Daunte Wright’s Killing Makes the Case for Shrinking Police Budgets

Yves here. I don’t pretend to have any good answers for what to do about police brutality, particularly towards people of color. During the Presidential campaign, Biden backed even more police spending, no doubt to clam the nerves of the Dem’s professional-managerial class base. More unequal societies are lower trust societies, so the K-shaped recovery is only going to increase the perception of risk among the well off.

Two things to keep in mind. First is that the most troubling form of police militarization is their hiring of former soldiers. Any who have seen combat have been deeply acculturated to shoot at any threat. I don’t see how to undo that.

Second is that some data suggests that abusive policing is concentrated among a relatively small proportion of the total staff. Malcolm Gladwell looked at the Los Angeles Police Department’s efforts to improve its long-established bad relationship with community due to over-use of force. They invested a lot of effort in training, only to find it had very little effect.

Further study showed why. The average cop was not behaving badly. A small number had many warning and citations. Gladwell argued that the remedy was to get these hotheads off the street as soon as their abusive tendencies surfaced.

But the culture of police forces as currently constituted all works against that. Cops are indoctrinated to stick together. Being a do-gooder is being a rat, and being a rat is a fast path to having no backup show up when you are in a tough spot (or having drugs or other incriminating evidence planted). So cops can’t call out the abusers in their ranks for fear of repercussions. And police unions mount vigorous defense of cops facing sanctions.

By Sonali Kolhatkar, the founder, host and executive producer of “Rising Up With Sonali,” a television and radio show that airs on Free Speech TV and Pacifica stations. She is a writing fellow for the Economy for All project at the Independent Media Institute. Produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute

Three weeks into the Minneapolis trial of Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd, a white police officer in the neighboring suburb of Brooklyn Center killed a young Black man named Daunte Wright and illustrated in tragic terms just how law enforcement remains engaged in a racist war on Black America in spite of national scrutiny. Officer Kimberly Potter, a 26-year veteran of her department, allegedly mistook her gun for her taser and fired a single shot, killing the 20-year-old while he struggled in his car in view of his girlfriend, who had been riding as a passenger.

Like so many Black Americans, Wright justifiably feared police interactions. His mentor Jonathan Mason said, “He was afraid police would do something like this to him.” Attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented the families of countless police victims in civil lawsuits, said, “We don’t see these sort of things happening to white young people that we see happen over and over and over again to young marginalized minorities.”

The Black fear of police is grounded in provable police bias. The Stanford Open Policing Project studied nearly 100 million police stops and found that “officers generally stop black drivers at higher rates than white drivers,” and that “black and Hispanic drivers are searched more often than white drivers.” Moreover, “police require less suspicion to search black and Hispanic drivers than white drivers,” which the researchers concluded “is evidence of discrimination.”

According to Wright’s mother, he was pulled over in part because there was an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror—yet another ludicrous pretext to add to the list of remarkably mundane reasons for why Black Americans invoke suspicion from police. The ACLU of Minnesota released a statement saying it has “deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people.”

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to urge caution in rushing to judgment against the officer and instead accuse protesters of using the shooting as “an excuse for violence.” The paper rarely if ever expresses outrage over the countless racially tinged police killings in America.

Independent Black journalists like KingDemetrius Pendleton have been covering the Chauvin trial and the protests against Floyd’s killing for the past year and have a radically different view of the situation. In an interview, Pendleton explained to me that the killing of Floyd “was like a public lynching,” and then “to see Daunte Wright being killed in a similar fashion” was gut-wrenching for local residents. Pendleton hails from the very community that is deeply impacted by police violence in Minneapolis and routinely provides a platform for anti-police-brutality activists and family members of police victims.

Pendleton explained that it was ridiculous for us to expect young people to “calm down” in the face of state violence. After Wright’s killing, mass protests in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center resulted in dozens of arrests as angry residents confronted police. “They’re tired of watching their young friends getting killed by police officers, and they know nothing is going to happen because nothing ever happens,” said Pendleton. It’s a familiar script that when protesters denounce police killings, there is a greater focus on their righteous rage than on the state violence they are decrying. Pendleton invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, saying, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” “African American people don’t have therapists and all that. They just have to deal with the trauma,” said Pendleton.

Just as the Wall Street Journal’s comments focusing on protesters rather than the police killing were tone-deaf, so were Joe Biden’s calls for “peace and calm.” After Wright was killed, the president said, “There is absolutely no justification—none—for looting, no justification for violence.” He was not talking about actual violence by police, rather about potential violence from protesters.

If the calls for calm are louder than the calls for justice, then America’s message to Black people is to shut up and be killed. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was more forthright, tweeting that Wright’s killing was “government funded murder,” and that “Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.”

More importantly, Tlaib articulated the solution to this state violence against Black people: “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” she wrote. She was alluding to calls by Black Lives Matter activists to “Defund the Police,” based on the idea that the massive city budget expenditures on law enforcement are better served being spent directly on community services. Conservative and even liberal answers to the problem of police violence have been to throw more money at police, not less. Even after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests demanded that police budgets be slashed, most were still awarded increasesrelative to city services that directly help communities. Among the slew of police reforms that have promised an end to violence but delivered only more of the same were body cameras for officers.

In Wright’s case, Officer Potter’s body camera did nothing to deter her brutal reaction. What it did was showcase just how she ratcheted up the violence as police often do. Upon seeing the footage, Pendleton said it was clear to him that the African American officer who was in the process of arresting Wright was “handling him at first, and then you see this white woman come in and just grab him… and she basically escalated the whole situation.”

In the hours after Wright’s shooting, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon gave Officer Potter the benefit of the doubt, saying, “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” Law enforcement and their allies routinely justify police misconduct as understandable mistakes arising from the pressures of the job. Yet they blame the victims of police killings for not behaving calmly during the volatile circumstances of terrifying arrests by armed trigger-happy forces.

Both Potter and Gannon resigned two days after Wright’s killing, and in her terse resignation letter, Potter said it was “in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.” While immediate resignations in the wake of a police killing offer a modicum of progress compared to the inaction that most police killings are marked by, it is not enough. Wright’s aunt, Nyesha Wright, said at a press conference, “Prosecute them, like they would prosecute us.” Potter has now been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

So far only one Minneapolis-area police officer in recent memory has been prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to more than a decade for a fatal shooting: Mohamed Noor, a Black, Somali American officer who accidentally shot a white Australian woman named Justine Ruszczyk, killing her. During Noor’s trial, his victim was deeply humanized, and the loss of her life was painted as the tragedy it deservedly was. Former officer Noor expressed deep remorse for what he did, saying, “I’ve thought and prayed about this for two years, since the time I took the life of Justine Ruszczyk.”

Contrast this to the lack of remorse shown by Chauvin and Potter for the lives of their Black victims. It remains to be seen if these two white officers will be held accountable for their actions. In the meantime, police will continue to kill, and politicians will continue to urge calm in the face of the carnage while rewarding police departments with more money under the guise of “reforms.”

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  1. David Mills

    A phenomena associated with this is that police officers rarely live in the community they police. That increases the social distancecand increases the sense that they are a hostile occupying force. Also, police are (in relative terms) reasonably paid with pensions and healthcare, this is money that leaves the community.

    1. The Rev Kev

      To add to that comment about US police no longer living in the community that they police, here is a seven year old article talking about this which includes a chart. But I believe that it has gotten worse since and I think that about nearly 90% of the LA Police force does not live there which sounds extreme. And then there is the fact that the pay of those police gets mostly spent in another (probably wealthier) community rather than the one that they actually police-


      But there is one thing that could be done to mellow out the police is to immediately cancel all training with Israeli police as in right now. Why exactly does the US need to send thousands of police off to Israel (funded by the US Justice Department) to learn how to be police anyway? The US has been at the game a lot longer than Israel has existed as a country anyway. The danger is that US police learn to act towards their own communities like Israeli police act towards Palestinians and I think that this fear is justifiable-


      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        Last year, an accord was signed between the British and Israeli governments for military training, exchange of personnel and procurement, but that includes aid to the civil authority and can be extended to other arms of the state, including police.

        The NYPD liaison office in Israel facilitates cooperation between Israel and other police departments, not just NY.

        It won’t surprise you that when concern, similar to yours, was expressed at such cooperation in the UK, the persons doing so were ritually accused of anti-semitism.

          1. Ludus57

            Anti-Semitism is the go-to charge for the Labour right wing here in the UK.
            It is hallmarked by faux hysteria, manipulation of facts and lack of evidence.
            Having been used with some success to establish the current leadership of the Labour Party, the good thing is that as time goes by, their duplicity is more than matched by their overall incompetence as an opposition force, and the rate of their descent in polling.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      That is also the case in London. I know two senior officers, one with the Met and the other with the City of London. It was not like that when growing up.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder if some skilled graphic artists could redesign the Thin Blue Line flag in such a way that it would be a recognizable political parody of the original?

        Perhaps have the blue line be a blue strand of barbed wire with blue barbs on it? Perhaps have some lynched bodies hanging from the Thin Blue Strand of Barbed Wire?

    3. Northeaster

      In MA, most municipalities are civil service (state exam). Residents get absolute preference, with military veterans jumping ahead if they are also Vets. It is nearly impossible to get on a police or fire department here without either. The pay & benefits here are as excellent, as stated, but now there’s a relatively new problem: candidates. Test takers have been on a decades-long decline, reducing the pool. The #1 complaint by Chiefs here? Candidates passing physicals and background checks. NH has the same problem. Fewer want to be cops, I think it’s pretty clear why.

    4. CNu

      By and large, police officers are exceptionally well-paid for the minimal qualifications required to get the job. Moreover, there are the power and prestige attractions associated with being narratized as heroic first responders and all that folderal. When you take into consideration official overtime pay, and the pay available for moonlighting, policing is one of the few remaining occupations in which a certain demographic with nothing more than a high-school diploma can realistically achieve a 6 figure income.

      This is why police have so little difficulty parting with the 6-8% annual vigorish to their “fraternal orders”. The fraternal lodges are the real command and control systems for police departments. The chief of police is typically a bureaucratic figurehead whose job it is to run interference with politicians – and to a limited degree – the public.

      In the interest of supporting citations – I offer the following link https://www.kctv5.com/news/local_news/charges-against-tow-truck-driver-dropped-after-audio-emerges-of-kcfop-president-department-will-investigate/article_7d41362c-4494-11eb-84ea-5febf1d0d652.html

      But recommend a google search on – fop brad lemon tow lot scandal

      This is a wonderful mid-sized urban anecdote of most of the moving parts involved with the structure of power, prestige, and accountability in contemporary policing.

      1. workingclasshero

        What about chronic black criminality?black urban male populations are constantly acting out against a white bourgeoisie culture they tend to despise.maybe the answer is a black ethno state in the u.s. south where 55% of them live already.they can be schooled by others of their race and culture.a black nation state is what black americans want and need.

        1. juno mas

          Well, “criminality” is malleable in the US. The criminality of selling weed in the ‘hood to overcome the lack of investment and opportunity for legal employment is severe. While the criminality of banks cheating these same communities with exorbitant fees and penalties is ignored.

          Sometimes where you stand on the issues surrounding “them” is a reflection of where you sit.

          1. Anonapet

            While the criminality of banks cheating these same communities … is ignored. juno mas

            The sins of some people are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. 1 Timothy 5:24

            Btw, government privileges for banks systematically cheat the poor and other less so-called “credit worthy” – apart from exorbitant fees and penalties.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I wonder if ” black ethno state” is being advanced as an excuse to justify “white ethno state”.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Also, I wonder how many blacks are criminalized by artificially designed and engineered laws based on observing whatever it is that blacks do . . . . and fabricating laws against it in order to fabricate excuses to “arrest” and “convict”. Also, the non-hiring of “felons” with a “record” was created in order to prevent ex-convicts from being able to find non-illegal work. The reason for that is to keep them committing crimes so that they can be re-arrested and re-tried and re-convicted, so that their tax-funded dowry-income-stream can keep flowing to the legal-enforcement-industrial complex.

    5. larry

      What do you mean when you say: this money … leaves the community? In what way does it do that? Where are you thinking about?

        1. timotheus

          And when the cops domiciled in the suburbs are sued for abuses, the payouts come from the urban municipalities.

          1. Milton

            Not to extend this thread too much but, shouldn’t individual police officers be required to carry malpractice insurance? I apologize if this is already the case as I try not to think about law enforcement matters.

            1. Darrell Wells

              Police are routinely offered the opportunity to purchase professional liability insurance for themselves–but few do so. Why? Because every city has an ordinance that essentially guarantees their police that, in the event that any claim or suit is made against them, the city will defend them, pay all expenses of defense, and then pay any negotiated settlement or adjudicated judgment on their behalf. Only the most egregious behavior falls outside that protection and, even then, the tendency is for the city to pay until and unless there is a final adjudication that clearly states the officer has gone beyond the pale. Bottom line? The contractual protection offered by the employing city coupled with the qualified immunity found in that states Tort Claims Act, taken together, make it unlikely, that any officer will incur any personall expense. And, finally, in the unlikely event that the officer should have to pay a penny out of their own pocket, the local or state or national chapters of the FOP will usually step up and fund their reimbursement.

    6. CloverBee

      Part of the War on Drugs was to keep cops from policing their own neighborhoods. Even if they live in the city they serve, they cannot work in the jurisdiction they live in, as it may create a conflict of interest. Police not knowing residents is policy, not an accident.

    7. Carla

      @David Mills — this is a big, big problem. It is true that many police, firefighters/EMTs, and other city employees do not live in the cities that employ them. As the ratio of local residents working for our city steadily declines, so does the performance of our city government. It’s a terrible situation, made demonstrably worse by an Ohio law passed in 2006 that struck down residency requirements for city employees statewide, in contravention of the home rule guarantees of the Ohio Constitution. The law was challenged, but the Ohio Supreme Court upheld it in 2009. State preemption of local control is destroying municipal governments throughout the state.

  2. Bob Hertz

    There is a reason that Daunte Wright “feared police interactions….”
    The reason is that he was a young career criminal, with recent violent offenses. From the American Spectator:

    “He was earlier reported to the police for waving a gun around, and when the cops showed up it turned out Wright didn’t have a permit for the gun.

    He ran away. And he was cited and ordered to appear in court. He didn’t, which occasioned the warrant for his arrest.

    That’s not all that appears on Wright’s record. There was the February arrest for aggravated robbery. There was a disorderly conduct charge arising from a 2019 incident. There was the guilty plea in late 2019 to possession and sale of marijuana. And there was an arrest warrant for armed robbery; Wright was accused of choke-holding a woman and threatening her at gunpoint, demanding $820 intended to pay her rent.”

    Now I don’t care about the arrest for marijuana, but the other offenses are serious business. The man who was shot in Kenosha WI (Jacob Blake) had an even worse rap sheet.

    When the police attack a genuinely innocent Black man, I am also appalled. I am not appalled by the case of Daunte Wright.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Did you miss out on the presumption of innocent? Guess that goes away if you are black. He was repeatedly charged and never convicted, and likely not prosecuted, since people who can only afford a public defender usually cop a plea. So those accusations never held up.

      So the only germane issue is the arrest warrant. You are assuming he was guilty of that too when you never heard his side of the story. The way the accusation is worded, he never got the $, so the more accurate description would be “attempted armed robbery.”.

      1. John Beech

        Sorry Susan, you’re mistaken. There is ZERO presumption of innocence when you bolt for your car, reach for a gun and try to kill a cop. And that’s what Daunte Wright was doing if you’re a cop making an arrest. Or would you hold the same position if the video wasn’t of poor thug wannabe Daunte Wright being shot and driving off only to die shortly after but – instead – were body cam footage of him twisting to unload a clip into that cop? Could have been.

        Bottom line? In that situation the guy could have been orange and it would have made no difference. Color simply didn’t enter into it unless it’s the color of lead. Or haven’t you watched enough cop killings where the suspect shoots to kill without warning?

        What I fail to understand is why that cop didn’t just say she aimed to kill him before he killed her. What I would have done. Anyway, my advice is walk a mile in a cop’s shoes before blathering about race being a factor in the death of Daunte Wright

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Stop making shit up.

          There’s ZERO evidence he was reaching for a gun. He was trying to get away. The police chief said at the news conference he had not been told a gun was found in the car. Read the damned transcript.


          The police chief further said:

          It appeared to me from the video that the individual was trying to get back into his car to leave.

          The mayor said he supported firing the officer. Again, that would not be his reaction if she had faced a physical threat from Wright. There is absolutely no evidence of your claim.

          1. Pelham

            How would the cops have known he wasn’t reaching for a gun? Separately, he definitely was disobeying orders and trying to jump back into the car. Best case? He was preparing to speed off and quite possibly cause a fatal crash.

            1. Kurtismayfield

              How would the cops have known he wasn’t reaching for a gun?

              Wait.. so now the sheer possibility of a person reaching for a gun in a car is enough for the police to open fire? I would hate to be nervous and drop my keys.

              Separately, he definitely was disobeying orders and trying to jump back into the car.

              So fleeing is now an excuse to shoot first?

              Best case? He was preparing to speed off and quite possibly cause a fatal crash.

              Actually the best case would be for the suspect to flee and not cause anything. And the police have zero responsibility to protect and serve, that has been supported by the Supreme Court a few times

              Imagine if the rules of engagement that you are outlining here were given to private citizens.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Hasn’t fleeing always been an excuse to shoot first? Hasn’t that been the goverpolice-accepted standard for many decades at least?

                1. Kurtismayfield

                  Walter Scott case

                  In June 2015, a South Carolina grand jury indicted Slager on a charge of murder. He was released on bond in January 2016. In late 2016, a five-week trial ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury. In May 2016, Slager was indicted on federal charges including violation of Scott’s civil rights and obstruction of justice. In a May 2017 plea agreement, Slager pleaded guilty to federal charges of civil rights violations, and he was returned to jail pending sentencing.[4][5] In return for his guilty plea, the state’s murder charges were dropped.[5]

                  In December 2017, Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with the judge determining the underlying offense was second-degree murder.[6]

                  Not anymore.. it’s a civil rights violation.

          2. CanCyn

            Isn’t it time to ban J Beech? Have you seen the horrors he wrote in Links today? I try to read his posts In an effort to understand the right but I’m done with him.

        2. disillusionized

          What I fail to understand is why that cop didn’t just say she aimed to kill him before he killed her. What I would have done. Anyway, my advice is walk a mile in a cop’s shoes before blathering about race being a factor in the death of Daunte Wright

          That’s probably what makes this so tragic – That this was an accident.
          Because if she had intended to shoot him, that almost certainly would have been ruled justified.
          But from my watching, it just amateur hour start to finnish. You don’t tell the person you are cuffing before they are cuffed there are warrants.
          If it’s a stressful situation and you don’t know what you are doing, don’t reach for your taser.
          If you think reaching for your taser is the right call, the reach for your taser.
          If you have the presence of mind to announce “taser” three times, (which is a good policy) then looking at your taser, that looks and weighs completely differently should have clued you into the fact you are not holding your taser.

          And, obviously, don’t just drop the gun.

          As for Yves, the sad fact is, that if the officer hadn’t announced that she was intending to use a taser, and just intentionally shot him, it almost certainly would have been ruled a justified shooting. She couldn’t see where his hands where, he resisting arrest, her rookie couldn’t restrain him, diving into his car, where it’s entirely probable that he has a gun or other weapons – and purely theoretically depending on the warrant, she can just shoot him with no specific threat – that’s a justifiable shooting sadly.

          Add in the fact that the proximate reason for the shooting still was the fact that he did resist a perfectly lawful arrest, – This is not like the other case.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Sorry, you still have this wrong.

            He dove into the car. His back was to her. From the chaotic video, he appears to have turned partly around in the driver’s seat.

            People who carry, unless they are total rubes, do not have them on the seat, which is where it would have had to have been for him to have grabbed it and then turned. They either carry them on their person or in a glove compartment (even glove compartment is rube-ish; women carry them in their purses, which is pretty silly given the time it would take to pull it out). His turning around is not consistent with reaching al the way across the car to get into a glove compartment.

            To put it another way, I have yet to see a single Minneapolis police department official say she was under threat. They all depict it as she intended to use the Taser to subdue him for resisting arrest. Apparently even her partner didn’t depict her or him as at risk of being shot.

            Shooting someone is justified under the law only if there is an imminent risk of physical harm to the police officers or bystanders.

            1. disillusionized

              Or, it’s by the seat, or he had it in his pants. In any case, it need not exist, it’s still a question of justification, and police almost always win those.
              As for her (or her rookie) being under threat, well no, no one would, because if she felt that, she should have pulled her gun. By pulling her taser (or intending) she made it untenable for her to say that she was under threat.
              On the other hand, if she had intentionally shot him, and said she felt that she and or her rookie was under threat, there is no conceivable way for her to be charged.
              Police win justification arguments.

              As for just shooting him:
              There are to justifications for shooting someone in the US as a police, first, the standard, You, a fellow officer, or member of the public is deemed to be in imminent danger.’
              But there are some further justifications only available to police – While the more overly broad ones were struck down with Tennessee v. Garner, more restrained ones still exists.
              In Georgia, for example:
              “If a person is suspected of a felony, the department’s policy allows for use of deadly force, but only if the officer “reasonably believes” that the suspect is in possession of a deadly weapon or object that is likely to result in serious injury, or if the officer believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat to the themselves or others.

              Additionally, deadly force is allowed if there is probable cause that the suspect has committed a crime that either caused or threatened serious injury or if the officer believes that if the suspect’s escape would threaten serious injury to others.

            2. Pelham

              His back was to the police officer, but how long would it have taken for him to whip around with a gun in his hand? He easily could have nailed both officers.

              I watched the bodycam video and that’s the first thought that occurred to me: first possibility, he’s reaching for a weapon (maybe tucked in a space beside the seat); second possibility, he’s going to try to speed off.

              Either way: imminent harm.

              1. diptherio

                So having your back turned to an officer justifies them killing you because it’s possible you could “whip around with a gun?” Ok, ok, gotcha. Totally makes sense. Just be sure to never have your back turned to an officer and everything will be just peachy…

                It’s amazing to me how many people are apparently just fine living in a police state…and mighty depressing.

                1. disillusionized

                  You do know that violently resisting arrest and diving into your car is something you can get shot for doing in Europe too?

                  George Floyd couldn’t happen here, but that, certainly could.
                  I don’t even see the (systemic) problem with this one – If she had managed to reach for her taser instead, would this even have been remotely interesting?
                  This wasn’t racism, or a overly violent police, this was a tragic accident where an officer reached for the wrong tool.

                  1. diptherio

                    Pat Robertson can’t believe that someone would mistake a bright yellow tazer on their left hip for a black pistol on their right. You however, have the faith to believe. Impressive.

                    1. disillusionized

                      The problem with the assumption that it was intentional to use the gun, is the fact that if she had, she wouldn’t have been charged with manslaughter. Or on the off chance she had been, there is no way she would have been convicted.

                      Simply put, her legal case in using intentional deadly force is orders of magnitude better than her legal argument going forward.

              2. a different chris

                >He easily could have nailed both officers.


                Watch too much TV methinks.

              3. tegnost

                if you are a police officer holding a gun, aiming at the person, you have the distinct advantage that the person has to turn around with a gun, then aim at you. You don’t shoot til you see the gun and you still have plenty of time. If he’s going to speed off you get on the radio, you don’t shoot. It’s important now to point out that this is the beginning of summer. The usual suspects are covering themselves in glory, declaring victory at the beginning of the game, trump is gone. America was already great. Get in line is what the right kind of people do. that attitude might very well literally blow up in their collective faces.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          Did you watch the same video I just did!?!?!?

          The one cop had the kid pretty much under control until the woman ran in and started getting grabby. Then when the kid bolted, she waves her gun around for a few seconds – I counted about five – before firing. It isn’t like she pulled the weapon and immediately fired like i assumed before seeing the video. And yet she couldn’t tell it wasn’t a taser?

          Until I saw the video I was willing to give the cop the benefit of the doubt. Now I think 2nd degree manslaughter is far too lenient of a charge here.

          And I don’t care if this kid had a warrant. They never would have known that if they hadn’t pulled him over for the crime of having an air freshener.

          Question for all of the people who think murders like this are justified because after the fact it turns out the dead person did something bad – how is it that police all over the rest of the world manage to do their jobs and bring criminals to justice without murdering anybody?

          1. disillusionized

            The one cop had the kid pretty much under control until the woman ran in and started getting grabby.

            No, the other officer clearly tells him to not do it, it is why she is moving in and trying to get a hold of the elbow.

            Then when the kid bolted, she waves her gun around for a few seconds – I counted about five – before firing. It isn’t like she pulled the weapon and immediately fired like i assumed before seeing the video. And yet she couldn’t tell it wasn’t a taser?

            She, following what appears to be policy, announces she is about to use the Taser – There is no conceivable reason to think she wasn’t mistaken in reaching for her taser, even though that sounds dumb (and is dumb, given color and weight differences).

            Until I saw the video I was willing to give the cop the benefit of the doubt. Now I think 2nd degree manslaughter is far too lenient of a charge here.

            Except that makes no sense, as she has a much, MUCH better case if she intentionally used her gun, than as it happened.

            And I don’t care if this kid had a warrant. They never would have known that if they hadn’t pulled him over for the crime of having an air freshener.

            He was pulled over because the vehicle had expired tags.

          2. Jason

            How is it that police all over the rest of the world manage to do their jobs and bring criminals to justice without murdering anybody?

            How is it that police all over the rest of the world manage to do their jobs and bring criminals to justice without murdering anybody?

            How is it that police all over the rest of the world manage to do their jobs and bring criminals to justice without murdering anybody?

            Thank you. Just keep asking this. Again and again and again.

            1. PS

              I think a big factor is that in most of the rest of the world the police can be reasonably certain that the person they’re arresting doesn’t have a gun within reach. Here in America they have to assume that they DO have a gun within reach.

      2. Bawb the Revelator

        Yves – Since “Defund the Police!” NEVER WILL HAPPEN how about
        “Accompany the Police?”

        90% of ALL 911 calls involve traffic accidents, drunk/disorderly, family disputes, disturbing the peace and post burglary investigations.

        Utilize or Increase funding usually going for military hardware into hiring uniformed, sworn Social Workers trained in de-escalation techniques to accompany the officers.

        This eliminates some if not all police violence by officers not skilled in
        conflict resolution and eliminates an idiotic, unfortunate slogan that threatens
        police unions and solidarity. Not “perfect” but what solution is?

    2. Basil Pesto

      to be clear, are you in fact saying that you are not
      appalled by police just… shooting people who may or may not be criminals indiscriminately? Interesting position.

      1. a different chris

        Well some of them do turn out to be criminals so it’s just good policy to shoot. You know, like when there is that dish that looks clean but maybe the dog licked it so you throw it in the dishwasher. Like that. /s

    3. diptherio

      Being sentenced to death, on the spot, by a police officer, with no chance to defend yourself is totally fine, according to Bob. Presumption of innocence, what’s that? If you’ve been arrested previously for a crime, police have every right to execute you, according to Bob. Double jeapordy, what’s that? Only “genuinely innocent” Black men have the right to a trial, the rest of ’em don’t have any rights worth mentioning, according to Bob.

      Don’t be like Bob.

      1. Carolinian

        Turley has a couple of columns on this and says her yelling “taser” and then “OMG I just shot him” (or some similar) muddies the intent question for the manslaughter charge. We can all agree it was wrong to kill him–and she has been quickly indicted by a grand jury–without making the same mind reading assumptions about the cops that they make about black people. Perhaps she was just exceptionally incompetent at her job and unable to keep a cool head–surely a necessary job qualification for people who carry around guns.

        Turley says there’s a similar case where a San Francisco Bart officer shot and killed and said he thought he was tasing. He was convicted.



    4. Telee

      Another justification of homicide by police of black people. It assumes that blacks are worthless and lawless and police killing is therefore justified. This view is acceptable to many in the US. We are a racist society unwilling to reconcile our history of racism which is alive and well in America.
      As for Biden, he wants to increase funding of the police and indeed under his watch there is a significant increase in the amount of military hardware that police forces are receiving. In the 90’s he and other “liberals’ were giving politically expedient speeches on the need to punish blacks before they kill your grandmother and so on. Hillary was giving speeches on the need to make these black criminals heal. It was Biden who supported the crime bill which put a disproportionate amount of blacks to feed the prison industrial complex. Any discussion of the situation without taking into account the racist policies of our government and society is severely lacking. For example the New Deal was an affirmative action plan for whites only. In addition blacks were excluded from the housing opportunities given to whites. Conditions in the black urban enclaves reveal the most horrible conditions of economic and social decay imaginable. I recently listened to Mike Tyson interviews about his neighborhood in the Brownsville section of NYC. He was in jail at the age of ten for theft. Just like most of his friends. Of course conservatives tell us that the conditions people live with are not a factor in creating antisocial behavior while politicians such as Hillary and Biden tell us that the societal conditions are not as important as the urgent need to put black people in jail so they don’t rob and kill your love ones. The US was built on genocide, slavery and hypocrisy that has never been reconciled. And the beat goes on and on.

  3. Tom Stone

    I’ll insert a plug for Radley Balko’s book “Rise of the warrior Cop”.
    Watch a few police recruiting videos for an eye opening look at the selection process for Cops.
    Do keep in mind that the “LEO Bill of Rights” has in many jurisdictions granted cops the status of a separate caste with different and superior rights than the average “Civilian”.

      1. JerryDenim

        It’s been on my reading list for a long time. I hope to get to it one day soon. While researching the book it came to my attention that Balko is a conservative libertarian type, which I find completely unsurprising. There’s a good deal of overlap around the issue of militarized policing between BLM champions and paleo-conservatives, who are generally suspicious of state power, but sadly the dishonest and inflammatory media coverage of these types of shootings along with advocates for the victims tendency to obscure facts and evidence in order to martyr characters like Daunte Wright and Jacob Blake only serves to push the two sides further apart preventing any type of alliance that could likely bring about sweeping police reform. It’s a damn shame and part of me doubts that it’s coincidental. There’s so many very sympathetic, completely blameless minority victims of police violence I’m confused why racially-minded police reform advocates would want to muddy the waters attempting to depict men like Wright as a blameless victim instead of acknowledging his mistakes that lead to a situation where an “alleged” accidental shooting could easily occur. The proximity to the Chauvin trial has given this case far too much attention I think. It’s a very sad tragedy, but not the best example of racially motivated police violence in my opinion.

        1. Abi

          LOL are you lot even real? “Yeah this case doesn’t have enough racism in it for me”

          I don’t even understand how thinking like this in 2021 is even possible.

          Omo black people go hear am oh (wow black people will hear it)

          As a black person reading these comments, what breaks my heart is that I’m not even sure where this angst towards us comes from? Nawa.

          I can understand and relate to the fear. I’m scared reading the comments, imagine living in a place where this is my reality

  4. stefan

    One thing that might improve policing is better education. Police are asked to enter into situations that require good judgement. Perhaps a college education should be a requirement. Followed by two years of real police academy.

    1. PeterfromGeorgia

      The ex-Navy seal trainer-come-right-wing-self-help-guru Jocko Willink (sp?) raised some great points in an interview with Joe Rogan regarding the need for police to have MORE training during the course of their employment and MORE time away from the field in regular rotation (both of which would cost more). He suggested a 4 days in the field 1 day off for training (not just weapons, but de-escalation, community relations, etc) or 3 weeks in the field one week of training.

      1. Pelham

        Sounds good. Also, double the pay.

        I know, this runs against the progressive argument that police are overpaid for their skillset requirements. Maybe or maybe not. The counterargument is that they’re grossly underpaid for the risks they take. Regardless, if you believe that police in general are lousy in one way or another, you probably need to acknowledge that one big possibility is that we’re getting what we pay for.

        With the military, it seems odd that progressives are just now waking up to the idea that an all-volunteer force somehow may mysteriously end up with a disproportionate number of right-wing members. Maybe we have a similar phenomenon with police. So I would suggest a draft not only for the military but also for local police. Everyone at a young age should experience one or the other, or maybe both, for a few years. Then perhaps we could have informed discussions and dispense with most of the righteous ranting.

        1. juno mas

          Firemen have a more dangerous occupation than a policemen. The police mostly engage in traffic accidents/ minor disputes. Except when they escalate encounters into something more dangerous; Dante Wright, Adam Toledo, George Floyd, . . .

        2. Mr Grumpy

          In my good sized Midwest city early career police are definitely underpaid, not grossly, but by 10-15% easily. But it’s the same for early career teachers and firefighters as well. And from what I’ve read, the pay of EMTs is abysmal. But the person who organizes the party caucus and does scheduling for the city council makes 60K. Priorities, priorities.

          1. tegnost

            Having been scraped up off the street by the san diego fire department I say they should be paid a lot more.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Enforced by whom? Gunned-up violent police? Think that will encourage citizen compliance with Liberal Fascist Pig gun control?

  5. TomDority

    I would look at how dangerous is a police officers job….compared to a truck driver, carpenter, farmer and host of other jobs…. hint, you will find that a cops level of danger in their job does not make the top ten list. So all this soap opera and machismo pushed by cops – that their job is so tough and dangerous is just screechy brats who get bent out of shape for not being allowed to play fantasy games. My question is where is the voice of cops who do a good job – are truley working for a better community – they are being shut up by the blue wall of silence created by the coward bullies in the force.
    “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker
    “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Dr Martin Luther King Jr
    “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox
    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
    “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” — Dr Martin Luther King Jr
    And many more
    So, instead of having states and municipalities picking up the cost of restitution for these police killings — take it out of the police pension funds – and remove pensions from those who have violated their duty.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Also, abolish police unions and fraternal orders, and fire every officer who insists on retaining them or belonging to one or trying to organize one.

  6. Mike R.

    It’s really pretty simple if you support law and order. The kid was pulled over and found to have an outstanding warrant for arrest (gun violation, failure to show up in court, etc.).
    The kid broke free from the officer attempting to handcuff him, got in the car and in those few seconds, officers thoughts/fears ranged from he’s attempting to pull a gun to he’s going to drive off, etc.
    Now I don’t know what anyone else believes, but in our society, you don’t resist arrest and attempt to run away from police. And you certainly don’t put yourself in a situation where police are afraid of what you may be trying to do with your hands.
    The police officer made a tragic mistake between taser and gun. I feel extraordinary sympathy and empathy for her and her plight. Instead, the family and family attorney berates her and demands murder charges for their “innocent” good little son. As Biden would say: “Come on man!” What is wrong with this country. Gun violence/murder is epidemic among young black males. If you are a cop, you know and feel this every day with your encounters.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You really do not get the bias issue, that cops (and most white people) feel threatened by blacks, particularly black men. The odds are decent she would not have reacted this way with a white suspect with the same facts.

      I don’t have time to do this well by digging up academic studies (I need to turn in) but some supporting factoids:

      Black Americans, and black men in particular, are overrepresented as perpetrators of crime in U.S. news media. This is especially true when looking at the incidence of violent crime. For example, one study of late-night news outlets in New York City in 2014 found that the media reported on murder, theft, and assault cases in which black people were suspects at a rate that far outpaced their actual arrest rates for these crimes. The news media also vilifies black people by presenting black crime suspects as more threatening than their white counterparts. It does this in several ways, such as by showing the mug shots of black suspects more frequently than those of white suspects; depicting black suspects in police custody more often; and paying greater attention to cases where the victim is a stranger.


      The prejudice is rife in schools:

      The research consistently shows that the behaviors of African-American male students are more harshly perceived than behavior of other ethnic groups evidenced by the disproportionality in suspension rates and other types of school discipline (Givens et al. 2016). This is likely due to the stereotypes that African-American males are aggressive. According to Skibam et al. (2014), the overrepresentation of suspensions for African-American boys are for those infractions that are subjectively determined such as disobedience or disrespect toward educators. While 42% of students are diverse, 90–92% of teachers are White (Ford and Whiting 2007). The existing research suggests that teachers’ stereotypes influence their implicit bias, which mirror those biases of the general population. For instance, 136 teachers from 6 schools were asked to watch a video of students walking. The results showed that the teachers perceived the African-American male students walking with a stroll (a popular cultural style of walking displayed by many African-American males) to be more aggressive, lower in achievement, and more likely to need special education (Neal et al. 2003). Therefore, it can be concluded that teachers’ stereotypes are influencing their actions toward African-American male students, resulting in lower expectations and disproportional suspension rates and special education referrals.


      From the perspective of most scholars who focus on the topic, there is a clear causal story that links media representations of black men and boys to real-world outcomes. The story can be summarized as follows:

      For various reasons, media of all types collectively offer a distorted representation of the lives and reality of black males.
      In turn, media consumption negatively affects the public’s understandings and attitudes related to black males (sometimes including the understandings and attitudes of black males themselves)
      Finally, these distorted understandings and attitudes towards black males lead to negative real-world consequences for them.


      1. Pelham

        But what about numbers pertaining to actual threat and violence?

        For instance, there’s ongoing concern in the pandemic environment about violence against Asians. It’s up in recent months but historically over the past few years, this is how it breaks down among racial groups according to a report published by the National Institutes of Health: Whites (constituting about 60% of the population) account for 24% of attacks against Asians; Asians themselves also account for 24%; Hispanics (about 17% of the population) 7% and Blacks (13% of the population) 27.5%.

        Granted this is a snapshot and I can’t find other interracial violence figures. But in this limited context, where is the disproportion?

        1. tegnost

          It’s a snapshot that doesn’t take into account that whites are isolated in the suburbs and marginal communities are stuck together in varying proportions. Pretty much meaningless out of context, and probably revealing a lot of inconvenient truths when taken in context.

      2. JerryDenim

        Is it possible that racism is real, cops are frequently racist and maybe just maybe if both Dante Wright’s parents would have been white he still might have been killed by Kim Potter that day if all of the facts and behaviors were otherwise unchanged? We’ll never know. But it seems likely. Cops have a predisposition for violence and are steeped in a “warrior cop” culture. We routinely see shocking displays of police violence against white citizens who are female, elderly and sometimes children. Even the author of the piece brings up the case of Justine Ruszczyk. She was white, female, had no outstanding warrants, no gun violations, no arrest for aggravated assault, she did not resist arrest and attempt to flee at traffic stop, she was very trusting of police and yet she was still killed by a jumpy trigger happy cop. Violent, overly mililtarized police itching to use force is the problem in the this country, racism is just a compounding factor that metes out the unwarranted violence in an unequal fashion.

        1. Abi

          Both can be true you know.

          It’s really bad faith to not acknowledge that white people in America generally view black people as criminals. This bias is very evident in how the state treats black people.

          You all sit here and debate high level economic and political jargon but for some strange reason it’s very hard to SEE the implicit bias in how a whole segment of society is treated.

          Man. Ngl I kinda stopped reading this blog when I started to see that someone people truly hold racist views. I don’t know I love this space but I honestly can’t stomach these comments.

          I’m literally in tears because it hurts. I’m not even AA but here I am across oceans and I can feel the pain. I don’t even know any AA’s personally. This thing is actually very traumatic for us young black ppl around the world. We are seeing it everyday and it’s hard to understand why.

          It’s funny now but trauma breaks ppl and broken ppl do crazy things. I just don’t see how any of this is going to help us.

    2. TomDority

      but in our society, you don’t resist arrest and attempt to run away from police. And you certainly don’t put yourself in a situation where police are afraid of what you may be trying to do with your hands.
      How did that work out for Floyd? How did that work out for Jewish folks under Hitler?
      How does that work out when a police department, its training and institutional biases kill innnocent people?
      How our society, we shouldn’t be judging people as guilty – in our society you are presumed innocent.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Why was the kid pulled over in the first place? For having an air freshener in his car – complete BS designed to generate revenue, not stop actual crimes. So this kid “put himself in a situation” by deciding to have a fresh smelling vehicle.

      And did you notice the kid was not resisting until the woman barged in? If she had minded her own business the kid would be alive.

      Since you don’t know what anyone else believes, let me enlighten you on my way of thinking. Not following a cops directions is not justification for murder. Full stop.

      You defend the poor cops who fear for their lives – well how do cops in other countries do their jobs without killing barely anyone in the line of duty? And this idea that if you get pulled over you should just remain calm and act rationally is complete and utter BS. Don;t you think people who get pulled over by a cop fear for their lives?!?!? How are you supposed to remain calm and rational when you are stopped by a heavily armed person who you know can murder you with impunity for anything they construe as a false move?!?!

      I’m a middle aged white guy and got pulled over for the first time in decades a few weeks ago for doing 60 in a 50 mph zone. In light of all the high profile police shootings, I was very nervous when the cop approached and even more spooked when he came to my passenger side window instead of the driver side. Pretty fearful for a couple seconds when reaching into the glove compartment, not wanting the cop to take it the wrong way and turn me into a statistic. I can only imagine how a young black kid must feel in a similar situation.

    4. run75441


      You lost any credibility when you said this: “for their “innocent” good little son.” Your comment is demeaning and unnecessary in detailing a tragic situation. I do not support murder.

      There was no reason to shoot Daunte Wright. The police are not the judge and jury who administers on the spot justice. The officer was trigger happy and over reacted.by grabbing the “wrong” weapon to use in this situation. Her pistol was out and she could have waited to see if he would turn and fire.

      Daunte did not turn and he left the scene. She shot him anyway to stop him.

      Why? There was not reason to shoot. The police already had the license of the car and where it would be domiciled. The police could have waited and made a call to the residence later and asked for Daunte Wright to surrender. Instead the police administered their form of justice without the benefit of a judge and jury.

      You do not have the right to shoot people or murder your prisoner..

  7. William Hunter Duncan

    Living in Minneapolis, paying close attention to media reports and community discussion, I find the commentary to be toxic in almost every regard.

    Many Republican types refuse to have a serious conversation about police reform, tending to reflexively act like police can do no wrong. Many Liberal Democrats refuse to acknowledge how 2 generations of globalization mostly emptied America of good paying jobs for people without a college degree, and especially for black men in the cities, and how the response was to mass incarcerate black men for being poor.

    And anyone who trys to interject a conversation about the importance of personal responsibility is called a racist or an Uncle Tom.

    If police are expected to reform, and white people are expected to be anti-racist, then I should expect we should all be able to have an adult conversation about personal responsibility and the importance of good paying jobs and community.

    1. Expat2uruguay

      Yes, in the article and in the comments, it’s ironic how the discussion is escalated in a mirror image of the way the violence between officer and citizen is escalated

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        I would take the article more seriously if it did not traffic in the idea that Daunte Wright was killed because he had an air freshner hanging from his rearview mirror. Similarly, when people say George Floyd was killed for passing a fake $20 bill, that is glossing over the fact that he was driving around the city high on some serious drugs, a serious danger to public safety, and he resisted arrest.

        I am comfortable with the notion that policing in America is in need of a fundamental overhaul. But so does there need to be a more honest conversation about the economy, and about personal responsibility to family and community.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Would he have been pulled over without the air freshener excuse? Maybe we’ll hear more, but the preliminary reports say that was the reason for the stop.

          If that turns out to be true, then clearly if he had not been pulled over for the BS reason, he would not be dead today. You don’t get to justify murder after the fact because the dead person is later found to have once done something bad.

          1. John Zelnicker

            @lyman alpha blob
            April 16, 2021 at 1:04 pm

            From what I’ve read, Wright also had expired tags, as do huge numbers of Minnesotans due to renewals being slowed down by the pandemic. I believe Yves even mentioned driving around for over a year with expired tags and never being stopped.

            I’ve done the same, and the one time I was stopped, I only got a warning.

            That being said, your comment is spot on.

            1. William Hunter Duncan

              In the Twin Cities I have been pulled over three times for expired tabs, twice within a week after they expired. Each time I was fined around $150. I did not ever have a court date I skipped, not least on any gun charge, and I never tried to run from the police.

              But I will repeat the obligatory no one deserves to die because of such a thing, and the officer should have to answer for it.

          2. William Hunter Duncan

            The media reported what he told his mom when he called her, taking it as fact in their increasingly typical way inflaming passions. He had expired license tabs is why he got pulled over. Once they ran his info they realized he skiped court on a gun charge.

            Of course the police are not also judge and jury. The officer will have to answer for that, which is justice.

          3. William Hunter Duncan

            And of course no judge and jury would sentence the kid to death for such a thing.

    2. Mr Grumpy

      While I agree completely about the effects of neoliberal economic policies on minority, poor, and working class communities, and I can well imagine how dysfunctional the public discussion is, as a white guy who lives in a neighborhood that is almost 50% Black, who’s kids went to an elementary school that is 50% Black (and middle & high that were about 30% and 20%), and who coaches and sees a lot of young Black men and women as a high school track coach, I can assure you that personal responsibility is constantly preached and discussed among the Black people I see, and I only see the tip of the iceberg. Personal responsibility goes two ways, as well.

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        I am confident that many black parents etc discuss personal responsibility with the children in their charge. The public discussion follows the opposite, sending a kind of tacit response that racism is a legitimate excuse to act lawlessly. And that public response is a slap in the face for those minorites who do live responsible lives and are models for their community, imo.

  8. Even keel

    I’ve taken to calling 2021 the year everything is racist. Our local newspaper ran an opinion column last week, calling for higher alcohol taxes. An interesting policy position with interesting ramifications, especially in a state that has legalized substitute goods (marijuana). But what was the rationale expressed in the opinion piece? Simply that low alcohol taxes are rascist.


    Looking at this case here, I can see the same thing. (I don’t know all the facts, but I’ve read some, so the following Is just a theory that fits what I know about the case). Knowing the tech available to police, I’d imagine they targeted this car to pull over because they got a hit on a license plate reader. The hit said the car was associated with an arrestable individual. That means the cops can pretext a stop- the arrest will still be legal, because of the warrant. So, they start the encounter. And, what results? It’s just a statistical thing, having nothing to do with the individuals involved or their “race.” The more interactions police have with people, the more shootings and killings there will be.

    So, the answer is to rip out the damn technology. The license plate reader that allowed the whole thing anyway.

    Again, that’s just conjecture, based on the few facts I know. The point is: blaming racism here inhibits analysis the same way the article cited earlier does when it calls low alcohol taxes racist.

  9. diptherio

    The real problem with policing in this country is that it was never intended to, and was never designed to, serve and protect the citizenry. A look into the history of current police departments shows that they originated as slave patrols in the South and as strike-breakers in the in the North*. Police forces were not designed to stop crime, strange as that may seem to most people. And what is more, they have no obligation to do so. The Supreme Court has found that the police have “no special duty” to protect citizens from harm, even if said citizen is being, say, stabbed to death right in front of them**.

    We should never expect an institution to provide a service that it was not designed to provide. We should expect institutions to serve the purposes they were created for. Police violence against the working class (when was the last time a Wall Street banker was gunned down by a cop?) is not a bug, it’s a feature, regardless of what most people, cop and civilian alike, may believe.

    And as for stopping crime, the police are really, really bad at it. According to FBI stats, only 4% of major crimes reported to police end in someone being convicted of a crime***…and only half of all major crimes are reported.

    If we are actually concerned with public safety, with crime control, with having a public institution who’s mandate is actually to serve and protect the citizenry, then we need to design a whole new system from the ground up. Trying to reform the policing system we have into doing what we want it to do is doomed to fail. We need to start with a system that is accountable to the populace it serves, and that is designed specifically to provide security to that populace; not try to reform a system that was designed to keep uppity workers in check and has been justified after the fact as serving the public.

    * https://plsonline.eku.edu/insidelook/history-policing-united-states-part-1
    ** https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/no-special-duty
    *** https://theconversation.com/police-solve-just-2-of-all-major-crimes-143878

  10. JohnMc

    i’m very surprised, not only by the willingness of people to second guess the actions of others engaged in difficult and stressful occupations, but more importantly to assume malevolent racist intent.

    Perhaps other occupations where lives hang in the balance (such as health care workers) should face the same accusations when mistakes are made? Should we begin to examine every medical mistake for racist intent? I think it’s pretty well established that blacks face worse health outcomes in many situations. Maybe we need to start thinking about defunding the health care system to address this problem?

    1. Abi

      A lot of doctors have bias towards black people. We get misdiagnosed a lot. Every single black person I know actively will prefer a black doctor because we have been in so many situations where they don’t diagnose or understand our bodies properly. I’m only speaking on personal experience, giving anecdotes from people I know but there are also a ton of studies that talk about how racist the medical field is. Lots of black doctors say the problem is in HOW they are trained.

      Don’t be disingenuous, you know exactly what they mean by defund the police

      Man, you guys really don’t know that much about black peoples experience in this world and it’s so crazy.

  11. Pookah Harvey

    I did find this in the reporting:

    According to Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, the officer who shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop was trained to carry her sidearm on the right side of her duty belt and her Taser on the left.

    “We train with our handguns on our dominant side and our Taser on our weak side,” he said at a press conference on Monday, adding, “if you’re right-handed, you carry your firearm on your right side, and you carry your Taser on the left. This is done purposefully, and it’s trained.”

    So the police are trained to have the lethal weapon on the dominant side (easiest to access) while the non-lethal weapon is more difficult to access. Apparently the police feel they need to be prepared for a John Wayne fast draw shoot out in the majority of violent interactions. Interesting.

    1. Alex Cox

      Agreed. But diptherio’s comment (above) is excellent, and the links much appreciated. An armed force originally created to catch fugitive slaves and break strikes is almost certainly unreformable. As computer people used to say, POSIWID: the Purpose of a System Is What It Does.

      1. Felix_47

        I have served in the military and am a graduate of police academy. We are taught the FBI statistics which indicate that about 40% of the officers killed per year in traffic stops are killed by Blacks almost always men and Blacks represent 18% of the population and Black men are 9% as a rough estimate. So I guess, and I could be corrected, but it seems like 9% of the population kills the 40% and I have rounded the numbers. So it seems that Black men are four times more likely to lead to a fatal (for the police officer) encounter with a traffic stop. I can say that when I was on patrol alone or especially on patrol late at night alone or with one other officer we did not stop cars with Black men in them unless the driving was wildly unsafe. A big problem is the modern computers in the patrol cars. We can pull up the entire criminal record in seconds. When weapons violations or armed robbery pops up everyone is locked and loaded. This information leads to prejudicial behavior by police officers. What would you do if you had to stop a young Black man and when you ran the license armed robbery and weapons charges popped up? You are already too deep in to ignore it. I think the strategy of avoiding conflct with Black men and ignoring violations unless their egregious is the best strategy. And for serving warrants maybe we should have special court police who can pick them up at their homes and if they cannot be found just leave them alone. Serving warrants and dealing with anti social issues should not be done on the side of the road under pressure. In this case it seems that this was a rookie training run and they stopped the car and were surprised at what popped up on the computer and this led to paranoid escalation on the part of the lady police officer. And why anyone thinks a lady police officer in her mid 40s is qualified to deal with 20 year old Black men physically is beyond me or why anyone thought that Chauvin at 140 or 150 pounds or even three officers were qualified physically to deal with Floyd is beyond me. They should have just walked away and left him in his car. I think the Minneapolis police are doing their job to excess. The community is not suited to a high degree of social order. Just worry about what might hurt someone else…..leave these men alone. They don’t pay enough to put your life or future on the line.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Garbage in, garbage out stats. And used to justify violence against blacks.

          Blacks are pulled over more often than whites, including the embarrassing case of the Florida state DA who was pulled over for the crime of driving an expensive car with tinted windows while black. And they are subjected to intrusive searches far more than whites:

          A new study, undertaken by Ravi Shroff, an assistant professor holding joint appointments at NYU Steinhardt and NYU CUSP, and his colleagues at the Stanford Open Policing Project, found that in a dataset of nearly 100 million traffic stops across the United States, black drivers were about 20 percent more likely to be stopped than white drivers relative to their share of the residential population.

          The study also found that once stopped, black drivers were searched about 1.5 to 2 times as often as white drivers, while they were less likely to be carrying drugs, guns, or other illegal contraband compared to their white peers.


          Given excessive pull overs of people of color, the relevant stat would be what % of traffic stops of blacks end in violence v. traffic stops of whites. And further note the skewed results can just as well be presented as the result of police harassment of people of color.

        2. Basil Pesto

          you write as though it wasn’t, in fact, the black men in question whose futures were fatally imperilled

  12. DW Bartoo

    While this article focuses on police behavior, it must be understood that the entire “legal system” of the U$ in NOT, in any honest way, concerned with considering what “Justice” actually might it. Its sole and functional purpose is to protect the status quo of wealth and privilege.

    As soon as one realizes that the role of money, in determining legal outcomes, plays in this system, as the advantage almost always lies with those with more money and, further, that should any legal question arise that offends the propriety of existing wealth and power structures, it is disappeared through the mechanism of “standing”.

    The police have impunity through “qualified immunity”. Prosecutors have a “sovereign immunity” protection, as do judges, and even as do politicians.

    A legal system designed to protect the few from the many makes mock of any real interest in justice and is just about as useful to the well being of the many as an insipid, pampered, but politically powerful royal family.

    The role of the police is simple: control the proles, by whatever means will succeed.

    Being a new empire, quite used to having its way in the world through violence, be it war or crushing economic sanction, U$ elites cannot imagine that the people might rise up in righteous rage at their continued and unrelenting abuse, physically, economically, and psychologically.

    For that matter, U$ians, the many, collectively, have no notion of their collective power of non-cooperation.

    It is the job of the media to ensure that confusion reigns and propaganda rules.

    Fearmongering and appeals to “law and order” will always motivate the frightened to embrace any excess the elite care to unleash.

    It is not a “few bad apple cops” any more than the torture which the U$ engaged in was the work of “a few bad apples”.

    In the second instance, torture was official policy, in the first, it is un-official policy that emanates from the top, condoned by long tradition.

    When propaganda fails, vapulation must continue until morale improves.

    There can be no change, no betterment or improvement, if the fundamental purpose of a legal system is to prevent any change to existing power and wealth structures.

    No matter how hard Hollywood and the NY Times might try to convince us otherwise.

  13. Bob Hertz

    Yves, I greatly respect your insistence on the whole complex truth in these difficult cases. There is a lot of focus on criminal history when a black man is shot by police — right or wrong.

    Here is the best info that I can find on Wright’s criminal record:


    I cannot find out what happened to Wright on the armed robbery charge in 2019 — which seems pretty serious.

  14. AdamK

    Several thoughts came to my mind while reading this post. The first is the snitch mentality in the police that resembles to crime organizations, and it has less to do with the union which is an easy blame here. Since I have lived abroad and seen this culture develop without union intervention. Second is that the violence isn’t targeted ONLY towards minority communities, it is there for everyone to enjoy but certainly less so for well off suberb communities. Ours had a case of police shooting of a minor who committed suicide by police holding a plastic gun. The kid’s family was in midst of divorce and he was depressed. The kids in his teens died.
    Third, saw yesterday on CNN the head of a union of Chicago police trying to defend a shooting of a 13 year old claiming that in this case the policeman according to the regulation could have shot the boy twice but he did so ones. It is an anomaly to me how could you describe a shooting as an act of courage, it is an act of cowardice. If you shoot because you are afraid for your life, can it be called courage?
    Fourth, the assumption and call for “no one is above the law” has become so engrained here that we forgot HUMAN DIGNITY. Everyone deserves it, even the lowest of the low. You could see the behavior towards the black army officer, you could see it towards Straus Kahn, the French politician, you could see it in lots of cases.
    The fact that a man is suspect in a crime doesn’t mean that it has to be a humiliating experience in front of the public, in most cases there is no need to shout at him (like they shouted and sprayed the officer), it is simply is unnecessary. I bring those two cases as an examples of police behavior towards minorities and the rich and powerful, and both were never pursued, but the humiliation stays with the victim for a long long time.No wonder that black and latino communities are traumatized.
    I have no solutions how to fix it, but if a society puts human dignity as a goal, ahead of everything else, we wouldn’t have to face this problem and we would have had less crime.

    1. Abi

      You are spot on.

      The simple unadulterated truth is that some white people do not think black people deserve human dignity and that was something to learn.

      Going forward, I really think it will be foolish for black people to want neutrality. It really seems a lot of white people actually don’t care what’s happening to us.

      These are humans beings. If they start rioting now all we will hear about is destruction of property. But now we’re begging you to stop destroying our minds and souls and communities and people for generations to come. If it’s not radio silence then it’s silly debates of how much racism was involved

  15. Gulag

    In 2019 approximately 6,400 Black offenders committed 3,550 murders and for that year about 88 percent, or 2,906 were black murder victims by other blacks. Violence is primarily in-group violence in which Blacks kill Blacks, whites kill whites and Hispanics kill Hispanics. Most violence is within ethnic or racial groups (FBI Uniform Crime Report, Crime in the United States: 2019).

    About 10 to 20 unarmed African-Americans are killed each year by police (Washington Post, “Fatal Force,: Data base.

    The Black Lives Matter Global Network decided that its sole concern is the violence that occurs from police and vigilante groups. I wonder what the basis for that decision was?

    1. Starry Gordon

      The behavior of the police and associated parties is a state action, and therefore of concern to all citizens, since in theory it has the backing of the community as a whole.

    2. juno mas

      FBI statistics can be a treacherous walk. Of course most violence is within ethnic groups, in segregated America most personal encounters (good & bad) occur in one’s ‘hood. Are the social conditions the same in the inner city and the suburbs? Are there gunshot locators in the suburbs? Then no data for comparison. (It was a gunshot locator that led to the Adam Toledo encounter.)

      My suburb needs a “loud stereo locator” so I wouldn’t have to summon the police myself. Would that sort of data find its way into the statistics?

  16. Willis

    I agree that abusive policing is probably concentrated among a relatively small proportion of police officers. The majority of U.S. police probably spend their entire careers without any incidence of brutality.

    The problem is that police abuse against minorities is protected, unconditionally, resulting in either no or disproportionately low consequences for their actions. Part of this originates from our nations long and complicated history. What results is that some naturally violent people will seek out police careers because it allows them to fulfill these desires (against minorities) without consequence. If we ever want to fix this problem we have to start with ending what protects police from prosecutions for brutality. Prosecutions for police brutality are hindered by a blue wall of silence amongst officers, a lack of will by local prosecutors who need a cooperative police to investigate their criminal trials, the hundreds of millions that municipalities pay annually to settle these as civil cases, and politicians who believe extreme violence is necessary to control criminals. Unless we fix this problem bad police will continue to target minorities, simply because there are few consequence for this selective brutality.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > abusive policing is probably concentrated among a relatively small proportion of police officers

      There are also the police that stand by while the abuse takes place, or support the abuser in one way or another.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Because if they don’t, they will be undercut and frozen out of the department by the abusers who run the department at the informal level. They will be denied backup in danger situations in hopes they get killed as a warning to any other non-abusive cops who would dare think to oppose the abusers who run the force.

        Many police departments would have to undergo massive personnel purges to break the power of the Abuser Mafias which run these departments. The unions would have to be broken. Having a leadership role in a police union or fraternal organization would have to be cause for immediate firing, to break the legacy power of all the left-behinds which the officially abolished police unions would continue to excercise within the departments through their legacy left-behinds . . . unless every such left-behind were summarily fired for having been part of the Nazi Fascist Mafia police union problem to begin with.

  17. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a little video called ” A Good Cop calls out the absolute BS that is mistaking your gun for a taser”
    Here is the link.

    ( Separately, I found once but cannot find now a micro-article on reddit by veteran noting that the rules of engagement are much more restrictive for soldiers in combat than they are for police in citizen society. He then went on to describe those rules, clearly none of which exist for police. One wonders whether hiring veterans has the least thing to do with violent policing. Certainly police violence predates the current round of hiring veterans by many decades).

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