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Race and Racism Courts and Law Racism Government

A Note on the Recent Killings of Two Black Men That Led to Massive Protests & Riots

The cases of Arbery and Floyd reminds me of the principle of stereotyping as one of and most likely the root cause of problematic interaction between law enforcement and the minority community and the larger issue of racism. These cases also remind me of cases in Texarkana USA such as the 2014 Dennis Grigsby, 2015 Michael Sabbie, and the 2016 Morgan Angerbauer cases which are outlined here and the 2016 Philando Castile case outlined below, and in terms of bad police procedures the Breanna Taylor case reported here.   The Sabbie case was clearly a lack of sufficient patience by the authorities.  The Grigsby case seems to be the same based on reported account of the situation.  I know there was a law suit by the Sabbie family that has now been resolved so authorities should feel comfortable with publicly discussing lessons learned and actions taken to prevent such unnecessary injuries/deaths in the future.  Sufficient time has also passed concerning the Grigsby case, lawsuit or no lawsuit, for the same discussions to take place.

With respect to the Floyd case, the Minneapolis Minnesota Police Department procedures manual on their website does allow choke holds and something else it calls neck restraint even to the point of rendering the subject unconscious.  It is unclear to me whether what the cop did qualifies as a choke hold or a neck restraint. In any case, surely what the cop did is not in the spirit of neck restraint authorization. From the video taken by the teenager at the scene the cop clearly over applied any reasonable neck restraint technique without any regard to saving Mr. Floyd life.  It clearly was not commensurate with any threat.  The captured procedures manual is dated October 21, 2019  and was seemingly uploaded to the Minneapolis site on May 30, 2020  which was five days after George Floyd incident.   

The available Texarkana Texas procedures manuals listed here do not seem to allow such neck restraints which I think is a good thing.  I certainly wonder why there is not a nationwide specification as to which type of techniques can be used as the same classes/types/races of people exist in every city/locality.

But then now the the Minnesota City Council is banning the chokehold and perhaps neck restraint.  Some news articles mention choke hold only; but, I did see one that said neck restraints were being banned. I could not locate the actual transcript of the vote and exactly what was voted on.   So are they are saying the Officer used the choke hold option or the neck restraint option specified in the manual? In the Minneapolis procedures manual the choke hold is defined as deadly force option and the neck restraint is define as a non-deadly force option. So it seems a choke hold is any technique applied to the neck area that blocks air and/or blood flow to the point of death. In that sense a neck restraint seems to be a kind of choke hold but a less severe application of force such that it is not expected to result in death but only disabling the person possibly to the point of unconsciousness.  If not banned, it seems they should also ban the neck restraint to avoid confusion about it and death due to excessive pressure applied to the neck area intentionally or unintentionally.  The choke hold is mentioned in the Texarkana Texas manual as an allowable deadly force technique and apparently needs review.  Whatever is set forth within procedures manuals should be clear enough for the average citizen to evaluate their appropriateness for law enforcement protection and community protection. Removal of the choke hold seems to only leave discharge of a firearm and vehicular force as the only deadly force option available to law enforcement in the Texarkana Texas manual.  In the Texarkana Texas manual the choke hold is also referred to as Carotid Hold.

I formulated thoughts on stereotyping as the root cause of the problem between law enforcement and the black community or any community back in 2012  (link given later) as I pondered the Trayvon Martin killing. As I ponder the recent February 2020 Ahmaud Arbery killing in Satilla Shores, a community near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia, and the May 2020 George Floyd killing in Minneapolis Minnesota I am reminded of my thoughts in 2012.

The same conclusions hold: the root of the problem is the sin of inappropriate stereotyping on the part of law enforcement and the black (or other) community which results in improper responses on both sides at times. Unfortunately the result is sometimes death although that is not the usually case considering the multitude of encounters on a daily basis; yet, even one death is unfortunate and any guilty on both sides should be held accountable.

I know that a lot of individuals and organizations of all races are doing a lot to improve the nation regarding the issues including Christian ministers and churches and other religions. Yet, for a long time I have been convinced that the church led by clergy, white and black and otherwise, must more so boldly speak and act to raise the conscience of the nation. But in my conversations I have not sensed an appreciation for the complexity of the problem and/or the will to meet the challenge. I sense that the reason is that most of us are not directly affected as our community was with going through the back door, using separate bathrooms and separate water fountains, etc. In other words, most of us are doing relatively well. Some may feel offended by this statement but so be it. Notice I did say us which includes me.

I must admit I am somewhat conflicted as I don’t feel like any white person has ever stopped me from achieving what I wanted to achieve; and, I have been helped by both blacks and whites, etc. And I have never been treated with disrespect by any police person. But I have responded out of character to a stop in a way that I should not have; but, the white police officer responded to me better than I responded to him. I spent twenty years in the US Army and can recount only once when there may have been an issue of racism; but, again it did not stop me from achieving my military goals. Yet, I do appreciate that not all of us have the same experiences. Therefore, I probably have not in my lifetime given this matter the level of attention that I should have. I have probably spent too much time thinking, talking, and complaining about the issues and researching and documenting and trying to understand the issues and solution elements and not enough productive fair and reasonable action. Perhaps I could have done more in my younger years; yet, perhaps I can still do something for God is yet able. I did start somewhat more intensively in 2016-2017 when I brought local law enforcement together with community leaders to discuss issues of conflict between law enforcement and citizens at large. Due to lessons learned and other things that took priority I stepped away from the TACLC initiative. However, during the last few months I have reorganized, reassessed, and reengaged that initiative as I recommit to do my part to the extent still needed. Of course, I didn’t know the recent intense events involving law enforcement were coming. Yet, it is wise to leverage in a positive way the opportunities brought by the crisis.

Perhaps each of us can still do something in our own way according to the gift God has given us. In doing so, let us not be the evil we despise in others. Let us remember the exhortation of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said we are to fight with the weapon of love to gain friendship not to humiliate. This is rooted in Jesus teaching that we are to love God and then ourselves, our friends and our enemies, hating the sin not the person. Indeed, as the scripture says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. And there is an appointed time for everything, however little and however great. It all contributes to the cause.

It is clear that in raising the conscience of the nation we must not be a respecter of persons. Jesus said let him without sin cast the first stone. But he also did not let the woman off the hook for he told her to go and sin no more. In other words we must boldly tell law enforcement community where they are wrong and need to repent but also tell our people where they are wrong and need to repent. Not every situation is the same.

It is a complex issue. I know some people want to make it a simple fix. The truth is the law is mostly on our side; though, it needs fine tuning especially in the area of holding law enforcement accountable with severe penalty when they are grossly negligent in interacting with the community .

It is a lot different than being forbidden to drink from the same water fountain. Drinking from the same water fountain is not unrighteous so that was an unrighteous law. In the Arbery case no crime had been committed and there was no resistance to police as none was present. In the Floyd case he reportedly was guilty of forgery or passing a counterfeit twenty dollar bill in a store or something like that and resisting arrest.  So the cases are markedly different in objective provable facts.  Moreover, just think a man life was ended over a meager $20 bill which anyone could get pass to him for something such as cutting someone grass such that neither the homeowner nor the person cutting the grass knows the  money is counterfeit.  Twenty meager dollars! One problem seems to be that people are arrested and stopped and accused and booked for such insignificant things causing emotions and other damaging behaviour to rise up.

It is true that those in authority in every area of life must be held to a higher standard than those on which they have authority. Yet, like all, law enforcement personnel are human and some times overreact in a manner that they should not and should be punished with appropriately and indeed many have been although many have not been punished or punished less than they should have been. Yet the killings continue. The problem is sin in the police community and society at large. That is why all sin should be rebuked as Jesus did, not just police sin. That means sin in our community and the law enforcement community. It is about fairness and integrity and justice for all not just some.

Chief R. Hall, the Dallas Police Chief said what happened in Minneapolis was murder and intolerable.  She said there are 18, 000 police departments in America with some 800, 000 police officers and what happened in Minneapolis is not representative of the nation’s police force.

I totally agree with her.  Although what happened in Minneapolis and similar events is terrible, it is not the usual case.  We need to attend to that truth and stop acting like it is an everyday happening.  There are not white people, police or otherwise, going around looking for black people to hang as some say.  Slavery is over people. It is not the same.

Nationwide protests have turned into and/or been accompanied by riots and chaos resulting in both heightening of attention to the matter and destruction of government and business properties.  I do not believe such riots and chaos is the best answer but I understand the impetus for it is a lack of perceived progress in resolving the matter of inequity in law enforcement service to citizenship and inequity in society in general.  The below image from a Facebook Post captures heretofore peaceful actions undertaken but for which the protester and many including myself do not perceive sufficient resolution response has occurred with respect to many law enforcement departments.  In other words the rioters believe the concerns have not been taken seriously enough to date.  And they are right; yet again, I do not believe rioting is the best answer but I do understand yet exhort against rioting and violence and silence.  

Arbery Video:

Floyd YouTube Video as Taken By Teenager Darnella Frazier At Scene – WOW. Clearly the Officer was much more wrong than anything Mr. Floyd may have done wrong If the link is broken as happened with one YouTube video link after a few days as it was taken down for some reason, just go to YouTube and search Darnella Frazier Video of George Floyd; it would be worth the search to hear Darnella’s recording. May she have peace knowing that she did right and no wrong at all in this matter:

Floyd Video 2 (CNN/CBS): This is mainly a video of the Mayor and others talking about the event. So the above video provides details at the scene.

These cases also remind me of the July 2016 Philando Castile case in which he was stopped for a busted taillight in Minnesota and killed by police. Video follows:

Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane;
Photo Source: MSNBC; Source of Information On Each at Above Clickable Links: thecourierdaily.com and conandaily.com

Race of Cops Involved in Death of George Floyd, a Black Man: Two of the cops (Chauvin and Lane) are White Americans. One (Thao) is an Asian/Laos American. One (Kueng) is a Black/African American at least his pictures seem to say so and reportedly his lawyer says he is. His physical features show a Black/African American prominence. Kueng also reportedly speaks Russian.

All races fail to do the right thing sometimes, don’t we! Yes there must be consequences but it is a satanic lie to say law enforcement abuse/failure is limited to one race.

Since many are saying that all four are guilty of a crime I suppose this qualifies as black on black crime as least where Kueng is concerned, doesn’t it!

By the way as I have said before I think the other three has some moral responsibility; but, I have not been and still am not convinced they should have legal responsibility when one considers supervisory/training factors in an situation where choke hold and neck restraint techniques are authorized in the police manual though Chauvin clearly used it when or at least to the extent it was not necessary given absence of deadly threat by George Floyd. Whether or not the technique should be used is another matter altogether for what is left except using a fire arm which will probably end in more deaths and injuries.

A major issue is reinforcing training and enforcement of use of the proper amount of force including firearms according to the clear and compelling threat level including punishment commensurate with the severity of the violation; a death is certainly severe.

Kueng and Lane were reportedly rookies and at least one of the three asked Chauvin if he was doing too much to Floyd but Chauvin said no. But Chauvin was their supervisor/trainer who was supposed to know. I find that a significant legal factor.

Hopefully justice will prevail for George Floyd and his family and all involved!

Let us not let emotions overshadow full truths for such an approach is of the devil. As I said all truth must rise! Let us not be the evil we despise in others.

Reference:

Minneapolis Procedures Manual. This is the link to the Minneapolis site. The link in the earlier paragraph is to a PDF I generated when the Minneapolis site could be easily accessed. But now I suppose due to concerns generated by the protests they have made the site difficult to access. The captured procedures manual is dated October 21, 2019  and was seemingly uploaded to the Minneapolis site on May 30, 2020  which was five days after George Floyd incident. 

Minneapolis NAACP Facebook (NAACP MPLS) Video. Discussion with one of Kueng’s Sisters (Taylor Kueng) who had a case against Minneapolis Police Department A Year Ago,

Office Derek Chauvin Original Complaint

Office Derek Chauvin Amended Complaint

Officer Thomas Lane Complaint

Officer J. Alexander Kueng Complaint

Officer Tou Thao Complaint

Fox Now Article on Floyd Case

About Race and Sociological Stereotyping

Aforementioned Texarkana USA Cases Plus

Floyd in Minneapolis to Start a New Life

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