Editor’s Note: The Last Redoubt continues his series on lies and consequences. Think on all he is saying and let it sink in.
One thing that’s clear in a lot of cases involving violence is that a lot of people are just idiots. This isn’t even about the willingness to believe the narrative of “peaceful” protesters even as buildings burn down and businesses are looted, or the willingness to buy the manufactured setup because the picture of the cop striking (back at) the (totally peaceful, man) protester is not a setup at all.
There are a lot of people who think stupid shit; take “why do they have to aim for the chest,” or “can’t they just wound him?” as common examples.
Take a gander at the Police Activity channel on YouTube. The list certainly includes cops being abusive, but clip after clip shows sudden and overwhelming violence directed at the cops. Sometimes the person the cops are interacting with is antagonistic from the word go, but the truly sudden explosions of violence often come when the cops make the call to arrest someone.
While there is a place and time to discuss a focus on law enforcement vs peace officers, this isn’t the focus here because in the end, arresting people will be necessary either way, and someone has to deal with it. Instead, I’m going to break down what is known of what happened with Floyd.
So – setup.
A man walks into a shop and “buys” some cigarettes with a $20 bill that was counterfeit.
“But I’ve handed clerks bad bills before, got one one time at a yard sale,” says the tearful little liberal lady. “No one should die just for passing a bad bill.” There’s that word “just.” Keep it in mind. What did they do when they called her on it? “I apologized, dug out another $20 to pay for it. The clerk let me go and kept the fake bill. Didn’t even call the cops. They only hassled him because he was black.”
From available reports, the bill was still wet, as in the ink was smearing. Even if Floyd was too hopped up on drugs to realize he’d picked a bad bill, he was certainly close to the source. That aside though, the shopkeeper followed him out, pointed out the bad bill, and asked Floyd to give back the cigarettes – no harm, no foul.
There’s a world of difference between going “oh, crap, sorry,” and then handing over acceptable currency, and what reportedly got the cops called on Floyd. Here’s another factor: it is amazing how often these post-hoc martyrs for the BLM cause have a serious rap sheet – or a history that would be but for leniency toward juveniles; this is not simply petty crap that would land on them from petty cops hassling people “just because” but weapons charges, drug charges, major theft, home invasions, and so on. These people do not have a history of making good decisions, or reacting well to being told “no.” Our nice liberal crying his or her eyes out for poor George might have been nabbed drinking underage or speeding, but unless they’re actually Antifa, likely haven’t even contemplated attempting that degree of violence, much less developed a history of it long enough to get the attention of the police. Life is not deterministic, but people like Floyd, Aubrey, and Rayshard have consistently made choices that make an encounter like their final ones likely. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Now, in the current COVID/lockdown situation, there’s an argument that the cops should have let such a minor infraction slide rather than taking a guy to jail over a bad check, despite the trade-off in dribbling away respect for higher norms of honesty by not taking steps to punish someone who unrepentantly stole, no matter how trivial the amount. Nick Rekeita pointed out that they could have just written him a citation, no need to arrest him.
Here’s the problem: if the original report by the shopkeeper is to be believed, Floyd was reported as intoxicated and behaving erratically. Also – since he climbed into the driver’s seat of a vehicle – he was trying to drive a car in that state. Letting him go to get into an accident, potentially killing pedestrians or people in another vehicle, would not be acceptable.
Needless to say, if that is true, the cops weren’t hauling him in “just” because he passed a bad bill, and was black. It’s also why the failure to release the body cam footage stinks to high heaven. Sure, you can say “prejudicial to a trial,” but the question is, prejudicial to whom? The cop being charged, or the prosecutor? It may make it more difficult to find an impartial jury that will weigh the evidence as presented, but if the body cam video shows the cops being abusive and unreasonable, and Floyd the image of saintly forbearance, it will still ensure that Chauvin is convicted, and more importantly, absolutely reinforce the narrative of “racist cops hassle black folk for no reason.” That goes double in the unlikely event the body cameras reveal that something more sinister was going on – as one theory making the rounds is that the cops actually OD’d Floyd.
Of course, if the body cam footage confirms Floyd to be erratic and obviously under the influence of drugs from the start, that blows away a good chunk of the moral foundation for objecting to his arrest – for those who care about truth.
For the cops, this is no longer about a counterfeit twenty. The cops have to take him in, as the chance of Floyd harming others in his state is far too high. Of course, trying to take him in carries its own risks.
So what happened?
First, let’s talk about authority. I mentioned you can bleed out your moral authority by not enforcing the rules – though being too petty about minor things can also lose your moral authority. Unlike computers, people operate in an analog, fuzzy world. In either case – one does not give orders that will not be followed, voluntarily, or by force if necessary. Once you’ve opened your yap and said “do such and such” and they fail to do it, and more importantly, get away with it, you’ve lost not only authority but respect. Incidentally – this is why it’s important to know what to overlook – once you start to go down the road of “do this, or else”, it’s difficult to back down without worse consequences than if you had kept your cool and “overlooked”, say, smart aleck remarks in the first place. Planting a guys face in the pavement over something petty won’t impress people either. And the wannabe control freaks that are attracted to power have a difficult time from restraining themselves.
Next – “excited delirium”. While I have some skepticism, you won’t find me in the snark crowd of “it’s not an official/valid diagnosis.” Delirium, in and of itself, is. If the police want to further name a specific delirium state characterized by extreme and sudden aggression, high body temperature, unexpected strength, and an overall agitated state of mind that more frequently occurs in people who are on various drug cocktails, and often ends up with the person dying of heart failure as it fails to keep up, given video after video I’ve seen, I’m not going to argue too hard.
Floyd collapses well before the neck restraint is used, already complaining he can’t breathe. On the one hand, this is a symptom of a heart attack. On the other hand, cops get to deal with people every day who will pretend to health problems, and do a better acting job than one video I watched where the black lady punched the cop and then started screaming “I’m being attacked,” when no-one had touched her yet.
Do they risk that it’s not legit? If it is a heart problem, then one of the safest places to be could very well be in the back of the cop car, especially if there’s not an ambulance nearby. If it’s not, and he uses that distraction to break free, they have an aggressive, agitated man high on a drug cocktail running around. Hell – there’s one case on a bus where a guy had a legit heart issue that was interacting with a drug overdose – he admitted to taking the pills. The cops were trying to convince him to go to the hospital, he wouldn’t. When they asked if he would pull up his shirt so they could see if a bulge was a weapon, he pulled out a gun and started shooting.
In short, even if Floyd had a no-shit heart attack, if he was determined to dig in, he could still be a grave danger or even a lethal threat. He was a big guy. If he got his hand on some cop’s head and smashed it into the side of a car, or into the sidewalk, that cop would very likely have ended up in the ER, and possibly died – head injuries are no joke. A lot of people – especially women – don’t realize the degree to which size and muscle mass matters in boxing, wrestling, judo, or street scrum. With or without weapons.
Something was already off, yet he fought so viciously to get back out of the car that the entire vehicle can be seen rocking, and he managed to fight his way back out. In short – whatever restraints they may have had on him were not enough, and assuming they had a legitimate reason to bring him in in the first place, they couldn’t let him go.
This brings us to the autopsies. There is the official coroner’s report, but there is also the “independent” one paid for by a race hustler. Again, it’s possible that both are wrong, but I find the separate conclusions interesting because they are actually falsifiable. The “independent” one claims the cause of death was asphyxiation due to his neck being crushed. The official one claims that other factors were paramount – drugs in his system and a heart attack. It may be too late to determine how much damage was done to Floyd’s neck, but, he was able to talk loudly for some period of time. More interesting is the claim that while, yes, there were drugs in his system, they were incidental, and he was healthy as a horse – as opposed to the coroners report stating significant amounts of drugs, and very severe blockage of his arteries.
The second sits somewhere within the bounds of opinion, possibly, but the last – the state of is cardiovascular system – cannot be squared between the two. Assuming there’s photographic evidence supporting the official report, there is no way the “independent” one can be true. That means the purpose of the second report is to give a fig leaf cover to “Floyd was murderdeed by da eeebil cops, raycisss!” while discounting anything that would indicate he died of a overdose-induced heart failure.
Because if he did – the most you could hope to get the cops on is being insufficiently aware of the difference between a real and faked heart attack. Given the guidance specifically in place at MPD, and what Chauvin was heard saying, even that would not be true, as the concern that Floyd was going to die of heart failure – see the above regarding excited delirium – was on their minds, and they were trying to keep him still and restrained until the ambulance got there, knowing it was a crap shoot as to whether it showed up in time to save George Floyd or not, because without an ambulance, he would have died anyway once they tried to take him in.
There are self-identified experts who will tell you that that neck restraint is unconscionable and not used by police departments. Some of these blowhards are cops. The more honest ones, like the one that talked to Stefan, will tell you they were shocked at first, but after doing some research, discovered it was actually taught and used in some police departments, including not just Minneapolis but various foreign governments, including European ones and not just Israel. I take the white paper demonstrating it would cause no harm with a huge grain of salt – there’s too much self-interest in that – and I can’t verify how often it had been used without incident. That said, it often has been used without incident.
So a) Floyd was not arrested for “just” passing a bad bill, b) they had little choice but to cart him off, and c) assuming nothing contrary comes out of the body cams, based on the initial reports by the shop keeper and what was overheard, Floyd would have died anyway unless the ambulance was right there. he had to be restrained because he was violently resisting arrest. If the neck restraint is actually harmful, we actually have a systemic issue, for once, but the cops were given ample reason to believe it would not be, knew Floyd was able to breathe, and actually showed concern, per their training, that he could be dying in front of them of heart failure, and were doing their best to simply keep him restrained – preventing further injuries – and get the paramedics in.