Oh, probably not, but there are some hopeful signs.
After the death by ambiguous causes of an African American petty hood resisting arrest at the hands, well, the knee, of a habitually brutal cop who should have been kicked off the force long before, absent any evidence whatsoever that the death was intentional or that it was motivated by race, police officers across the nation have been vilified, fired, prosecuted and generally abused virtually every time an African-American, and sometimes even a white citizen, died or was wounded in a police-involved shooting. This insanity, hysteria, freakout, deliberate exploitation, what ever you choose to call it, resulted in law enforcement around the nation being weakened, black communities being made more vulnerable to crime, a mass exodus of police officers, and an unprecedented spike in murders nation-wide. There were other horrible effects too, like the sudden acceptance of anti-white racism and discrimination as “restorative justice,” and the ascent of Kamala Harris to the office of Vice-President, but this is just an introduction.
Last week, however, two decisions in police-involved deaths showed that sanity might be creeping back.
1. Qualified immunity was upheld in circumstances where it actually makes sense.
In April 2011, New Jersey State Police Trooper Noah Bartelt approached Willie Gibbons, who was schizophrenic, and was pointing a gun at his temple. Bartelt told Gibbons to drop the weapon. He did not, and the officer shot him twice, killing him. A suit against the Gibbons was originally allowed by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, which refused Bartelt’s claim that he was entitled to qualified immunity. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed, holding that it was not “clearly established” by prior case law that Bartelt’s conduct was unreasonable, the standard for qualified immunity to apply. Qualified immunity requires that a victim of government abuse find a court precedent that almost exactly mirrors the circumstances surrounding the alleged misconduct. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not hear an appeal to the Third Circuit’s ruling.
All the justices agreed, except Sonia Sotomayor, because, as she demonstrates regularly, she’s a kneejerk ideologue who is an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. (Naturally, lots of progressives and Democrats think she’s just wonderful.) The man “never threatened the officer,” Sotomayor said, and in that moment arguably presented a danger only to himself. “I add only that qualified immunity properly shields police officers from liability when they act reasonably to protect themselves and the public,” she wrote. “It does not protect an officer who inflicts deadly force on a person who is only a threat to himself.”
One does not need to be a lawyer or a judge, much less a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, to figure out that anyone holding a loaded gun who is also mentally unstable is a threat to anyone in the vicinity. The sequence goes: “Put down the gun!”—No!—Bang! The officer doesn’t have to shoot the suicidal individual if he or she wants to take a chance, but the claim that the cop isn’t at risk is obviously nonsense.
Clearly, we need some legal guidance regarding suicides. The case is similar to one decided in Huntsville, Alabama in September, where police officer William Darby, 28, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder. He fatally shot Jeffrey Parker (who was white) as he held a gun to his own head, 11 seconds after entering Parker’s house and telling him to drop the weapon. Another officer had arrived on the scene first and was trying to talk Parker into putting down his gun. The Huntsville Police Department review board cleared Darby of wrongdoing in May 2018. However, the Madison County District Attorney’s office brought the case to a grand jury anyway, because a Minnesota officers had put his keen on George Floyd’s neck, proving that all cope were evil. Darby was indicted for murder. Even though Dewayne McCarver, the Huntsville police captain and head of the Huntsville Police Department’s training unit, testified during the trial that Darby acted appropriately under the circumstances, the jury convicted Darby anyway. As I wrote when discussing the case, this was clearly a result dictated by the anti-police propaganda that has poisoned community relations with law enforcement. “It is also one more episode that will, and should, send potential police recruits into another line of work,” I concluded.
2. No police officers were charged in the Jacob Blake shooting, and Hallelujah to that. In January, the decision was made in Wisconsin not to charge the officers in the shooting of Jacob Blake. The accused rapist and attempted kidnapper was been paralyzed, and the incident sparked rioting in Kenosha and a series of ignorant protests around the country, including game boycotts by NBA and Major League Baseball players that their leagues, cowardly and without principles, endorsed. But a new , woke, politically motivated Justice Department had come into power, and I assumed that it would seek to follow the Biden Administration’s Black Lives Matter constituency and bring federal civil rights charges against the police. It took them a ridiculously long time to make the right decision, but the department said in the statement last week, “After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that insufficient evidence exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes. Accordingly, the review of this incident has been closed without a federal prosecution.”