Thursday, July 2, 2020

Police ‘Reform’ and the Making of a Racism Narrative

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
This narrative is driving the nation to ruin.
Have you seen that mountain of evidence that Derek Chauvin is a racist? Me neither.
In that regard, I’m like the Wall Street Journal’s fearlessly fact-driven Jason Riley. Did some shred of racial animus motivate the since-fired Minneapolis police officer’s killing of George Floyd? For the moment, we have no proof of that — just a racialist narrative built on the happenstance (no reason to believe it’s more than that right now) that Chauvin is white and Floyd was black.
These days, alas, mere happenstance is enough to tear this nation asunder.
As an old investigator, I am intrigued by the fact that Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison has refused to disclose police body-cam video of the moments leading up to Chauvin’s disturbing neck hold. Ditto the fact — highlighted in my analyses of the charges filed against the arresting officers (here and here) — that the state’s minute-by-minute recitation of probable cause omits whatever went on between Floyd and police inside the squad-car. Surely, if they helped the prosecution’s police-brutality allegations, those gaps in the complaint would have been filled.
Similarly, the fact that Minnesota police procedures permitted the use of neck holds for suspects resisting arrest has disappeared from the reporting. No chatter permitted, either, about the facts that Floyd (a) had a significant criminal record (though no new charges in recent years), (b) was suspected of passing a small amount of counterfeit money at the time of his arrest, and (c) was high on fentanyl and methamphetamine — a toxic combination whose ingestion was particularly dangerous for a person with his heart conditions.
Silence on these matters is partially explained by the admirably widespread desire not to besmirch a tragic victim, as well as the Left’s more-narrow determination to martyr Floyd for purposes of their police-racism narrative. The subject is also verboten, though, because the police were inconveniently recorded discussing their fear that Floyd might be experiencing excited-delirium syndrome. When police suspect that dangerous condition, their training calls for restraining the arrestee until emergency medical personnel arrive.
I’ve expressed my concern that the case against the former Minneapolis police is both overcharged and undercharged. Others have taken the overcharging argument further than I have — and persuasively so (see this thoughtful, comprehensive analysis by Gavrilo David). None of this means the prosecution of the now-fired cops is illegitimate. To the contrary, it underscores the wisdom of the original charges, filed before the notoriously demagogic Ellison entered the fray. In them, prosecutors took pains to include a manslaughter charge along with depraved indifference murder. That is, the police were not trying to kill this man. His death, to which his own poor judgment contributed, resulted from police negligence, possibly severe enough to rise to recklessness. But to this moment, there is no reason to believe his death was intentional, much less a modern-day “lynching” motivated by racial animus.
Read the rest from Andrew C. McCarthy HERE.

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