Ed Brown

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On December 1, 2014
Last modified:December 1, 2014


On October 6, 2012 an unarmed caucasian teenager named Gilbert Collar was shot to death by Trevis Austin, an African American police officer in Mobile, Alabama. Despite pressure from the local community a Mobile County grand jury refused to indict Austin, concluding he had acted in self defense.


Gilbert Collar  /  Trevis Austin

On October 6, 2012 an unarmed caucasian teenager named  Gilbert Collar was shot to death by Trevis Austin, an African-American police officer in Mobile, Alabama. Despite pressure from the local community a Mobile County grand jury refused to indict Austin, concluding he had acted in self-defense.

Days after the Mobile incident former CNN host Piers Morgan voiced his displeasure with the police response, stating “he didn’t deserve to die,” but the rest of the national media ignored the case for the most part and it was quietly allowed to slip away unnoticed by the majority of Americans outside Alabama, prompting many to accuse the national media of a whiteout regarding the killing of a white kid by a black officer.

The similarities between the Collar case and that of the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, according to court records, represent a near mirror image; Collar was unarmed and under the influence of drugs when he was killed but beyond that it’s also been noted that Collar, unlike Brown, never touched the officer and because he was naked when he was shot, was more obviously unarmed. Critics of the Ferguson aftermath are citing the Collar case to rebut those who claim Brown was the victim of racism.

Parents Bonnie and Reed Collar filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the officer in July and after more than 2 years that story is now getting attention on social media, mostly from people comparing the case to that of Michael Brown in Ferguson – leaving many readers with a sense of hypocrisy that Collar’s case was barely touched by the media while the case of Brown was covered to an extreme. But why was there such a difference in coverage?

Dillon Taylor

Dillon Taylor

Enter the much more recent case of Dillon Taylor, a young, unarmed white man with a blood alcohol content of point-18 who was shot and killed this past August by Officer Bron Cruz – described as a “non-white” officer. In that incident Cruz wore a camera on his uniform and was able to record the deadly shooting which showed a belligerent Taylor who, while backing away from the officer, also appeared to be reaching into his waistband for something when the officer fired twice, killing him. The grand jury in that case has also refused to pursue charges against Cruz and the story hasn’t been widely covered, even now. Again, why no blanket – minute by minute coverage? Why are black on white killings not a hot topic?

Many are asking – which comes first? Public outcry leading to media coverage – or media coverage leading to public outcry. Some will rationalize that the case of Brown was covered more by mainstream news outlets because the voices in the streets were louder – while others firmly believe it’s the news agencies themselves who pick and choose which cases are promoted to the top of their featured news and, likewise how much public outrage will ensue.

If the latter group is correct then much of the blame for the riots and violence in Ferguson following the grand jury’s refusal to indict 28-year-old Darren Wilson, the cop who fatally shot Brown, can be placed squarely on the shoulders of news outlets who appeared to be fanning the flames before, during and after the decision. Or where they simply reporting the news as it unfolded? (this is the first time I’ve posted about the matter so don’t come at me. To this point I’ve kept my blog “Ferguson Free”)

One might suppose that even if crowds of white demonstrators had appeared in Mobile after the death of Collar and the subsequent grand jury decision, the news media most likely would NOT have given it the same precedence as the crowds associated with the Ferguson, MO case and that’s because we live in a day and age where stories perceived as more unjust to certain minority groups, ie. blacks, women and homosexuals – have been deemed more newsworthy because of political agendas.  Caucasian heterosexuals, especially males, in the United States – have long since lost their voice. But perhaps that’s also just a “perception” which I personally recognize because I belong to that group – a nasty syndrome almost all humans are afflicted with, including African-Americans.

I’ve even pondered that since cases such as Collar and Taylor don’t receive much major coverage(regardless of the reason) while similar cases involving blacks do – perhaps blacks aren’t aware that it happens to whites as well.

An alternate cause could be that blacks in the U.S. feel embolden by our first (half)black president, who continues in the wake of Trayvon Martin to himself fan the flames of racial discontent when these stories of perceived white on black injustice arise.

Just when you think you have the media figured out – that they’re just following the hottest story, some black teenagers in St. Louis with hammers attack a car with 3 white people inside – killing one – which by their own standard is a hot news story, yet the mainstream media totally ignores it – so there goes our theory that the news media doesn’t pick and choose.  To see what I mean search google for “black teens kill Bosnian in st louis” – and take a close look at the URL’s of the websites that are covering the horrific event.  One local news channel, Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, ConservativeTreehouse, Twitchy, Dailymail, Huggington Post and InfoWars. Those results will change if the story becomes unavoidable for the mainstream outlets but it’s already, at the time of this writing, 18 hours old – and not a peep from ABC, CBS, FOX, MSNBC, etc.

Are they now, at this late juncture, attempting to avoid inciting more violence? Have they had their fill of promoting hatred among Americans of all races? Why did they stop their minute by minute coverage of the Ferguson fallout? Whites will suspect it’s because the culprits were black and the victim was white.

While I can’t make a definite conclusion, I can assure you the mainstream news agencies have had their hand in inciting the violence we see every night on our television screens either by over-coverage or by media whiteout. Whether it’s intentional or what possible motive exists for such a disgusting possibility remains to be seen.

The best advice for all parties, including those associated with the Michael Brown case, is to realize it isn’t just you. White parents also suffer the heartbreaking loss of  children when those kids make bad decisions and wind up on the wrong end of a gun. Teenagers of all races aren’t very well-known for their optimum decision-making process and we are living in a police state where authorities have been given the green light to use deadly force if they sense their own life is in danger.

Maybe the media has been given the same clearance.