So, in Part 1 I discussed “systemic racism” in general, now I’m going to refer to the three cases of black men who died during encounters with the Police.
Let’s start at the beginning, with George Floyd – the (Democrat, blacktivist) State AG apparently tried to keep the Police body cam footage secret. It has been released through other channels and there are a few interesting points. First and foremost, none of the officers involved use a racial epithet or any demeaning terms toward Mr. Floyd. In fact, they show quite a bit of patience in trying to get him into a squad car. Nothing they did or said hints at race being a factor.
Moving on to Rayshard Brooks. Mr. Brooks passed out drunk in the drive-through lane of a Wendy’s in Atlanta. In this case the Police body cam footage was promptly released. Point 1 – once again the Police were very nice and polite with Mr. Brooks up until they tried to arrest him and he resisted violently. Again, no racial epithets, no racist inferences were uttered. He fought the Police and took away one of their weapons – a taser. A couple of important points here – under State law a taser is a lethal weapon. And earlier this year two Atlanta PD officers were charged by the Atlanta DA with using a “lethal weapon” (a taser) against a “protester” during a riot. Well, Rayshard broke away from the Police, and while running away fired the taser at them. They shot him and killed him.
People have argued that since they had his Driver’s License they should have let him go, you can always pick him up tomorrow. Hmm, a few problems here:
At that point it was not department policy to let a violent felon in possession of a lethal weapon go after he assaulted a police officer if you have his DL.
If they showed up at his address in the morning and were told “he moved out 2 months ago, no forwarding address” – oops.
Or he decided that he wasn’t going to prison and armed himself to the teeth and took out a few cops and innocent bystanders when they showed up.
And, just BTW, that evening you have a violent felon with a lethal weapon on the run who desperately needs a car. Hmm, what to do? He can’t go to Hertz, probably can’t get an Uber. But he can carjack somebody. So, he tasers an innocent citizen, jumps into their car and hits the interstate at 90 MPH with their kids in the backseat. I’m sure nobody would fault the cops for letting him go.
And I will note that the Police were shot at and had to make decisions in a split second.
Other than that, great thinking Monday morning QBs.
And as in the case of George Floyd, let’s riot before we know the details and before we find out if the authorities will deal with this appropriately.
The third case was Jacob Blake. Mr. Blake had a warrant out for his arrest for sexual assault. We are all supposed to be very, very concerned about sexual assault – remember “BELIEVE THE WOMEN”? He was violating a restraining order regarding the woman he is alleged to have sexually assaulted when Police arrived. He violently resisted arrest, apparently had a knife, the police tasered him to little or no effect, then he went to his car, reached inside and was shot. The police had their guns drawn and were shouting at him to stop.
I’ve heard a number of people argue that because the Police shot him in the back or that they shot him seven times their actions are clearly unjustified. I beg to differ. They had guns drawn and were ordering him to stop when he reached into the car. Anyone in their shoes would believe that he was going for a weapon. They didn’t want to wait for him to turn back around with a gun pointed at them to react. When your life is in danger and you feel compelled to shoot someone you don’t fire once and wait to see if that did the trick. If you are justified to shoot, you do so until you are sure the threat has been neutralized. Please note the “if” at the start of the last sentence – that will be decided by a jury, but once again, we don’t know enough to make that call at this point.
I will pause here to note that in these situations, as in much of life, the Devil is in the details. It may be that the Police should have shown more restraint, or that at the point that they started shooting they were justified – at this point I can’t say. And, neither, I strongly believe, can any of the people who are screaming about racism or the rioters (who the former are egging on). But before any of us knew the details or whether the authorities were treating this appropriately the usual suspects were off and running – riot now, ask questions later.
In the second and third cases a great deal will depend on the State law regarding the use of force, the PD policies that the officers were following (or failing to follow) and very fine details. A jury will probably have to weigh very carefully how much reason the officers had to fear for their safety.
One added bit of irony – the players on a WNBA team (women’s professional basketball, apparently that’s a thing) appeared on court in T-shirts spelling out Jacob Blake. So, they’re supporting a man accused of sexual assault? Because he was shot by Police in circumstances that haven’t been thoroughly investigated yet. All three of these men had serious issues with the law and mistreating their fellow citizens. That doesn’t excuse the Police if they mistreated them (which is to be determined), but the fact that people are beatifying them is disturbing.
If you still doubt that people are reacting too quickly without knowing the facts, please note that last week in Minneapolis a black man committed suicide. Rumors spread that it was a Police shooting and they had a night of rioting.
Sadly, I don’t see an end to this type of violence anytime soon. Even if Police across the country change their tactics radically and these types of cases decline dramatically, the fuse has been lit. There will be riots before the details emerge. And we’re starting to see a backlash where people are increasingly willing to show up armed to protect their businesses and homes. The drumbeat that Police are racists all too willing to shoot black men has been further ingrained in the minds of many young black men who will be much quicker to react violently. And Police will feel more threatened. A very toxic cocktail indeed.