Ethics Dunces: John Harrington, Commissioner Of The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, And Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announced today that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested,  four days after the release of a video in which Chauvin was seen kneeling on the neck of African-American George Floyd, as he pleaded with officers to release him. saying he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was apparently correct, as he later died.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters that Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder. “This is by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer,” Freeman said.

I’m sure the applause was thunderous. Because it took four days for these officials to act on what the video made screamingly obvious from the beginning, millions of dollars of property in the city have been destroyed by rioting. “I am not insensitive to what’s happened in the streets.” Freeman said, “[but] my job is to do it only when we have sufficient evidence.”

He had sufficient evidence to arrest and charge Chauvin the second the video was available. One day to make sure there were no hidden surprises, okay, maybe. Four? Outrageous.

Meanwhile, in this paragon metropolis of progressive values and logic, Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey’s government said that it is giving out masks to rioters. Previously, Frey had warned that allowing 25% capacity in churches would be “a recipe in Minneapolis for a public health disaster” due to the pandemic. Minnesota has prohibited gatherings of ten or more people…except when they are looting, burning and rioting, apparently.

Is this a great state, or what?


43 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: John Harrington, Commissioner Of The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, And Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

  1. My daughter is less than a mile from the epicenter of this. Her US Rep is Ilhan Omar. And everyone is so nice and civil. Sure they are.

    The cops should have been charged in a nanosecond and publicly so. Punish them to the max.

    The rioters and looters deserve hot lead for their behavior.

    • Second-degree murder is an intentional killing, but is less serious than first-degree murder because some malicious factors aren’t present. Both first and second-degree murder in Minnesota have aspects of the “felony murder rule.” Felony murder is when you kill a person during the commission of another felony, such as rape or burglary.

      Minnesota also has a third-degree murder statute between second-degree murder and the two levels of manslaughter. This type of murder is not intentional and therefore is not as severely punished as first and some second-degree murder killings. However, the behavior is so atrocious that it isn’t mitigated or lowered to manslaughter in the first or second degree (voluntary and involuntary manslaughter).

      Sounds just about right.

  2. You probably need to point the finger at the police union, not the commissioner. When a citizen is involved in a fatal incident, they are brought in immediately for questioning. When it is a police officer, however, they are usually allowed about 3 days before being questioned. The police officers union knows that right after the incident, people are in shock, are easy to manipulate, and may say incriminating things. So officers are allowed three days or so to compose themselves and discuss things with their attorney and union rep. Their contract probably says they can’t be charged until they have been questioned. That is my guess for the 4 day wait.

    Remember, people who have been anointed by government employment are more equal than everyone else.

    • We keep hearing it’s the 1% of the bad officers that are the problem. If a union can actually get a concession from the police department that they get special rules, then there are no good officers, it is 100%.I have no sympathy for any police officers, it is their conduct that has put us here.

      • Well, I think we have fewer good officers today because we drove them out in recent years by vilifying them. Rather than working on ways to get rid of the bad officers, our government leaders implemented policies that punished the innocent in the name of ‘doing something about the problem’. It is always easier to punish the innocent than to deal with the guilty. That is why I have to take attendance in my college classes like it’s 3rd grade. A different school falsified their student rolls to collect extra state and federal money. Rather than punish them, the feds punished me. The good officers always have other job options and will leave if things get too bad. Someone who is a police officer because they are a bully and like to push people around will always stay. If you get enough bad officers, you can’t attract good officers.

      • That is a per se idiotic statement. One of my primary responsibilities for four years was the disciplining of police officers. I can tell you for a fact that 10% of the officers accounted for 90% of the problems. The other 90% were decent people doing a very tough job. However, since you have no sympathy for them, will you sign an agreement whereby you agree that the police will not respond to any 911 calls you or any member of your family place? I’ll be happy to draw one up and notarize your signature.

        • Thank you. As someone who kissed her husband as he went out the door dressed in a bullet proof vest and carrying a 45, I can tell you that he was deeply committed to the community he served and worked hard to protect, and procure services, for the most vulnerable among us. He may be my ex, but I will stand behind the work he did for 22 years any day – and proudly.

        • Interesting that you put it at 10%. Frankly I buy that number as FAR more likely as the fraction of bad cops.

          However, since you have no sympathy for them, will you sign an agreement whereby you agree that the police will not respond to any 911 calls you or any member of your family place?

          You start with that as “idiotic” yet you state one like this? The basic premise is that to utilize a service I’m compelled to pay for and people are paid to perform, I need sympathy to utilize?

          If you’re serious, I guess I’ll have to ask the parameters: Do I get to shoot someone who is a danger and be free of an investigation? Might not be a bad deal. I’ve never needed 911 for me. I’ve called it multiple times on the behalf of others, and most often to summon someone in need of fire / and or medical assistance.

          • Nope. You get nothing. My point is it’s foolish to take the attitude that you hate an entire sector until you need to utilize them.

          • You don’t need sympathy to utilize a service you are compelled to pay for and for which the police are compelled to show up. Perhaps you don’t expect them to have sympathy for you. But they will. They will empathize with the fact that you are having the worst day of your life, probably due to no fault of your own. They will empathize with you that you may feel powerless, scared, angry, vengeful. They will inform you of what your next steps are legally. They will give you their phone numbers and tell you to please call them if you have any questions. They don’t have to empathize with you – at all. They could point out that you’re the loser that couldn’t even protect your own life, your family’s life, or your property. But they won’t. They will show up. Whether you sympathize with them or not.

            • They’ll also be the ones who maybe get you out of the house as fast as possible before the firemen arrive to deal with the fire. They’ll be the ones to give you oxygen or CPR to keep you alive while the ambulance and medics are on their way. They’ll be the ones to pull your daughter out of the pipe in the back yard or point your lost son home. They’ll also be keeping a sharp eye on the intersections when school starts so that no kids end up the victim of a driver who wasn’t paying attention. They’ll be the ones to direct traffic when the stoplight conks out, in fair or foul weather. They’ll be the ones patrolling at midnight, when everyone else is asleep, with no one to talk to but the radio. They’ll be the ones holding the idiot teen who decided to try too much alcohol or something else, as he pukes into the gutter at 3 a.m. They’ll be there to stop your daughter’s crazy ex-husband from hurting her or your grandkids because she brought them to him a little late or she dared insist he pay his child support on time. They’ll be the ones who can’t sleep too well at night when they can sleep at all, thinking about the runaway kids who were never found, the kidnapped kids who were found too late, the women and children who’ll never be the same because of someone who decided they wanted them and were going to force the issue, the young lives cut short by something as simple as fooling around on a railroad trestle – or as tragic as a gangland bullet. And when a whole lot of people decide they’re going to break the law for whatever reason, he’s going to be the one who’s going to be the target for rocks, Molotov cocktails, or bricks. He might even be the target of someone with a gun for no reason other than he decides he wants to kill a police officer, or thinks that’s the way to make a point.

              Oh, they’ll do ok for this. If they save their money they can put their children through school, but they might need to plan to see Europe on their TV or computer. Those who move up will do better, but not every officer can move up. Not every officer wants to move up. Not every officer who can move up and wants to move up will get to move up, because there are just too many talented officers competing for too few slots. At a bare minimum they’ll give up 20 years of their lives to what some see as a job, many see as a calling. More often than not it’s 25 years or 30. How many people stay with the same job that long any more in any field? The luckiest officers are the ones that make it to the end of this time relatively whole. Some might say the next luckiest are the ones that fall in the line of duty. The toughest tickets go to the ones that end their careers crippled, blinded, or otherwise disabled, or who walk away physically whole but end up taking their own lives just to end the mental pain.

              All in all, the American law enforcement officer pays a high price for wearing the blue (or whatever) uniform with the badge and the gun. He knows his job and does it the best he can do it, and he is shamed when one of his brethren abuses the powers that go with those items. Not only is he shamed, but he fears it, because every time that happens his job gets a little more dangerous and a little more difficult, as victims don’t cooperate, witnesses don’t come forward, and those angered by the abuse decide to take their anger out on those who did not do the abusing. He may ask you for your cooperation. You don’t have to give it. He may ask for your compliance, and if you are smart you will give it. He will not ask for your sympathy, he will not ask for your validation, and he will not ask for your recognition.

        • As you pointed out, it is a minority of the officers who cause problems. If the number is 5% or 10% or 15%, it doesn’t really change things. The point is they exist, and they are allowed to continue existing by the rest of the officers, who know that the existence of bad officers is only making the whole job more difficult for others. The average member of the public asks “Why haven’t police departments done a through house cleaning? Why don’t they do so regularly?”

          That’s part of what frustrates me about this case so much – One officer clearly got too caught up in things, and couldn’t register that he was killing someone he had no need to. And three other officers couldn’t see what that was happening clearly enough to step in and stop him. I’m not saying they should have arrested Chauvin on the spot (though, if you would have done so to a civilian, maybe doing so would be a great way to show your community that police aren’t above the law?), but any one of them could have turned and said “Get off him. We’ve got him under control now.”

          Somewhere along the line, they were trained (either by example or explicitly) to focus more on following procedure than on policing the conduct of their fellow officers. I suspect that’s an attitude that’s rampant throughout most police forces, and its a huge factor in why people see things like this and get angry. Intellectually, I can understand why training would focus on that, and why camaraderie reinforces it. But emotionally, to watch it?

          You made a statement a couple of posts down, and I’m going to respond to that and this at the same time.

          All in all, the American law enforcement officer pays a high price for wearing the blue (or whatever) uniform with the badge and the gun. He knows his job and does it the best he can do it, and he is shamed when one of his brethren abuses the powers that go with those items. Not only is he shamed, but he fears it, because every time that happens his job gets a little more dangerous and a little more difficult, as victims don’t cooperate, witnesses don’t come forward, and those angered by the abuse decide to take their anger out on those who did not do the abusing.

          Good officers KNOW that bad officers make their lives harder. They should have a vested interest in getting rid of bad actors in their forces, and intervening to stop bad acts. So the question that drives a member of the general public batty when they see a situation like this is why other officers, besides the bad one, will stand there, metaphorically whistling in the wind and shrugging about how the situation is beyond them.

      • That is a patently ridiculous response. Last year, Matthew B(orges) was sentenced to life in prison for murdering (and beheading) a 15-year-old boy. Taking your standard to a similar conclusion would mean 100% of Matthew B’s are capable of murdering and beheading teenagers because of the one who actually did. See how silly – and dangerous – a gross generalization is?

      • I cannot agree. I’ve been a vocal proponent of criminal justice reform. However, when I look at my own community, honestly I’m rather proud of our police. I’ve never heard of any abuses or corruption from them.

        • I grew up where corrupt was the norm and I moved away. I have no desire to go back. Fortunately where I live now I’m blessed with great LEO.

          All of you that have had the privilege of growing up where the police were a positive force should consider not everyone has had the experience you have had.

      • Our DAG is a friend of mine, and I would bet everything I own that had this incident happened here, he would have had the guy charged by sundown.

  3. I’ve got a better idea than the things Michael Moore suggests. There’s got to be plenty of surveillance and security camera footage from the riot. I say gather it all up and run it through facial recognition software. Anyone who can be identified from the software as having participated in the riots, particularly the destruction of the 3rd precinct, should be arrested, stripped naked, and herded into the street. If they own their residences, the place will be torched. If they rent, their apartments will be cleared out and all their belongings will be piled in the street, covered with gasoline, and burned. They will then be marched to a place where they will be shaved, fitted out with orange jumpsuits and the cheapest sneakers available, then drafted as unpaid laborers to rebuild every building destroyed in this riot. They will sleep in concrete shelters without beds or blankets, and be fed only once a day. Once every building is rebuilt, then they will be tried for domestic terrorism. Any sentences will be given no credit for the time they spent rebuilding. When they finish their sentences they will be taken either north or south to the border and banished for life from this country.

    • Is your rabid vigilantism reserved for only one side, Steve?

      Just to be fair, shouldn’t Chauvin have been ripped out of his house and strung from a nearby tree by the mob before 50 police offers showed up to defend him? Or does your hatred of criminals only apply to those that don’t wear blue?

      • I don’t know? Do you think he should have been? He’s not any kind of criminal yet, nor will he be until he’s convicted, though I believe that will happen in fairly short order. Still, given the results in the Brailsford case, who knows? Do you want a rule by mob? If so maybe you should consider a move to Minneapolis, because that’s where that place is headed.

        • You’re the advocate of vigilante justice, not me.

          Those rioters can be charged with a slew of crimes. Many quite serious. Arson in most places ranks very high in punishment. Anyone caught should face those charges and I won’t shed a tear over them. Bit that’s not good enough, you went in this fanciful rant about extrajudicial punishment for rioters. I just want to know if you’re and equal opportunity vigalante advocate or reserve it for them and not for your fellow officer.
          You seem to have answered that by your twisting my position. I advocate it for neither.

    • I was with you, Steve, up to the point where you dumped your bad guys on two innocent, peace-loving countries with universal health care. That’s just …unethical.


    “Being Black in America should not be a death sentence.”
    -Mayor Jacob Frey

    I believe that this mayor is one of the people most responsible for making this about race. Had he stated something along the lines of police should not be allowed to get away with violating the rights of any American, many more people would be willing to get behind the charging of those police officers. We can’t say that riots would not have broken out nationwide, but I think I can say that they would have been less likely.

    Also, I believe that every news outlet that labels these riots as protests is acting unethically. Protests are peaceful. Civil disobedience is peaceful. Looting, arson, destruction, is not peaceful. It is rioting. Rioting is not protesting.

    Tell me how many times you see the word riot there. It’s none, or very close to none.

    • In 2018 Mesa police sergeant Langley and officer Philip Brailsford shot unarmed white man Eric Shaver five times while he was helpless and begging for his life. Langley retired and emigrated to the Philippines, while Brailsford was fired, but later quietly retired medically and acquitted of murder. There were no riots. I rest my case.

      • Evan Saylor of Frederick MD a Downs syndrome white male with an IQ of 40 died at the hands of Frederick police in 2013. His last words were “mommy it hurts”. His crime he stayed in a theater to watch a movie again without paying.

        No riots.

        Maybe we should take a page from the left and go on a rampage whenever we feel government goes to far – stay at home orders anyone. Of course I am being facetious but I do wonder how long all those dangerous right wing militias will continue to show restraint.

      • Well, not a death sentence that the police carry out in the streets. It really doesn’t matter though, too many people drank the Kool-Aid that the police hunt young black men who haven’t done anything because that’s what they do. Trying to explain otherwise is falling on deaf ears.

        • Uh, hullo Mr Steve.

          Are you trying to say that there’s no racism involved in the police killings of black people?
          Forgive me, I’m not from the US and my only news about the US come from CNN, BBC (and basically left wing media that I’ve learnt to ignore majorly because it’s not possible that everyone in the US would be so left leaning and still have Trump as an elected president), This site (because I believe questions of ethics are universal even when rules might be peculiar), and Prof Turley’s.

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