Except for the time he was serving a state prison sentence between 2010 and 2014, Thomas M. Latanowich has been arrested at least once a year by police on Cape Cod for the last four years. https://t.co/03HN2ze75z pic.twitter.com/zoo7LFrcwJ— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 13, 2018
"Again, white men are far and away the biggest threat to American police."
These were Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King's words the moment he shared news that small-town Massachusetts police officer Sean Gannon had been fatally shot by a white suspect.
King's tweet continued, "Yet another white man has killed yet another cop. They kill the vast majority of police. And again, as always, he was taken in without being shot & killed. But #StephonClark is dead."
Again, white men are far and away the biggest threat to American police.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 13, 2018
Yet another white man has killed yet another cop. They kill the vast majority of police.
And again, as always, he was taken in without being shot & killed.
But #StephonClark is dead. https://t.co/IbSeWeOhmS
The writer and activist's words rang out at the same moment residents of Barnstable, Massachusetts, began to mourn the death of the fallen officer Gannon, a 32-year-old husband and member of the community's K-9 unit.
Gannon had been pursuing suspect Thomas M. Latanowich, who had recently failed to appear for a probationary drug test and had 111 prior criminal charges. The officer and his K-9 partner, Nero, found Latanowich holed up in an attic.
When Gannon entered the attic, Latanowich shot him in the head.
On Twitter, King's tweet garnered strong reaction from users as the inevitable emotions surrounding race and police shootings emerged.
Growing up in a racially diverse part of California, I didn't really understand what white privilege was until I moved to Massachusetts. I've seen countless cases of blatant preferential treatment of whites & wealth here in SW Mass.— Joni Johnsen (@JoniJohnsen) April 13, 2018
Once again... police NOT killing the suspect/criminal is the way it should be... but that is regardless of skin color, socioeconomic status, citizenship/immigration status, creed or gender...— Adrián GSH (@AdrianAhasbach) April 13, 2018
Shaun, it’s also important to note that this white man has a criminal history of over 100 charges. Would he have even been outside of prison bars as a minority?— Jon Cubetus (@jcubetus) April 13, 2018
However people feel, it seems that King's comment was right about the facts: In raw numbers, white men are responsible for more violence against cops than black men are.
A report by Vox also spells out racial disparities in how police use force: Black men are more likely to be killed than their white peers, and even more so when unarmed.
As the national discourse about police shootings continues, certainly these fact should be taken into account.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters, Heinz-Peter Bader