As police across the country are pulling back amid a wave of angry protests and violent rioting, an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed during a family cookout on the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C. Police are offering $25,000 for information leading to an arrest. The victim, identified as Davon McNeal, reportedly loved football. He was shot in the head in Anacostia and pronounced dead at a local hospital, FOX 5 D.C. reported. One of his grandfathers lamented black-on-black crime and criticized Black Lives Matter for ignoring it.
“Everybody’s just saying they’re just tired – tired of the shootings in the community,” John Ayala, McNeal’s paternal grandfather, told FOX 5. “Everybody’s running around here thinking they’re Uzi-toting, dope-sucking, psychopathic killing machines and they’re just destroying lives.”
“We’re protesting for months, for weeks, saying, ‘Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.’ Black lives matter it seems like, only when a police officer shoots a black person,” Ayala lamented, bitterly. “What about all the black-on-black crime that’s happening in the community?”
John Ayala, tells @fox5dc he’s 11-year-old Davon McNeal’s paternal grandfather. Ayala says his grandson dreamed of being in the NFL & that everyone’s just tired of shootings in the community. He also mentions the Black Lives Matter protests in part of his interview. @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/ajrX7q5YkO
— Stephanie Ramirez (@RamirezReports) July 5, 2020
Ayala said the family had moved out of the Anacostia neighborhood due to the violence in the area, but they still have relatives in the community. McNeal’s mother hosted a “stop-the-violence” cookout for neighbors and the boy had only stopped by to pick up a phone charger and earbuds.
Ayala told FOX 5 that someone opened fire shortly after McNeal got out of the car. Everyone dropped to the ground. The shooting took place around 9:20 p.m.
One of McNeal’s grandfathers told FOX 5 that he hates the Fourth of July because he does not know whether to celebrate or duck from gunfire.
Tony Lawson, the victim’s maternal grandfather, broke into tears speaking about his grandson’s love for football. He added that his daughter — McNeal’s mother — works with Washington, D.C., Councilmember Trayon White and is a D.C. Violence Interrupter. She set up the event to help pacify the community.
“He was a good kid. I mean, his life gone,” Lawson said, fighting back tears. “Eleven years old, he hadn’t lived his life yet. Eleven years old. We got to stop killing each other. Stop it. Put the guns down.”
“Parents, you know your son out. You know what your kids out here doing. If you know, stop ‘em. Stop’ em before they hurt somebody else. Just stop it, stop it, please stop it,” Lawson added.
Davon McNeal does not fit the profile of an unarmed black man shot by police, but his life still matters. The Black Lives Matter movement zeroes in on a tiny minority of black victims, ignoring the broad statistics that show there is no “epidemic” of racist police shootings. Meanwhile, the protests over the horrific police killing of George Floyd devolved into violent riots that destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments.
At least 21 people have died in the riots, most of them black. Retired police chief David Dorn was killed by looters breaking into his pawn shop in St. Louis. Chris Beaty was shot while helping two women who were being mugged in Indianapolis. Italia Marie Kelly was trying to leave a protest when she was shot and killed in Davenport, Iowa. Antonio Mays Jr., a 16-year-old boy, was shot and killed outside the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) in Seattle. Secoriea Taylor — an 8-year-old girl — was fatally shot as her mother attempted to park a car near a group of protesters close to the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks had been killed by police.
These victims were all black, and their lives mattered. Rioters may have intended to protect black lives, but their lawless actions led to these tragic deaths, and the anti-police sentiment expressed in these riots has had a chilling effect on police across the country.
If the Black Lives Matter movement were serious about protecting all black lives, it would condemn the violent riots and address black-on-black crime. As Ayala put it, “Black lives matter it seems like, only when a police officer shoots a black person.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.