August 10th 2016 marked the day that 19 year old Larnell Bruce died from a brutal murder at a local 7-11 in Gresham Oregon. Bruce was allegedly run over outside the store by 38 year old Russell Courtier alongside his girlfriend Colleen Hunt. According to Portland Mercury, Bruce was outside the store with his friends trying to charge his phone when the couple approached the teens. After being approached, Bruce and Courtier got into a huge argument that led to a physical altercation in which Hunt was encouraging. During the fist fight Courtier smashed the teen’s face in the store window. Bruce pulled out a knife for self defense and protection; he soon ran from the scene. Courtier and Hunt would then hop in their jeep and pursue Bruce intentionally trying to chase him down. They missed Bruce the first attempt however during the second attempt they struck Bruce in the middle of the road with their vehicle. Here’s yet another story of how an African American teen is killed by not just one but two white people one of which is a part of a white supremacy gang European Kindred according to People Magazine. Prison records also showed that Courtier had a past of fighting African Americans among other violent crimes.
Over the past month, television media has been silent, print media has been the main source covering this hate crime which brings us to the question; where is the media? So far big time publications and local publications have been covering this story. The Portland mercury gave one of the most detailed reports about the incident; this report gave all the details such as the type of car the couple used, background information about Bruce and crime information about the couple, and court dates. Shockingly not one story was released by America’s number 1 news source CNN; interesting how a huge matter of a story this is and it wasn’t aired on any other news sources besides local stations in the area of the incident. Facebook and Twitter have been the second leading source of getting this story out. Over the past few weeks the story has gone viral however it just hasn’t been reaching the main sources of media. In a way, its as if people want to make this story fade away or brush it off as if it’s not important. NY Daily News did a short summary of the issue after the fact basically reinstating what in fact happened, no full detail. An interesting part of this report was how the author found out about the story. He said” Text messages, direct messages on Twitter, emails, they were coming in from all over.” basically proving that the issue was more so trending on social media than anything. One report given by the Huffington Post under played the issue saying it was a basic hit and run accident when it in fact this was murder. Police reports even show that the suspects were stopped on sight and didn’t flee.
In a plethora of ways this incident reflects the black lives matter cases that occurred this summer involving Alton Sterling and Philando Castile where two African American males were gunned down by white police officers. Although it involved police and not regular people, its still an issue in the media where black lives were taken to racist violence. The only difference is the media coverage had a huge impact. It was being showcased everywhere, it was breaking news on multiple news sites. The funeral service of Alton Sterling was even aired in order to publicize the issue of black lives matter. BBC even did a story after the death of Sterling and Castile saying two black men have been shot dead by police in the US this week, the latest in a line of similar incidents, many of which have led to protests. Interesting how this seems to be a more severe matter, but when a black teen gets ran over intentionally, no protest or anything happens. The case involving Bruce also reminds me of the incident involving Jordan Davis. A black teen shot and killed by a regular pedestrian for playing his music too loud. Or the case with Kendrick Johnson, a black teen killed then rolled up in a gym mat to cover up the death. The only thing similar is how the media played a role; there was minor coverage and after that the story was tossed to the side just like Bruce’s story.
I personally feel that the killing of Bruce was unjust and another file to add to the black lives matter movement. The suspects deserve the punishment granted; according to the inquisitor Courtier admitted to getting into an altercation while then intentionally chasing and striking Bruce therefore all the charges given to the couple are due. I also feel that Hunt deserves the same punishment because she encouraged it and did not attempt to stop anything. Unfortunately the media picks and chooses what it wants to display and announce. In this case media chose to keep this story quiet even though it involved the killing of a black teen by white supremacy which has been a pressing matter in society for years. Our people just can’t seem to get the attention that we deserve, will it ever change?