Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Portland Police Bureau'”

Police Trust

Woke up with a bang this morning at 4:45 remembering that I hadn’t posted this Comment of the Day on this Comment of the Day, (by Extradimensional Cephalopod ) regarding the Ethics Alarms commentary about the Portland police staving off another police shooting riot with a tweet saying, in essence, “It’s OK, the guy we shot was white!”

Here it is, by Humble Talent, who included a wistful nod to departed but not forgotten EA commenter Charles Green. This is, I believe, Humble Talent’s 35th Comment of the Day.


“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.”

This is a great way to look at it. It’s kind of unfortunate that Charles Green left the site, because as stubbornly, blindingly, partisan as he is, he is literally in the business of building trust, and I think it would have been interesting to hear his take on what the first steps towards establishing trust would look like.

Because I don’t know what it is. This is the cynical, moderately dejected me: When you look at the rates of fatal interactions with police, when you look at the numbers of unarmed black people being shot by police… They’re minuscule. No really… Any police brutality is too much police brutality, and being brutalized by the body that’s ostensibly supposed to protect you is a horrible injustice, those situations need to be looked at and dealt with… But the raw numbers don’t represent a serious threat to black people. 25 unarmed black people were shot by police last year, and while that’s deadly serious to their family members, I can’t imagine changing the way I live my life over a statistic that is literally half that of the number of people struck and killed by lightning each year (average is 49 in America).

And so this isn’t about the numbers. This is a perception issue. Black people perceive that they are in mortal danger from the police. I don’t even blame them, the media is complicit and explicitly driving that narrative. Frankly, I don’t know what the police could possibly do to earn the trust of black communities. They can wear the body cams so that situations like the Bryant case in Ohio don’t spiral into protests, riots and violence, but that’s just damage control. This seems like something that needs to start at the grassroots level from black communities… because what else is there?

I’m not going to hold my breath and wait for journalism as a profession to dust off the ethics they have stashed up in the attic and start reporting a reality that doesn’t drive black voters full of fear towards the Democratic party.

Because *they* have lost my trust, and while I can think of ways for them to regain it, we all know that they’re not interested.

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