May 26, 2021

Anniversary of George Floyd’s Death

“A family-friendly street festival, musical performances and moments of silence were held Tuesday to honor George Floyd and mark the year since he died at the hands of Minneapolis police.” AP News

Here’s our coverage of the Chauvin trial and verdict. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left is focused on police accountability, and calls for further reforms to prevent unnecessary deaths.

“In the weeks following Floyd’s May 25, 2020, death in Minneapolis, the country saw an astonishing shift in public opinion. The number of Americans saying that Black people face serious discrimination, holding unfavorable views of the police, and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement spiked in the weeks after his murder. But since that peak, views have tempered somewhat, with support settling below the highs of that summer… [Nevertheless] Floyd’s death has created a window for agreement and policy changes…

“[There’s a] growing recognition within the broader population of unequal treatment of Black Americans, demonstrated by the massive, diverse protests in summer 2020 as well as the widespread approval for the conviction last month of Derek Chauvin for Floyd’s murder. Before the deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery last spring, Americans believed that race relations were improving… That trend quickly reversed. Gallup found that Americans are now more conscious of race as a problem in American society, with the biggest shifts coming among white people…

“Six in 10 respondents (though only three in 10 white conservatives) in Navigator’s polling said the country needs to change the way the police operate, including 50 percent who said that big changes are needed… nearly two-thirds of all voters back the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act [JPA], which would ban police choke holds and no-knock warrants, among other reforms.”
David A. Graham, The Atlantic

George Floyd's death helped to accelerate the evolution of America's Third Reconstruction. And just like the backlash faced after racial slavery and the challenges endured during the Second Reconstruction (the modern civil rights era) and the first (in the years following the Civil War when Black people got elected to office and started to legislate their own post-slavery new deal before being disenfranchised by Jim Crow), we face continuous assaults on Black voting rights, resistance to telling the truth about American history and political roadblocks to efforts to achieve reparations for the wealth that has been plundered from the African American community…

“The Biden administration's focus on racial equity in the passing of the pandemic relief bill, the organization of the Justice Department, executive orders and public pronouncements following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial all reflect the power of Black grassroots insurgency in the wake of Floyd's death.”
Peniel E. Joseph, CNN

Police leaders in major cities are incorporating lessons learned from the Floyd case into their use of force policies, such as the obligation of fellow officers to intervene in excessive force incidents, rendering first aid to those harmed by police, and holding officers accountable by their colleagues for complaints and allegations of misconduct…

“Hundreds of agencies have incorporated [a police training program called Integrating Communications, Assessments, and Tactics (ICAT)] into [their] training. Robin Engel, a professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, evaluated the program and found a 28% drop in use of force incidents by Louisville officers. This comes as more recent incidents of police using deadly force dominate the news cycle, including Daunte Wright, 20, in Minnesota and Adam Toledo, 13, in Illinois, have continued to erode the trust between communities and police.”
Emma Tucker and Omar Jimenez, CNN

Critics of current reform efforts note that “After a jury convicted Chauvin of murder last month, congressional staffers told Axios there was a sense of relief in the Capitol that Chauvin’s conviction alleviated pressure to pass a police reform package. Meanwhile, organizers renewed a push to further policies that prevent violent interactions with law enforcement in the first place, rather than simply trying to hold police accountable after they’ve already caused harm to someone, as was the aim of most congressional negotiations…

“[The political arm of the Movement for Black Lives] helped develop an alternative proposal [to JPA], the BREATHE Act, which would divest from law enforcement agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and reinvest funds from such agencies into social, health, and education programs… but the proposal never took off in Congress… While it’s true that JPA was one of the most significant congressional efforts to address police brutality in decades, that’s only because there wasn’t much to compare it to before.”
Akela Lacy, The Intercept

From the Right

The right is focused on increases in crime, which they blame on reduced policing.

The right is focused on increases in crime, which they blame on reduced policing.

“Floyd’s death was an outrage. But the response — to vilify all cops, and ‘defund’ them — has backfired. Shootings and murders have skyrocketed in cities such as Minneapolis, St. Louis and New York. The movement has done little to reform departments, but it has undermined thousands of police tasked with protecting the most vulnerable people in the most crime-ridden communities…

“Society entrusts cops with extraordinary powers and responsibilities. It shouldn’t be forgotten, however, that Derek Chauvin was fired and convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers who were at the scene of the Floyd murder also face criminal charges. Cities need police departments that offer accountability and better training. What cities don’t need is angry sloganeering and blanket condemnation of all cops.”
David Harsanyi, New York Post

“Homicides rose 50% in Chicago in 2020, 46% in New York City, and 38% in Los Angeles. The U.S. saw the largest annual percentage increase in homicides in recorded history in 2020. That increase has continued in 2021. The number of shooting victims in Chicago was up 43% in the first three months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020. Through May 16, the number of shooting victims in New York City is up 78.6% over a year ago…

“Minneapolis homicides between Jan. 1 and last week were up 108% compared with the same period in 2020; shootings were up 153%, and carjackings 222%…

The victims of that additional crime increase will, as always, be disproportionately black. At least three-quarters of Minneapolis’s homicide and shooting victims are black, though the city is less than a fifth black. Messrs. Sharpton and Crump have no answers to that dilemma, so they ignore it. While police need to train relentlessly in de-escalation and sound tactics, they are not the problem in minority communities; criminals are. As long as the police are demonized and scapegoated, law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods will continue to live in fear.”
Heather Mac Donald, Wall Street Journal

“In 2018, the latest year for which federal data is available, there were about 3.7 million police-initiated contacts between law enforcement and black people, wherein nonlethal force or the threat of force was used. That same year, according to the Washington Post, 232 black people were shot dead by police. That would mean 0.006% of police-initiated contacts between law enforcement and black people, wherein nonlethal and lethal force was used, resulted in the death of a black person. Only a small fraction of those incidents, about 20 cases a year, involved an unarmed black person being killed…

“Overwhelming majorities of black people give police high marks for their behavior when it comes to interacting with police. Looking at just traffic stops in 2015, the most recent year for which this type of data is available, 85% of black people said the police behaved properly when they received a ticket during a traffic stop. For black people who just got a warning, 92% said the police behaved properly. Amusingly, even when the stop resulted in a car search or an arrest, nearly 70% of black people said they thought police conducted themselves appropriately…

The vast majority of black people are not opposed to the police and don't fear them. An Ipsos/USA TODAY survey published in March showed that only 30% of blacks support the ‘Defund the Police’ movement.”
Eddie Scarry, Washington Examiner

“I fear the real legacy we mark this day is that our constitutional commitment to due process of law has given way to mob justice. Derek Chauvin did not receive a fair trial — which is a different issue from whether he was guilty of murder or manslaughter. The city of Minneapolis, which was principally responsible for ensuring a fair trial, went out of its way to inflame the jury pool against him. The trial judge failed to take adequate steps to shield the jury from prejudicial publicity…

“In a complex three-week trial, freighted with so much expert medical and use-of-force testimony that the trial judge gave the lawyers a long weekend to prepare their full day of summations, the jury convicted Chauvin on all counts at breakneck speed — just a few hours, during which they did not ask to review a single exhibit, hear a word of testimony read back, or seek clarification on any point of law. The main legacy of George Floyd’s death is societal division exacerbated by surging violent crime.”
Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review

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