Déjà Vu: On The Response To The Winston”Boogie”Smith Shooting

Smith riots

That the latest black shooting victim being used to justify rioting in Minneapolis had the same name as the doomed protagonist in “1984” supports a friend’s theory that a Supreme Being is just using us for his own amusement. But the latest set of reflex rioting—the rule is that if a black suspect/criminal/alleged criminal is killed by police under any circumstances, there must be riots—tells us more than that. It confirms what should have been evident quite a while ago: this process is social extortion, or, if you prefer, domestic terrorism. The aim is to threaten and punish innocent citizens and vilify police using the presumption of racism as an excuse, so that there can be virtually no enforcement of the law against African-Americans at all. “Black Lives Matter,” always a deceitful bit of rhetorical dishonesty, has now completely morphed into Facts Don’t Matter for anyone to see who is bold enough to accept the ugly truth.

Who was Winston Smith? He was convicted in 2017 in the assault and robbery of his ex-girlfriend and sentenced to two years in prison. The sentence was suspended for three years, on the condition that “Boogie” didn’t break more laws. Of course, he did. As a convicted felon, Smith was prohibited from owning or having a firearm. He was charged with illegally possessing a gun in 2019. The U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement that its task force was trying to arrest Smith on a state warrant for illegal possession of a firearm last week. When law enforcement tried to take him into custody from a parked car on the top level of a parking ramp, he “failed to comply with officers’ commands” and “produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject.” Task force members took life-saving measures, but Winston Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

A woman who was also in the car was treated for minor injuries from broken glass. “Evidence at the scene indicates that the man fired his weapon from inside the vehicle. BCA crime scene personnel recovered a handgun as well as spent cartridge cases from inside the driver’s compartment,” the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement.

The big problem here is that was no video. For some reason the U.S. Marshals Service does not allow body cameras for officers on the task force. An investigation is ongoing; at this point, everything is based on what we have been told. Maybe Smith didn’t have a gun. Maybe the gun the investigators found had “Hasbro” on it; maybe they planted it. Maybe he had his hands up, and shouted “Don’t shoot!” or “I can’t breathe!” I don’t know, and neither do the rioters. The difference is that they are rioting and I’m not. All that matters to them is that the police killed a black man, and they want to make sure that officers never do that again, which will be a great help to black criminals. Smith’s conduct doesn’t matter; whether he shot at the marshals doesn’t matter. If police end up killing a black man, they are at fault, the system is at fault, white America is at fault, and people have to be hurt. That’s the script now. After all, it’s worked so far.

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Mid-Day Ethics Interruptions, 6/4/2021: After the First Item, You May Not Want To Read Any More…

Screamfest

1. When ethics alarms were never installed...The question here is not whether this was unethical. Of course it was. The question is how such an episode could happen anywhere in this country. Eight high school football coaches at McKinley Senior High School in Canton, Ohio have been placed on paid leave after apparently forcing a 17-year-old player, a Hebrew Israelite whose faith forbids the consumption of pork, to eat a pepperoni pizza in front of the team as punishment for skipping a practice. The family is suing the school district for violating the student’s First Amendment rights.

The head football coach, Marcus Wattley, allegedly told the boy that if he didn’t eat the pizza, his team mates would be punished. I don’t comprehend this. How can someone live in the U.S. and think forcing a child to violate his faith is anything but abuse? How does someone like Wattley get hired by a public school and entrusted with the welfare of children? Why would any high school have eight assistant football coaches?

If the facts are confirmed in an investigation, more than the coaches should be fired and, one hopes, prosecuted. The principal and other administrators should also be canned. [Pointer: JutGory]

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…The dozens of ways the mainstream media warps the news and manipulates public opinion becomes oppressive once you are sensitized to it. The headline in the Times two days ago, for example, was “GOP Challenges Teaching of Racism’s Scope.” That headline presumes as fact that “Critical Race Theory” and the “1619 Project” fairly and accurately convey “racism’s scope.” “GOP Challenges What It Calls Anti-White, Anti-America Indoctrination In the Schools” would be a neutral headline. Later in the same article, the news story refers to President Trump’s “racist comments, ” which is just a continuation of a narrative build on a media-fueled Big Lie. President Trump made many insensitive, provocative and politically incorrect comments. None were “racist.”

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Comment Of The Day: “Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!”

Another Steve-O Comment of the Day is on the way, but this one is particularly relevant considering what is unfolding in Minnesota, and not just there. Here, for example, is the state of affairs in Austin, Texas:

After the Austin police budget cut on top of the repeal of the public camping ban, Austin crime and disorder has gotten measurably worse. Austin police are also leaving in droves:

After the Austin city council voted unanimously to defund its police department by about one-third of its budget, in August 2020, many predicted that once the cuts kicked in a flood of officers would leave the force as soon as they could. The new district attorney’s policy of re-investigating police officers for closed cases is also expected to cause officers to resign or retire.

The city council’s cuts officially kicked in and have been in place for a few months.

PJ Media reports exclusively that APD is now suffering a huge surge of officer departures putting it on pace to shatter 2020’s record.

In January 2021, sources tell PJ Media 20 officers retired from APD and eight resigned, for a total of 28 departures.

In February 2021, five officers resigned and six retired, according to multiple sources, for a total of 11 departures.

In March 2021, 24 more officers left APD, with 20 officers retiring. Additionally, three officers resigned and one was terminated.

To put this into perspective, 2019 was the last non-pandemic year and the year before the city council cut APD’s budget. APD averages about 50 retirements or separations in a calendar year, and replaces them with cadets who have graduated from the police academy or officers who join APD from another force.

APD saw 46 officers retire with another 22 resigning in 2019, according to local TV news station KVUE.

2020’s numbers were exacerbated by the George Floyd riots; 78 officers departed or retired from APD from the beginning of those riots to the end of 2020, for a total of 89 separations, according to KVUE.

Official 2021 numbers provided to PJ Media by the Austin Police Retirement System (APRS) break down as follows:

  • Prior to 2020, retirements averaged 50-52 per year over the last 5-6 years
  • Record number of retirements in FY 2020: 97
  • First-quarter 2021 retirements: 45

Add to those 45 retirements the 18 resignations or terminations, for a total of 63 separations in just the first quarter of 2021. If the current pace continues, APD could lose approximately 252 officers — about five times the average number of separations for a year. This will impact public safety across the board, and according to the APRS, can impact retirees’ benefits as well. APRS raised the alarm about the impact the city council’s cuts could have in September of 2020.

March 2021’s retirements hit all over the department, including tactical intelligence, gang crimes, narcotics enforcement, investigations, and the bomb squad, according to a full list provided to PJ Media. Traffic enforcement — both warnings and citations — has declined by more than 60% in the first two months of 2021, a source tells PJ Media.

At the same time, the city council’s cuts have forced the cancellation of police cadet classes. The department is losing experienced officers in droves and is unable to replace them with new officers.

Fewer officers means fewer officers to cover 911 calls, to the point that some 911 calls now result in “NUA”s: No Officer Available…

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, where it increasingly appears that the prosecution and the judge are willing to discard due process and basic fairness to make certain Derek Chauvin is convicted of murdering George Floyd, Kim Potter, the police officer who shot Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb after appearing to mistake her gun for her Taser was arrested yesterday and charged with manslaughter. The Wrights’ family lawyer, Ben Crump, coincidentally the same lawyer who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, declared,

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform.”

Nice! Crump is accusing Porter of racism and murder, before any investigation and without any evidence that race played any part in the shooting. The fact that the victim resisted arrest, however, was a significant part of the tragedy. The convention Crump and various elected officials and legislators are trying to create would create strict criminal liability for law enforcement officials when black suspects are involved. Why wouldn’t this eventually lead to police officers being passive when confronted with black law breakers? Why would any officer take any measures to stop a fleeing African-American suspect,or foil efforts to resist arrest?

Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!

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‘Unethical And Unethical-ler,’ As The Daunte Wright Ethics Train Wreck Speeds “The Great Stupid”Across The Land

As if it needed any help…

The police-involved death of 20-year-old black man Daunte Wright, which on its apparent facts (“Oopsie!”) did not indicate either racism or police brutality, quickly demonstrated that this was yet another car on the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, itself but an extension of the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck, which emerged from the Trayvon Martin Ethics Train Wreck. All have converged to intensify The Great Stupid, as many parties have learned nothing from the previous fiascos, and too many have learned the wrong things.

Recent unethical developments:

1. Naturally, there was a second night of riots. This is stupid and unethical by definition. So are media accounts like this one, picked at random, from The Boston Globe, about the previous night’s disturbances: “Officials announced curfews, schools suspended in-person classes, professional sports teams canceled games and businesses boarded up after a first night that included peaceful protests – but also clashes between police and demonstrators, as well as looting of local businesses.”

It included peaceful protests, you see, but then there was the rioting and the violence and the looting. This isn’t journalism, it’s spin. It is like writing, “the mob contained reasonable, concerned citizens, but also those who burned down businesses and attacked police.” It sets out to minimize negative reader perceptions—out of what motive? Sympathy? Bias? Incompetence? Malice?

Added: Dr. Emilio Lizardo adds this on the topic of the news media trying to establish the “peaceful protest” narrative.

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The Unethical $27 Million George Floyd Settlement

george Floyd

As many commenters here are prone to say after a particularly outrageous unethical development or incident, “This should come as no surprise.” Minneapolis, which three days ago announced it would pay a record $27 million to settle the lawsuit brought by George Floyd’s family, has already shown itself to be led by feckless, wasteful and irresponsible officials at many junctures over the the past two years, notably in its support for defunding the police. That it should take this latest course, which is neither legally, financially nor logically defensible, is, if not exactly expected, at least consistent.

The news media is spinning, of course. The New York Times, cleverly but, as usual, misleadingly, headlined the story as “George Floyd’s Family Settles Suit Against Minneapolis for $27 Million.” Of course it did: not in the family’s wildest dreams could it have expected to acquire that much unearned wealth from the death of a man who was substantially responsible for his own fate— unlike, for example, the victim in the previous record for such settlements, Breonna Taylor, who was the victim of a shootout between her boyfriend and police in her own home. Her family settled for “only” $12 million. The story, the lede and the significant development is that Minneapolis agreed to pay this much. It certainly did not have to.

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Oh, Why Not? Let’s Start Off 2021 With “Mostly Peaceful Protests” Over The Police Shooting Of A Black Man In Minnesota! Will BLM And The News Media Use It As More Evidence Of Systemic Racism?

Idd

They’ll sure try!

Here is how the New York Times described the death of Dolal Idd:

“A Minneapolis police officer shot and killed a man during a traffic stop on Wednesday evening, the first killing by a member of the department since George Floyd’s death in May, a police spokesman said.”

Let’s see: subsequent accounts show that it was not, in fact, a “traffic stop”: police had been looking for Idd as part of a firearms investigation. The account was also misleading in that it didn’t mention that Idd fired on police officers first. And, as I guess I will have to keep writing since the news media will not (although I guarantee jurors in the George Floyd trial will hear it many times), it is far from clear that the sainted Floyd was in fact killed by a police officer.

Other than that, the Times reports is pretty accurate for modern journalism; only three major misrepresentations in a single sentence of 35 words.

Since any shooting of a black man by U.S. police is presumed to be based on racism, a mob of demonstrators appeared at the scene, blocking traffic for several blocks and starting a bonfire in the middle of the street. Authorities urged them not to riot or commit arson, and they did not, apparently because the temperature of ten degrees was too cold for them. Certainly the facts of the shooting couldn’t have had anything to do with it: most of the other police-involved deaths over the summer justified riots no more than this one did, but riots we got.

Multiple police vehicles had converged on Idd’s car. He tried to elude the police, and when he realized he couldn’t, started shooting at the officers. They shot back; of course, as I’m sure we will hear from Joe Biden or someone, they should have tried to “wing” him. Sadly, he was killed at the scene.

Such a loss. The Star Tribune reports,

In 2019, Idd was convicted of illegally possessing and firing a gun in Hennepin County. The charges say, in July 2018, Idd fired a gun in the basement shower of his parents’ home around 1 a.m. with two children sleeping nearby.

Idd’s mother told Eden Prairie police that her son was not permitted in the house because “he scares the children.” Police arrested him later in Bloomington with a 9mm handgun that had been reported stolen in North Dakota, according to charges.

We haven’t heard from Idd’s parents and friends since the shooting, but then Ben Crump hasn’t been hired yet to represent them. I’m sure we will soon be told that Idd was a wonderful human being who wouldn’t hurt a fly, and who was in the process of turning his life around until those racist police snuffed out his beautiful life. Just look at his picture (above)! Now who could believe someone with such a sweet face was trying to kill cops? Here’s another one that is being used by the media and a GoFundMe page:

Idd2

Anyone can see he was harmless! There has already been a vigil, as CAIR sensed an opportunity. Idd was a Muslim, and as we all know, Islam is a non-violent religion.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/16/2020: For Some Unexplained Reason, Police Officers Are Feeling Unappreciated

1. Even humor sites have to do better than this...FARK is an amusing news aggregator that headlines links to interesting stories from around the web with facetious comments, puns and snark, most of the time avoiding gratuitous political slant, This headline, however, was an outright deception:  Sure the police might have some bad apples, but a review of 2,400 cases only found misconduct 54% of the time.

If you read the story, you will find that those were not just cases, but cases in which innocent people had been convicted of crimes. A study showing 54% of all cases showing police misconduct would be a damning result, but if someone is wrongly convicted of a crime, there is likely to be misconduct somewhere in the process. For those cases, 54% strikes me as low. Moreover, while the headline implies that all of the misconduct found in the study was attributable to police, that’s not true either. The study found that in  the cases studied, 54% showed misconduct by police or prosecutors.

FARK’s headline was just gratuitous and unjust police-bashing. Not funny.

2. For the record…it’s 5:58 am, and I’m still furious over the cretinous response from the Boston sportswriter I discussed in item #4 of last night’s late warm-up. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Apparitions, 8/16/2020: Triceratops? What Triceratops? What IS A Triceratops?

1. From the Ethics Alarms cultural literacy files. I remember this re- tweet by acclaimed novelist Joyce Carol Oates from 2015; I can’t believe I didn’t post on it then. (Pointer to Ann Althouse for reminding me of it today):

Now,  I would like to believe that Oates was joking (I’m not sure about Tilley), but she is not known for madcap humor. Apparently “Jurassic Park,” Steven Spielberg  and popular culture are beneath her, and she was so focused on literature in school that dinosaurs completely missed her attention. I regard this as being estranged from one’s culture, and I regard that as irresponsible.

2. Question: If Twitter is taking down tweets involving hate speech, why is unequivocal hate like this permitted? Robert Trump, the President’s younger brother, died yesterday. The President wrote,

“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.”

Yet the hateful, vicious “resistance” couldn’t rise to a moment of bipartisan decency. The hashtag #wrongtrump, is the second highest trending on Twitter, with more than 80,000  tweets last I checked. Among the the ghouls were journalist David Leavitt., ” who tweeted, “What did he promise the devil for the Grim Reaper to take the #wrongtrump ???” (5.7 thousand people “loved” the sentiment), and Bishop Talbert Swan, president of the Springfield, Massachusetts, branch of the NAACP (and a pastor, which will perhaps help illuminate my attitudes toward organized religion), who wrote “Dear Grim Reaper, You took the #wrongtrump.” That one got 10,000 hearts.

These are mean, bad people with dead ethics alarms. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/9/2020: “If” And Silver Linings

Good Morning!

My father’s favorite poem, which I read at his funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery in 2010—-was it really that long ago?—is especially relevant and valuable now. Some of the woke-addled have “canceled” Rudyard Kipling because of his offenses against presentism (and because he ended “If” with female-excluding nouns). This is like cutting off your nose to spite your face, or perhaps lobotomizing yourself to spite your character. However you choose to describe it, not being able to channel “If” when all about you are losing their heads—like now—is a severe and unnecessary handicap.

1. “Forget it, Jake. It’s The Times.” Nobody at the Times protested, as far as we know, when the paper, over the weekend, ran a story titled, “Vote for Trump? These Republican Leaders Aren’t on the Bandwagon” that claimed, “Former President George W. Bush won’t support the re-election of Mr. Trump.”  The article attributed this revelation about George W. Bush’s intentions (and Jeb’s) to unnamed sources “familiar with their thinking.” This is the variety of fake news Ethics Alarms categorizes as Psychic News, based on mind-reading and nothing else. Speaking on behalf of Bush 43, a spokesman  told the Texas Tribune, “This is completely made up. He is retired from presidential politics and has not indicated how he will vote.” Ford reiterated this statement to the Times, indicating that the former president would stay out of the election and speak only on policy issues. Has The Times retracted or corrected its claim? Of course not.

I would personally be shocked if George or Jeb voted for Trump, given how much the Bush family hates him for his personal insults against them, but that doesn’t mean a newspaper can declare as fact that they won’t. Their other big scoops were that Colin Powell wouldn’t vote for Trump, against based on those who have read his mind, though we know he voted for Clinton in 2016 (he said so) and that Mitt Romney, who voted to convict Trump in the impeachment trial just to stick a metaphorical thumb in the President’s eye, would also abstain. Oh…I almost forgot Cindy McCain, who wouldn’t even invite the President to her husband’s funeral. The Times says she’s not supporting him either. Stop the presses!

The silver lining here is that the evidence that the mainstream news media is biased and untrustworthy is becoming so obvious that those who deny it increasingly brand themselves as fools or liars. Continue reading