law enforcement agencies try to do with everyone?


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