A white man just got charged with murder for killing a black honor roll student over 4th of July

The ugly racism that the Trump administration has unleashed reared its ugly head over the recent July 4th holiday.

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Not even our day of national unity was enough to cool the temper and inflated sense of self-importance of 41-year old Jason Roche, who shot and murdered a black teenager during an argument over fireworks. 

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Roche had the gall to claim self-defense in the killing of Devonte Ortiz, 19, but video taken from the scene and reviewed by police tells a very different story.

Roche instigated the confrontation when he went outside to ask Ortiz and his friends to stop firing off fireworks on the Fourth of July, the day upon which the entire nation lets off fireworks in celebration. His father and Ortiz got into a physical confrontation, which led to Roche shooting the boy in a fit of rage.

A firearm was discovered on the ground by the car at the scene of the murder, but video evidence makes it clear that Oritz was not holding any weapons when he was killed.

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The news has recently been filled with stories about racist white folks provoking conflicts with black Americans over absurdly petty reasons, the suburb authoritarian may-I-speak-to-your-manager impulse aroused by the sight of people with different color skin having the audacity to go about their lives.

When those arrogant expressions of self-entitlement are combined with the reckless proliferation of firearms to an incredibly irresponsible civilian population, you end up with yet another heart-wrenching tragedy; another young black life snuffed out by an uncaring white man, so much potential and so much positive energy destroyed with one hateful muscle twitch.

Though it shouldn’t matter at all, Ortiz was an honor roll student and a star football player, beloved in his community and destined for great things.

Thankfully, Roche has been charged with first-degree murder in what should be an open-and-shut case – but no punishment can replace one iota of what we lost with the murder of Devonte Ortiz, or any of the young black men who are slaughtered by whites on a regular basis in this hell country.

 

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Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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