When a Texas newspaper ran a story about accused cop killer Hollis Daniels, people realized something was not right.
Daniels allegedly shot and killed a police officer who was filing booking paperwork on him for drug possession.
In its Tuesday story, the Houston Chronicle used a photo of Daniels, who is white, from social media. However, what’s wrong was the picture of him holding on to a woman and smiling peacefully at the camera.
The caption beneath the photo read, “I appreciate how you raised me, and all the extra love that you gave me.”
The article also included quotes from Daniels’ friends stating, “Everybody needs to [know] he was a great person and amazing friend…. I would have never thought he would do something like that, ever.”
Let’s get one thing straight. Daniels is accused of killing a cop in cold blood and then making a run for it. No matter how “amazing” a friend he was, he was definitely not a “great person” — and the media needs to stop highlighting this fact.
What exactly did Houston Chronicle try to portray by putting a cute picture of Daniels with his mom? That he was a “good kid” who just made a mistake, maybe?
The paper also shared the photo on Twitter where users immediately started comparing it with mugshots of black suspects.
Twitter user Max Sparber, whose bio says he is a playwright and author, was the first person to point out the Texas newspaper has never used a s smiling, hugging pictures when a person of color is accused in a crime.
Mugshot photo. pic.twitter.com/3vJa0eMXgB— Max Sparber (@maxsparber) October 11, 2017
Mugshot photo. pic.twitter.com/eG847ZNOJq— Max Sparber (@maxsparber) October 11, 2017
Mugshot photo. pic.twitter.com/zwLJFBc9h0— Max Sparber (@maxsparber) October 11, 2017
There are white mugshot photos too, but I am not seeing any people of color posed next to their girlfriends smiling at the camera.— Max Sparber (@maxsparber) October 11, 2017
Following his lead, many others online users also gave their view on what they thought of the photo.
Well I just stole this from someone so who's keeping track with me on the nonsense pic.twitter.com/aRNAe5Mj7J— Allen Michener (@youfontknow) October 10, 2017
Some users pointed out showing Daniels in such a positive light was white privilege.
Anyone who doubts white privilege: look at how this white cop killer is portrayed & compare to media depiction of young black men.— amy_moss_ (@amy_moss_) October 10, 2017
It certainly is that. What’s more, the Houston Chronicle has made the article all about how Daniels came from a well-known, illustrious family.
His father is an ex-Seguin City Councilman while his mother is a writer who has written stories for notable news outlets, including the Houston Chronicle (surprise, surprise).
The newspaper also mentioned how the family is related to actor Wendy Benson and owns the Palace Theatre in downtown Seguin.
None of these things matter in given the fact their son was not just suspected of drug possession but had a firearm, which he then used to allegedly kill a police officer.
By drawing attention to the fact that Daniels’ family is a respectable, affluent, well-connected family, do media outlets hope to garner sympathy for an accused murderer?
Why should sons of rich, white people be excused for heinous crimes while innocent people are being killed in the country just for being black?
By showing Hollis Daniel is such a positive light, The Houston Chronicle is promoting white supremacy and white privilege.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Lubbock County Sheriff's Office