The desperate effort by the media–and possibly by the Kansas City Police Department–to avoid the subject of race in reporting crime reached something of a milestone on Wednesday with this sentence from Fox 4, “He is described as a light skinned male and is likely injured.”
The “he” in question is the fellow who stole an ambulance that had been converted into a work van, ran a stoplight at Bannister and Wornall, struck a pick-up truck and killed the 80-year-old man driving it.
The chase began in Overland Park when the son of the box truck owner saw the stranger in the truck and told him to get out. The man refused. The son gave chase and called in the authorities to help. In addition to the pick-up truck, three other cars were damaged either in the crash or in the flight preceding it.
“Police were looking for the driver of the work truck Wednesday afternoon,” the Kansas City Star reports. “After the wrecks, the man ran away to the east, witnesses said, and police brought in teams of dogs and a helicopter to track him.”
In addition to the son of stolen truck’s owner, several other people had seen the man who caused the accident. According to the Star, “Police did not have a description of the driver of the stolen truck immediately available.”
In its account, KMBC acknowledges that the police are looking for the suspect but offers no description. KCTV likewise offered no description of the man being hunted.
So a desperate man, now with a murder rap on his head, is on the loose on Kansas City’s east side, and no one is allowed to know what he looks like beyond “light-skinned.” If the media were as queasy about gender as they were about race–and that day could come–they might resort to saying the police were looking for, well, a person.