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In many of the police brutality cases that made the news over the past 6 years, white people immediately pointed out how the person being brutalized failed to cooperate with the police and brought the ensuing violence upon themselves by escalating the conflict. How is what happened to Dao any different than what happened to Eric Garner? Both refused to cooperate. Both escalated the situation. Dao was given a lawful order to deboard and he refused the airline staff and he refused law enforcement. But nearly everyone is coming down on Dao’s side (including me, by the way) while so many did not come down on Garner’s side and instead say he brought it on himself. Is the color of the brutality victim a factor in deciding who we can sympathize with?

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