I write in response to Steven Edmondson’s Dec. 16 letter (“Where is the outrage, sorrow when a police officer is killed?”). I must thank Mr. Edmondson and all other police officers, active and retired, for their service. Any time a police officer dies in the line of service is an immense tragedy.

However, when a police officer dies, a community mourns. There is outrage and sorrow. Murdered police officers lives’ are never examined; their families’ pasts are never put on trial. Most often, there is also an arrest, a trial, a conviction and a sentencing.

These privileges are never extended to unarmed black men and women who are murdered by police. In the media, they are blamed for their own deaths, and if the case makes it to the courts, families rarely receive justice.

It may be true that police officers never start their shift with the intention to take a life. But as a society, and as police, we need to examine the deeply held biases that allow us to view other humans – particularly black and brown ones – as inherently criminal, and even as “demons.”

We need to examine the prejudices that allow us to respond to the death of children with anything but “this is an immense tragedy,” instead looking for ways in which he or she deserved to die. I am scared to live in a society where our default reaction is not to mourn the deaths of all lives, but to look for rationalizations for the deaths of some.

Oscar Grant. Akai Gurley. Rekia Boyd. Amadou Diallo. Eric Garner. The list goes on. None of these black people deserved to die at the hands of police. They were all unarmed. They were all murdered. There is an outrage because there is a pattern. And it must be challenged.

Meaghan Mingo

former Gray resident

Germantown, Md.