MugShotroof

Photo credit: Shellby County Jail

How is it possible for a man to kill nine innocent people and be rewarded with Burger King after being apprehended by authorities? Somehow, that’s what occurred when Dylann Roof was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina, following his terrorist attack on members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

According to Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford, Roof began complaining to police that he was hungry. Before going on a racist killing spree, he only had time to eat a bag of chips. So with the most empathetic gesture that could be extended a killer, the police officers in Shelby decided to buy Roof lunch.

There isn’t a law that prohibits police from buying food for a criminal suspect. However, it seems that authorities are taking a more gentle approach than what is often used when Black suspects are arrested.

In the past year, we’ve seen unarmed Blacks murdered by police for walking in the middle of street (Michael Brown); allegedly selling cigarettes on a corner (Eric Garner); being questioned at a routine traffic stop (Walter Scott); holding a toy gun at Wal-Mart (John Crawford); and while being transported to jail (Freddie Gray).

Those deceased Black men weren’t threats to society; they weren’t  mass murderers; and they hadn’t committed an act of terror. But they were met with violence without any justification. Instead of being treated to a hot meal by police, they were handed death.

Roof should be treated as if he was a member of ISIL or al-Qaida, but authorities have coddled him as if he merely stole a few pieces of candy. Along with his free lunch, Judge James B. Gosnell, an unrepentant user of the N-word, told Roof that he was concerned for his family.

It’s appalling that so much empathy is being given to a man who committed such a heinous act, while unarmed Black men who have committed a minor infraction or no crime at all end up in the morgue.

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.