At least that’s how the headlines would read if Derek Chauvin, the cop who killed George Floyd, had been the victim: 17 misconduct complaints with no effect on his career. At the link, a depressing look at how hard it’s become to rein in bad cops (here’s another example). Among other things, if the department has a history of going easy on them, cops’ attorneys can argue that if the department does try to get tough, they’re not following established procedure. And some cities find it easier to pay out millions of dollars than attempt reform. But I’m encouraged to see Ferguson police taking the knee in support of the protests. Houston’s police chief adds some thoughts. Congresswoman and ex-cop Val Demings has more.
I must admit, I’m surprised by how suddenly things exploded over the past few days. Not that Floyd’s death wasn’t horrifying, but we’ve seen so many black men gunned down or harassed, I wouldn’t have guessed this one would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. But here we are; hopefully change for the good will result. We need change because police — who were so hands off during all the Vanilla Isis protests over quarantine — are now shooting rubber bullets at journalists and pepper-spraying politicians. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Trump has undone all the police reforms Obama pushed through.
Trump, of course, wants you to know he’s a tough guy. Not that he’s going to meet protesters or stare them down, but he has big strong men to protect him, which he seems to think will impress us with his toughness (“It’s as if Trump is an effete, effeminate emperor luxuriating in a 1950s biblical epic, surrounded by a musclebound Praetorian guard.”). Our big tough president has also announced he’ll stop the urban unrest by declaring antifah a terrorist group. Trouble is, antifah isn’t an organized group — it’s like declaring pacifism or racism a terrorist group — and Trump has no real legal power to do that. Then again, he’s done lots of things he can’t legally do, so who the hell knows what this means? Other than that he’s continuing to slit his own political throat, which is fine with me.
(As No More Mr. Nice Blog says, if Trump were Putin he might have Twitter intimidated to the point it’ll give him whatever he wants. Instead, he’s issuing an executive order to try and pressure them into being nicer and not fact-checking him. I doubt he has the stomach for a protracted war, or any sort of war, but at the same time having presidents do this shit, even unsuccessfully, pushes the Overton Window the wrong way).
I honestly have nothing deep to say about what’s happening that hundreds of others haven’t said better. So keep reading. Protest if you’ve a mind (I’m for peaceful, but that’s just me). Donate to those who can help. And if you have ideas beyond that, put them in play.