1. George Floyd was not an admirable man. That shouldn’t and doesn’t matter, of course. What happened to him at the hands of four police officers shouldn’t happen to a dog. However, cognitive dissonance makes it difficult for emotion and anger-soaked people to accept that their martyrs are imperfect, so we are always forced to endure this process. In fact, the argument against police brutality would be cleaer and more persuasive if it were based on the fact that even the worst criminals should never be abused. Instead, the message conveyed is that what happened to Floyd is especially wrong because he was the salt of the earth. It wasn’t, and he wasn’t.
2. The officer was not trying to kill Floyd. He knew he was being recorded; he had to know that if Floyd died, he would be in terrible trouble.
3. Minnesota has already botched the prosecution. The first inept act was the governor and others widely publicizing the claim that Chauvin “murdered” Floyd. This will make a fair trial difficult, and if he is convicted, will automatically support an appeal. Then the radical, race-obsessed Attorney General, Keith Ellison, made it easier for Chauvin’s defense lawyers by over-charging, and worse, set out a precedent that may make policing impossible. Former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy explains:
The second-degree murder charge is now the main charge against all four officers. Essentially, the theory is that they committed a felony assault when they subdued a suspect who was resisting arrest. During the course of carrying out that “crime,” prosecutors allege, Floyd’s death resulted.
While the point may be subtle, this is saliently different from the theory of third-degree murder — i.e., depraved-indifference murder. In the latter, prosecutors would concede that it was lawful in principle for the police to subdue Floyd, but argue (correctly) that their manner of doing so was recklessly indifferent to human life, causing his death. By contrast, the new “felony murder” count, spearheaded by Keith Ellison, the radical leftist state attorney general, puts police on notice that they can be charged with a crime — felony assault — for doing their job, which routinely involves physically restraining suspects who resist lawful commands.
Any experienced law-enforcement officer will tell you that it is common for suspects to resist arrest by lying on the ground, claiming to be ill, waving arms to avoid being cuffed, and refusing to be placed in a squad car. Cops, of course, may not use excessive force when that happens. They must, however, be permitted to use sufficiently superior force to detain and transport uncooperative arrestees. In Minnesota, thanks to its election of the new breed of progressive prosecutor who rails against the justice system’s purported institutional racism, police officers who use force in arresting dangerous criminals now run the risk that they will be the ones who face criminal charges.
4. If, due to Ellison’s unethical zeal, the officers are acquitted, there will be more riots, because the vast majority of the public doesn’t understand the justice system, and the vast majority of the protesters don’t care about due process and the presumption of innocence.
5. The attacks by the Left on police could (and should) lead to the elimination of police unions, which, in turn, could and should lead to the abolishment of public employee unions generally. That’s a conservative agenda item, because public unions have been a mainstay of big city Democratic support.
6. There is no conceivable “significant police reform” that will not make it easier for criminals to harm the community while making police reluctant to do their jobs.
7. The effort to reduce police power and protection of law abiding citizens will crush the anti-gun movement.
8. If police departments are defunded, wealthy communities will hire private police, while less affluent communities will be at greater risk.
9. No reform, no laws, no amount of training, will ever prevent individual examples of police misconduct like what resulted in George Floyd’s death. Activists claiming otherwise are either lying or ignorant. The nature of police work puts officers under incredible stress, and eventually some will crack. Moreover, as study of the American West teaches (one more reason to know your Westerns!) , similar types of individuals are drawn to crime and law enforcement. Police officers are not like typical citizens, and they become less like them the longer they deal with criminals. If every example of a black citizen dying as a result of police incompetence, over-reaction, bad judgment or emotion is going to trigger riots, we might as well eliminate police departments. No profession or institution can function with the requirement that it can never screw up.
10. The single factor that would most reduce police-involved deaths would be for African-Americans to stop resisting arrest. This would require African-American parents, role-models and community leaders to end the practice instilling the fear of police into young blacks. Unfortunately, nurturing that fear benefits too many politicians, activists, and organizations.