As The Chauvin Jury Finds The Defendant Guilty As They Were Ordered To Do, The President And Rep. Waters Deny That They Said What They Said

But when Yogi Berra denied that he said what he said, it was funny..

In Minneapolis, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in his role in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

It would be a defensible verdict if he had received a fair trial, and the jury didn’t fear that they would spark national riots, property destruction and death if they found reasonable doubt. It would have been more defensible if the otherwise competent judge hadn’t botched his obligation to sequester the jury when another Minnesota police officer shot a black man, and riots did occur, with more on the horizon.

It is not a fair trial when a nationally known Congresswoman and the President of the United States publicly declare that, in the words of the Congresswoman, a defendant is “guilty, guilty guilty!”

So now, after polluting the trial and the verdict, both the President and the Congresswoman are engaging in a wretched display of “I didn’t really say what I obviously said and meant to say.”

Yogi Berra this ain’t.

First, here’s Maxine’s hilarious “translation” of what she meant when she told some potential rioters, ““We’ve got to stay in the streets, and we’ve got to demand justice,” Waters said. “I am hopeful that we will get a verdict that says, ‘guilty, guilty, guilty,’ and if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

“I wanted to be there kind of as Auntie Maxine, to show them that not only do I love them and I support them, but they can count on me to be there with them at this terrible time in all of our lives,” Waters said in her own defense. But she is not their aunt. She is an elected official of the United States of America, and is sworn to uphold the Constitution, which means, among other things, not using her position to urge members of the public to break the law, and not using her influence to deny an American citizen a fair trial.

In another interview, she tried rationalizations instead of masquerade:

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Unethical And Intolerable: Waters, Babbitt, Sicknick, Part 2.

The late Paul Harvey’s iconic “the rest of the story” isn’t quite as ugly as this story itself, which I wrote about here. It does, however, put a cap on one more disgusting example of the news media deliberately engaging in fake news reporting to advance a partisan agenda.

Let’s use CNN’s report, since we know if there was any way out, any way to spin the story and keep the false narrative going, the network of Fredo, Don Lemon and the atrocious Brian Stelter would try it. Nope, though the medical examiner did his best:

US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered strokes and died of natural causes one day after responding to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Washington DC’s chief medical examiner has determined.The medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, didn’t note any evidence that Sicknick had an allergic reaction to chemical spray or list any internal or external injuries, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the ruling. Still, Diaz told the newspaper that “all that transpired” on January 6 “played a role in his condition.”The ruling all but ensures that the Justice Department won’t be able to pursue homicide charges in Sicknick’s death. In March, two men — Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of West Virginia — were arrested and charged with assaulting Sicknick.

The reason they can’t be prosecuted is that there is no evidence that Sicknick’s death was connected to the January 6 riots in any way. There never was. Diaz’s gratuitous claim that “all that transpired played a role in his condition” is just face-saving hackery.

What does that even mean? “Played a role”? Either something that happened at the Capitol killed him or it didn’t. Did Sicknick die of a broken heart to see America’s house sullied by an angry mob? HOW did the events “play a role”? Diaz doesn’t say, meaning he’s engaging in irresponsible speculation to give the lying journalists something to cling to. The statement breaks down to “post hoc ergo propter hoc“—a logical fallacy so well-known and ancient that it’s in Latin: “After this, ergo because of this.” There is no reason to believe that Sicknick would not have died if nothing had happened at the Capitol.

Note also that CNN is sticking with “insurrection,” a description it has not applied to any of the far more violent and lengthy takeovers of government buildings during the George Floyd Freakout. We learned this week that with even a half-competent response from the Capitol police, the gang of idiots would never have made it inside the Capitol. They had no firearms; they were a mob of about 300; they had as much chance of taking over the government or having any substantive impact whatsoever as Shirley Temple had to be an Olympic powerlifting gold medalist.

But never mind that: this is business as usual for all of the mainstream news media. The AUC memo went out that January 6 was an “insurrection” because that was going to be the way they finally “got” Donald Trump: accuse him of plotting “a violent uprising against the government,” and the memo never was retracted. Sicknick’s death at the hands of the rebels was a key part of the fiction, so it was repeated over and over, even in the Senate trial by the House prosecution as fact. The Biden Administration and Democrats were accomplices: they took the nauseatingly cynical step of staging a Capitol Rotunda viewing of Sicknick’s casket, which made the lie that “he died defending his country” vivid and dramatic (and cheapened the honor, which only a handful of ordinary citizens have been awarded).

When the “they hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher” tale didn’t pan out, they went with the “He died because they sprayed him with bear spray,” or he was caught in a bear spray crossfire, or something. Yes, the President of the United Sates plotted an insurrection that would take over the nation using bear spray and fire extinguishers. Diabolical!

As the substack reporter did when the Sicknick story first started falling apart, Glenn Greenwald has given us the best dose of undiluted contempt for how it was handled, writing yesterday in part,

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/20/2021: The Unibomber Really Was Right, You Know….

Crazy, but right. I first wrote about that inconvenient fact here. This year has driven the horror home more than ever. His point was that we were allowing technology to control our lives, constrict our liberties, and poison our values and culture, while giving aspiring dictators tools to dominate us. Here are some of my recent experiences:

  • A friend, a season ticket holder, gave me tickets to a Washington Nationals game, except that D.C., being in the grip of a Wuhan hysteric, won’t allow the Nats to give out printed tickets. Thus, in order to “access” my tickets, I had to log in to the MLB website as a first step, then download an app to my smart phone, which would then allow my phone to accept the virtual tickets. But MLB wouldn’t accept my password, and wouldn’t allow me to change it either. I called the Nats, but nobody was there—everyone was working from their computers. Finally I was called back by a nice guy who tried to walk me through the system. He gave me a password, but my phone wouldn’t connect with the app. Then he started to explain an alternate method which involved registering with eBay. I thanked him, but told him to give the tickets back to my friend. I had spent over an hour just trying to get the things that once could be faxed to me in five minutes, or sent by mail. To hell with it.
  • Then, last night, my sister took me to a game. The Nats make you order food or drink from your smart phone. You have to order food or drink, because you are only allowed to take off your damn mask—outside, with nobody within ten feet of you—if you are eating or drinking, so everyone is holding a water bottle under their chin the whole game. You download an app, and you get a menu on the phone, see? Then you order, and a text comes to tell you where to pick up the stuff. You can’t pay using money, because the Nats want to keep us “safe.” I found out that there were a couple of places around the park where you could buy food the old, bad, low-tech complicated way: “Give me a dog and a beer—thanks—here’s money…bye!” Most Nats staff, however, had no idea where those places were.
  • Speaking of systemic racism, not to mention classism and ageism: What are the likely consequences of making all aspects of life dependent on owning a smart phone?
  • My wife had been waiting for the promised email from the Virginia Health Department with a link to the way to schedule a second Wuhan vaccine. It never came. After spending over a hour in a phone queue, she was told that a computer had garbled her email address. Oh.

1. Thanks Maxine! Thanks , journalists! Thanks, Democrats! Thanks, Black Lives Matter! How can a nation maintain a justice system and preserve due process and the rights of the accused when this happens? From USA Today:

A group of people vandalized the former Northern California home of an expert witness who testified for the defense in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, police said, throwing a pig’s head on the front porch and blood splatter on the house.

The incident occurred in Santa Rosa, California, where retired police officer Barry Brodd once lived and worked. Brodd testified last week in Chauvin’s trial, saying the former Minneapolis police officer was “justified” in his use of force against George Floyd, who died in police custody last May.

The Santa Rosa Police Department said Brodd no longer lives at the residence nor in California, but “it appears the suspects in this vandalism were targeting Mr. Brodd for his testimony.”

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Unethical And Intolerable: Waters, Babbitt, Sicknick, Part 1.

intolerable

The United States is now being consumed by a wave of audacious double standards and hypocrisy, rooted in racial bias and oppressive partisanship. Exposing it, condemning it and opposing it is to invite “cancellation” and being tarred as an ally of white supremacy. In the words of George H.W. Bush to Saddam Hussein, “This will not stand.”

I. Rep. Maxine Waters.

By any fair and reasonable standard, Waters’deliberate attempt to incite violence and law-breaking among already agitated and agitated protesters in Brooklyn Center, the Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright was killed, should earn her serious sanctions from Congress, her own party, and by the standards previously asserted by her party, the justice system. She exhorted the potential “mostly peaceful” mob to “get more confrontational” when the city had already seen burning, looting, and attacks on police. She directly threatened the jury in the Chauvin trial just a few miles away. In response, the judge in that trial, Peter Cahill, castigated Waters by name as the trial went to the jury, saying that her words were “disrespectful to the rule of law,” and adding,

“I’m aware that Congresswoman Waters was talking specifically about this trial, and about the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction, and talk about being ‘confrontational.’ [I wish] elected officials would stop talking about this case…I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution, to respect a coequal branch of government.Their failure to do so, I think, is abhorrent.”

Then, whistling in the dark, he tried to deny the obvious, saying that her comments wouldn’t affect the jury because he had instructed them not to pay attention to them. Right. Everyone knows that the old “pretend you didn’t hear what you heard’ command is a perfect remedy. (See: “The Verdict.”) Pathetically, Cahill said that one congresswoman’s opinion “really doesn’t matter a whole lot anyway.” Then why did the judge take the extraordinary course of mentioning it during the trial?

Cahill’s refusal to sequester the jury after Wright’s death was a terrible error, and it is coming back to haunt him quicker than anyone could have predicted, thanks to Waters. Later, the truth battled its way out of his mouth and he blurted out that Waters “may have given” the defense grounds “on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”

And yet Nancy Pelosi, who led a contrived impeachment of Donald Trump for urging demonstrators to peacefully protest because she claimed it sparked an “insurrection,” claimed nothing was amiss with Waters’ speech. “Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement. I myself think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family. They’ve handled this with great dignity and no ambiguity or lack of misinterpretation by the other side…No, I don’t think she should apologize.”

The rule, then, appears to be that a Democratic Congresswoman can cross state lines to urge an already inflamed crowd to get “more confrontational” while threatening a demonstration showing that it “means business’ if a jury does not provide the verdict she demands, while a Republican President should be impeached and charged with a crime for urging demonstrators to peacefully protest what they and he believe to be an undemocratic election.

Is it material that the Congresswoman inciting a riot is black, and the President who called for a peaceful protest is white? Are we allowed to wonder? Is it permissible to consider reality?

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More Evidence Of How The Presidency May Have Been Stolen. More Is Surely On The Way…

President Trump was wrong to keep claiming that voter fraud was responsible for his 2020 election loss; indeed he was wrong to be the one to question the fairness of election at all. However, the constant mantra in the mainstream news media that his complaints that the election was “stolen,” “rigged” or “fixed” are “false” meets the classic standard for “protesting too much.”

The 2020 election was rigged, as I explained here. The rigging by the mainstream media began from the second Donald Trump was elected, causing Democrats, progressives and especially journalists to abandon tradition, sound democratic principles, fairness, responsibility and ethics to do everything in their power to undermine the elected President of the United States, because they didn’t vote for him, didn’t like him, and refused to accept Hillary Clinton’s well-earned defeat. Out of this, what I have (correctly) termed the worst ethics breach in our society since at least the Second World War, we got the succession of Big Lies and the series of plots to remove Trump from office, including two unjustified and unethical impeachments.

I doubt that any President in our history could have overcome the deliberately biased news coverage and the barrage of fake negative news Donald Trump was attacked with for four straight years. It’s impossible to say, since no elected President, not even Richard Nixon, was subjected to anything similar. It is also impossible to say, it must be emphasized, that the despicable and unethical journalism used to undermine Trump actually caused his loss. This is, however approximately the same argument the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial is making. The media’s knee was on the President’s neck, but there were other things that might have killed his Presidency. It does not make the news media’s conduct any less wrong.

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Ethics Irony: The Day The Author Of The Declaration Of Independence Sold An American To The Author Of The Constitution

John-Freeman-sale-to-JM-LOC

April 19 is a pretty bad day in U.S. history generally. In 1775, the Revolutionary War started with a rout in Lexington, Massachusetts, just a few minutes by car up Massachusetts Avenue from my childhood home in neighboring Arlington, then Menotomy. 700 British troops, having shot up that hamlet and its defenders on the way, found 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker opposing them on Lexington Green, now a large traffic circle. It took a just few minutes to kill enough of the barely trained Colonists for the ragtag army to disperse, but the British marched into a much larger force at nearby Concord Bridge, and a much worse result for the Empire. In 1993, a botched siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas ended with 22 children and almost 80 adult religious cultists burning to death. In 1995, the U.S. was introduced to domestic terrorism on a grand scale with the Oklahoma City bombing. But none of those events create the ethics trauma of considering a little noted financial transaction between the former third President and the newly sworn in fourth.

On April 19, 1809, Thomas Jefferson, seemingly always lacking cash, prepared a contract to transfer ownership of an indentured servant with the ironic name of John Freeman to freshly installed President and fellow Virginian James Madison.

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Ethics Villain: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal.)

I seriously considered not posting this, because Waters’ ethical villlainy should be obvious to everyone, and Ethics Alarms generally doesn’t post on the obvious.

It has certainly been obvious to Ethics Alarms from the beginning: in 2009, in one of the very first posts here, I noted that CREW (Citizens for Responsible Ethics and Responsibility in Washington), the Democratic Party-bolstering fake “non-partisan” ethics watchdog, had labeled Waters one of the “Most Corrupt” members of Congress. This served their masquerade at the time, because it is so obvious that Waters is corrupt that she was “low hanging fruit”: by listing her on their unethical Congress members docket, CREW could claim that they really were bipartisan. (If CREW didn’t list Waters, it would make the group look like the sham it is.) Democrats know Waters is unethical; they simply lack the guts and integrity to say so and do something about her.

As I wrote in another post about Waters, “Never mind though: Waters is black, so by the infinitely adjustable weaponizing definition of racism used by progressives, black activists and Democrats for the previous eight years, to criticize her at all is to be a racist.” There is no member of Congress—maybe no one in government—so brazenly reliant on this principle as Waters. She also girds herself in gender, so pointing out the obvious about her—that she’s a demagogue, a racist, an embarrassment to her her party, a disgrace to Congress and not very bright in the bargain—gets a critic tagged as a bigot AND a misogynist. The fear of this is so great that even Bill O’Reilly, himself an ethics villain who seldom crumpled in the face of race-baiting, groveled an apology for mocking Waters’ helmet-hair in 2017, saying, “As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. I said that again today on ‘Fox and Friends,’ calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair, which was dumb. I apologize.”

Defenders of slavery were sincere in their beliefs. Flat-earthers are sincere in their beliefs. Charles Manson was sincere in his beliefs. Stalin was sincere in his beliefs. The old guy with empty look in his eyes who stood with his old Weimaraner day and night near our street where I grew up, thinking he was still an air raid warden in World War II was sincere in his beliefs, and he was harmless, unlike Maxine Waters.

It’s kind of fun, in fact, to read the Waters dossier at Ethics Alarms, and I was selective. I almost literally could have posted about her ethics vacuum every time she opened her mouth. I had forgotten for example, that she posted this on Twitter:

But history teaches that eventually those who think they are immune from accountability go too far, and if the latest from Maxine isn’t an example of that, it should be. Continue reading

On Supreme Court Packing

Guest Post by Steve-O-in NJ

Yesterday, the Democratic party, or at least an element of it, unveiled legislation which is history- making, but not in what I think is a good way.

I’m talking about Jerry Nadler and Ed Markey’s proposed legislation to add four justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has been composed of nine justices since before the beginning of the 20th century. The last time anyone even considered anything like this was in 1937, when FDR developed a plan to add six more justices to “pack”  Court so that he could continue to push through his ambitious New Deal programs. SCOTUS had been slapping them down as unconstitutional. He cloaked is as an attempt to make the court more efficient, since justices tended to serve well past the average retirement age even then, and the idea was that the institution would benefit from younger judges. Both his own party in Congress and the public saw this for what it was, and the backlash was swift. The President would not get to stuff the Supreme Court with his own judges with rubber stamps in hand.

Still, some said that the message was sent and received, as  Justice Owen Roberts, who had previously sided with the conservative block on the Court, known as “The four horsemen,” suddenly sided with the liberal wing of the Court in the matter of West Coast Hotel v Parrish, upholding the constitutionality on minimum wage legislation We will really never know, since the earlier Justice Roberts took the unusual step of burning his notes and papers before the end of his life. Supposedly, however a memo he provided to Justice Felix Frankfurter indicates that he was planning to rule that way before FDR threatened to pack the court.

In any case, FDR continued past two terms and was able to stuff the federal judiciary with his own people more than any President, since the rest were limited to two terms either by self-restraint, tradition or law. The influence of his justices  and those appointed by his successor Harry Truman cast a very long shadow over the Supreme Court for quite a while, although not as long a while as you might think. In fact, Richard Nixon was the president who appointed Harry Blackmun, author and longtime defender of Roe v Wade,  arguably before the question of liberal versus conservative justices became so pronounced. It wasn’t until Carter couldn’t nominated a single Supreme Court Justice and Reagan and Bush the Elder nominated five between them that the question of liberal versus conservative justices versus qualified justices became as divisive an issue as it is now.

No president has had enough slots open during his administration since then to decisively move the court one way and give it either a solid liberal majority or a solid conservative majority. Part of that, no doubt, was due to so many justices hanging on to their seats long after they should have retired, so as to not allow a President who disagreed with them to appoint their successors. That’s why Harry Blackmun remained until Bill Clinton was safely elected; that’s why Antonin Scalia died in the saddle, and that’s why Ruth Bader Ginsburg gambled and ultimately lost her  battle to last until the 2020 election before her 86-year-old, cancer ravaged body giving out.

Neither party likes the idea of the needle moving farther away from them on the Supreme Court and possibly undoing their significant and important legislative accomplishments. The Democratic party is particularly bitter now, since it had counted on Hillary being elected right after Obama and being able to add more liberal justices on top of the two that Obama had appointed.

They are also bitter because of the dangerous but ultimately successful gambit that Mitch McConnell managed to pull off after the death of Justice Scalia. The Democratic party believes Merrick Garland should be sitting on the Supreme Court right now, and two more liberal justices should have joined him. They should be enjoying a solid liberal majority on the Supreme Court and be watching Hillary lick her chops waiting for the three remaining conservative justices to die or retire, with the dream that either she or her Democrat successor can create a fully liberal and transformational Supreme Court.

That dream has been pushed out of reach now, and the Democrats are facing a 6 to 3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court that is likely to foil many of their plans. So they are ready, willing, and able to use the political capital that they  have from this past election and the Black Lives matter movement to change the rules so they don’t have to wait for the Court to change the old fashioned way.

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What A Beautiful Day! I Hate To Darken It With These Four…

That’s the April 18, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake as portrayed in the 1936 Clark Gable-Spencer Tracy-Jeanette McDonald classic “San Francisco.” Jennette had just finished singing “San Francisco,” the song, and then all hell broke loose. The scene is evidence of some outrageous unethical behavior by the director, W.S. Van Dyke, wanted the crowd to react spontaneously, so without their knowledge or consent, he had the nightclub set built on giant foundation that would start shaking violently at the push of a button. They thought a real earthquake had hit, and many of those terrified expressions are genuine.

Of course, the best ethics story on an April 18 was memorably told—I should know: I memorized it!— by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

And imagine: All for slavery! Paul’s fellow midnight rider, who never gets proper credit, was William Dawes. He rode through my home town, Menotomy, Mass., now Arlington.

1. Bill Maher is shocked—shocked!—that his fellow Democrats believe mainstream media propaganda about the Wuhan virus. On his HBO mostly anti-conservative bitchfest, the comedian, sort of, expressed outrage that according to a Gallup survey, Democrats flunked the question of how likely it was for someone who had the virus needed to be hospitalized. Just 10% gave the correct answer—less than 5%. 41% of Democrats believe more than 50% of those infected would need to be hospitalized.

Really Bill? That’s a surprise? Your pals in the mainstream media hyped the virus mercilessly—they still are doing hit. Ethics Alarms has followed that story. You’re the one who said on your show that it would be worth crashing the economy to get Trump out of office, and that’s what the pandemic hysteria helped accomplish. You should be thrilled: it worked!

Bill also professed to be upset that that the same survey shows that Democrats greatly over-estimate how dangerous the Wuhan virus is for children. Why, Bill thinks this could be why the majority of schools systems that have remain closed are in Democratic Party-controlled cities and states!

Ya think, asshole????

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Ethics Observations On The Shooting Death Of Peyton Ham [UPDATED]

There were no mostly peaceful protests in Leonardtown, Maryland this week, despite the similarities between the 16-year-old high school student’s shooting death at the hands of a Maryland state trooper and the sensational death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland six years ago. Why is that?

Ham was fatally shot by a state trooper who had responded to two 911 calls about someone “acting suspiciously” and armed with a pistol. A witness to the event told police that troopers encounter Ham in a driveway “in a shooting stance” using an Airsoft gun. A trooper opened fire on the teen and wounded him. A second witness said the wounded boy then took out a knife and tried to get up, whereupon he was shot dead.

Airsoft guns are realistic replicas of real weapons. They shoot plastic BBs. My son collected them; once we had our parked car surrounded by police because he left some of them in the back seat. Pointing an Airsoft at a police officer is an excellent way to get shot, and justifiably so. But the reason there were no protests, demonstrations or riots after his death is that Peyton Ham was white. There is no other reason. (Well, it also wasn’t Portland. More about that later…)

Because the victim was white, there was no immediate presumption of racism and police brutality. Nobody argued that police should have tried to “wing” him. Nobody argued that a social worker rather than police officers should have responded to the 911 call. Ben Crump didn’t immediately make a statement that this was yet another “execution” of an innocent, promising young black man due to cop brutality and racism, and a racist system. The story wasn’t even national news.

Yet the family played by the script that has become so familiar. It quickly put out a statement that made Ham sound like the perfect son. It described him as “an incredibly smart, gifted sweet young man” with a “Alex P. Keaton” type personality, referring Michael J. Fox’s character on the 1980s sitcom “Family Ties.”

“Our family is absolutely heart broken and shattered over this sudden, unexpected loss of life of a talented young man, filled with promise,” the statement says. “Words cannot express the gratitude our family is feeling with the overwhelming love and support being extended by our friends and family in our amazing community.”

Speaking to the AP, Ham’s mother described her son as “an awesome young man.” You know, like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. This kind of statement, which made no sense whatsoever in the context of the facts of Ham’s death, was calculated to spark anger and suspicion against the police, and to shift responsibility from the shooting victim to those trying to protect the community. If Ham had been white, there would have been the assumption of a cover-up, and the presumption of a deliberate racist killing of an innocent boy.

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