I am a big “Blue Lives Matter” guy. I love the police, and I love first-responders. Nevertheless, I have encountered bad apples, too. I have met cops who have lied, cops who have slapped “Resisting Arrest” on a person who did not resist arrest just so that there would be an extra misdemeanor charge that would scare an innocent arrestee to plead guilty to something lesser, and we all have our own respective stories about traffic cops who were unfair, nasty, or even cruel. Because I am an Orthodox Jew who always wears a knitted yarmulke, I also have had two experiences in my life with cops who were outright anti-Semitic. If that is the price of worshipping G-d as I am commanded, I can handle it.
I taught my kids at a young age to respect the police, and when the kids were ready to take aim at California’s freeways and get their driver’s licenses I taught them that, if they ever are stopped by a cop, just be respectful and do whatever the cop says. Don’t argue with the cop, because he or she has a gun. And if the cop asks you for your automobile registration and proof of insurance, tell the cop where you are about to retrieve it from, and ask permission. So if the papers are in your glove compartment, tell him or her, “Officer, the papers are in my glove compartment. May I have your permission to open that compartment and get them?” If the papers are in your inner pocket in your jacket, tell the cop and ask permission. You never know when you have the bad luck to be up against an antsy cop who sees you innocently going for your inner pocket or glove compartment and thinks you are going for a gun. If the cop is abusive or nasty, don’t respond. If the cop makes an anti-Jewish comment, don’t respond. Just do your best to remember the nameplate and the badge number. We’ll deal with it later.
How does such an overwhelmingly left-of-liberal government, with Blacks in charge of police and statewide law enforcement, manage to preside over such a police force?
So that is my love affair with the police. I respect them. They protect my home, my neighborhood, my city. Without them there would be chaos. Most of them cannot be fully certain, when they leave for work each day, that they will be coming home unscathed or at all. They are brave. They are heroic. They save people all day. They answer domestic violence calls and put themselves in mortal danger. They go into dangerous places on drug busts. Even when they simply are sitting at Krispy Kremes or Dunkin Donuts, they are in danger of some mental case taking a shot at them. So I really love cops and firefighters and all first responders.
When the Michael Brown Ferguson lie first emerged — “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” — my first reaction was, “Could be. Lemme see. Don’t rush to judgment like Obama and Eric Holder.” It did not take long before the whole thing was exposed as the quintessential Fake News Big Lie. It turned out that Michael Brown was a violent, vicious thug who held up convenience stores and decided to wrestle a cop for his gun. When a cop is arresting someone, and that guy starts to wrestle for the gun, all bets are off because any cop with even half a brain knows that the criminal, if he wins the grappling game, will shoot the cop to death. It’s not a game of jacks. It’s not Penn & Teller: “Thanks for letting me wrestle away your pistol. Now watch me make a rabbit come out of the barrel.”
Michael Brown got exactly what he deserved. A grand jury refused to indict Darren Wilson, the policeman who defended himself against that thug. And, although the Ferguson rioters on the left seemed to have a wonderful time burning down their own neighborhoods and the stores they frequented that gave their communities life, the state of Missouri soon enough not only elected a Republican governor but threw out Claire McCaskill and elected a Republican U.S. senator, Josh Hawley.
It was similar when the George Zimmerman thing happened in Florida. Here was a lily-White racist who had murdered a sweet innocent boy of 12 or 13 merely because he was wearing a hoodie. My first reaction was, “Could be. Lemme see. Don’t rush to judgment like Obama and Eric Holder.” Soon enough, it turned out that Zimmerman is Hispanic, born of a mother from Peru with African ancestry, too. Turned out that the 911 recording that NBC played over and over, in which George Zimmerman seemingly was a racist, actually had been edited and doctored maliciously by NBC to make Zimmerman seem like something he was not. Turned out the media were showing a four-year-old picture of a 17-year-old. More recent photos of that sweet boy showed him, instead, pointing his middle finger in his camera pose. At the time of the shooting, he was serving a 10-day suspension for having a marijuana pipe and an empty bag containing marijuana residue. He had been suspended twice before, for tardiness and truancy and marking up a door with graffiti. When his backpack was searched by a Miami-Dade School Police officer, the officer found a dozen pieces of women’s jewelry, a watch, and a screwdriver. In the end, Zimmerman was acquitted. The state of Florida soon enough not only elected a Republican governor but threw out Bill Nelson and elected a Republican U.S. senator, Rick Scott.
And then there was Freddie Gray. Long story short: Although the Baltimore rioters on the left seemed to have a wonderful time burning down their own neighborhoods and the stores they frequented that gave their communities life, practically egged on by as incompetent a mayor as America has proven itself capable of devising, the Hon. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, every single cop who was put on trial was acquitted — by a Black judge, Barry Williams.
So I do not rush to judgment when the usual suspects accuse the cops of racism and worse.
Nevertheless, when I saw the film out of Minnesota, something was different right away. I never actually saw Michael Brown saying, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” I never actually saw the George Zimmerman scuffle. I never actually saw what happened to Freddie Gray inside that police van. I just knew what the Left media wanted me to hear, even if they had to doctor the recordings, and what they wanted me to see, even if they had to play games with the photos. But this time I saw what seemed to be happening. As I was watching the news film for the first time, I actually found myself yelling at the TV: “Get your knee off that guy’s neck, you #$&%!” And now I read that the cop’s wife is filing for divorce. Meanwhile, three other cops are standing there, watching, and not one walks over to Chauvin to whisper, in a face-saving way, “OK, Derek, that’s enough.”
Because I have been exposed to so many media lies for so long, I still have a voice in me that whispers, “Lemme see. Don’t rush to judgment.” Every person deserves his day in court and his right to be deemed innocent until proven guilty. It certainly does seem that the defense will argue that George Floyd was drunk with an enormous alcohol content and that he had other causes contributing to shortness of breath and his death. But unless Derek Chauvin’s lawyers come up with something akin to what saved Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, the five officers in Baltimore, and George Zimmerman — a revelation that the truth is different from what a nation has seen — he deserves as severe a punishment as Minnesota has on its books. And the other three officers, perhaps frozen by a sudden moral crisis that forced them unexpectedly to choose between standing up for the right thing versus not publicly upbraiding a brother in blue, chose terribly wrong. No one has a greater responsibility to spit such miscreants out of our midst than do unabashed supporters of our first responders. Assuming the facts prove to be as they seem. Let’s see.
But I am not done.
There remains a disconnect for me. The horrific racist images from 1950s and 1960s Alabama and Mississippi came out of a climate of its place and time. But what I don’t get is how Minnesota keeps making national news with these bad apples. In Alabama in the 1960s, one man — the famous L. B. Sullivan of “New York Times versus” — was the Commissioner of Police. And the Commissioner of Fire Safety. And the Commissioner of Cemeteries. And the Commissioner of Weights and Scales. But look at who is running Minnesota and its law enforcement. The state attorney general is one Keith Ellison, a Muslim Black radical who made quite a nice name for himself as a Jew-hater not all that long ago. The governor is another in a long line of Democrat liberals. The mayor of Minnesota is a radical-left poster boy. The Jew-hater Ilhan Omar comes out of that same city’s muck. And the police chief of Minneapolis, Medaria Arradondo, is Black and has been in charge for three years.
How does such an overwhelmingly left-of-liberal government, with Blacks in charge of police and statewide law enforcement, manage to preside over such a police force? Where is the training? Where is the insistence on excellence after a series of scandalous police shootings in recent years like the Justine Ruszczyk Damond killing by Officer Mohamed Noor, the Philando Castile killing by Officer Jeronimo Yanez, and others? It is not as though Officer Chauvin had one inexplicably bad day. Rather, he has had 17 complaints against him in 19 years. Where is the oversight? Where is the insistence on rudimentary competence?
What it points to is this: In the community of the Left that wallows in Identity Politics, too many too often select people based on criteria other than simple competence. Nowhere is this more evident than in cities that Democrats rule, as if by divine right, as one-party towns for decades uninterrupted. There is a terrible price to be paid when voters so lose their independence of thought that they mindlessly vote for sub-mediocrity no matter what the one and only party in power throughout their lifetimes throws at them. Such cities are governed with consistent incompetence, and everything that such governments touch emerges inferior: commerce, public safety, education, health services. When political parties perceive that they do not have to offer the best, but simply the next one in line for patronage, or the one who has the right Identity for the moment, a price is paid. In Minneapolis, it reaches national news when another of its poorly trained police officers abuses his or her authority under the color of law. An officer who answers to Medaria Arradondo who answers to the likes of Jacob Frey and Keith Ellison.
On a national scale, the presumptive Democrat standard-bearer has made clear that he is not looking for the best person he can find to be his running mate, but for the best woman of color he can find. As he has been the first to note, there is no guarantee he will be around in four years. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the 25th Amendment will not catch up with him sooner than that. Imagine if the United States were to be led by two incompetents and bumblers with the competence levels of the fools who have been running Minneapolis, its police department, and its statewide law enforcement.