Sunday, January 03, 2010

Andre Chapple has black hair and brown eyes

In the local pages of the Kansas City Star a couple weeks ago, this description of a murder suspect caught my eye:
Authorities issued a $500,000 warrant for [Andre S.] Chapple, 32. He is about 5 feet, 11 inches tall and 230 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
The murder took place in KCK and it was, uh, murder, so chances are Andre is black. It's conceivable, though, that he is 'Latino' or even white.

A homicidal man is on the loose and the authorities are aware of a crucial aspect of his appearance (there is no way his eye and hair color could be known while his skin color remains a mystery) but are sitting on it to avoid the appearance of confirming an 'ugly' stereotype. The truth gets little consideration. As Bill Lind put it so well, political correctness is not a joke. It's deadly serious.

I am not aware of whether or not this is the standard practice of newspapers today as I rarely look at local street crime cases. Even if it is not, however, this is inexcusable.


Clark Goble said...

Typically I've found in the newspaper that if they don't mention race it's because the suspect is white. Which is problematic as well to say the least.

Anonymous said...

It's my impression that most non-French Andres are black.


expeedee said...

An accurate description, including all physical details of a suspect (which includes race) is necessary to avoid innocent people being stopped and detained as possible suspects.

Any detention is fraught with dangers and can easily result in injury to an innocent person. To willingly delete the race of a suspect for political reasons puts the law enforcement agency and the media at risk for a lawsuit.

I served as a Public Information Officer for a large city police department and made it a point to include race in every description of a wanted suspect, even if a photograph was circulated. This reduced the chances that an innocent person will be confronted by police resulting in injury of death.

Because a disproportionate number of wanted suspects are African-American, I often see that race is often omitted by the media. Perhaps they (the media) need to be reminded of the potential liability of such practices.

Black Sea said...

Not too long ago, I read an article about a shooting in Atlanta. The make, model, and color of the car driven by the shooter were all identified, but not the color of the shooter herself (yes, it was a woman), who was known to the victim and his family, and whose race would therefore have been known by the police.

OneSTDV said...

Disgusting, but not surprising.

Stopped Clock said...

Just a note that Andre is not a Spanish name; the Spanish form of the name is Andrés. Yes, he still could be Hispanic, because not everyone of Spanish descent has a Spanish name, but I consider it statistically unlikely especially given the last name in addition.

Audacious Epigone said...


Odd. Why would that be?


I'm under the same impression. I've known two guys named Andre and they're both black.


Has there been a high-profile case in which a NAM's race/ethnicity is purposefully left out resulting in harassment or worse when non-NAM people are fallaciously targeted as potential suspects? Or were you just being proactively prudent?

Black Sea,

Without being in the know, I'd guess that this sort of thing is not too uncommon.


Right, but Andre is a Portuguese name, so it's possible that he could be from somewhere like Brazil. That's why I used "latino" instead of "hispanic".

James McGrath said...

I've noticed this same thing on the news this side of the pond. If the criminal is white, they make no secret of his whiteness, if they are black or Muslim, they try to ignore the story, if they must report it, the colour and background of the suspect is left to our imaginations.

Odd that!

Nanonymous said...

Meet Andre S. Chapple, Jr:

Now stop your disgusting racial stereotyping!

expeedee said...


Yes, there have been cases where people have been wrongly arrested pursuant to a warrant or detained based on a description which lacked racial identification.

In more serious types of crimes, when the identity of a suspect is unknown, the police department in cooperation with media work together to alert the community about the crime and at the same time solicit leads as to the identity of the suspect. The suspect's race is of primary importance, along with sex, age, height, weight, clothing, scars, marks, tattoos, etc. In fact, race is the first part of any description, e.g. WM (white male), BM (black male), HM (Hispanic male), AM (Asian male), etc.

Descriptions tend to be rather vague, so police officers must be proactive to stop and detain people who reasonably fit the description. Imagine how many more potentially innocent men might be stopped or detained in a rape investigation with a description intentionally censored of racial identification.

In this case with Andre Chapple, however, it could be reasoned that since the suspect is already known, there would be no particular reason to identify his race for the purpose of identification.

About ten years ago, there was a push in California to amend the "Notice to Appear" (traffic citations) by deleting the race identification box on the form. I suspect that by removing the race box, studies regarding race/ traffic violations/insurance rate studies/etc. could be thwarted. Anyway, after realizing the potential of misidentification, the Justice Department abandoned the idea. Paradoxically, the Justice Department might now use this race data to show that NAM's are stopped and issued citations in disproportionately large numbers. But that, of course, is a whole other topic.

Audacious Epigone said...


Nice work, thanks. So he is black. Funny that The Pitch, which is regarded as pretty far left had the balls to show his picture while the KC Star did not.


That makes sense. But even if the suspect's name is known and the police know what he looks like, regular residents do not.

I can imagine potentially hearing a guy call to another guy in a store, for example, "hey Andre, where you been?", take a look at who he's talking to, and possibly put two and two together. If I know Andre's race (along with build), I'm more likely to call him in.