In today’s warm-up, I briefly discussed the acquittal earlier this moth of NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs in the shooting an unarmed black motorist. It was a weird case. Isaacs was off duty, and prompted a driver to apparent road rage by cutting him off in traffic. The motorist, according to Isaacs, walked up to his car and struck him, and fearing that his assailant was armed, the officer drew his pistol and fired.
I don’t know if it was a coincidence or by design, but on the day of the acquittal progressive cartoonist Barry Deutsch, who once did battle (and well) at Ethics Alarms, posted this cartoon at his blog:
In the same post, he also called the late Justice Rehnquist a racist, which he was not, and made the demonstrably false statement that most police shootings involve blacks, but never mind that.
You have to really detest police and the principle of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to regard such a cartoon as fair or enlightening. (Ethics Alarms is on record as declaring political cartoons an inherently unethical form of punditry.) No cop has been acquitted of shooting an unarmed 9-year-old kid in self-defense, and the cartoon is factually wrong that such a claim by a police officer would get him acquitted. Moreover, the case Barry is apparently referring to, Graham v. Connor, does not involve a shooting, and Rehnquist’s opinion for the majority doesn’t say what the cartoon says it does. In addition, the opinion in the case primarily relied upon by the majority in Graham, Tennessee v. Garner, wasn’t written by the Rehnquist, but by Justice Byron White. It also specifically involved police shooting at fleeing suspects.
Thus the cartoonist a) doesn’t know what he’s talking about b) misleads his readers ( the blog is an echo chamber if there ever was one), and c) smears Justice Rehnquist.
In the comments, Barry refers to the Tamir Rice shooting as an obvious case of the justice system letting a guilty cop off based on racism. Then he deceitfully misrepresents the facts, calling Rice an “unarmed child.” Rice was a “child,” but he was also a man-sized 12-year old in winter clothing, playing with an Airsoft pistol–it looks like a real gun; my son once owned one, and when he left some Airsoft guns in the back of our car, a police squad surrounded it after a 911 call—with the red tip removed. The officer who shot Rice had been mistakenly led to believe that a man was waving a real gun around in a public park. To him, this was not an “unarmed child.” This was an armed man. There was no evidence that Rice’s race played any part in the shooting, except through presumed racism by people like Barry Deutsch.
Following a cartoon that spoke of a 9-year-old, Barry’s word games smack of deliberate disinformation. No question about it, the officer in the Rice case was incompetent and should never have been hired, and the police department was liable for Rice’s death, which is why the parents received a multi-million dollar settlement. But the DA had good reason to believe that no jury would convict the officer of murder given what he had been told and saw at the scene. (Personally, I think Rice’s death was criminal negligence.)
But that’s Barry, a smart, perceptive man thoroughly addled by progressive cant and bias. After all, he thinks this is a fair cartoon about climate change.
It’s the SECOND-most unethical political cartoon of the month…and I bet 99% of progressives see nothing wrong with it.