The day after opening fire on a bible study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people, Dylann Roof was treated to a free meal. Was it courtesy of a white supremacist hate group? Nope, it was courtesy of a North Carolina police department. Officers bought Dylann Roof a Burger King meal after arresting him in Shelby, North Carolina, because he told them he was hungry. So you have a peaceful protest against racial discrimination and you get pepper-sprayed, but you practice racial discrimination by allegedly murdering nine people and you get a free Whopper and fries? That totally makes sense, America.
After being on the lam for about 16 hours, Roof was spotted by officers in his black Hyundai sedan and identified himself without resistance. While in police custody, the 21-year-old told Shelby police Chief Jeff Ledford that he was hungry because he had only had a bag of Doritos and a water that he had purchased at a south Charlotte gas station earlier that day. Instead of telling him "How about a nice warm bowl of shut the hell up?" the officer took his suspect, who has admitted to the mass murder, to a nearby Burger King and paid for his meal.
Ledford told The Charlotte Observer:
He was very quiet, very calm. He didn’t talk. He sat down here very quietly. He was not problematic.
Clearly, Ledford thinks Roof deserves the Mass Murder Suspect of the Year award.
The manhunt for Roof came to an end after a florist who recognized his photo tipped him off to authorities. According to the Observer, the arresting officers found a .45-caliber handgun in Roof's car, which also had a Confederate flag on its front license plate.
To play devil's advocate, Chief Ledford is likely a goodhearted person who didn't want to see Roof starve, regardless of whatever heinous crime he might have committed, and the Burger King likely happened to be on their way. And it's not like he made reservations at Cipriani or anything. However. The contrast between the police's treatment of Roof compared to how law enforcement has handled several high-profile arrests and the protests that followed over the last year is shocking. Instead of being treated to a fast-food meal, some of these suspects died at the hands of the arresting officers. Let's take a refresher course.
After approaching 18-year-old Michael Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson last August, Ferguson officer Darren Wilson fired his gun at the unarmed Brown and killed him. Brown's death sparked widespread protests in Ferguson and across the country. Law enforcement responded to that with military-grade weapons, riot gear, and pepper spray.
Wilson was acquitted by a grand jury of any charges.
After apprehending Eric Garner for selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island last July, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner in a chokehold, which resulted in the asthmatic man's death. Video footage recorded by a bystander shows Garner repeatedly telling the officers, "I can't breathe."
Pantaleo was acquitted by a grand jury of any charges.
In April, 25-year-old Freddie Gray was arrested by police in Baltimore, Maryland, and placed into a police van. He entered in normal condition, was taken out on the way so that the officers could place ankle shackles on him, and then, less than 30 minutes later, left the ambulance unconscious. A week later, Gray died from a severed spine.
The six officers involved in his arrest have been charged and indicted for charges that range from second-degree depraved heart murder to misconduct in office.
Also in April, Officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for having a nonworking brake light. When Scott tried to flee the scene, Slager fired eight shots at unarmed Scott, killing him. Slager claimed that Scott had stolen his Taser, a detail that was later found to be fabricated according to a video recording and a thorough investigation.
Slager is now facing murder charges.
The McKinney Pool Party Attendees
Earlier this month, when the McKinney Police Department received a call that some kids had entered a pool party uninvited, 12 officers showed up at the scene. One officer, Eric Casebolt, was particularly aggressive, yelling profanities at the kids, pulling a 14-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground and sitting on her, and even pointing his gun at another group of teens.
Images: Getty Images (5), Mashable