George Floyd and the Fraternal Disorder
In late May, disturbing videos recently emerged of a man named George Floyd being arrested by four police officers in Minneapolis. After an escape attempt, one arresting officer placed his knee on the side of Floyd's neck, weighing down on him for roughly eight minutes. Floyd begged for air, begged for his life, and begged for his mother before finally becoming unresponsive. Bystanders had gathered, taking videos of the incident and urging the officer to remove his knee. None of the officers assisting in the arrest objected to the arresting officer’s method of detainment, instead justifying themselves to onlookers citing that Floyd had refused to get in their car.
The four officers were swiftly fired, and after initially peaceful protests, the arresting officer was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Soon after, increasingly violent riots and looting began, conducted largely by the black nationalist organization Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the all-white socialist gang Antifa. The first nights of rioting saw the murder of black police officers, mass looting, and widespread arson. Allegedly, these riots are occurring as a response to racist police brutality, police corruption, and perceived systematic racism exhibited by American society.
Then again, BLM rioters in Minneapolis called for the release of Mohammed Noor, an incarcerated black police officer found guilty of 3rd degree murder and manslaughter of a white woman who had called the police to report an assault; Noor had pulled out his gun and shot the woman in her pajamas as she came out to greet the officer after he arrived on the scene.
The riots are yet the latest projection of Race Marxism (black is the new proletariat) onto an unrelated crime of police brutality. The arresting officers displayed typical police prejudice against uncooperative criminals but did not display racial prejudice. The four officers involved were Asian, black, and white, and security footage from a nearby restaurant shows an initially peaceful arrest until officers attempted to load Floyd into the squad car and were met with resistance. Floyd attempted to escape through the opposite door, claiming he could not breathe due to claustrophobia, a claim which is problematic in this context but does not justify illegal methods of detainment.
A proper response to systemic injustice is thoughtful discussion with the end goal of finding solutions, not rioting, murdering black officers, or looting black businesses (or those of any ethnicity). The real issues at stake are substituted for accusations of racism by negligent political actors and commentators scrambling for power and status at the cost of those bearing the brunt of the riots.
Our first problem is the priority of the police. Observe the present conduct of the police in the face of riots. Police across the country are being ordered to stand down by mob appeasers, a response going back to 2015 when the mayor of Baltimore ordered police to give rioters space to destroy. The priority of the police should not be to avoid further unrest, but to protect the rights of citizens and enforce the law, in that order.
Unfortunately, laws are so numerous that police departments do not have the resources to enforce them all; instead, they pick and choose what to enforce as directed by politicians. In 2002, Newark Mayor Sharpe James used the police to attack businesses which dared to put up banners supporting his rival Cory Booker. Dozens of businesses were shuttered due to a litany of infractions under rules that had gone unenforced in the city for years. Excess laws must be trimmed, and the selective enforcement of the law must be a legal defense available to the accused.
What if law enforcement threatens unrest? In principle, this is irrelevant. Unpopular laws may cause unrest when enforced, but if enforcement stops where unrest is threatened, we are back to police departments picking and choosing, creating a tiered system of justice.
What if protecting the safety of citizens threatens unrest? This is also irrelevant; innocent citizens are the top priority. It should not matter if BLM or Antifa can rally their communities and create widespread carnage. In the past, America rightfully committed itself to a civil war in order to bring justice and constitutional protection to an enslaved minority. If necessary, the country could do so again. No community gets to threaten the safety and stability of society in order to provide cover for the systemic abuse of even a single individual.
Working against us are the corrupt local powers with police departments under their thumb, subverting rule of law for political machinations. This is the present state of American politics. The looters, rioters, and murderers of BLM and Antifa run free in cities where politicians estimate a high degree of overlap between their voter base and these groups (such is the case in Minnesota, where the Attorney General is explicitly sympathetic to Antifa). The advantage of America’s federalism is that the federal government may step in with the National Guard to protect the victims ignored by local leaders, as it did in Little Rock during the Civil Rights era. Unfortunately, the transfer of authority from corrupt jurisdictions comes too late during riots. Shorter term solutions are needed until the cavalry arrives.
Citizen gun ownership has proven effective, but insufficient. Local leaders must be held liable for damages incurred if they become derelict in their duty. We have seen local leaders purposefully allowing space for rioters, failing to respond to school shootings (Sheriff Scott Israel at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School), and failing to respond to terror attacks (Las Vegas Police Department during the 2017 Mandalay Bay shooting). Politicians responsible cannot be locally tried, as the local political machinery saves them again and again; they must be held responsible at the federal level.
Individual police officers can be corrupt as well. Police will sometimes roughly detain criminals they despise, such as after the slaying of an officer’s partner. A criminal resisting arrest may require violence to be put down, but the violence should end when the criminal is incapacitated or handcuffed.
To address this problem, I propose an additional Miranda Right. When a compliant detainee asks for reasonable accommodation, the accommodation should be met if it does allow an escape or compromise the safety of the officer. However, if the basis of the accommodation later turns out to be a hoax or if violent resistance occurs, the detainee must be punished, the recipient of any fees being the arresting officer.
Police are worthy of protection too, especially in politically sensitive circumstances such as the George Floyd slaying. An officer is publicly defenseless when charges are filed and he is advised by his lawyers not to discuss the case outside of court. The government may even wish to burn an officer at the stake in order to quell unrest, independent of guilt. To protect the accused, juries should be sequestered immediately in cases of high publicity, the trial occurring outside the sphere of those interested in appeasing a mob.
Police are aware of the hostile political environment, causing a torrent mental health issues reflected in police suicide statistics. Police officers are estimated to commit suicide at a rate 30% higher than the general population. Officer suicides grew to 228 in 2019, significantly more than the number killed in the line of duty. During the same year, police fatally shot 1004 people, the overwhelming majority in response to armed and dangerous criminals. Meanwhile, police murders were in the single digits. Some object, declaring that officers operate in a systemically racist institution and are unlikely to be held responsible for murder. A single statistic refutes this charge. Officers are over 18 times more likely to be killed by black males than for an unarmed black male to be killed by a police officer.
By breaking up the undue influences that threaten to railroad officers, detainees, and the victims of crimes, we can address issues such as police brutality and put the priorities of police departments in order. Those who sidestep real issues and accept collectivist racial guilt only provide cover for the victimization of those denied police protection, obstruct real justice against criminal police officers, and fortify corrupt local power structures. Already the collectivist mob is attacking Western Civilization by proxy of defacing its monuments, smearing its institutions, and rewriting its history. Those genuinely interested in solving the problems of police brutality are left to clean up the mess.
Image credit: Pixabay public domain