Chicago Killer Cop LaRoyce Tankson Charged With Murder

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LaRoyce Tankson

Last Friday, an Amtrak police officer was charged with first-degree murder for shooting a fleeing Black man in the back—because he was suspected of having marijuana in his possession, according to prosecutors in Cook County, Chicago.

Why are police officers always so trigger-happy when it comes to the lives of Black men? Police shooting someone in the back because he's suspected of possessing marijuana? Outrageous.

Is this the kind of “law and order” Black America is supposed to tolerate where Black people are murdered because of institutional racial hatred at the hands of police?

The killer cop LaRoyce Tankson, 31, was released from Cook County Jail after posting $250,000 bail for the February 8 killing of 25-year-old Chad Robertson—who made a half-hour stopover at Chicago’s Union Station, on his way to Minneapolis.

After posting bail, Tankson was shielded from reporters by uniformed officers and whisked away in an unmarked police vehicle. Rather than repudiate a police officer who commits an egregious crime fellow cops always rally around the killer.

Reportedly, prosecutors had sought to hold him without bail. If that is indeed the case, why then was he released after he shot this young man down dead—in the back? Are the prosecutors saying the judge overruled their request for bail denial? Further clarification of the justification for giving Tankson bail is needed.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen murderous cops get bail after shooting Black in the back. South Carolina Officer Michael Slager—who escaped justice in his first trial when an unknown White juror hung that jury—shot Walter Scott in the back on April 4, 2015, as he fled, killing him. Slager was given bail even after this cold-blooded act of murder.

Also, another Chicago killer cop Jason Van Dyke is still walking around, on bail, after shooting Laquan McDonald down dead—firing around 16 shots, nine of which struck McDonald in the back, according to the medical examiner.

This type of hatred by police towards Black males (including by Black cops), suggest serious mental conditions that need analysis. Not only was McDonald shot in the back as he walked away from officers—but he was repeatedly shot as he lay dead, or dying, on the street.

Now in the very same city, Chicago, Chad Robertson, a father of three, was shot in the back and killed by Officer Tankson. "They shouldn't be able to shoot people for running away," said Robertson's father, Leroy Martin. "They shouldn't be able to shoot people like that."

They shouldn’t. However, that type of callous cold-blooded police conduct is reserved largely, if not exclusively, for Black people. The violation of Black bodies was an essential part of America’s economic history. And the police, from their beginnings in the Slave Patrol and Night Watch systems, were always a part of that brutal, ugly American reality.

As has been done in other cases, we’re being told that Mr. Robertson had some marijuana on him. So what? The idea that possession of small amounts of marijuana justifies a so-called “officer of the law” shooting someone in the back is beyond absurd. Imagine the outrage if a White man was to be shot dead in the back for alleged possession of marijuana.

In another mendacious statement, this officer’s lawyer claims Tankson was in fear for his life when he shot Mr. Robertson in the back. William Fahy claims his client shot "in defense of himself and others" after seeing Robertson reach his left hand toward his pocket while turning toward the officer as he ran away. According to Fahy, Tankson "really believed he was about to be shot."

How many times are police going to tell us the same sorts of lies after they kill Black people unjustly?Fahy would have us believe an unarmed Black man would pretend to have a gun he didn’t have—in an America where police routinely shoot Black people without the least provocation or hesitation.

Moreover, we are to believe he would do this for having a small amount of marijuana on his person. If we’re to believe Tankson's tall tales, then that means Mr. Robertson was seriously suicidal and had a death wish to feign reaching for a supposed weapon while being pursued by police.

However, according to prosecutors, none of the several witnesses to the shooting saw what Officer Tankson claims he saw. Reportedly, Officer Tankson’s partner also didn’t see anything—and never fired his weapon.

Even more damning, Tankson is said to have "assumed a crouched firing stance" and shot Robertson dead as he was running away at full speed—about 75 to 100 feet away from Tankson.

Does that sound like the actions of an officer who fired in duress? Does that sound like an officer who was in fear for his life? Or, does it fit the profile of a police officer who decides he is justified in executing a Black man because that Black man decides to dare run from police?

There is allegedly an unwritten rule among police that if a suspect, or, “perp” runs from them that they have the right to inflict pain and suffering on that person—it’s apparently called the “if they run, they get beat” rule.

I once heard two rookie officers brazenly admit to this in Brooklyn, New York. Even more troubling, these two rookies were Black men—who seemed not to comprehend what glorifying this thuggish conduct meant. For among American police a worse penalty is too often inflicted upon Black people. You can end up dead in a lock-up like Sandra Bland, supposedly, because of “suicide,” or, you can be executed in cold-blood by being shot in the back like Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald and now Chad Robertson.

In this time of massive mobilization and resistance to Donald Trump’s America, Black people must more forcefully fight to create real change in the institutionally racist police forces of the country.The lies of police unions and their political apologists must be fully exposed whenever they protect the killers of Black people in their midst. If they continue to cover for criminal cops we must deem their credibility null and void, as far as Black America is concerned.

Congress must be made to answer for their acquiescent silence. In recent months, we’ve heard nothing from Congress regarding racism and prejudice in police departments—in spite of all the police atrocities and outrages we’ve seen since the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. In fact, these upstanding pillars of American society pretend that the police are really the ones under attack and in danger. But we now live in a time of “alternative facts” where lies become the truth.Congress has seen it fit to remain silent while police violate the rights of Black Americans—and they too engage in silencing Black voices as well.

On Tuesday, Missouri Congressman Rep. Lacy Clay filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Architect of the Capitol for removing a Black constituent's painting that satirizes police prejudice and racism.

The painting was removed after conservative media coverage of the painting caught the attention of police advocates who complained to GOP leaders. These fine upstanding folk are outraged at a painting depicting police as the racist brutes far too many of them are—but care nothing about the Black people who are being brutalized by police.

Until we force Congress and American politicians to care, police will continue to kill innocent Black men like Chad Robertson and many others. 

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