When Martin County Police arrived Monday to find 19-year-old Austin Harrouff standing over the bodies of two bleeding victims while violently biting one man’s face, police first fired stun guns. When those didn’t work, cops unleashed a dog. When that didn’t work, three officers pulled Harrouff off the man and took him to jail — alive.
Some activists are drawing a stark contrast between that approach and those employed in other recent police actions in South Florida. Take, for instance, the July incident when North Miami cops sent a SWAT team with military-style assault rifles to surround unarmed African-American behavior therapist Charles Kinsey, who was trying to help an autistic man “armed” with a toy car. Police shot Kinsey in the leg, although video showed him lying on the ground with his hands up.
Critics say Harrouff’s treatment highlights the vast disparity between how whites and blacks are treated by police. After all, Florida cops were able to take calm, measured steps to subdue a white, possibly drug-addled cannibal armed with a knife and no shirt, but somehow felt it was necessary to shoot Kinsey — who was cooperating and unarmed — from afar.