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Douglas Andrews / May 28, 2020

A Fatal Police Tactic Does Not Mean the Entire Justice System Is Racist

The information available thus far on George Floyd's death calls into question the circumstances.

After the ugly case in Georgia already had the Leftmedia cued up, we didn’t need a crystal ball to see this coming. In the wake of George Floyd’s disturbing death under the knee of a Minneapolis officer with three other officers present, South Minneapolis has been consumed by violence to the point that parts of it now look like a war zone.

The death toll is, thankfully, just one, but the scene is still reminiscent of the urban riots of the mid- and late ‘60s — so much so that Mayor Jacob Frey has requested help from the National Guard.

One wonders whether the riots, the vandalism, and the widespread looting would’ve met with Dr. Martin Luther King’s approval. Or George Floyd’s approval, for that matter. Our guess is no. What measure of “social justice,” after all, is extracted by the pillaging of a Target or the firebombing of an AutoZone?

Yesterday, we called for restraint and due process but, admittedly, that’s an easy call to make from afar. The officers’ bodycam footage has yet to be released, but the video evidence we’ve seen so far of Floyd’s death is utterly damning — so much so that even those strongly inclined to defend controversial police actions are loath to do so here. James Gagliano, a law-enforcement analyst and former FBI employee, summed it up in yesterday’s Washington Examiner: “Floyd had a right to breathe. He also had a right to exist. And yes, his life mattered. The officer at the center of this case failed to protect those rights.”

Of course, a bad police tactic does not constitute “racism” or justify a lawless response. Two wrongs, and all that. Nor does it condone the race-baiting rhetoric of Mayor Frey, who weighed in with a series of obviosities right out of the Black Lives Matter playbook. Or by the likes of Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota representative who schizophrenically tweeted, “Our anger is just. Our anger is warranted,” before following it up with, “We should and must protest peacefully.” Or by tired old agitators like the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who dubbed Floyd’s death “a lynching in broad daylight.”

It’s worth noting that President Donald Trump wasn’t waiting around for Jackson to stoke the flames of race hatred: “At my request,” the president tweeted yesterday, “the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd.”

Justice, whether Jesse Jackson likes it or not, is being done.

As for whether the death of George Floyd was racially motivated, how can Jackson know for sure? How can he or anyone else know, definitively, what was in the heart of the officer whose knee took the life out of Floyd, or in the hearts of his three fellow officers who inexplicably stood by during those heated moments? We do know what the Minneapolis Police statement said: The suspect appeared intoxicated and resisted arrest. And we do know that Floyd was “a six-and-a-half-foot-tall giant of a man,” according to those who knew him.

Of course, neither Floyd’s size nor his possible intoxication justify the officers’ actions. He was handcuffed, he was subdued, there were plenty of officers present, and he was shown in new video to be cooperating with officers — no longer a threat to anyone. Qualified law-enforcement analysts agree that there was no reason for the officer to have kept his knee on Floyd’s neck when he was gasping and couldn’t breathe. No reason, no excuse.

Sometimes, though, despite what those in the race industry want us all to believe, indefensible police work is simply that. Indefensible. That does not make it indicative of systematic oppression.

(Update: Floyd’s autopsy determined that his “blood contained a fatal level of fentanyl,” and that, combined with methamphetamine, caused Floyd’s lungs to fill with fluid – which is why he could not breathe. It is likely he would have died on the scene regardless of whether he was being held on the ground or in the patrol car.)

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