Don’t let bigotry cloud investigation of Hartnett shooting

Written by on January 12, 2016

LATE LAST WEEK, as darkness draped the streets of West Philadelphia, Edward Archer was caught on video walking up to a police cruiser, extending his arm, and pumping 13 bullets into the vehicle, hitting Officer Jesse Hartnett three times.

The gravely wounded officer returned fire, hitting the fleeing suspect, and Archer was captured shortly thereafter. But it wasn’t the shooting that shocked the city. Nor was it the irony of Archer shooting Hartnett with a police service weapon that had been stolen from an officer’s home in 2013.

Many were shocked, quite frankly, when Archer told detectives he had shot the officer “in the name of Islam” – and aghast when, according to published reports quoting Homicide Capt. James Clark, Archer told detectives, “I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what I did.”

The admission, by an African-American Muslim in a city whose Muslim population has been estimated to be over 200,000, was chilling. Because Archer exemplifies the very stereotypes that have been used to demonize racial and religious minorities.

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Image: Screen grab from video depicting the shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett

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