Ethics Hero: Montgomery County, Md. Police Chief Tom Manger

"Cops": Chaz Pando as the doomed perp; Nello DeBlasio as the hostage.

“Cops”: Chaz Pando as the doomed perp; Nello DeBlasio as the hostage.

My theater company is performing the 1976 Terry Curtis Fox drama “Cops” as we wind down this season after 20 years. I chose the show, and its companion piece in an evening called “Crime and Punishment in America,” William Saroyan’s classic one-act “Hello Out There,” in direct response to Ferguson, the growing controversy over police violence, the increased racial divide in the U.S. and the gun control debate. Both dramas, as cast, involve African American victims of violence in a law enforcement setting. “Cops,” in particular, features openly biased Chicago police (at least based on their choice of words) and the police execution of a disarmed and surrendering cop-shooter. As the lights fade, the police are discussing what their cover story should be.

I invited the Chief of Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, Tom Manger, to come to the production and field questions from the audience regarding its relevance to current controversies in Ferguson, New York City and across the nation. [Full disclosure: I have known Chief Manger and his wife for many years, and consider them friends] You might recognize him: he was a major figure in the apprehension of the D.C. Snipers, and has been seen and interviewed on the national news and on issue talk shows several times, most recently on CNN’s “State of the Nation” with Candy Crowley. Not only did Tom agree to come, but he let me schedule him twice, said the sessions could be videotaped, and that no question would be off limits.

The first of the talkbacks took place last week (I am moderating another this Sunday), and Tom was as good as his word—candid, blunt, open, and frank.  He was quizzed, hard, by our diverse, astute and always combative audience members about police training, police force diversity, bad cops, police who lie and cover-up misconduct, and racism in the ranks, as well as the details of specific shootings including the local one I have referred to here more than once, in which an unarmed white man, John Geer, was shot and killed by police as he stood in his doorway negotiating with them over a domestic dispute.

Since the episode in Ferguson, Chief Manger said, he has been meeting with community groups two or three evenings a week, doing everything he can to bolster community trust. Among his comments in response to questions: Continue reading

After The Brooklyn Cop Murders, The Sound Of Spinning: WindyPundit Takes On My “Smear”

None for me, thanks.

None for me, thanks.

Mark Draughn, a.k.a Windypundit and the Ethics Alarms 2013 “Blogger of the Year,”  has swallowed the Kool-Aid, apparently, and decided to defend the race-baiters, from the tippety top of our government to the stygian depths of MSNBC, who have finally managed to get police killed in retaliation for the “racist murders” of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others. In his most recent post he challenged my analysis, and ended up making me feel pretty good about it. I love Mark’s blog and admire Mark’s mind, and if can’t do any better than this, I am obviously on firm ground.

I want you all to visit Windypundit, for Mark is terrific (usually), so I’m not going to go through the whole post, which you can read here. I will make a few salient observations though. Let’s play “Mark Says”:

Mark Says:

“I knew there would be people who would take Brinsley’s reputed motive and use it to smear protesters and activists who had spoken out against police abuse.”

1. Mark wrote this before my straw man post, and sure enough, he followed the script. It’s about “police abuse.” Right. Not race. Not the racism of whites, the hunting down of black men; not about how blacks can’t get justice even when they have been gunned down with their hands in the air. Indeed, it’s not “about” any of the irresponsible, exaggerated, inflammatory accusations that we have been hearing since Trayvon Martin was shot…and not by a cop, either.

2. “Reputed motive.” Mark thinks I am unfair to conclude that a killer who wrote online that he was going to kill some “pigs” in retaliation for police killing Mike Brown and Eric Garner killed the two police officers in retaliation for police killing Mike Brown and Eric Garner.  Got it.

3. I’m smearing protesters! These are, recall, protesters who, by their use of the “hands up, don’t shoot” theme, were smearing a specific police officer with the false claim that he was a racist and a murderer, though the evidence says otherwise, and smearing the integrity of the citizens on the grand jury who refused to indict him.  By extending this smear to police generally, they were also asserting that this—that is, the fictional racist murder of that “harmless, unarmed black teen” who had just tried to take the officer’s gun and was charging all 300 pounds of his body at Officer Wilson—was the potential orientation of all white police.  I was smearing them by pointing out that this was divisive, inflammatory, dishonest and irresponsible. Continue reading

The Straw Man Cometh: Confronted With The Inevitable Results Of Their Race-Baiting, The “Hands-Up!” Crowd Claims It Was All A Misunderstanding

strawmanargument

Don’t let them get away with this.

The Straw Man logical fallacy occurs when a person ignores the actual issue being debated and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of the opposing position that is easier to rebut. For years, there has been an organized effort in the Obama Administration, the progressive movement, the civil rights movement and among black activists to represent American society as racist, along with the American law enforcement system and justice systems, and to maintain  the false narrative that racism was responsible for several high-profile deaths of black men, and that specific police officers, such as Darren Wilson, were guilty of racist executions and exonerated by a racist system.

The strategy has been richly fertilized by relentless accusations that white voters and the Republican party hold racial animus against Barack Obama because of his race. The deliberately divisive effort has resulted in a level of fear, anger and distrust of white Americans in the African American community not seen in over half a century, with white police officers serving as the immediate targets. Predictably, two New York City cops were assassinated by a deranged black man after posting social media messages referencing the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, and critics have correctly stated that the reckless race-baiters have “blood on their hands.” Sensing that a looming tipping point may be going against their divide and conquer agenda, they are ducking and weaving like Muhammad Ali in his prime. Continue reading

A Question With Answers That Might Clarify The Ferguson Controversy: Why Haven’t You Heard About The Shooting Of John Geer?

John Geer

There was a fascinating editorial in the Washington Post this morning, I thought. See if you agree. It read in part…

At point-blank range, a Fairfax County police officer a year ago fired one shot, killing an unarmed man standing inside his home. The man, John Geer, was distraught and had been drinking — his longtime girlfriend had moved out and called police when he threw her things into the front yard — but he held no hostages, brandished no weapons and, so far as we have learned, posed no serious threat either to police or to public order…Shot in the chest, he was left to bleed to death inside his doorway while police officers, remaining outside the house, did nothing for an hour. Five and a half hours after the shooting, his body remained sprawled on the floor where he died.Incredibly, the authorities in Northern Virginia — including Fairfax County police and state and federal prosecutors — have refused to furnish any explanation for this stupefying sequence of events last Aug. 29 in Springfield. They have stonewalled…The officer who fired the shot, who remains on the force with full pay, has not been identified.

The authorities conduct themselves as if the case presented insurmountable complexities. This strains credulity. It involved one shot, one gun, one shooter and one fatality. It took place in broad daylight, at mid-afternoon. It was witnessed at close range by at least two other police officers, as well as friends and neighbors of Mr. Geer. And still authorities refuse to act or discuss Mr. Geer’s death…Will no one take responsibility and make some decisions in the unexplained death of Mr. Geer?

Don’t you think it would have been helpful, not to mention responsible and ethical, for the Post to remind its readers of this case while it fully participated in the media-driven race-baiting and hysteria over the shooting of “unarmed black teen Michael Brown” in Ferguson, Missouri?

It is also interesting, given the fact that the Brown-Wilson case is still very much in the news and on the tips of accusatory pundits’ tongues, that the Post neglected to mention the irony embodied by the quite legitimate lament of its editorial now. Ferguson? What’s that got to do with Fairfax? Continue reading