In fairness, I had an experience with police officers this week that wasn't entirely negative. I can't say it was positive, because getting in a car crash and then standing outside and shivering for half an hour while someone fills out a report is not my idea of a swell time, but since none of the three cops who showed up was Officer Nelson, and none of them yelled at me, and none of them killed anyone, it was all right. Yes, I am personally prejudiced against cops because of the trauma that Officer Nelson inflicted on me by knowing less about mental health than a banana slug, but I've never claimed that they're all bad. I only claim that the law enforcement system systematically encourages and protects the bad ones. When a cop abuses or murders someone, you can't just dismiss it as an isolated incident, you have to ask why he or she was hired, how he or she has stayed in the job despite multiple red flags in most cases, and why he or she probably isn't going to face the same consequences that anybody else would for doing the same thing.
Obviously I've been following the Derek Chauvin trial with great interest. Things don't look good for the poor fascist. Contrary to what I saw a bootlicker suggest the other evening, it's entirely irrelevant whether the prosecution can demonstrate that he had any "intent to kill". The questions at issue are whether George Floyd would still be alive if not for the police's actions, whether Chauvin violated his training and department policies, and whether any reasonable person in his situation should have known better. The prosecution has demonstrated pretty conclusively that the answer to all of these questions is yes. The defense, meanwhile, has had to resort to pure conjecture about George Floyd getting carbon monoxide poisoning from the patrol car's exhaust (that the police were pushing his face into, but never mind that detail) and on cross-examination has acknowledged that the police were wrong to not seek or render any medical assistance after he went lifeless.
It should be in the bag. Derek Chauvin should be as screwed as any person on trial has ever been. I think he feels like he is, and I think that's why despite the urging of his lawyer he declined to testify in his own defense, even though he's not remorseful at all. Alas, while I'm optimistic, I'm not overconfident because he is, after all, a white police officer. There's very little precedent for holding white police officers accountable for literally anything. If he does get acquitted by a racist bootlicking jury, the next best thing would be for him to get lynched, but of course that wouldn't be ideal because the loss in court would make future prosecution of police officers even more difficult.
In other police news, on Sunday we found out about an incident from December 5 of last year where Virginia police officer Joe Gutierrez harassed, threatened, and pepper-sprayed Lieutenant Caron Nazario at a pointless traffic stop. Even though Gutierrez was fired for violating department policy - and it appears to me that this only happened right after the public found out on Sunday, not after the incident happened, but I don't know that for a fact - bootlickers are of course defending his abuse and blaming the victim for not being compliant enough.
The same day, Minnesota police officer Kim Potter shot Daunte Wright in the chest because after twenty-six years on the force, she couldn't tell the difference between a taser and a gun, even though they don't look the same, don't weigh the same, have the trigger in different spots, and were holstered on opposite sides of her body. What I'm saying here is that a #$@%ing toddler could tell the difference. (Yes, you should let your toddler play with guns because the Second Amendment stipulates no age requirement.) But I've seen enough examples of unbelievable stupidity from law enforcement to give Potter the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn't straight-up murder. Somehow this colossal #$@%up hasn't even registered with bootlickers, who are of course defending her manslaughter and blaming the victim for not being compliant.
On Monday, Iowa's senate passed legislation to strengthen qualified immunity for police officers and increase the penalties for protest-related crimes. Iowa is basically the teacher who ignores a bully for months and then punishes the victim for fighting back one day. Qualified immunity is an abomination that should not exist. One can only hope that after a few years of reforms and precedent by people who aren't fascists, Congress and/or the Supreme Court will strike it down altogether and render Iowa's bootlicking nonsense moot.
On Tuesday, a Maryland police officer killed 16-year-old Peyton Alexander Ham, but little is known yet about the circumstances of that incident, so I will withhold judgment. The overwhelming majority of police violence is unnecessary and unjustified, but not all of it.
On Thursday, body camera footage was released of the March 29 shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by an as-yet-unnamed Chicago police officer. Unlike 13-year-old Linden Cameron, the police only shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo once instead of eleven times, but unlike 13-year-old Linden Cameron, 13-year-old Adam Toledo is dead instead of just having lifelong damage to several internal organs. 13-year-old Adam Toledo was running away from the police with a gun, but when they told him to "show me your #$@%ing hands", he threw the gun away and put his hands up, and they shot him. Then, as police officers always do after they murder someone, they lied about it, claiming in their report that he "did not follow verbal direction" and "used force likely to cause death or great bodily harm." Bootlickers are of course defending the murder and blaming the victim for being out so late and wHeRe wErE hIs PaReNtS? Obviously if they had been good parents, they would have chained him in bed or stayed up all night keeping watch just in case. You can't make this stuff up.
On Wednesday - I know this chronologically comes after Thursday, but I have a reason for it, so just stay with me here - the Department of Justice announced that the Capitol police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 insurrection will not face any charges. Bootlickers are of course outraged that Babbitt was killed in the act of trying to overthrow the government and overturn the legitimate results of a presidential election. If she had tried to use a fake $20 bill, or slept on the floor at her boyfriend's apartment, that would have justified it, but this was just a harmless little attempted coup. We've all done it. I do feel a little bad for her because I'm sure she was sincere in her delusions, but she should have fully expected to die regardless of how justified she felt her cause was. Even taking into account the insurrectionists' skin color, I'm astonished that the police only killed one of them.
I say bootlickers because it's the commonly used and accepted term, but if it had been up to me, I would have probably called them buttsuckers. They are the scum of the Earth. They are the people who, if they lived in a fascist regime that allowed them to blossom in their true colors, would be gleefully torturing their neighbors without the slightest cognitive dissonance about the morality of their actions. I couldn't be more grateful that their president wasn't re-elected.
Closer to home, the former University of Utah police chief and four former officers are seeking $10 million in damages, claiming that the university unfairly scapegoated them and ruined their reputations after student Lauren McCluskey was murdered by her sex offender ex-boyfriend because they did nothing when she came to them for help. One of the former officers is Miguel Deras, who illegally shared an explicit photo of her with his co-workers at least four times but isn't in jail because reasons. For all I know he's still in Logan. He briefly worked for the police department here until the public found out what he did. (By an astonishing coincidence, the cop I talked to after being in a car crash was also surnamed Deras, but I made sure it wasn't him.) So I think he, at the very least, should #$@% off into the sun, but let the others have their say. I don't think anything excuses their negligence or changes the fact that Lauren McCluskey would still be alive if they had done their jobs, but I'm open to the possibility that the rest of the university needs to be punished more too.
There's been some good news too, though. New Mexico became the second state to end qualified immunity. Only forty-eight more to go. New York City also ended qualified immunity last month, and that's better than nothing. Maryland passed Anton's Law, named for 19-year-old police victim Anton Black, which makes most police disciplinary records and complaints publicly available so that cops like Thomas Webster IV, a participant in Anton Black's murder who had almost thirty conduct complaints against him - even more than Derek Chauvin - can't cover up their records and keep ruining people's lives. Yesterday, Attorney General Merrick Garland rescinded a Trump administration policy that prevented local attorney generals from using consent degrees to make particularly shitty police departments (like those in Ferguson and Baltimore) get their acts together.
Much too slowly, and too late for the ones who are already dead, traumatized, or wrongfully convicted, police officers in this country are getting put in their place. I'm just grateful the reform movement hasn't fizzled out after it was no longer a fad. All the people who suddenly started to care about child sex trafficking in July 2020 because they wanted to change the subject sure have been quiet for a while, though.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.