Policing and Media Double Standards (Updated)

It was nought but 72 hours ago that the biggest racial controversy of the moment was an unpleasant encounter between a dog walker and a bird watcher in Central Park in New York, which is not exactly the Edmund Pettus Bridge redux. It is quite clear that both of the Coopers in the story behaved badly, and it is delicious that the woman who defaulted to racial stereotyping turns out to be a liberal, which doesn’t surprise me in the least: one reason liberals are obsessed with race and racism is because they’re much more guilty of practicing it than the average American.* The only thing that could have made the story more ridiculous is if some sleuth had gone onto Ancentry.com and figured out that Amy Cooper’s great-great-great grandfather had owned Christian Cooper’s slave ancestor. The “America-as-slavocracy” set would have gone orgasmic at that point. (Amy Cooper sounds like a real piece of work, it turns out.)

Question: If the two Coopers had both been white, would we have ever heard a single word about this story in the media? I wonder how many angry confrontations and calls to police occur in Central Park? I’m betting quite a lot.

Which brings me to the George Floyd case. From what we know so far, there don’t seem to be any reasons to find excuse for officer Derek Chauvin putting his knee on Floyd’s neck in the prolonged manner he did. Floyd may have resisted arrest, but he was cuffed and clearly subdued by the point at which the main video started rolling. (Other videos from security cameras of prior moments in the story are starting to emerge.) Chauvin apparently has a history of potential excessive force incidents, with a reported 10 prior complaints, with one of them resulted in Chauvin being placed on leave. If some of these incidents and complaints merited a stronger disciplinary response (which we can’t assume without knowing a lot more), it raises questions about why Chauvin was kept on the force. Above all, it raises a question that no one ever seems to ask when these cases arise: what was the role of the police union in preventing effective disciplinary measures or even dismissal from the force? We never hear this question asked because public employee unions are sacred to the left, but the general problem of public unions that make it hard to fire or demote deficient public employees surely extends to police work as well. Don’t expect the media to spend even ten seconds investigating this possible angle to this or any other episode.

But to repeat the question raised by the Central Park incident—if Floyd had been white, would this be a national story? Would there be riots? We know that whites make up the majority of people killed at the hands of police nationwide. And you don’t have to look very far to find examples of police mistakes or potential excessive force involving whites that seldom get reported widely. Like this one, from this week:

Los Angeles deputies mistakenly killed innocent man in West Hollywood

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) — Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department mistook an innocent man for a suspect and shot and killed him, authorities said Thursday…

Authorities responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call in the 900 block of Palm Avenue at 9:29 p.m. Monday. At the time, their information stated that the suspect was a white male wearing a black shirt. When deputies arrived at the scene, they saw a man coming out of an apartment covered in blood, and then a second man ran out. That man, identified as 30-year-old John Winkler of West Hollywood, was wearing a black shirt and appeared to be lunging at the victim, investigators said.

Or this one from last year:

Disturbing video shows Dallas officers joking as they restrain man who died

Disturbing police body camera footage released Wednesday shows a man being restrained by Dallas officers before his death and yelling, “You’re gonna kill me!”

Timpa’s death in the parking lot of an adult video store came after he called 911, saying he was off his medication for schizophrenia and depression and needed help. . . The three officers were placed on administrative leave but returned to full duty in April, according to Dallas police. Dallas police said Vasquez and another officer, Raymond Dominguez, were disciplined for “being discourteous and unprofessionalism.”

Police incident reports cited by the Morning News say Timpa’s behavior was aggressive and combative, but the video shows Timpa writhing as he apparently struggles to breathe, repeatedly asking the officers to stop restraining him. He’s heard yelling, “Help me!” Timpa was unarmed and had already been handcuffed by a private security guard before officers arrived, the paper reports.

Sounds a lot like the Floyd case. The only difference is Timpa was white. So no political angle for the national media and the race bait industry to exploit.

* UPDATE: I’m pleased to see that Van Jones agrees with me on this point, saying on CNN this morning: “It’s not the racist person in the KKK that we have to worry about. It’s the white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter walking her dog in Central Park.”

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