As Glenn Reynolds writes, "You want police to only shoot people when it's absolutely necessary, regardless of their race." Absolutely right.

The vast majority of our police want to do the right thing and succeed at doing the right thing, day in and day out, in a very tough job. We should all be thankful for that.

Law enforcement officials (including the police, prosecutors, judges, prison guards, and others) are entrusted with an enormous amount of power, and the general citizenry has a right to expect that power to be wielded fairly and without discrimination.

Over the last several months, the phrase "white lives matter" has been derided by many as a willfully obtuse (and usually racist) response to the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly in light of the disproportionate number of African-Americans shot by police.

But one group of mostly African-American civil rights leaders is stepping up to question a deputy's shooting of an unarmed, white, homeless man in Castaic -- because it just might be the right thing to do.

"We can't only be advocates when black people are killed by police unjustly," says Najee Ali, founder of Project Islamic Hope.

Ali is organizing a coalition of civil rights groups, including Project Islamic Hope, the National Action Network and the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable, which will call on state Attorney General Kamala Harris to launch an investigation of Tuesday's shooting.

"They shot this homeless man for nothing," Ali said of how witnesses have described the shooting. "He was unarmed and they killed him. I found out he was white later on. It doesn't matter to me."


Just as we expect our law enforcement officials to enforce the law without bias, we citizens should do our best to rise above racial and religious perspectives. That doesn't mean those perspectives are invalid, but they often aren't helpful for solving a problem. When we divide ourselves and stoke grievances we distract everyone and make it harder to accomplish meaningful, lasting improvements in our society. We all -- citizens and law enforcement -- need to focus on our shared goals: liberty and justice.

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