The Real Tragedy of the George Floyd and Daunte Wright Stories
America is on the verge of anarchy. Every time police kill a Black man, the community finds itself on the edge and the nation wonders if an inferno is about to erupt. This reality dovetailed with a meme I saw a few days ago: “The Biggest Change Since Rodney King is the Video Quality.” While video quality has improved, one thing that hasn’t changed is negative outcomes from resisting arrest. Some of the names Americans know that demonstrate this include George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Rayshard Brooks, and Michael Brown. If the media were being honest, they would characterize these encounters as what they were: Black men killed while resisting arrest.
In every one of these cases and many others, the men who ended up dead resisted arrest, sometimes violently. According to the Police Violence Report, U.S. police killed 268 Black men in 2019 (the last normal year before COVID). Of that number, 212 or 79% were armed (allegedly) while 182 or 68% were attacking the police (allegedly). Of the 32% who were not actively attacking the police, most were carrying on other actions such as resisting arrest, holding weapons they wouldn’t drop, or attacking other people. For comparison, during that same year, the numbers for white males was 415 killed with 306 or 68% armed and 281 or 68% attacking the police. An interesting note about that comparison is the percentage of Black males killed who were “unarmed” (21%) is significantly lower than that for white males (32%).
It’s difficult to get a complete picture of what’s going on in America simply by looking at numbers. Luckily, we also have videos, including several showing George Floyd’s death. While there is much going on in those videos, all clearly show Floyd resisting arrest. One can make the argument that the police were too physical for too long, but the fact is that he was on the ground as a direct result of his actions. Similarly, Daunte Wright lunged back into his car.
Many people say that Floyd was subdued or that Wright wasn’t a threat, but the fact is no one knows. As the case of Rayshard Brooks demonstrates, things can go from calm, even collegial to confrontational in a split second. Just last week, in New Mexico, a suspect was conversing with a cop one moment and killing him the next.
America’s present circumstance results from ideological forces purposefully manipulating American citizens. The facts are that, while Black men are killed by police at a higher rate than their proportion of the population, they are killed by police at a lower rate than their proportion as perpetrators of violent crime.
The truth is, 700,000 police officers interact with Americans approximately 75 million times a year. Of those 75 million interactions, typically about 1,000 ended with police killing someone. That is a death rate below 0.002% per encounter, which means that 99.998% of police encounters pass without a death. Put another way, out of 1,000,000 Americans, three will die each year at the hands of the police. Compare that to 18 from texting while driving, 121 from suicide, 757 medical mistakes, and 2,000 from heart disease. At the hands of police: three, and most of those were armed and attacking the police!
One of the things that gets lost in all this propaganda is the job that the police do. They interact with citizens 75 million times a year. The address someone stealing from a store, passing counterfeit bills, or assaulting someone. There are domestic disturbances, auto accidents, speed stops, bar fights, etc. In all those circumstances and myriad others, police willingly walk into a situation with the goal that everyone leaves the encounter alive. They put their lives at risk every day for people who, in most cases, they don’t even know. Of course, that’s the job they signed up for so it’s not a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less courageous.
Naturally, police don’t always get everything right. They are human and make mistakes and there are bad cops and racists too. We've probably seen videos of cops behaving badly, but the fact is, overall, cops do an outstanding job. If they didn’t, 99.998% of encounters wouldn’t end with everyone emerging alive. There’s almost nothing in human existence that’s so successful, and that number is made that much more extraordinary because a significant number of those encounters include citizens who are armed, violent, callous and, perhaps, on drugs.
In the face of this widespread assault against them, the police are still expected to do their jobs and do them perfectly. In going into situations where tensions are already elevated, where bystanders may be distracting or even interfering, and where everyone seems to be filming, police are expected to comport themselves flawlessly despite elevated adrenaline and their own emotional states, which may include anger, confusion, fear, disorientation, exhaustion, and more. All of this while a subject may be striking them, pointing a weapon at them, reaching into a car, or simply resisting arrest.
Yet they are still supposed to respond perfectly every time. They don’t, of course, but overall they do a pretty good job. How many of us, when faced with citizens calling us “Pigs,” spitting on us, striking us, or even shooting at us, would be able to rein in all those emotions and perform perfectly in every instance? My guess is that most of us would fall far short of the performance most police demonstrate.
And the rarely mentioned secret (but easily observed common sense fact) is that the very communities in which leftists are calling for the defunding, reimagining, or disbanding the police are the very communities that benefit most from their presence. The police pullback has a cost. Murders are up in Portland 255% over last year. The same is true in other Democrat-run cities: Chicago +65%, New York +58%, Louisville +87%, Minneapolis +64%, and +LA 51%. And who exactly have been the victims of that increased murder rate? Black Americans, the very people BLM, Antifa, Democrats, and the media ostensibly are seeking to protect.
The truth of the matter is that Floyd, Wright, and Brown would likely be alive today had they not resisted arrest. But that’s not the story that Democrats want to tell –because telling young Black men, or anyone, that respecting the police and not resisting arrest won’t make news headlines, won’t galvanize citizens and most importantly, won’t drive voters to pull the levers for Democrats.
And that’s the key. The reality is, Democrats don’t care about Black Americans. They seek power and are willing to sacrifice Black Americans to get it. By creating the fiction that Black Americans are in the crosshairs of the police they have done an extraordinary disservice to America.
The real lesson to be learned by the Floyd and Brown incidents is not that police are shooting Black men with abandon but rather that resisting arrest or engaging in a violent confrontation with police leads to bad outcomes. The challenges of urban America are legion, from terrible schools, limited job opportunities, and violent crime, but the fiction the left proffers addresses none of those. What’s worse, it takes any energy that might be available to address those real problems and focuses it on addressing a fictional issue. And that’s the real tragedy here.
IMAGE: Police not welcome in George Floyd square. YouTube screengrab.
To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.