Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Michael Brown. Each killing raises a disturbing question: Would any of these people have been killed by police officers if they had been white?
I have no special insight into the psychology of police officers or into the complicated forensics involved in such cases. Answering this question in any single situation can be difficult and divisive. Two outside experts this month concluded, for example, that the shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland who was carrying a toy gun, was a “reasonable” if tragic response. That will hardly be the last word on the subject.