My good friend Angelo Henderson, an award-winning journalist turned crime-fighter, was buried this week in Detroit.
I thought of Angelo every time a commentator or columnist defending George Zimmerman or, more recently, Michael Dunn, would ask why African Americans were not as outraged and outspoken about black-on-black crime. During his much too short life – he was only 51 years old when he died – Angelo proved that argument wrong again and again through his work inside, and later outside, the newsroom.
Angelo, who died on Feb. 15 of an apparent heart attack, was a co-founder of Detroit 300, a community patrol group that challenged the “no snitch” culture that allows criminals to brazenly prowl urban communities because witnesses are too afraid to provide police with information that could help catch robbers, rapists and murderers.
As a journalist, Angelo explored the crushing effects of crime in Detroit in a story that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999. While working at the Wall Street Journal he wrote about a violent confrontation between a pharmacist and a gun-wielding man who attempted to rob a neighborhood drug store. The druggist, a middle-aged white man who had been previously robbed at gun point and vowed to never be so vulnerable again, shot and killed a black man who was described as a hustler and drug dealer. Angelo’s telling of the encounter was not a discourse on race or gun control vs. gun rights. It was simply an intimate look at how crime affected two lives, told with such empathy that you couldn’t help but ask yourself, “What would I do? How would I feel?”
To read this article in its entirety visit The Washington Post.
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