Due process is no more in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
On Sunday, a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer, while trying to taser Daunte Wright, who was violently resisting arrest, shot him instead. Within hours, the Minneapolis suburb, which is almost 30% black, was threatening the police, rioting, and looting. That's barely a headline nowadays. What was more interesting and, to born-and-raised American citizens, more disturbing, was the fact that, when Brooklyn Center's city manager insisted that the police officer still get the benefit of due process, the City Council promptly fired him.
During a press conference on Monday, when a reporter asked Mayor Mike Elliott if he was going to dismiss the officer who killed Wright, Elliott said yes:
Let me be very clear. My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession. And so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties.
It turned out, though, that Elliott was not the one who would be making the decision. Instead, when the reporter pressed for details, Elliott acknowledged that, "under our form of government, the City Manager, who is here...he ultimately is, actually has control over the police department, not the mayor" and asked his city manager, Curt Boganey, to speak.
Boganey made his position clear:
All employees working for the City of Brooklyn Center are entitled to due process with respect to discipline. This employee will receive due process and that's really all that I can say today.
When a reporter pressed for a more inflammatory statement because of the "valuation of black life," Boganey doubled down:
You know, I understand and appreciate the comment that you made and why you said it, but if I were to answer that question, I would be contradicting what I said a moment ago, which is to say that all employees are entitled to due process and, after that, due process discipline will be determined. If I were to say anything else, I would actually be contradicting the idea of due process.
Due process is the underpinning of the rule of law: those in power cannot treat people in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Instead, there are rules for dealing with problematic situations, whether criminal accusations or workplace wrongdoing, especially in the context of government employment. Due process is a double-sided shield that, in addition to protecting Americans from those in power, also protects them from the passions of the mob.
A man like this, who can stand for the rule of law when the mob is baying for blood, is a treasure and should be cherished. In a fraught situation, he placed profoundly important principles ahead of any personal feelings he might have had regarding the events that just put his city on the map.
It turned out that the City Council would have liked to cherish him, but the members were too frightened to do so. Immediately after the conference, the Council convened in an emergency session and promptly fired Boganey. As one council member stated explicitly, the council's decision was made entirely to appease the mob:
At a virtual council workshop, Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson said she voted to remove the city manager because she feared for her property and retaliation by protestors if she had voted to keep him.
"He was doing a great job. I respect him dearly," she said. "I didn't want repercussions at a personal level."
We are witnessing what happens when leftism has eaten away at the underpinnings of a constitutional system governed by the rules of law and due process. In place of those profoundly civilizing principles, we are looking at a country in which guilt and innocence, and punishment and reward, are determined by the passions of the mob and the arbitrary values placed upon the "in groups" and "out groups" in American society. This is a very dangerous time in our history.
Image: Kurt Boganey on LinkedIn.
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