Patrick Graham is the owner of The Walton Tribune, The Covington News, The Sand Mountain Reporter (Albertville, Alabama), Times-Journal (Fort Payne, Alabama) and Jackson County Sentinel (Scottsboro, Alabama). He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Cooper and Kemp

Officer Matt Cooper, left, of the Covington Police Department received the Governor’s Public Safety Award from Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019.

The contrast couldn’t be more, well, black and white.

Last week, Covington police Officer Matt Cooper reported for duty less than two years after being shot in the head during a foot chase over a holiday weekend.

Cooper was just doing his job, trying to catch a shoplifting suspect, a penny ante charge at best, and he nearly paid for it with his life.

In Minnesota, the same week Cooper made his return locally, a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, killed a suspect in custody by keeping his knee on the back of the suspect’s neck until he breathed his last, even as he begged for mercy.

That suspect, George Floyd, was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, a penny ante crime at best, and he did pay for it with his life.

The suspect who shot Cooper, who is white, is black.

Floyd, who is black, was killed by an officer who is white.

The Covington community rallied around Cooper unlike anything I’ve ever seen. His recovery after being wounded in the line of duty became not just a huge story locally, but nationally and even internationally, with the Covington Police Department receiving correspondences from all over the world from those wanting to show their support.

In Minneapolis and other parts of the country there are riots going on to protest yet another black man’s death at the hands of a white officer.

Despite everything I’ve just laid out for you, I’m not going to try to make the argument that bad people who do bad things come in all colors. I could, because I do believe it is true, as you can see from the examples in this column.

That line of thinking, however, is why some have taken to the streets in a misguided attempt to prevent denial of the truth.

The truth is a black suspect was killed by a white officer, despite there being no indication the black man was in any way a threat.

Again. Yet again.

I urge you not to paint all law enforcement with the same brush, but I believe racism is a part of what happened in Minneapolis, and I think if you look at this incident objectively you have to come to that conclusion.

It isn’t the first time. This happens far too often, which is why law enforcement is painted with that broad brush, fairly or unfairly.

God help us, I pray it will be the last time.

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