A smiling Omarian Banks
An all too familiar story
By Frederick H. Lowe
Omarian Banks knocked on the door of what he believed was the new home he would soon share with his girlfriend. It was located in an Atlanta neighborhood that was not yet familiar to him.
It was the last mistake Banks would make in his 19-year-old life.
Realizing he had made an error, Banks apologized to the homeowner, “Sorry, I’m at the wrong house.”
Daryl Bynes, who lived there, screamed “nigger, you at the right house,” before pulling a gun and shooting banks three times in the back and killing him as he ran for his life.
Although Bynes called Banks a “nigger,” the harshest racial slur a person can call a black man except when the person doing the name calling also is black. Depending a person’s attitude, it can be a friendly even loving gesture between two black men or it can be taken as a hostile act.
Bynes is a black man.
Banks could be heard by neighbors, screaming, “I’m sorry. I went to the wrong house.” The deadly shooting occurred at 12:30 a.m. Friday.
Sound familiar? It should. Banks is the fourth
black person I have written about here who has either been shot at or murdered by a white-homeowner, in this case a black homeowner, or by police, for the capital crime of getting lost and asking directions.
Here are the names of the other victims.
Brennan Walker, 14, a black high school student, who missed his school bus, got lost on the way to school in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He knocked on the door of a home and was confronted by a hysterical white woman screaming, “Why are you trying to rob our house?”
Her screams roused her husband, Jeffrey Ziegler, who ran to the front door armed with a shotgun and began firing at the fleeing Walker, who was certainly traumatized but not wounded. The shooting occurred April 14, 2018.
In another deadly shooting by the police, Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M student, and former football player, was involved in a one-car accident in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ferrell walked to a nearby house seeking help.
Instead of answering her doorbell, Sara McCartney, the homeowner, called the police and charged that a black man was attempting to break into her house. When police arrived, Ferrell was sitting on the lawn.
He believed the police were there to help him. He greeted them with a warm smile. The cops responded with hot lead.
Randall Kerrick, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, police officer, shot the unarmed Ferrell 10 times killing him. The deadly shooting occurred on September 14, 2013.
Kerrick pulled an excuse from the police bag of lies, claiming he ‘feared for his life’ when he fired his gun at the unarmed Ferrell. The next day, police discovered Ferrell’s wrecked car and a light switched on among police department’s dim lights, leading them to believe Ferrell was seeking help.
Kerrick is no longer a police officer, but he’s not broke either. Charlotte-Mecklenburg paid him nearly $113,000 in back pay after a jury was unable to reach a verdict concerning a voluntary manslaughter charge against him.
Another victim was nineteen-year-old Renisha McBride. She was shot to death on November 2, 2013, when she knocked on the windows and the door of a house owned by Theodore Wafer in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, seeking help after crashing her car.
Wafer fired through the door, killing McBride after claiming he thought she was a burglar, a common reason whites find to shoot and kill blacks.
Wafer is now serving 17 years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder, manslaughter and weapons violations.
Bynes, who is being held in Fulton County Jail, is charged with murder.