Category Archives: Race

Perfect Timing: The Tamir Rice Shooting

The boy and his toy.

The boy and his toy.

Unluckily for poor Tamir Rice, Cleveland, its police Department and Officer Timothy Loehmann, but luckily for the race-hucksters, activists and anti-police zealots determined to sell the position that white police have a secret hunting license for black kids, we have this latest tragedy, with another unarmed black child, this one just 12-years-old, killed by police.

Although it will doubtlessly not be portrayed that way in the media, there were many contributing factors to Tamir’s death. He was carrying a realistic pellet gun revolver in a park, and this is not a good idea. The guns are very realistic, especially from a distance. An observer called in a 911 alarm…I suppose the citizen can’t be blamed for being cautious, but in an earlier age, when toy guns looked like toy guns and the idea of a kid shooting anyone for real was unimaginable, this would have never happened.

Incredibly, the dispatcher didn’t relay to the officers the information from the caller that the gun was “probably fake.” The police excuse for that obviously crucial mistake was “We need to get that information to that zone car.”  Get the information that someone is wielding a real gun when there is already reason to believe it might be fake? There is never a need to get bad and potentially deadly information out fast. If nothing else, this is negligence, and would fuel a powerful lawsuit.

Then the officers arrived, encountered the kid, and apparently shot him dead without using a megaphone to warn the boy to drop his pellet gun. Not only did they assume the gun was real, thanks to the incomplete dispatcher report, but the shooting officer was a rookie. Would a more experienced cop have kept a cooler head? Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society

Verdict: The Grand Jury Process Was Fair and Just

abstract door grand jury room

The accusations and complaints about the Darren Wilson grand jury just don’t hold up.

Criminal law professor Paul Cassell consolidates several issues raised in the comments here and in the news media in his excellent analysis in the Volokh Conspiracy, here.

Among the criticisms he addresses…

1. Using a Grand Jury Deviated from Normal Process.
2. The Grand Jury Took Too Long.
3. The Grand Jury Got Too Much Evidence.
4. The Grand Jury Operated in Secret.
5. The Grand Jury Was Exposed to Pressure.
6. The Grand Jury Did Something That Grand Juries Ordinarily Don’t Do.
7. The Grand Jury Misunderstood the Standard of Proof.
8. Robert McCulloch was Biased and Should Have Recused Himself.
9. The Grand Jury Evidence Shouldn’t Be Released.

He also echoes my conclusion about many of the protesters, as he ends his piece with this: Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights

Comment of the Day: “The Ferguson Riots: Of Course.”

I know this is a departure: this is my own comment. After I posted it in a fevered state, I decided that it warranted wider exposure.

It comes in response to a jaw-dropping post by one of the most articulate and analytical regulars on Ethics Alarms, who wrote in response to the original essay, this, beginning with a quote from it:

“the activists don’t care, literally don’t care, about [what really happened and why] For them, the issue is simple. A white cop in a racist police department shot an unarmed black teen to death, and that means that there will be riots if he’s not indicted.”

“As there should be.

The moral is – if you don’t want riots, regardless of whether the shooting was justified (if I were on the Grand Jury, then on the scraps of evidence I’ve seen, I’d indict to let it go to trial – just as if I were on the jury of the trial, I’d acquit barring more evidence) – anyway, the moral is – don’t run a racist police department.

Such civil disturbance is the natural countermeasure to tyranny.

I consider such civil disturbance to be a really, really, REALLY bad thing. I think anyone rational does. That means we have a responsibility to make sure that Law Enforcement is not so manifestly, systemically unjust that regardless of the facts in an individual case, riots are inevitable.

What should be is that there’s a justice system that, even though imperfect, is not so horrible that rational people become irrational and desperate. While there will always be some who are “professional rioters”, without a groundswell of popular sentiment behind them, they’re a small bunch of crims easily dealt with.”

After I carefully picked my jaw off the floor, I wrote this, the Comment of the Day, in response… Continue reading

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Filed under Comment of the Day, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society

The Ferguson Riots: Of Course.

A car burns on the street after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

From Ethics Alarms, August 17, 2014:

IF the evidence supports the conclusion that Brown charged at Wilson, neither the family of the slain teen, nor the African American community in Ferguson, nor the protesters, the race-hustlers, the black and progressive politicians who benefit by preserving racial tension and distrust,  much of the news media and many, many pundits and political bloggers, will change their rhetoric, accusations or the prevailing Ferguson narrative one bit. They need for the narrative as it stands to be true, and want it to be true. Massive confirmation bias will ensure that the death of Mike Brown will be talked about, protested and regarded as an example of racist police oppression of young black men, and the truth, in the end, will be irrelevant.

I hope my prediction is wrong.

But it was not wrong. Everything that has happened since the announcement that the grand jury returned no indictment against Darren Wilson has been inevitable for months, and more so since no responsible steps were taken by the Obama administration to prevent it all. The desultory, disgusted, support-of-the-rule-of-law-by-rote speech by the President tonight, calling for calm while signaling to all by tone, expression and body language that his personal opinion was in conflict with his words, couldn’t have helped.

So now the race-baiters, dividers, bigots, rioters, looters, and hustlers, as well as the rest who have waited for so long to exploit this tragedy for partisan and ideological objectives, have what they want.

My thoughts on the matter from an ethics point of view were stated here a month ago. The riots, lootings and burnings hadn’t happened yet, but otherwise everything is as it was when I wrote…

At this point, confirmation bias has completely taken over the Ferguson story, meaning that a combination of factors—police incompetence; a toxic racial culture in the city and region;  the racial distrust carefully nurtured by Democrats, the Obama Administration, and an irresponsible news media; anger and cynicism by non-black, non-race-baiters over the disgraceful George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin tragedy;  the slanted reporting of Brown’s shooting from the outset, and especially the full commitment of the civil rights establishment to make this incident the centerpiece of an attack on racial profiling and police violence against blacks regardless of whether the facts of the case justify it—now make any fair resolution of the incident impossible. They also guarantee that whatever occurs, the end result will be police anger, more racial division and distrust, and activists continuing to promote a false or misleading narrative as truth, just as in the Zimmerman-Martin debacle. It is hopeless….

….the activists don’t care, literally don’t care, about [what really happened and why] For them, the issue is simple. A white cop in a racist police department shot an unarmed black teen to death, and that means that it was a racially motivated murder.

The police and their mostly conservative defenders also don’t care about the details. Once again, a dedicated public servant who put his life on the line was forced to use deadly force against a dangerous thug who attacked him, and because the cop is white, is being persecuted and unjustly maligned.

Everyone is poised to see what they want to see, believe what supports their biases and agendas, and shout loudly about injustice regardless of what occurs, fertilizing the ground for the next incident they can exploit, along with cynical politicians.

Good job, everybody.

_______________________

UPDATE: The grand jury documents are beginning to trickle out. Here is Officer Wilson’s testimony.

 

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society

Why Hasn’t President Obama Made A Formal Appeal To Avoid Violence In Ferguson?

riots

He has an obligation to do so. He is the leader of the nation; he is the most admired figure among African-Americans; he is sworn to uphold the Constitution, which the Ferguson protestors either want to ignore (by rejecting due process of law) or believe is being ignored and abused. He has the bully pulpit; he is a persuasive and eloquent orator when he cares about what he is saying. Most of all, he has an obligation because the rhetoric of his appointees, party leaders, surrogates and the President himself have exploited race as a wedge issue and lowered racial comity in the nation to its most dismal state in decades.

Now the stage is set for blood, with Rodney King-style riots in Missouri and perhaps elsewhere, should the grand jury refuse to indict Officer Darren Wilson. Already the process has been thoroughly corrupted by premature conclusions about what happened the day Michael Brown died, and the civil rights establishment, goaded by Brown’s parents, their opportunistic lawyer, and permanent agitators like Al Sharpton, have made it clear that nothing less than a murder indictment will constitute “justice.” Professional protesters have been recruited; looters and rioters are gleefully anticipating a rumble; local businesses are tripling security; and the National Guard is on alert. The fuse is lit, and the impending explosion will be devastating in monetary, human, spiritual and historical terms. President Obama is the one individual who might be able to put it out.

If he does not, if he does not even try, it will be the greatest failure of a sadly failed Presidency, and nothing will  surpass it no matter what horrors lay ahead.

I do not know why the President has not spoken out already. My best theories:

1. He never acts in a timely fashion, almost literally never. He “leads from behind,” which means that he avoids leading until it is unavoidable, despite the needless harm that results from each delay.

2. He does not want to make the effort and fail, so he would prefer to react to a riot and condemn it, rather than take responsible actions to prevent it.

3. He is so focused on the looming fight of his own making regarding illegal immigrants that he isn’t paying attention.

4. His advisors have told him that there is no political advantage to be gained in making such a speech, and that taking the side of the justice system will be seen as support for a white police officer over “an unarmed teen.”

5. He wants racial unrest because it will dominate the news and take attention from all the other issues—Gruber, the imperiled ACA, Ukraine, Isis, pointless expenditures to stave off climate change, and more—that reflect poorly on him and his administration.

I cannot, however, think of a theory that reflects positively on him as a President, a leader, an American or a human being.

Let me know if you can come up with one, would you? It would sure make me feel better.

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

About Bill Cosby

Cosby meme

Fair enough. Wait…what????

Why is Bill Cosby’s past avocation as a Hollywood power-abuser and serial sexual predator suddenly so upsetting to Hollywood that they are recoiling from him now?

I refuse to believe that everyone in the news media, the entertainment industry and the black community didn’t know all about it, and for many years. I wrote about it in 2007, and I am not an investigative reporter.

I have to conclude that this is all because of younger people learning about this for the first time and the effect of social media. When whoever runs Cosby’s Twitter account cluelessly challenged followers to “meme me!”, what resulted was a flood of derisive–but funny!—memes referencing the rape allegations (he reportedly used hypnotic drugs), like the one above, or this one:

Cosby meme1

 

I also have to conclude that… Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Race, Workplace

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: Andrew Barovick

"What? Can't you take a joke?"

“What? Can’t you take a joke?”

Lawyer Andrew Barovick  resigned his leadership position with the New York City Bar Association after sending the following tweet about Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss, a Republican who had just lost the election and who happened to be black

 “In light of election loss, [Sheriff Moss is] mulling offers to be new spokes model for either Cream of Wheat or Uncle Ben’s rice.”

Oh, nice. Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Professions, Race, The Internet, Unethical Tweet