A Texas sheriff had a few choice words for parents on social media in the wake of back-to-back shootings of Black teenagers at the hands of police.
On Friday, April 23, Throckmorton County Sheriff Doc Wigington shared this message on Facebook: “In the news cycle over the last few weeks have been stories of young people being shot by police in some type of altercation or another. The public is quick to jump on the officers involved stating a need for more training, better de-escalation tactics, and possibly shooting the subject in the leg.”
The sheriff argued that de-escalation tactics only work when the subject involved is willing to cooperate with authorities. He later went on to address the recent shooting of Black teenagers.
Wigington said that guardians should parent their children as opposed to being their friends and encouraged parents to take more disciplinary actions during the upbringing of their children. “Sometimes your kid is wrong and needs to be disciplined. Jumping on teachers, coaches, etc., all their life gives the kids a feeling they can do no wrong, and they do not have to comply with authority figures,” he expressed. “So help your child, be a parent, teach them manners, responsibility, how to work, respect for themselves and respect for others. We have gotten away from treating others as we wish to be treated, we need to go back to that soon. By the time that Law Enforcement has to get involved in your child’s life, it’s usually past time to be a parent.”
Wigington’s comments garnered him backlash almost instantly. One Twitter user wrote, “It’s not the Black Communities job to teach police not to act like barbaric animals that kill ppl.” That social media user added, “Fck Throckmorton County Sheriff Doc Wigington.”
The Texan authority has shared sentiments of this nature in the past. On April 18, Wiginton compared the call for accountability with the case of officer recently cleared in the shooting death of Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt . “The same people that are calling for cops to be held accountable for shooting deaths are the same ones perfectly ok with the white house guard shooting woman climbing through window unarmed.” He added, “Both are tragic and both need to be investigated to the fullest.”
The sheriff’s comments come on the heels of two fatal officer-involved shootings — those of Ma’Khia Bryant and Daunte Wright. The latter happened just 20 minutes before a guilty verdict was announced in the Derek Chauvin trial. Twelve jurors convicted Chauvin of second-degree, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
On Tuesday, April 20, the Columbus Division of Police in Ohio released body camera footage that showed officer Nicholas Reardon getting out of his car at the 3100 block of Legion Lane. Police responded to two 911 calls about an attempted stabbing.
When Reardon arrived on the scene, 16-year-old Bryant, knife in hand, moved toward another female who fell to the ground in front of the officer. She then moved toward a different female leaning against a parked sedan and made a swinging motion at her with a knife in her hand.
Reardon said “Get down” several times before opening fire, striking Bryant numerous times in the chest. She fell to the ground, and officers began administering aid. About 10 seconds passed between when Reardon closed the door to the police cruiser and when he first opened fire. Bryant was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Roughly a week before Bryant’s killing, Wright was shot by officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday, April 13. Potter claimed she mistook her gun for a taser. The father of a 1-year-old son, Wright was 20 years old.
Potter was booked into the Hennepin County Jail and charged with second-degree manslaughter. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.