Comment Of The Day:”Ethics Hero: Prof. Jonathan Turley (And The Indefensible Whitewash Of The Shooting Of Ashli Babbitt), Part 1″

TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-ELECTION-TRUMP

As usual when we discuss policing ethics here, the commentary of Jim Hodgson, who actually knows what he is talking about in that field is especially welcome and enlightening. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Hero: Prof. Jonathan Turley (And The Indefensible Whitewash Of The Shooting Of Ashli Babbitt), Part 1″…

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Three things:

First, I have worked in a crowd-control team facing rioters, and while I had no doubt there were people in the crowds who wanted to harm us, regardless of the the fact that they were unarmed, we used the less-lethal force options at our disposal (riot shields, 36″ riot batons, tear gas) and the crowd control tactics we had learned, to move and disperse the rioters without using deadly force. For me, the January 6th riot seems to be a colossal failure to anticipate and plan for events which were, at the very least foreseeable, and according to some reports, fully expected to occur. With all the demonstrations and protests that occur in DC, I would expect every law enforcement agency in the area to be well-trained in crowd control, and well-equipped to deal with rioters, with comprehensive plans in place.

It remains to be seen what less-lethal force options were available to Capitol Police officers inside the building, but the fact remains that the officer in question was photographed while poised with gun drawn and finger on the trigger, apparently well before the nature of the threat from the rioters was known to any degree of certainty. If rioters had violently fought their way through a variety of defenses including less-lethal force options effectively deployed against them, it would be easier to conclude that a serious threat was posed. But since the rioters gained entry with relatively minimal resistance, no deployment of less-lethal force, and in some cases it seems were even invited into sensitive areas, the “lethal threat” conclusion seems strained. But, if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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Ethics Hero: Prof. Jonathan Turley (And The Indefensible Whitewash Of The Shooting Of Ashli Babbitt)

michael-byrd-ashli-babbitt

Ethics Alarms already noted Jonathan Turley’s accurate and searing condemnation of the outrageous and sinister double standard applied to Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt on January 6. Incredibly, the blatantly partisan wound on the illusion of our justice system’s integrity got worse after Turley’s first post on the topic. The investigation of the mind-meltingly stupid riot concluded that it was not coordinated, was not incited by Donald Trump, and was not an “insurrection,” just as any objective and reasonably informed citizen could have figured out by themselves. Then Byrd, whose identity had been shielded from the public (and oddly unrevealed by the mainstream media, who could have discovered and published it if they were still practicing journalism), gave a nauseating NBC interview in which he pronounced himself a hero, made the absurd claim that he had saved untold lives by shooting an unarmed woman, and, most significantly, revealed that he had no legal basis to use deadly force. (He also revealed himself to be unfit to be trusted with a weapon.)

This prompted Turley to write his second attack on the politicized cover-up. Turley, despite the names he is called by the aspiring totalitarians of the Far Left and the Trump-Deranged, is a Democrat and a lifetime liberal. Because of what can only be an abundance of character, he has not had his values warped by being marinated in the campus culture of his typically uber-woke institution, George Washington University. Not had he shied away from disparaging the illiberal and anit-Democratic antics of the Axis of Unethical Conduct (“the resistance,” Democrats and the mainstream media) during their four-plus year effort to destroy Donald Trump. He has been remarkably consistent, legally accurate, fair, and right in this, and has paid the price.

In the Virtues, Values and Duties page here (Have you ever visited? You should you know…) I list what I call “The Seven Enabling Virtues.” These are character traits that often are necessary to allow us to be ethical:

  1. COURAGE
  2. FORTITUDE
  3. VALOR
  4. SACRIFICE
  5. HONOR
  6. HUMILITY
  7. FORGIVENESS

Turley annoys me sometimes with his professorial reserve (developments that should send American screaming into the streets are just “troubling” or “problematical” in his typical lexicon), but he is well-girded in all of the seven. Every time he goes against the prevailing progressive narrative, he is called a Trumpist, a phony, a Nazi, and worse. His integrity and dedication to truth-telling has undoubtedly cost him speaking gigs, book sales and TV interviews on any network but Fox. Yet Turley has not backed down.

Turley’s recent article in The Hill regarding the Babbitt shooting is superb.

Highlights:

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The Ashli Babbitt Cover-Up

Someone please explain how the closing of the investigation of the shooting of Ashli Babbitt can be reconciled with the sentence just handed down in the case of the Alabama officer who shot an allegedly suicidal man who would not drop his gun.

The US Capitol Police officer who shot and killed pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2020 will not face any disciplinary action. “USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury,” the department said in a statement. The department will not name the officer out of consideration for the officer’s safety, although his name has been unofficially on the web for quite a while. If this is not a USCP double standard, it is certainly a journalism and political double standard. A black officer who shot an unarmed white women is protected with official anonymity while one white officer after another in police-involved shootings of black men have had their names not only released, but published and made the targets of attacks by elected officials.

Prof. Jonathan Turley, hardly a rabble-rouser, writes in damning prose:

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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.

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“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.

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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:

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Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Observations On The Shooting Death Of Peyton Ham”

Steve-O-in NJ has stepped into a temporary (I hope) vacuum of ambitious comments to monopolize the COTD field. Steve is a lot more pessimistic than I am, and prone to Jeremiads (THE END IS NEAR!) but he also is willing to make observations that most are reticent to put into print. A few of you out there hang out on my Facebook page, where my alleged friends had a meltdown over a repeat of my musings here about whether Juror 8 in “12 Angry Men” would have bothered fighting for reasonable doubt in the trial of a defendant whom he thought was probably guilty if he knew that a not guilty verdict would trigger violent riots. How dare anyone suggest that there was reasonable doubt in the Chauvin trial? How dare anyone imply that the trial wasn’t fair!

Steve-O’s point about police being in an impossible position still applies to Derek Chauvin, cruel and untrustworthy cop that he undoubtedly was. Usually that impossible position girds police from conviction in all but the most egregious examples of police misconduct, as in the case of Michael Slager. I think the public’s acknowledgement of the dilemma is appropriate and generally ethical, but it is ready-made for accusations of racism when the victim is black.

Back to the post that sparked Steve’s COTD, “Ethics Observations On The Shooting Death Of Peyton Ham”, there has been no news coverage of Ham’s death for a week. He was 16, just like the girl shot in the act of trying to stab another teen in Columbus, Ohio, but nobody in Congress or anywhere else is arguing that his youth demanded restraint by police. The reason is that Peyton Ham was a white male, and Ma’Khia Bryant was a black female. The police were supposed to understand that different standards applied. (The photo above is of the Columbus riots in response to the girl’s shooting. Somehow I can’t locate any similar photos of the protests of Ham’s death.)

Here is Steve-O-in-NJ’s Comment of the Day:

Policing in the United States is fast becoming a lose-lose proposition and a job fewer and fewer people are going to want. If you take action, you are considered a thug, a bully, and automatically a racist. If you take no action, you are either lazy or dead from the neck up and need to be fired. We’ve been over this half a dozen times since the death of George Floyd. Policing is by nature a dangerous and demanding job. Policing by nature sometimes requires split-second decisions which have a tiny margin for error and possibly grievous consequences if gotten wrong. Policing is not just about crossing schoolkids, directing traffic, getting lost children home, making reports of fender benders, and once in a while giving out a ticket to someone driving a little too fast or parked in a place clearly marked “no parking.”

Even in the safest small towns in America there are always going to be domestic violence calls, holdups, drunk and disorderly conduct, kids getting into drugs, or the mentally ill who do crazy things that endanger themselves or others. Like it or not, a big part of policing involves making unwilling individuals comply with lawful orders necessary to keep order. Sometimes there is no way to make that happen but to use force. Using force isn’t pretty. It’s not pretty to slam a violent husband or boyfriend down on the kitchen table and cuff him before he hits the woman in his life again. It’s not pretty to cuff a drug-addled, emaciated streetwalker who you’ve told to move along for the umpteenth time and been met with a torrent of profanity each time. It’s not pretty to throw a reeking homeless person who’s been harassing shoppers into the back of a police cruiser to take him somewhere where he can (hopefully) get the help he needs. And no, it’s not pretty to arrest some dreadlocked thug who’s spent his whole life doing nothing but commit crimes when he commits yet another one. It’s also not pretty when a hapless wife or girlfriend gets a broken jaw or a spiral fracture of the arm from a partner who she “just wouldn’t listen to.”

It’s not pretty when a family can’t walk down the street without seeing some skeletal prostitute shooting up. It’s not pretty when everyone has to avoid the block that “Crazy Joe” has claimed as his own. It’s not pretty when DeShawn, out of prison barely a week, sticks up a bodega with a gun or hits somebody over the head because he has no money and few prospects.

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Who Is Surprised To Hear That “Propaganda Causes People To Grossly Overstate Police Killings of Blacks”?

Who? Well, probably your friends on social media who think you’re a racist because you point out that Black Lives Matter is spreading lies and hate.

I read with interest this feature yesterday in my New York Times: “Few Charges, Fewer Convictions: The Chauvin Trial and the History of Police Violence.”

It covered two full pages—you know, it was important—and was pure propaganda: deliberately misleading, contoured to make a political argument under the guise of news analysis. I classify the reporters, Aidan Gardiner and Rebecca Halleck, as ethics villains, along with whatever editor gave a green light to publish this deliberate deceit.

It begins,

For many observers, the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death, has felt like the culmination of years of outrage and grief over police killings of Black people in America. Video of the arrest that led to Mr. Floyd’s death inspired demonstrations that touched every corner of the country last summer, with protesters demanding justice for Mr. Floyd.

The Times reviewed dozens of similar cases in which encounters between Black people and police ended fatally. Though many cases prompted public outrage, that did not always translate to criminal indictments. In some cases, police officers were shown to have responded lawfully. In others, charges were dropped or plea agreements were reached. Some have resulted in civil settlements. But very few have resulted in convictions at trial.

These cases offer valuable points of comparison about what issues — video evidence, drug use, whether the person who died was armed — proved decisive in each outcome and what consequences, if any, officers faced. Even as the trial has unfolded, several events, including the killing of Daunte Wright just a few miles from Minneapolis, have provided a grim reminder that Mr. Floyd’s death is one in a decades-long history of fatal encounters.

Then we get a list of cases where blacks died as a result of police action. The facts of the cases are summarized briefly, often leaving out important facts. We are told, for example, the Eric Garner was “confronted” by police but not that he resisted arrest, nor that he weighed over 300 pounds. The Times reporters don’t deem it significant that Mike Brown tried to take away the officer’s gun, or that he was shot while charging the cop. In the case of Tamir Rice, the Cleveland 12-year-old shot while playing with a realistic toy gun that had its red tip removed, the article says that “a 911 caller reported seeing a person with a gun but said that it was ‘probably fake’ and that the person was ‘probably a juvenile,'” but does not add the crucial detail that these statements were not relayed to the officer.

I know most of the cases mentioned in the piece; for those I do not, I assume that I am being similarly misled. The Times isn’t reporting or doing legitimate analysis; this is advocacy, and unethical advocacy. Facts that would undermine the political agenda of the reporters, and by extension, the Times, are omitted. That is lying by omission.

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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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Annals Of “The Great Stupid”: Pro Baseball Postpones a Game Because A Black Man Is Shot By A Police Officer

Today I arranged my day so I could watch the Boston Red Sox (who are on a roll) play the Minnesota Twins in a day game at the Twins’ park. Minutes before the game, it was called off, though the sun was shining and a crowd was on-hand. Why? Well, Daunte Wright, 20, was killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota., about 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

This has, or should have, nothing whatsoever to do with baseball, or any other activity in the Twin Cities or anywhere else. It is a local law enforcement event, and as of now, it is impossible to determine what happened with certainty. Never mind, though: Black Lives Matter has decreed that every death of a black man or woman in a confrontation with police is by definition an undeniable example of race-motivated homicide, and the proper response is to riot.

First and foremost, the proper response is never to riot. Protesting and demonstrating are seldom the proper responses either. Second, rioting, demonstrating, protesting, and making accusations about an event before it has been made clear what in fact occurred, is irresponsible, dangerous and indefensible always, with no exceptions.

The female police officer shot Wright yesterday afternoon after pulling his car over for a traffic violation and discovering that he had a warrant out for his arrest. The police tried to detain Wright; he briefly struggled with police, and then he stepped back into his car, apparently trying to flee.

Of course he did. In the vast majority of these police-involved deaths with black Americans involved, the eventual victim resists the lawful orders of police. George Floyd did it. Mike Brown did it. In such cases, I bristle when I am told, as I heard one activist say today, that the community should “honor” the victim by not rioting. Those who get shot or killed as a direct result of resisting arrest should not be “honored,” because that is not honorable conduct. It is anti-social conduct that ruins some lives and ends others.

Body-camera video released by the police department shows the officer shouting, “Taser!” before firing her gun. She is then heard on the video saying, “Holy shit. I just shot him.”

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Good! No Charges For The Officers Involved In The Kenosha, Wis. Shooting Of Jacob Blake

riots

Now come the mostly peaceful riots.

I wish I were kidding. The Wisconsin National Guard was activated on Monday ahead of the charging decision announced today. 500 soldiers were sent to Kenosha, businesses have been boarded up and fencing has been erected around a local courthouse. When Blake was shot seven times and left paralyzed after the August 23 incident in which he disobeying officers’ lawful commands, struggled with police while resisting arrest, and attempted to enter the driver’s side door of his car, all after violating a court order and returning to harass a women he had been accused of raping, Kenosha was subjected to extensive Black Lives Matter-led riots. There was citywide unrest, looting and violence toward law enforcement; approximately a hundred cars burned, businesses were ransacked and there were violent attacks on police, with one uniformed officer knocked unconscious after he was struck by a brick.

Though Blake had an extensive criminal record and was threatening a woman at the time of his arrest, the shooting prompted the NBA, WNBA and Major League Baseball players to boycott their own games. These players knew nothing about Blake other than the fact that he was black and was shot by police officers.

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