It has been almost two months since Rob’s life was taken. (You can read my blog post from June about Rob’s death here.) This week, the Howard County State’s Attorney declared the shooting justified. I do not agree. Rob was walking as he did every day. His walking through his own neighborhood was not a threat to anyone’s safety—except, as it turns out, his own.
I continue to feel sickened and angry and deeply sad that our neighbor will never again walk by our house on his daily walk around the neighborhood.
I am profoundly touched that I was asked to speak at the rally tomorrow, which starts at 6 pm at the Civic Center in downtown Silver Spring (details below). I will be holding the group in prayer, but I won’t be able to be there since I am leaving for the Express Fluency conference in Burlington, VT tomorrow afternoon.
If you will be in town, please attend. It is important.
See below for information about the rally and about recent developments from Silver Spring Justice, a group that has been formed in response to Rob’s death.
Since we last wrote to you, there have been two very important developments. First, the Howard County State’s Attorney deemed the shooting to be “justified.” We are dismayed at this ruling (you can read our statement here). Then, on Wednesday evening, the police released the bodycam videos of the incident.
The video shows a police officer stalking Robert White through the neighborhood based on the flimsy rationale that Mr. White’s hoodie was ripped. It’s a horrifying video of an innocent man being chased through his own neighborhood until he finally shoves at the officer and ends up shot 9 times. We strongly believe that the officer acted to escalate the situation rather than to engage in any de-escalation tactics. In fact, we can hear him tell the dispatcher that it could be a ‘suicide by cop’ situation… yet instead of calling in mental health specialists, he continues to relentlessly pursue Mr. White until he ultimately kills him. (You can watch the video here, but do be aware that it is violent and disturbing of course)
In response to these developments, we are holding a protest and candlelight vigil on Sunday. I hope you can join us:
**Added 8/5** NOTE: The starting point for the rally has changed. We will now meet on the Fountain Plaza, about a half-block down Ellsworth from Veterans Plaza (916 Ellsworth Dr – Silver Spring, MD 20910; parking at Wayne or Ellsworth garage).Apologies for the change; we do not want to disrupt an Ivorian cultural festival on Veterans Plaza tonight.Here is the event Facebook page, which has the most updated info: https://www.facebook.com/events/629279404123250/
DEMONSTRATION forJUSTICE IN OUR BACKYARDSunday, August 5th at 6pmSilver Spring Civic Center/Veterans PlazaRally at 6, we will then march 1.4 miles along Wayne Avenue & Sligo Creek Parkway to Three Oaks Drive for a candlelight vigil(we’ll have rides for those who can’t do the walk)Join Mr. White’s family, community and faith leaders, activists, neighbors, and friends to demand accountability for Mr. White’s killing and demand change in how officers patrol communities.Please bring a small piece of torn cloth to add a message to & wear a piece of torn clothing if you can. Route is accessible, ASL interpreting provided. Please let us know if we can help you participate with other accommodations.