Civil Liberties  
comments_image Comments

MI Police 'Pursue Charges' Against Homeowner Who Shot 19-Year-Old Black Woman Dead After She Knocked on His Door

But in a 'stand-your-ground' state, will they stick?
 
 
Share

Renisha McBride
Photo Credit: screenshot via youtube

 
 
 
 

Police say they are seeking charges against the Dearborn Heights, Michigan resident who shot a young African-American woman dead after she knocked on his door for help after a car accident. But since Michigan has a "Stand-your-ground" law, many wonder if charges, even if filed, will stick, since the law gives wide latitude to homeowners who claim they felt threatened.

The facts, as have been reported by several news outlets, are as startling as they are outrageous, and have the family of the victim, Renisha McBride, both asking why and demanding action.

McBride, all of 19 years old, had a car accident at roughly 2:30 am on Saturday in Dearborn Heights, a predominantly white neighborhood of Detroit. Her cellphone battery dead, she knocked on the door of a home in the 16000 block of Outer Drive. As she turned to leave the porch, she was shot in the head with a shotgun. The homeowner, whom police have refused to name, was initially arrested and released, having apparently convinced police that he thought she was an intruder trying to break in.

“He shot her in the head, [and] for what? For knocking on his door,” McBride’s aunt, Bernita Spinks said to the Detroit Free Press. “If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911.” 

Police also reportedly mislead the family about where McBride's body was found. According to Raw Story, they were first  told that her body had been dumped near Warren Avenue, some blocks away, where it was later found by authorities. Police soon, however, recanted their prior statement, saying instead that the woman died on the home’s front porch. 

Race is an inescapable part of the story, McBride's family and other observers have pointed out, as is often the case when "Stand your ground" laws are applied to incidents where African Americans end up on the wrong end of the gun. McBride's murder follows the September 14 shooting of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, a Black former college football player, who was shot and killed by police in North Carolina while seeking assistance after a car crash late at night from a nearby home. In that case, an officer who responded to the homeowner’s 911 call fired 12 shots at the already injured Ferrell, hitting him 10 times, and is now charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Few details have been released about the details of McBride’s death, but police on Wednesday reportedly asked the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to issue a warrant for the resident charged with the fatal shooting. However the office sent the request back late Wednesday, asking for “further investigation by the police that must be submitted before a decision will be made.” T The halting of a potential arrest is devastating sign, perhaps, that Michigan’s upholding of the Stand-Your-Ground-Law may derail any charges.

“She didn’t break in his house; she didn’t break a window,”Spinks has said. “What, you see somebody on your porch and you just  start shooting? And then you say it was accidental? That wasn’t accidental; that wasn’t accidental, no.”

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.

 
See more stories tagged with: