Saturday, August 22, 2020

Both Sides, Wrong


A pox on both their houses:

At an event at which President Trump himself spoke

A union representing tens of thousands of New York City police officers endorsed President Trump for re-election on Friday, citing what leaders said was Mr. Trump’s defense of the authorities and concern for public safety at a time they said their members have been “under attack.”

At a rally held at Mr. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., and attended by roughly 100 people, the head of the Police Benevolent Association, which represents about 24,000 rank-and-file officers, said he could not remember another time the union had endorsed a candidate for president.

“Across this country, police officers are under attack. Our neighborhoods are being ripped apart by violence and lawlessness,” Patrick J. Lynch, the union president, said in a statement released by the Trump campaign, which echoed rhetoric often espoused by Mr. Trump. “Most politicians have abandoned us, but we still have one strong voice speaking up in our defense.”

Note the date: Friday, August 14, 2020. The endorsement significantly came before the Democratic non-gathering at which

Philonise Floyd — the brother of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May, and whose death help spark global protests — spoke for almost two minutes on the convention’s opening night.

“George should be alive today,” Philonise Floyd said, before mentioning other Black Americans who have lost their lives due to police brutality. “Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. Eric Garner should be alive today. Stephon Clark, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland — they should all be alive today.”

He concluded his list with a call to action before leading viewers in a moment of silence. “It’s up to us to carry on the fight for justice,” he added.

This is the same Philonese Floyd who in a pre-recorded message in June urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate police brutality in America, arguing

....you have the power to help us get justice for my brother George Floyd.  I am asking you to help him.  I am asking you to help me. I am asking you to help us. Black people in America....

The officers showed no mercy, no humanity and tortured my brother to death in the middle of the street in Minneapolis with a crowd of witnesses watching and begging them to stop, showing us black people the same lesson yet again: black lives do not matter in the United States of America.


 


Black lives do not matter in the United States of America. Aside from this being a ludicrous generalization, someone should have informed Mr. Floyd (on the off-chance it would have mattered) that

 

That is the group Philonese Floyd wants to pass judgement on human rights in the United States of America.  Echoing this one-sided perspective, Michelle Obama at the convention claimed "And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered."

Continue to be murdered. She did not mean by other blacks- or whites- in the streets and homes of a very violent society, nor periodically by rogue or unqualified police.  According to the wife of a former two-term Democratic president, it is not a country in which "innocent people of color are too-often murdered" (by police)- but of one in which they continue to be murdered, and regularly. (And Asian-Americans might be surprised to learn that they are among the "people of color" regularly murdered by law enforcement officers.)

The endorsement of the incumbent President by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association in New York City is not justified, or even explained by, the stance on police brutality or racial bias in policing. It took place four days before the opening of a convention in which a national party laid down a marker.

When there is interaction between a black woman or man and a law enforcement officer on the streets of America, one side is fully to blame while the other side is blameless. President Trump has encouraged cops to bust heads of suspects. National Democrats have made it clear that if there is a conflict between an officer and an alleged offender, the latter always deserves the benefit of the doubt, any doubt, and conclusions are to be drawn swiftly.

These extreme perspectives are both wrong. The consequences over the next several years will not be pretty, nor harmless.

 


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