Hearing news about police gunning down Black men and women is something that has become normalized, while also being continuously heartbreaking. It is almost impossible to go through an entire news cycle without hearing about some transgression committed against Black people, in one place or another across the country. The latest news however does not involve the usual – guns – that police seemingly “love” to reach for, when they perceive a Black person as “threatening.” This time, in an incident in Tuscaloosa, AL, the police managed to cause a man’s death via pepper spray according to ABC News reports.
Most of us think of pepper spray as non-lethal, and most of the time, it is. Of course if you use it enough on someone’s eyes, its chemicals can cause severe damage, and clearly, death. The unarmed man, Anthony Dewayne Ware, was allegedly resisting arrest after police had chased him. He was charged with, “attempting to elude police.” The charge means that Ward allegedly failed to come to a stop or comply with police orders, or fled from the police.
The news report claims that the six officers that were there during the incident will still be on duty while investigations into Ward’s death take place. The officers’ body cam and dash video will be reviewed so there is a possibility that we might actually be informed of what happened. Even if Ward were to be found guilty of his charge, the question will become: Did the police use pepper spray in a negligent and/or reckless manner?
Our heart goes out to the family and friends of Ward.