My Take on the George Floyd Killing

My Take on the George Floyd Killing

This is the only thing I'm going to say about this, and I will not be responding to comments on this post.

My father was a Peace Officer for the New York State Office of Mental Health for around 30 years and a certified Use of Force instructor for the OMH. When I left the US Army in 1989 and moved back up to New York, my father and I had a conversation about the legal use of force. He told me that you are obligated (in New York, anyway, which doesn't have a "stand your ground" rule) to try to escape any dangerous situation. If escape is impossible, you can only meet force for force; if they are using non-lethal force against you, you can only use non-lethal force against them to defend yourself. You cannot legally escalate force.

In the video I saw of the Floyd situation, I did not see Floyd using lethal force for the last eight minutes he was alive. I see a man (begging for his life, by the way) face down and handcuffed with another man forcing his knee into the back of Floyd's neck.

Here's the problem, and something that happens too often; George Floyd did not have to die. Derek Chavin should have been removed from the force years ago.

According to a report by CNN (SOURCE: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/minneapolis-officer-complaints-george-floyd/index.html), former police officer Chauvin has had 18 complaints filed against him. CNN doesn't go into detail as to what those complaints were, but according to the Washington Post, he was involved in at least two other fatal or near-fatal incidents (SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/29/officer-charged-george-floyds-death-used-fatal-force-before-had-history-complaints/).
This, to me, screams out that the police are incapable of policing themselves because this is happening way too often.

This is why people are protesting; it should not have taken a man to die handcuffed and face down in the dirt for action to finally be taken, and it should not have taken four days between when the man was killed and for this murderer to have been arrested when there is video evidence of that murder happening. Add in the fact that Floyd is black and Chauvin is white, and this looks a lot like a lynching by the very people that are supposed to be protecting us.

I have seen it argued that a knee to the back of someone's neck while the victim is face down in the ground is not "lethal" force. That is such nonsense I don't even know how to respond to that.

I can go one step further; there was a report on Frontline several years ago that the FBI had warned all police departments about white supremacists infiltrating the police force back in 2006 (SOURCE: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/fbi-white-supremacists-in-law-enforcement). Vida B. Johnson, Law Professor at Georgetown University, writes in her paper "KKK in the PD: White Supremacist Police and What to Do About It" (SOURCE: https://law.lclark.edu/live/files/28080-lcb231article2johnsonpdf) "Frequent incidents of overt police racism, and the ensuing media reports about them, make the general public, and particularly people of color, less likely to see racism at the hands of the police and criminal justice system as unconscious and more likely to view it as purposeful. These legitimate fears further diminish the criminal justice system in the eyes of the people to whom it is most harsh." Later in the paper, Professor Johnson goes on to say "Although the F.B.I. warned of white supremacist infiltrating police department in 2006, the denial of the problem by local police brass has only enabled it to continue seemingly unabated. It seems that few departments are acknowledging the matter or taking any serious steps to curb this frightening problem. When an officer is identified as holding racist beliefs, police departments often claim that he or she was a “lone-wolf” and downplay any possibility that these beliefs are held by others in the department." Her suggestion is to use the Brady doctrine, which forces the prosecution to turn over any exculpatory evidence to the defense (Brady v Maryland, 1963). Professor Johnson suggests that an officer's history as a member of one of these groups should be included as part of the Brady doctrine. Quote: "By taking Brady seriously and searching for racist police officers, indigent criminal defendants will get fairer trials, the public will be informed of problem officers through public trials, and police and prosecutors get the opportunity to identify problematic police officers and take action to rid the force of these officers."

There is a saying that goes "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" or "Who will watch the watchmen?" and it is obvious to anyone paying attention that the people to whom we have entrusted this task have failed us.

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