Local media coverage of a 21-year-old college student accused of fatally stabbing a Philadelphia real estate developer last month has folks crying foul.
According to NBC 10, Michael White was back with his family Monday after posting $15,000 of his $150,000 bail last week. The Morgan State University student is facing third-degree murder charges after authorities say he stabbed real estate developer Sean Schellenger to death near Rittenhouse Square on July 12.
White insisted he acted in self-defense, however, but that hasn’t been quite clear in some media reports of the incident.
The deadly incident unfolded after Schellenger and his two friends got into a confrontation with White late that evening. Witnesses said Schellenger had been drinking at a nearby bar prior to the scuffle, the station reported. It’s unclear what sparked the argument between the men, but white ultimately pulled out a knife and stabbed Schellenger, killing him.
Police said White was making a food delivery on a bike at the time of the incident. A family spokesman said the young man carried a knife in his backpack for protection, as he knew he’d be delivering food late into the night. White reportedly told investigators where to find the knife during a recent meeting with prosecutors, officials said.
“Whether they reduce the charge, give him no charge, it’s not going to bring Sean back,” Schellenger’s friend, Patricia Strickland, told NBC10. “He took away something valuable that he could not give back.”
Critics are upset, however, with how local media painted White out to be a criminal rather than someone who was defending themselves against someone who was apparently drunk. Some folks argued the incident sounded like a case of Stand Your Ground, the controversial statute allowing a person to use lethal force without consequence if they feel their life is in danger.
“Sounds like stand your ground to me,” a Twitter user commented. “The man defended himself.”
“Haven’t you heard? It only applies to the yts (whites) apparently,” another user chimed in.
One person slammed NBC10 for their and “biased” coverage of the incident.
“With all due ‘disrespect,’ your biased reporting of this story is bullshit (at the very least),” he wrote. “He’s a murder suspect instead of a Philadelphia citizen who stood his ground … It’s funny how the narrative changes once it’s person of color at the other end of the story.”
The article’s headline should have read, “The 21 Year old college student who defended himself against racist Philadelphia real estate developer who attacked him, is home safe with his parents after posting bail,” another critic argued.
#Racism is so ingrained in you that even when it’s self defense, you’re compelled to tar the Black man,” he added.
If convicted, White could face 20 to 40 years in prison. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 30.