On this dayNov 06, 1947

Police Shoot and Kill Unarmed Black Military Veteran After Argument with White Bar Owner

On November 6, 1947, six white police officers shot an unarmed 25-year-old Black military veteran named Roland T. Price outside of a bar in Rochester, New York. The shooting was deemed “justified” even though evidence showed that Mr. Price did not resist the officers’ demands.

Mr. Price was the recipient of the Purple Heart medal, awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving, which he was wearing when he entered the bar in his military uniform that evening. After buying a drink, Mr. Price and the white bartender got into an argument over whether Mr. Price had been given the correct amount of change. In response, the bartender then drew a gun on Mr. Price and one of the waitresses called the police.

Patrolman William Hamill entered the restaurant with his gun drawn and ordered Mr. Price at gunpoint to step outside. Mr. Price complied with this order, exiting the bar to find five police officers waiting for him.

Despite seeing no weapon on Mr. Price, police confronted the veteran, who was in uniform, and ultimately opened fire on Mr. Price, shooting him multiple times, including twice in the chest and once in the head. After his death, a search of his body confirmed that he was unarmed. None of the police officers involved were indicted for Mr. Price’s death, and the shooting was deemed “justified.”

The repeated shootings of unarmed Black men by police and widespread racial discrimination against Black people have traumatized communities of color for decades. The legacy of this violence and a lack of response continues to haunt the U.S.

Learn more about how a presumption of guilt and dangerousness makes Black Americans vulnerable to racial violence, wrongful convictions, and unfair treatment.

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