On the morning of Saturday August 18th, Philadelphia police officer Moses Walker Jr. was shot and killed. At this point this does not appear to have been a political attack: Walker was off duty and out of uniform. But nor is there any evidence for the police story of an attempted robbery gone wrong, a story which Commissioner Ramsey is attempting to reinforce by describing those arrested as “thugs.”

The police-media partnership would like to have their cake and eat it too. They want us to buy their line that Walker was not killed because he was a cop, but they also want us to treat his life as more valuable because he was a cop. Their strategy seems to be working: unlike the other 229 murder victims so far this year, people suddenly cared. The press responded, the venerable Fraternal Order of Police was up in arms, and the reward for Walker’s killer reached $118,000.

The message couldn’t be clearer: a cop’s life is worth precisely $98,000 more than anyone else’s (the standard reward is $20,000). A slap in the face, a kick in the ribs, just another in a long list of insults we are expected to suffer on a daily basis.

When we turn our rage on the cops, we are told that “cops are people too.” So be it: if cops are people then they are worth no more than the rest of us. A cop’s life is worth no more than any of the murder victims of Killadelphia, and definitely not more than the life of Hassan Pratt, the 28 year old shot dead by police last week near 56th and Pemberton. No outrage, no teary-eyed press reports, and no generous donations to find the killers, because we already know who they are but we’re just too scared to say it.

Give us back our $118,000. As a matter of fact, give us $118,000 for every murder victim this year, and we’ll rebuild the hood.

Unite the Blocks, Free the Streets