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In July 2016, David Collie was a Black man in Texas working hard to support himself. He had recently secured a full-time job at a supermarket, arranging produce displays, and was saving money to resume his college classes in cinematography. However, his life took a tragic turn on July 27th, when he became a victim of police violence.

The Incident

On that day, police received a report about a robbery at a gas station. The suspects were described as two Black men in their late teens or early twenties, over six feet tall, with one being 6’4” and having a short afro. Both suspects were shirtless.

David Collie, however, was in his 30s, 5’8”, and bald.

Three off-duty police officers, working security at an apartment building half a mile from the gas station, heard the call. As they patrolled the area looking for the suspects, they spotted David. Despite the significant discrepancies between David’s appearance and the suspects’ descriptions, the officers zeroed in on him because he was Black and shirtless.

David was walking to visit a friend when the officers approached him. They exited their vehicle and ordered David to raise his hands, which he did. Standing thirty feet away from the officers with his hands up, David was shot in the back by one of the officers less than seven seconds after they exited their car.

The Aftermath

The bullet severely injured David, puncturing his lung and spine, and paralyzing him from the waist down. He had done nothing wrong and had no connection to the robbery. But being Black and in the vicinity made him a prime suspect in the eyes of the police.

The police claimed they found a box cutter near David and that the officer fired because he saw it in David’s hand. David did carry a box cutter for his supermarket job, but it was in his pocket at the time of the shooting. Despite this, and despite David’s clear innocence, he was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer for allegedly threatening them with the box cutter. David was kept under arrest and shackled to his hospital bed for two months under armed guard. A grand jury later refused to indict him.

Legal Battles and Injustice

Believing he was a victim of excessive force and a violation of his rights, David filed a lawsuit. The police vigorously defended against it, and the judge overseeing the case dismissed it, claiming that David’s rights had not been violated. When David appealed, the appellate court upheld the dismissal, stating that David was simply a victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. They deemed the officer’s conduct reasonable, as he allegedly thought he saw a gun when David raised his hands.

David never received an apology or compensation. Today, he remains paralyzed from the waist down, living in a nursing home in his 30s. The officer who shot him is still on the police force.

The Broader Issue of Racial Bias in Policing

David Collie’s case is a stark example of racial bias in policing. Despite clear evidence that David did not match the suspects’ descriptions and posed no threat, he was targeted, shot, and subsequently blamed for his own injuries. This incident underscores the systemic issues within the policing and judicial systems that disproportionately affect Black individuals.

Racial profiling, excessive force, and a lack of accountability are persistent problems that need addressing. David’s story is not an isolated incident but part of a broader pattern of injustice against Black people in America. It highlights the urgent need for reforms in policing practices and legal standards to ensure that no one else suffers the same fate as David Collie.

Conclusion and Call to Action

David Collie’s life was irreparably changed by an unjustified act of police violence, and he received no justice or recompense. His case illustrates the deep-seated racial biases in our legal and policing systems. It’s imperative to recognize and challenge these injustices, advocating for accountability and reform.

What are your thoughts on David Collie’s case and the broader issue of racial bias in policing? Share your opinions and experiences in the comments below. Your voice is crucial in the fight for justice and equality.

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