The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Racist Attack on 14-Year-Old in Michigan

Apr 16, 2018

Jeffery Zeigler, a white homeowner in Rochester Hills, a suburb of Detroit, is charged with intent to murder after he fired his gun on a 14-year-old black teen. The teen, Brennan Walker, a freshman at nearby Rochester High, got lost on his way to school. One neighbor whose house he knocked at was kind enough to give him directions, but lost again, he knocked on Zeigler’s door.

Zeigler came to the door with his shotgun. Seeing this, the teen ran away. Despite the fact that he was in no immediate danger, Zeigler fired on him anyway.

Zeigler claims he thought it was a break-in. The incident occurred at 8:30 in the morning.

Zeigler tried to claim he tripped on his way to the door and the gun went off accidently. Fortunately, Zeigler had surveillance cameras and when police looked at the video, it showed he was lying.

Michael Bouchard, the Sheriff of Oakland County, where Rochester Hills is located, said the law is clear. Someone has the right to defend themselves if they’re really in danger, but not to come out shooting when someone is running away.

Zeigler is a retired Detroit firefighter. The money he was paid off the backs of Detroit taxpayers while he was working allowed him to retire to a wealthier suburb. Yet he still harbors racist attitudes.

The fact that one neighbor was willing to give the child directions shows that not everyone is racist. It’s certainly true that only some individuals are racist, yet we live in a society so distorted that someone like Zeigler can’t distinguish a 14-year-old teen dressed in clean clothes for school, carrying a backpack, and knocking on his door at 8:30 in the morning, from someone trying to burglarize his home.

We live in a time period that reinforces these kind of racist attitudes, when Trump signals his approval directly from the White House. The NRA responds to shootings like this by saying it’s okay for someone to defend their castle.

The only reason tragedy was averted in this case was that a 14-year-old black teen was smart enough to understand the racist attitudes that confront him in this society and ran away.