(I posted this to a more general group, but maybe this group would also understand what I'm trying to say.)
And Now I Wait and Wonder
A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend posted a news story about people protesting the lockdowns by driving around the state’s capital. They committed no crimes. They threatened no one. They didn’t really even violate the “social distancing” orders which have never been debated in a legislature and never passed through any system of laws in this country. The more shrill among the lockdown supporters scream that anyone else leaving the house is somehow threatening everyone, but the people making those claims always seem to see exceptions for why they should be allowed to enjoy the things that they enjoy while others are locked down.
I wrote a reply and then deleted the reply without posting. This Facebook friend doesn’t share my views on social and political topics, and anything that I would have said would have only offended her. In spite of what some people think about me, I don’t enjoy confrontation. I don’t enjoy offending people. However, my views often go against what the herd believes, and some people can’t stand hearing my views.
At least one of her friends made a comment wishing violence against the people who were protesting. I don’t remember the exact comment, but the message was clear. This guy thought that the people who were protesting the lockdown should be hurt for protesting.
I’ll probably never encounter that person again either in person or online. I have no interest in seeing what he has to say on any other topic, but I have no doubt that he’s another voice raised in condemnation of Derek Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd. That hypocrisy amazes me, but I doubt that anyone else will understand. Even so, I will write.
That guy thought that a bunch of people driving around their capital city to say that they don’t see value in the lockdowns deserved to be victims of violence. At the same time, he would be horrified that violence fell on someone who was apparently trying to pass counterfeit bills at a store. In other words, the right to protest, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment, deserves violence if he doesn’t like the perspective of the protesters, but maybe he would simply excuse someone who is stealing from all of us by using counterfeit money. That kind of stupidity still amazes me.
I’m shocked and angered by what Chauvin did. He needs to be prosecuted. I can’t see how what he did doesn’t lead to a manslaughter conviction at the least, but least measures don’t seem right at this point. Unless I see something that changes the story, I believe that he is guilty of murder. If that were the case, I’d be willing to push the plunger to put him to death.
While nothing can justify what he did, I suspect that there’s some other part of the story that we aren’t seeing.
When George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the media rushed forward a story of Zimmerman stalking and killing a black teenager. News outlets replayed an edited 9-1-1 call where Zimmerman is heard saying “He’s black” to describe a teenager who looked suspicious. Later, we learned that Zimmerman didn’t initiate a racial description of Martin. We learned that the dispatcher asked Zimmerman whether the person was black or white. Maybe Zimmerman was always a little off balance. In the years since that incident, Zimmerman has certain become off balance and has had legal difficulties. However, the evidence is still pretty clear that Martin attacked Zimmerman, threw him to the ground, and was beating on him before Zimmerman fired the fatal shot.
When Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, Brown’s friends initially claimed that they and Brown had their hands in the air and were asking Wilson not to shoot. That was an outright lie. We later learned that Brown attacked Wilson while Wilson was sitting in his patrol car. Wilson wounded Brown with gunfire, and Brown initially fled. Wilson got out of the car to try to make an arrest but was not chasing Brown. Brown turned and charged Wilson again, and Wilson killed Brown in self-defense. We also learned that Brown had just stolen from a store and assaulted the owner. Wilson didn’t stop Brown because Brown was a young black man in the wrong place. Wilson stopped Brown because Brown was the guilty party and therefore matched the description perfectly.
The media has lied too many times for me to believe the initial story as packaged and served. I can’t see how anything reduces the charges against Chauvin below manslaughter, but I still want to know what the real story is. If nothing else, Floyd’s family and friends as well as society as a whole have a right to hear Chauvin answer the question, “What the Hell were you thinking?”
As I wait for information about this horror in Minneapolis, I keep wondering what information is being withheld for the sake of someone’s agenda.
I’ll start with the obvious. Did police respond quickly to a call about someone trying to pass counterfeit money? If so, why did they respond so quickly? Was that a fluke or did Mr. Floyd do something that caused a fast response? Did Floyd threaten the clerk at the store because the clerk refused to take counterfeit money? If so, how serious was the threat?
These questions lead me to wonder what made Chauvin act the way he did.
He’s been a Minneapolis police officer at least since 2006 when he was involved in another shooting. On that night, he was one of six officers who shot a man who had stabbed two people. One was the suspect’s girlfriend and the other was a friend of the suspect. The police said that the man pointed a shotgun at them. If Chauvin had fired alone, believing that the incident suggested racism might make sense. That five others were shooting suggests that the suspect did point his shotgun. Chauvin was involved in two other shootings in 2011, but I haven’t seen any details on those shootings. Why would he decide to execute a black man just for fun after at least fourteen years as a police officer? Again, everyone, particularly the victims, deserve an answer to the question “What the Hell were you thinking?”
The videos seem to show Floyd resisting arrest as he got out of his vehicle, but he’s cuffed and not offering any physical resistance as he sits along a wall. The videos show him being led towards the police car. Nothing shows how he ended up on the ground next to the police SUV with three officers on top of him.
What happened in that sequence? Did he somehow escape the handcuffs so that the officers felt that they had to put additional pressure on him to keep him from escaping again? Did he kick at the officers so that he was a threat even in cuffs? Supposedly, the officers were wearing body cameras, but no one is releasing that footage.
What other options did the police have and why didn’t they use those options? At one point in one of the videos, Chauvin threatens to use mace or pepper spray against the crowd of people insisting that police check Floyd’s pulse. If Floyd was still resisting even in cuffs, why didn’t the police use pepper spray on him instead of putting a knee on his neck? Did the police have Tasers or any similar kind of stun weapon? If so, why didn’t they use those weapons instead of putting a knee on Floyd’s neck?
Did Floyd spit on the officers? Spitting on a police officer is always wrong, and I have no sympathy for a suspect who is roughed up a little bit after he or she spits on a police officer. Given the current hysteria over COVID-19, spitting on someone would be considered a more potentially lethal assault against the officers. Floyd’s spitting on one of the officers doesn’t justify holding a knee to his neck until he dies, but given the current hysteria, I can see where that could escalate a situation to the extremes that we’ve all seen in the video.
Nothing justifies what Chauvin did, but we are all owed an answer to the question “What were you thinking?” The people who most deserve the answer are Floyd’s family and friends, but given the public nature of what happened, all of society is owed that answer.
While the country is further divided and horrified at what happened to Floyd, another story passes under the radar. Police in Kentucky recently executed a “no-knock” raid on a black couple in the middle of the night. Their names were/are Breonna Taylor and Kenneth Walker. I’ve heard different details about the raid. One is that the police raided the wrong apartment. Another is that the police didn’t enter the apartment wearing uniforms that clearly identified them as police. As with the Floyd case, we aren’t given complete information.
Mr. Walker heard intruders and fired a gun in self-defense. The police sprayed the bedroom with bullets and killed Ms. Taylor. She was an EMT. No one is saying whether the police actually found drugs, but if they really believed that she was a major dealer, they could have raided the apartment when no one was home. They could have arrested her when she reported to work and wouldn’t be in a position to fight. Unless something major is missing from this story, there was absolutely no reason for a no-knock raid in the middle of the night.
The police tried to cover the fiasco by charging Mr. Walker with attempted murder on a police officer. Unless the police can give a very good reason why they wanted to raid the home in the way that they did, they are as responsible for her death as they were for Mr. Floyd’s.
The reactions say bad things about our society. That the unjustified killing of Floyd receives attention because we saw that killing on video but the unjustified killing of Ms. Taylor is forgotten because there was no video says that we’ve lost touch with reality. Nothing is more real just because there’s a video. Ms. Taylor’s friends are just hurt by her loss. Her life was certainly no less valuable. That we don’t see anything as real unless there is video is a sign of a society in decay. The rioting in Minneapolis and other cities is likewise stupid and shows the rioters to be trash. Burning an innocent person’s or company’s business because of someone’s death doesn’t bring justice.
In a general sense, all lives matter, but in many ways, each individual has to make his or her life matter. Someone who lives as trash is living a life that doesn’t matter. If Floyd really did try to pass counterfeit money and really did threaten the cashier for refusing that money, he made his life matter much less. If he really did spit on the police officers, particularly in this time of hysteria about a virus passed by body fluids, he made his life matter much less. One modern saying that makes sense is “Play stupid games - win stupid prizes.” If Floyd really did try to pass counterfeit money, possibly threaten a clerk, and then spit on police officers, we need to see him as someone who played stupid games. The coming together of his and Chauvin’s stupidity brought tragedy to them as individuals and to our society as a whole.
None of that justifies putting a knee on his neck until he died. Chauvin deserves punishment. Society deserves an answer to the question, “What the Hell were you thinking.”
Do you have a 'Crip Note' version of this?
I'll reply to what I think is your statement. The officers conduct is/was wrong. From videos posted I see no reason for the officers conduct. Unfortunately we lose video as the two go around the car. Does that change anything, not to me, it only adds clarity.
Did Floyd do something? Probably, but that doesn't warrant the excessive force used by the officer. The officer should have been arrested as soon as the evidence was presented in his wrong doing.
As for the rioting, again, there is no excuse. MLK Jr didn't riot. MLK Jr advocated for peaceful protest. IMO the rioting is systematic of the mindset of the people involved. It's not about justice or simply protesting. When Al Sharpton makes comments about destroying black business' as "reckless", it proves the rioting isn't about justice. ""Some of the stores that are being damaged are black-owned stores!" Sharpton exclaimed. "So we cannot become so reckless that we are destroying each other in our rage." During his "Morning Joe" appearance on Friday
Ms. Taylor, IMO, was an unfortunate mistake. A mistake that shouldn't have happened, but a mistake none-the-less. Should the police be held responsible, yes, but what individual do we hold? Do we treat it like we do a car accident with a death?
"On July 7, 2016, Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and fired upon a group of police officers in Dallas, Texas, killing five officers and injuring nine others." Wiki, where was the outrage, the rioting, the demand for change in society so this doesn't happen again?
In the Floyd case, the officer will be convicted of Manslaughter, to what degree I don't know.
Per Wiki, if this is proven to be true, then all 4 should be charged with manslaughter.
"The death of George Floyd, an African-American man, occurred in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, when Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, with 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that occurring after Floyd was unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint filed against Chauvin. Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the road, while Chauvin had his knee on his neck.The three other arresting officers were identified as Thomas K. Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng. Officer Kueng held Floyd’s back while Lane held his legs, and Thoa stood nearby and looked on. The four officers were fired the next day. [en.wikipedia.org]