During the day’s rush hour on May 14, Marcus-David L. Peters, a 24-year-old Essex County High School biology teacher, was shot to death by a Richmond Police officer along Interstate 94/65. The officer said he fired after Peters charged toward him and an effort to subdue Peters by a taser gun had failed.
The tragic incident ended some yet-to-be explained bizarre behavior by Peters who had led police on a short pursuit, hit three cars in the process, and emerged naked from his car to begin dancing and rolling on the interstate pavement before charging at the officer.
Peters had graduated with honors from Virginia Commonwealth University, and had in fact, spent that day in the classroom teaching his students.
“That was not my son,” said Barbara Peters, his mother. “This is just so out of character. Something went terribly wrong.”
The shooting of the man who historically has no history of mental disorder or criminal behavior is still under investigation.
Not only is the Richmond Police Department looking into the incident, but hours after it took place, Dr. Earl Smith told the GUIDE, he was looking into the incident as well.
“I had to really look for the story in the media,” said Dr. Smith, a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Wake Forest and at George Mason University. “It was not in the traditional or social media. So I called the police and got more information.”
Smith said incidents of Black men being shot to death by police is “now so routine” many media outlets don’t even bother to report such occurrences.
Smith’s interest in the case is part of an ongoing effort by himself and his colleague at GMU, Dr. Angela J. Hattery, to add to the growing body of evidence on the issue of police violence and racial angst against Black people and the causes
The duo has co-written a book, “Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change (Rowman & Littlefield), and it was released last December.
The book looks at the “myriad of ways in which Black Americans are policed both literally and figuratively.”
The book looks at the shootings of Trayvon Martin in Florida and others, such as Freddie Gray in Baltimore, according to Smith, to connect the regulations of Black people in various settings, including public education and the criminal justice system.