On Police, Black Men, and the 'Thousand Yard Stare'

A disturbing number of police-involved shootings feature a white officer killing an unarmed or nonthreatening black man. The rhetoric used by many officers to justify their killing tends to put the onus on a particular alleged “stare” interpreted as a sign that the victim was dangerous. Minneapolis police officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg described the unarmed Jamar Clark as having a “thousand yard stare” and “this really weird stare,” respectively, before they killed him. We know now from shooting statistics as well as several prominent examples that such rhetoric should be seen as evidence of implicit racial bias, or as attempted justification constructed after the fact. Read on here.