On the outrageous news front, here’s a newsflash from Detroit: The Wayne County Medical Examiner has ruled that 19-year-old Renisha McBride’s death was a homicide—but still the man who shot her in the face when she stepped on his porch seeking help after a car accident hasn’t been arrested.
I’m not sure if the homicide ruling was supposed to be seen as news—after all, nobody thought the girl died of suicide—but it does beg the question why the 54-year-old homeowner still isn’t in handcuffs for shooting this young girl in the face for having the nerve to knock on doors in the mostly white and Arab neighborhood of Dearborn Heights and look for help.
As for the identity of the man, for some reason news outlets like the Detroit News have decided not to identify the man until he is officially charged with a crime. I’ve been in the news business for almost 30 years and I’ve never run across this standard. When a 54-year-old man shoots a 19-year-old girl in the face and kills her for stepping on his porch, not only is it news but the public also has the right to know his identity—independent of whether the police have officially charged him. Are we to believe that if a black man had shot a 19-year-old white girl in the face, the news media would be protecting him? I think not.
So if the Detroit News won’t do it, we will: According to the independent publication VoiceofDetroit.net, which found the public records of the homeowner at the address on W. Outer Drive, the man’s name is Theodore Paul Wafer.
The medical examiner also ruled that Wafer shot the girl from a distance that was not determined to be close range. So that means the girl was not up in his face when he opened fire. Which means it’s very unlikely that the teen, who was described as disoriented and confused by a lawyer for the family, was not presenting a threat to him.
But she’s dead now, so we’ll never know her side of the story. All we know is that a man on Outer Drive in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, shot her in the face. We think it’s time for the whole world to hear his side of the story. The best way to do that? In a court of law—which can only happen after the man is arrested.
It took six weeks for Florida authorities to arrest George Zimmerman after he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Let’s hope the Michigan authorities can move quite a bit faster than that.
Somebody’s baby girl was gunned down for seeking help. We’re impatiently waiting to hear the clinking sounds of the handcuffs on her murderer’s wrists.
Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a New York Times bestselling author of 12 books, including the upcoming "The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path To American Leadership," which he co-authored with Al Sharpton.