Anwar Ghazali, a clerk at Top Stop Shop in Memphis, Tennessee, will face murder charges after shooting a 17-year-old who he says stole a beer.
Ghazali chased Dorian Harris and shot him in the back multiple times. He only reported the incident to police after Harris’ body was found two days later.
“If he had said something, Dorian’s life could’ve been saved. You don’t shoot nobody Thursday and here it is Saturday and you ain’t said nothing about it,” said Effie Fitch, Harris’ grieving grandmother. “If he did do it, like children do, why you just didn’t tell him he can’t come to the store no more?”
After the shooting Thursday, Ghazali told a patron of Top Stop Shop that he thought he shot Harris, but he neglected to inform Memphis police.
Harris was known to do odd jobs for Top Stop Shop’s owner, who declined local news’ requests for comment.
#BREAKING: Store clerk charged with 1st-degree murder for allegedly shooting and killing a teen for stealing a beer.
— Nina Harrelson 🎥 (@NinaHarrelsonTV) April 1, 2018
Ghazali will face charges for meeting alleged crime with deadly force, something that can’t be said for many of the 277 people killed in similar circumstances by police officers so far in 2018.
Memphis police have been quick to pain a picture of Harris as having provoked this summary execution by a store clerk. A spokesperson called Harris “the victim/suspect” and said Ghazali “doesn’t officially know that he hit him.”
“We don’t want people to steal from businesses. We also don’t want people hunting suspects down and shooting them,” said spokesperson Louis Brownlee.
The attitude that summary execution of people of color suspected of crime is the norm, and even that actions like Ghazali’s are justifiable, has changed how people are raising their children. Part of the problem is the fact that police have more authority to kill people than soldiers in active war zones. Part of it is that the people who give that authority to police don’t look much like the people police tend to shoot.
And it’s an everyday reality in black and brown communities.
A unnamed friend of Harris’ told local reporter Nina Harrelson “the good die young where I’m from.”
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.