A 19-year-old Florida State University student, Austin Harrouff, living in Jupiter, Florida, viciously stabbed a middle-aged couple, Michelle Mishcon Steven and John Stevens, and wounded their neighbor when he tried to intervene, and was biting one of the victim’s faces when deputies arrived, authorities said.
The police fired stun guns at the man — whom they described as “abnormally strong” — but they had no effect on him. They then unleashed a dog, but even that failed. Then four of the cops grabbed Harrouff, hauled him away from the bodies and took him in alive — and human rights activists are now wondering why the barbaric man was subdued where black suspects would have been shot in the same situation.
Critics are saying Harrouff’s treatment highlights the huge disparity between how white and black people are handled by the police. Cops were calmly able to take rational, step by step measures in the face of a half-naked cannibal armed with a knife, due to his white privilege, but found it necessary to shoot Sylville Smith, Korryn Gaines, David Joseph and Charles Kinsey — not to mention 12-year-old Tamir Rice and a plethora of others who have had their lives cut short — because, activists say, they were black.
Furthermore, the media is describing Austin as a “good kid” who had no past criminal record, as if that excuses his animal behavior.
SUMMARY: Austin Harrouff bludgeons a husband & wife to death. Stabs the neighbor repeatedly. Eats the couple.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 18, 2016
Arrested WITH NO shots fired
You can get shot for selling cigarettes, for running away from cops, even. But EATING a guy?!! Lol nah #AustinHarrouff— Smillee Sims (@smilleesims) August 18, 2016
Police : I won't shoot a guy eating someone's face but let's shoot this black guy who's unarmed and on the ground. #AustinHarrouff— satellite flight (@AssasinWhite) August 17, 2016
a black counselor protecting his autistic patient gets shot but a white kid literally eating someone's face doesn't? #AustinHarrouff— SHOOKENED (@zombeedrea) August 17, 2016
#AustinHarrouff can kill someone and eat their face but doesn't be seen as a threat. Yet a guy gets killed for selling CDs. Confused.— Gilli // Myth (@Mcgillligan) August 17, 2016
White boy kills/tries to eat 2 people "he was a good kid" - the media— malik (@LordMeezus) August 17, 2016
HARMLESS black boy dies "he was a thug" - the media #AustinHarrouff
This case is eerily similar to another incident that took place in Florida in 2012, but its end was markedly different — and in that case, the perpetrator was a black man. Former football player Rudy Eugene, 31, was found biting chunks out of homeless man’s face near the MacArthur Causeway in Miami.
Eugene was naked and unarmed, which made him much less of a threat to the police than Harrouff. However, he was not subjected to Tasers, K9s or a team of cops to wrestle him away from the corpse — instead he was immediately shot dead by the police.
Police allege they were unable to fire at Harrouff because they feared striking Stevens. Although the police were not incorrect in using non-lethal means, it begs the question why the same approach is not seen in many other cases, even when the suspects are seemingly less violent than Harrouff. This thoughtful reasoning is often missing when black people are shot dead.
For example, in the case of Charles Kinsey, officials claimed the sniper meant to shoot the autistic man who appeared armed — but apparently missed and hit Kinsey instead, a harmless health worker.
"This is a conversation we're having very, very often," Black Lives Matter activist Jasmen Rogers stated. “When white people are far more violent, and far more erratic, they're often brought in alive and apprehended using less lethal means.”
“There are a lot of questions as to why it seems people of color are shot and killed quicker than other folks,” Rogers says. “There's more deescalation, more negotiation, more tactics used when it comes to white people.”
In fact, a November 2015 study of Miami-Dade County said residents were 22 times more likely to be shot by the cops if they were unarmed, black men as opposed to white men.
The police are now trying to pin Harrouff’s behavior on drugs, even though initial drug tests for cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and opiates reportedly were negative. Yet police think Harrouff may have been affected by flakka or bath salts despite the fact his body temperature was not raised, a common symptom of the drug.