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Toni Morrison: Police Who Kill Unarmed Black Men Are ‘Cowardly’

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison told Charlie Rose Thursday night that we are living in “troubling” and “cowardly” times. And when she uses the word “cowardly,” she is talking about the continuing series of cops who have killed unarmed black men.

What “astonishes” Morrison about the series of stories in this vein that have been brought to light over the last couple of years is not the volume but rather the “obvious cowardice of the police,” she explained.

“I don’t mean all police, but those that we hear about,” Morrison clarified. “How are you afraid of a man running away from you?” she asked, alluding to the killing of Walter Scott. “How are you afraid of somebody standing in a grocery store on the phone with a toy gun that you can buy in the store?” she asked, referring to the death of John Crawford.

“How could be afraid of a little boy?” Morrison asked, speaking of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

On the other side of things, Morrison praised the Cincinatti officer who refused to shoot a suspect even though he was shouting “shoot me.” Of course, as Larry Wilmore pointed out, that suspect was white.

Asked by Rose what we can do to “change” things, Morrison said she wondered the same thing during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. “In that instance, you had somebody who could actually talk to somebody in the administration,” she said of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s relationship with President Lyndon B. Johnson. “I’m not so sure that can happen now, in spite of the fact that the president of the United States is a black man.”

Watch video below, via PBS:

[Photo via screengrab]

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