Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Minnesota AG Keith Ellison May Have Just Screwed Up Case Against George Floyd Cops

Floyd almost certainly died of a heart attack brought on by his strenuous resistance to arrest. "I can't breathe" is a recognized symptom of a heart attack. There will at least be reasonable doubt about the cause of death so the cop could well skate.

And the knee on the neck procedure is recognized as a legitimate means of restraining a very active criminal so even that will probably not lead to successful charges

I’m no legal expert, but I wondered to myself if Keith Ellison hadn’t overcharged the cop who killed George Floyd. Now there’s someone much smarter than I who agrees.

Andy McCarthy, who writes for National Review, is a former federal prosecutor and has been a trusted guest on my radio show for the better part of 20 years. He believes Ellison might have just colossally screwed up his case against the cops. My words, not his. McCarthy called Ellison’s amended charges “dangerously flawed.”

Overcharging is tantamount to over-promising. It’s perceived as overly punitive and less thoughtful in some cases. Sure, everyone’s angry. Sure, Floyd’s death appears to be criminal. But you’ve got to be able to prove what you charge.

Ellison may have just Peter Principled himself out of this prosecution.

Police officer Derek Chauvin took a knee on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes. The hold on his neck, not part of any police training, killed Floyd. Floyd, who had drugs in his system and a heart condition, panicked and couldn’t breathe.

Yet Keith Ellison is still pursuing a murder conviction.  Statutorily, it's simply not murder.

Initially, the local district attorney took a long look at the evidence and charged Chauvin with third-degree murder, alleging Chauvin had depraved indifference to human life, but didn’t conspire to kill Floyd.

Then the case was kicked upstairs to virulently political Leftist Keith Ellison, part of the George Soros-funded attorney general project.  Ellison added a second-degree felony murder charge to the other less severe charges that McCarthy believes he won’t be able to prove. He’s ladled on aiding and abetting charges against the other officers on the second-degree murder charge and manslaughter.

McCarthy points out that the new charges don’t quite add up. Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder (the new charge against Chauvin) and manslaughter. Weirdly, under the circumstances, the three are not charged with the “depraved indifference” murder count; nor are they accused of committing manslaughter as principals — they are charged only as aiders and abettors, a theory that does not jibe with a negligence charge such as second-degree manslaughter (which is negligent homicide under Minnesota law).

He explains that defense attorneys will poke big holes in Ellison’s case:

By definition, a bad outcome caused by negligence does not happen intentionally; it happens because of carelessness that created a risk the actor did not foresee but should have.

See the problem? Aiding and abetting requires proof that the accomplice understood the principal’s conscious criminal objective. In a negligence case, the bad thing that happens is unintentional — i.e., it is nobody’s conscious objective. That’s why the prosecutors’ theory is, to my mind, a non sequitur.

Do not misunderstand. I think it would make sense to charge the accomplices with manslaughter as principals, rather than as aiders and abettors.

But here’s what might be the most diabolical part of Ellison’s move and maybe the one he wanted all along.

 By contrast, the new “felony murder” count, spearheaded by Keith Ellison, the radical leftist state attorney general, puts police on notice that they can be charged with a crime — felony assault — for doing their job, which routinely involves physically restraining suspects who resist lawful commands.

McCarthy talked about it in his podcast and in a piece in NRO.

Do you doubt that Keith Ellison would want to criminalize police work? Neither do I. Here’s a man who believes national borders are an “injustice.”

The unanswered question, however, is what would be the point of prosecuting charges that may not hold up?



Is There Really an 'Epidemic' of Racist Police Shootings? Several Studies Say No

The protests and riots that began in the wake of the death of George Floyd show no signs of stopping anytime soon. Lots of well-intentioned people are expressing their outrage over what they believe to be an epidemic of racist police brutality. Perhaps the most common form of alleged racist police “brutality” we hear about is shootings, particularly those with questionable justification. To hear some people, there’s an epidemic of racist police brutality and we need to do something about it.

Black Lives Matter is calling on the defunding of police—which is just silly. Congressional Democrats are looking to pass sweeping “police reform,” and one can only wonder what their real objectives are. But, this all leads to some very important questions. While we all agree that unjustified police brutality is bad, is there really an “epidemic” of racial bias in police brutality? It only takes one incident to go viral and serve as a call to arms for thousands of people to protest, but is it a really as big of a problem as people suggest it is?

Looking at the data, the answer might actually be no. According to a 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, white officers are not more likely to shoot black civilians than black or Hispanic officers are. According to the study, there is “no evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non-White officers. Instead, race-specific crime strongly predicts civilian race. This suggests that increasing diversity among officers by itself is unlikely to reduce racial disparity in police shootings.”

Other studies have reached similar conclusions, including a Harvard study that found no racial bias in police using deadly force, though there is some disparity when it comes to physical force. With regard to lethal force, however, no disparity exists.

“A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing,” explained Heather Mac Donald of the Manhatten Institute in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. “Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.”

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

“However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians,” she said.

Mac Donald also noted that “A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects.”

Mac Donald has been writing about this subject for a long time. In a 2016 piece called “The Myth of the Racist Cop” she pointed out that police officers “are second-guessing their own justified use of force for fear of being labeled racist and losing their jobs, if not their freedom.”

On Oct. 5 a female officer in Chicago was beaten unconscious by a suspect in a car crash, who repeatedly bashed her face into the concrete and tore out chunks of her hair. She refrained from using her gun, she said, because she didn’t want to become the next viral video in the Black Lives Matter narrative.

The Chicago Police Department now wants to institutionalize such dangerous second-guessing. Its proposed guidelines for using force would require cops to consider the “impact that even a reasonable use of force may have on those who observe” it.

The following breakdown from Law Enforcement Today also puts the issue of police brutality in perspective:

According to 2019 data, there are 328, 240, 469 people here in the United States.

According to stats from com, there are 670,279 full time police officers here in the United States out of a total of 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers (data from National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund).

There are approximately 2.1 police officers per thousand people.
Police officers are less than .21 % of population.

Officers come into contact with 17% of the population annually.
That means 55,800,880 contacts

Which, at the time of the last report, led to 26,000 excessive force complaints against officers. That’s 0.047% of contacts. Only 8% of those complaints were sustained. That’s 2,080 out of 53,380,000 contacts, or .0039%

A good friend of mine who is a Chief of Police put that into perspective:

You are seven times more likely to be murdered …

15 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident …

42 times more likely to be raped …

… than to have a police officer use excessive force on you.

Simply put, the narrative that police officers are overwhelmingly racist is simply not true, and has likely contributed to police being assaulted or killed. During the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Barack Obama perpetuated the myth of systemic police racism, described by some as a “war on cops,” resulting in a spike of cops killed in the line of duty—a spike that ended during Trump’s first year in office. In fact, the number of cops killed in the line of duty went up annually from 2013-2016.

So, cooler heads must prevail when it comes to this issue. Cops who use excessive force must be dealt with appropriately, but perpetuating the myth of a widespread epidemic of racist cops helps no one, and likely does more damage. We literally have people calling for the defunding of police. While there may be a few bad cops out there, we rely on them to protect our communities.




Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies he would not have signed FISA warrant for Trump aide if he knew of problems (Fox News)

Senate passes legislation making it easier for small businesses to use pandemic relief program (Washington Examiner)

Joe Biden fundraises off George Floyd's death (The Daily Wire)

Antifa planned anti-government insurgency for months, law-enforcement official says (The Washington Times)

Administration slaps sanctions on shipping companies moving Venezuelan oil (The Hill)

China militarizing stolen U.S. tech, State Department says (The Washington Free Beacon)

State Department to label several Chinese media outlets as government propaganda (Washington Examiner)

Coronavirus is not mutating to become more dangerous, WHO says (New York Post)

For the record: Liberty University, once accused of being reckless for reopening during pandemic, finishes semester with zero coronavirus cases (The Blaze)

Trump administration to ban Chinese passenger airlines from flying to U.S. (The Daily Caller)

Companies issue shares at fastest rate ever (Reuters)

Markets clawing back much of pandemic losses (Washington Examiner)

South Korea unveils $62 billion "New Deal" to reshape post-virus economy (Bloomberg News)

Paris bans protest over black Frenchman and George Floyd deaths, citing potential social unrest and virus spread (The Daily Caller)

Space Wars: China outlines ambitious plan to build space station in orbit (Axios)

Two NYPD cops shot, one stabbed during cowardly attack in Brooklyn (New York Post)

Virginia Gov. Ralph "Blackface" Northam to order removal of Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond (Fox News)

Policy: As cities burn, will Trump invoke the Insurrection Act? And should he? (The Federalist)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"State Department to label several Chinese media outlets as government propaganda (Washington Examiner)"


ALL Chinese media outlets are government propaganda. That's simply hoe both Chinese governments AND Communist governments work.