Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Portland Police Bureau

Portland tweet

There are many Ethics Alarms categories the tweet above would fit neatly into, like Ethics Dunce, Unethical Quote of the Week, evidence of The rampages of the Great Stupid, res ipsa loquitur, signature significance and others. I wonder if it is something else as well, like coherent civilization’s death rattle.

The Portland police felt constrained to issue that announcement after a police officer in Portland opened fire at a deranged man who charged him with a screwdriver. The man was shot dead in what all reports indicate was self-defense. This was apparently a “suicide by cop.” Quickly, at least 50 protesters converged at the Motel 6 where the episode occurred, and what looked like it could quickly turn into a violent riot was looming. The mob “began yelling, throwing items at officers, and attempting to interfere with the investigation,” Portland Police Bureau said. Videos showed many black-clad protesters chanting the anti-police phrase “Fuck 12.” A officer’s baton was grabbed as she was pulled toward the crowd; another protester sprayed an officer with pepper spray. One police car had its tires punctured and a window broken. Meanwhile, the Antifa distributed flyers calling the incident another example of racist police brutality against the black community.

So, acting quickly, the Portland police issued the tweet, assuring everyone that it was a white man who was killed. No worries! The nation was made just a little bit better and less racist. one more whitey down!

Naturally, the mob dispersed, and there was no more threatened violence.

The officer involved in the shooting was black. “Our officer encountered a very difficult and dynamic situation that no officer wants to face,” Police Chief Chuck Lovell said at the scene.“I want to assure the community that we’re committed to a full, thorough and complete investigation.”

Hey, never mind, Chuck! The guy was white! Nobody cares.

When an officer shot a black teen preparing to stab another young woman with a knife, there was a riot. When police shot an accused black rapist who was armed with a knife and preparing to drive off with his alleged victim’s children, there were riots. When a black man resisting arrest was shot after trying to fire a taser at an officer, there were riots. When a black man who had tried to take an officer’s weapon away while resisting arrest was fatally shot as he rushed the much smaller officer, there were riots. When a black woman was accidentally shot in the cross-fire between police and her boyfriend began the exchange of bullets, there were riots.

But once the crack Portland Police made it clear that it was only some sick white dude who was killed, all was well.

Rueful observations:

  • I do not understand why anyone, of any shade, would continue to live in Portland.
  • It’s good to see the “antiracism” thing going so well, though.
  • What the hell was Dr. King babbling about with that “content of their character” jazz?
  • I don’t know how long a nation that generates this kind of insanity can continue functioning.
  • If American voters, again, of all shades, do not make progressives and Democrats suffer for creating a culture where police have to reassure the public that a victim of a police shooting was the “right” race, the United States deserves what’s going to happen to it.

30 thoughts on “Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Portland Police Bureau

  1. It’s time for someone to compile a video library of all those caught recently on security cams beating up Asians, Jews, and other innocent people going about their business…and those stealing in shops, pulling people from cars, etc. etc. There doesn’t seem to be a preponderance of white racists committing the mayhem.

  2. “I do not understand why anyone, of any shade, would continue to live in Portland.”

    I’ve often had the same thought. A couple things came to mind:
    1) If you’re a home owner, it has to be getting more and more difficult to sell your home even if you want to leave.
    2) If your’re in a lease, you at least have to wait for the lease to expire or be subject to an early termination fee.

    But, I know if I lived there I’d probably be wiling to suffer some financial losses just to get out. It seems the longer you wait to move it will become just that more difficult to sell. You might as well cut your losses now and get out.

    Anyway, I’m glad I’m not in that situation.

  3. I spent a couple minutes trying to identify what was unethical about the tweet. It was apparently accurate, and it served to tamp down a potentially very dangerous situation.
    Then it dawned on me (I’m sometimes a little slow on the uptake) that you’re not really claiming the tweet per se is unethical, but rather that the circumstances, both general and specific, that necessitated the tweet were.
    OK… with you now.

    • I went through the same steps…. The tweet isn’t so much unethical as it is effective, and it’s effective because the Portland PD understands the environment they’re operating in, which is a madhouse run by the inmates.

      • I have to concur here, just like I didn’t like the idea of some police marching with the BLM protestors last years, sometimes it was necessary to keep the peace, and, although I didn’t like preemptive removal of a lot of statues, mostly in CT and RI, it was probably better than seeing them toppled in protests and maybe, as was done in Waterbury, they can eventually be (quietly) put back in place when all of this dies down and people are too busy making money at work to waste time in stupid protests.

        However, and here’s the big however, the circumstances which led to the necessity of the PPB making this tweet to keep the peace are a complete ethical mess. We’ve known THAT for a while. The police are supposed to be able to do their jobs without fear of a riot endangering both them and the surrounding community. Protests are supposed to actually be peaceful, not a cover for mob violence and bullying. People are not supposed to destroy or deface public art they don’t agree with. This isn’t new and it’s pretty basic for a functioning, civil society.

        Portland is probably headed for where Newark was way back when after the riots, sorry, the REBELLION of 1967, as the current mayor calls it (although why that wouldn’t qualify as an insurrection I do not know). Whole areas, including formerly Jewish Weequahic, flipped black almost overnight, and those who didn’t get out while the getting was good took major hits financially. But hey, how dared they then, and how dare anyone now? That’s white flight, and that’s RACIST. You’re supposed to stay and learn to get along with your black and brown brothers and sisters…yeah, right. I think it says something that our Native American gay colleague Mrs. Q and her spouse have packed up and left, apparently (I don’t want to try to speak for them) deciding it was in their best interests to do so.

        “Antiracism” has kind of become a shibboleth at this point. There are still a lot of true believers, but a lot of folks are seeing it for what it is, just another form of race hatred, justified because it is against white people. It had been building up for a while, a single act of white on black local police brutality was just the spark that set it off. I think we can agree, at least here, that the response was grossly out of proportion, and is likely to ultimately create as many problems as it resolves. I’m afraid Dr. King has also become something of a shibboleth. What he said was already being honored more in the breach than in the observance, and now it’s an out and out statement of the opposite of the fact. I’m guessing most of us here have heard many times (and in my case, even sung) Dick Holler’s 1968 lament for the great civil rights leaders “Abraham, Martin and John.” I am sorry to say that the four men mentioned in that song (RFK is mentioned at the end, walking over a hill with the other three guys) have probably been superseded by Trayvon, Eric, Freddie, and George, none of them great people, and none of whom did anything of note except die at the hands of someone who was a lighter color, wearing a badge, or both.

        I can’t help but think that Honest Abe, MLK, and the Kennedy brothers would all be shaking their heads at what’s going on now. I believe I can say with almost complete certainty that none of them wanted things to end up here. I don’t think anyone wanted things to end up right where they are, right now. Unfortunately, a lot of the more moderate black leaders got pushed aside by the more radical ones (the assassination of Malcolm X was an example of radicalism eating its own), implementation of the Civil Rights Act ended up playing second fiddle to Vietnam while LBJ cynically created a welfare state specifically designed to keep blacks dependent on the state, the hippy culture collapsed at Althorp, and trust in the government, already shaky, collapsed after Watergate and Ford’s pardon of Nixon. The next thing we knew, we were in the Carter hangover, with prices on everything, especially gas, going up, up, up way faster than wages, the cities covered with graffiti where they weren’t collapsing and burning, the parks and subways too dangerous to use, our military embarrassed and at its weakest, the Japanese making better radios and TVs, the Germans better cars, the Israelis better hand weapons and soldiers, and the Soviets arguably better rockets and missiles (they beat us into space before we beat them to the moon). Not to mention the fact that every tin-plated dictator and proxy terrorist in the world was using our embassies for target practice. Civil rights and race issues took a back seat for a VERY long time while Reagan got us back on our feet internationally and got the economy chugging again at home, while Bush the elder brought the Cold War to a close and fought the first shooting war in a generation. Clinton promised to do more with civil rights, but it ended up being largely unfulfilled promises, as his early missteps crippled his party in Congress, his sociopathic behavior in the White House put him almost permanently on the defensive, and his realpolitik tendencies led to “welfare reform” and other policies that were decidedly not about advancing civil rights. GWB led us into the War on Terror, and Obama, who entered office with many promises, could only fulfill one (healthcare) before his party lost the House, ending the chance of any more big legislative initiatives.

        In the meantime, the cities that were not NYC continued to fall apart (Detroit leading the way economically, Chicago becoming the murder capital of the country), crime fell generally but not so much in the black on black category (in over 80% of crimes perpetrated by blacks the victims are black too), and the black community got left behind generally, especially in the cities. In the meantime also the media presence increased and social media made it possible to send news around the world in a second. The news and media, mostly liberal to begin with (except Fox), discovered that police brutality and mistreatment of black people made good copy and ratings, and made other black people, already angry, get angrier and do crazy things, which made for MORE good copy and even better ratings, as well as influence. All of this, plus the pandemic, gave us the cauldron that was last year.

        So here we are. The left’s favorite villain, Donald Trump, is out of office, for the moment. However, the Democratic Party fell short of dominating Congress the way it did in 2009, and has already seen some huge, transformative ideas (packing the SCOTUS, Federalizing elections) fall flat. It also has two stubborn caucus members who won’t let it make the change so it can ram its agenda through with no meaningful opposition. Biden can make a lot of executive orders both petty and great, but another GOP president could undo them just like he’s done with Trump’s. The hard left and the black left are almost as out of luck as they were with Obama, and neither seems to really get that they are both chess pieces, being moved to keep the Democratic Party in power as long as possible.

        If I had to consult my magic wall map (crystal balls don’t allow you to hear and magic mirrors are good at finding particular people, but not at predictions) and predict the future, I’d say that, assuming things continue as they are and there is no event that causes a radical change in circumstances, the Democratic Party is almost certain to lose the House next year and better than 50% certain to lose the Senate, stopping any legislative change dead in its tracks and resulting in a lot of congressional hearings about this and that, although probably not an impeachment (counterproductive). The odds are probably 60-40 that Biden makes the full term, but much lower that he runs for a second term if he makes it, given the obvious decline we are seeing and the fact that it is only going to get worse. The odds are also lower than a lot of people think that Harris will run in 2024, due to her unpopularity and the terrible first impression as VP she has made. The odds are very good that the lot of the black American isn’t going to get much better, since they are more useful as pawns than productive citizens.

    • Well, there’s this: Is it ethical to engage in conduct and rhetoric that encourages racial discrimination because it is expedient? Doesn’t such a message endorse and ratify the unethical mindset and pattern?

      • I’d say it doesn’t “encourage” or “endorse” that behavior so much as recognize it. And we’re not talking about a long-term political advantage; there’s an emergency situation right now. People, including but not limited to police, could get seriously hurt, or worse. If the short-term problem can be defused by telling the truth, then I’m all for it.
        Put out the fire now; hunt down the arsonist when you can.

        • From the Rationalizations List commentary on “Pick your Battles”: “Those who say “pick your battles” usually don’t pick any.” When will the city say, “Oh, by the way, the race of the victim of a shooting makes no difference whatsoever”, and how can they say that when their own tweet explicitly suggests otherwise?

      • I’m not so sure that tweet encourages racial discrimination – it does highlight unethical behavior, to wit, protesting when you don’t know exactly what you’re protesting about which certainly applied to some of the protesters. Would it cause even a small percentage of those to consider getting the facts first? Dunno.
        I wanted to agree with Curmie’s assessment, and I do agree with the analysis that the lack of ethics lies in the situation in which the tweet was considered necessary.
        But, the language is plain: “Unethical Tweet of the Month” says the tweet is unethical. Writing, “I wonder if it is something else as well … .” also says the tweet is unethical, but that there is more to be considered.
        Presumably, the police department’s tweets are monitored by news media in the area as well as by those looking for something anti-police to protest. From that standpoint, the tweet itself is an ethical attempt, as noted above, to defuse a tense situation.
        The tweet in question was issued at 12:29 a.m. on the June 25th. A tweet, about an hour earlier, at 11:23 p.m. on the 24th, is a better candidate for unethical tweet. It states simply “Press Release: Officer Involved Shooting in Lloyd District” and links to a brief press release. That tweet (and press release), because of the lack of specifics, certainly could be considered unethical as it would lead to an increase in the protests already underway by that time.

            • The point is that the race of the victim is 100% irrelevant to the question of whether there was brutality or misconduct. The premise of the tweet is that this is information that should change perceptions of the event. It is like tweeting out that the man killed was a child molester, or a Trump voter. If the race of the victim doesn’t “matter,” the police should not act as if it does. It’s validation of bigotry.

        • Interesting they didn’t tweet that the officer was black. I guess being a policeman trumps being black and renders one a bastard.

          Trying to defend the Portland PD’s tweet is a trap and brings to mind a fairly course bit of wisdom: You can’t polish a turd.

              • Yup. They were all choirboys who fell in with the wrong crowd and were just about to turn their lives around, and now they’ll never have the chance. You might as well be talking to the wall with some of these activists. Christopher Columbus was a genocide and Robert E. Lee was a villain, but George Floyd was a saint.

      • This seems uncomfortably close to Leftist media outlets’ deliberate editorial choice to suppress the race of newsworthy criminals when those criminals are racial minorities, so as not to perpetuate racial stereotypes.

        • But they explain this strategy by saying it’s not nice to show mug shots because they show a person on probably the worst day of their life. Baloney.

  4. The tweet was ethical because the primary duty of any Chief of Police is to the safety of his/her officers. If providing facts to the public will defuse a situation and enable officers and responders to safely do their duty then it is the correct thing to do. The societal implications fall outside of the duties of the police force and it’s Chief. If the chief had lied in his tweet to diffuse the situation, that would be unethical. Or, if the police chief chose the societal implications of the tweet over the safety of his officers and didn’t post the tweet, that would be unethical also because it ignores his primary duty.

    • Frankly, I was surprised the riot was quelled by the tweet. Aren’t these rioters anarchists who are violently opposed to ANY form of authority exercising that authority over anyone? Cops killed a guy. I didn’t know the dead guy had to be a black guy. I thought any victim of police violence was something to riot about. As Jack would ask, “what are the rules?”

      And why isn’t Ben Crump in Flint again making money off the young woman who was shot by a (I think) black police officer when she fired at him from her car near a Juneteenth parade? Black woman killed by cop. Injustice. Right? Anyone? There should be no excuse.

  5. This story is ominously reminiscent (differences in power dynamics notwithstanding) of an old Jewish joke–a bit of gallows humor. I can’t find the source for it at the moment, but it was set in either the first half of the 20th Century or earlier, and a Jewish community in or near a city was panicking because a girl in the area had been found murdered. The community they knew the gentiles’ antisemitism would lead them to blame the Jewish community and lash out with violence and more bigotry. Then the rabbi arrives to calm the crowd, “It’s alright, everyone! I have good news! The murdered girl was Jewish!”

    The urge to do violence without having first gathered all relevant facts comes from fear, which comes from mistrust. In order to build trust, you first have to set mutual expectations, and then demonstrate you will fulfill them even when it’s costly. Humans seem to find setting expectations more difficult than it really needs to be. “What do you expect to happen in this situation? What would you have me do?” You must do this for as many distinct and likely situations as you can think of, unless you can establish general underlying principles. If you can’t work out mutually acceptable courses of action and the risks they entail even by thinking outside the box, then you would next try to prevent those situations.

    When people can’t agree on acceptable risks, then they should not be together in the same situation, taking risks that affect each other. That would result in de facto social segregation based on culture, which is actually fairly normal for Earth. It’s why different countries and cultures exist, and why different states in the United States have different laws, such as whether you’re allowed to refuel your own automobile by yourself. Still, I’m fairly certain humanity can do better than fragmenting into segregated communities for every socioeconomic problem. The first approach should be building, not breaking.

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