Monday, July 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

This is the image our community is presenting to the world, with front-page coverage in Australia [above] and our own national papers of this latest tragedy on top of the great miscarriage of justice that was the Philando Castile travesty. Minnesota is becoming known, not for its "10,000 lakes" nor for its great progressive political heritage nor for its amazing list of homegrown Fortune 500 companies, but for its police officers who gun-down innocent citizens – black, white and brown – and are not held accountable. Is that who we are? Why were those cameras turned off? Why are our officers so terrified of the public they serve? Why are unstable, trigger-happy cops not ferreted out before they kill? Who is responsible for this lack of leadership, this culture of fear, this "us vs. them" mentality, this power-dynamic where union bosses outrank chiefs of police, this political culture where elected leaders refuse to challenge the status quo with anything beyond words of concern?

Ken Darling
via Facebook
July 17, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Australian Woman Justine Damond Killed in Police Shooting in MinneapolisSydney Morning Herald (July 17, 2017).
Minneapolis Police Shot an Unarmed Woman in Her Pajamas. They Haven’t Explained Why – German Lopez (Vox, July 17, 2017).
After Minneapolis Police Officer Fatally Shoots Australian Woman, Her Relatives Plead for Answers – Emily Sohn, Kristine Phillips, Mark Berman and Katie Mettler (The Washington Post, July 17, 2017).
Police Brutality Jumped a Racial Fence with Minneapolis Cop Shooting of Justine Damond – Shaun King (New York Daily News, July 17, 2017).
Officer Identified as Firing Fatal Shot Has 3 Complaints on File, City Records Show – Theresa Malloy (KSTP News, July 17, 2017).

UPDATES: After Minneapolis Police Shooting of Justine Damond, It's Time to Decide Who Runs This Town – Richard G. Carlson (Star Tribune, July 18, 2017).
Authorities Silent Nearly Three Days After Justine Damond Shooting – Andy Mannix (Star Tribune, July 18, 2017).
Australians See Woman's Shooting by Police as U.S. Nightmare – The Associated Press via MPR News, July 18, 2017).
Australian Government Demands Answers on Minneapolis Police Shooting – Reuters (July 18, 2017).
Are We Listening Now? – Ryan Williams-Virden (Form Follows Function, July 18, 2017).
Valerie Castile Offers Support To Justine Damond’s Family At RallyWCCO News (July 20, 2017).
Minneapolis Police Chief Harteau Resigns, Mayor Nominates New Chief – Ben Rodgers (KSTP News, July 21, 2017).
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor Guilty of Third-Degree Murder and Second-Degree Manslaughter in the Killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond – Chao Xiong and Libor Jany (Star Tribune, April 30, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Police, Pride, and Philando Castile
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
Quote of the Day – June 20, 2017
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2015
"We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation: Photos, Reflections and Links
An Update on #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland


Michael J. Bayly said...

Writes civil rights attorney and Minneapolis mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds:

“The tragic and senseless death of Justine Damond at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department illustrates everything that is wrong with our system of policing in the US. For years, activists and community members have raised concerns about the ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ mentality amongst some police officers. Beyond that, police officers have routinely escaped accountability for perpetuating violence against civilians and have been allowed to kill with impunity. Justine Damond is the latest casualty of a flawed system of policing, that is urgently in need of being overhauled. The fact that her case has been shrouded in a cloak of secrecy merely reinforces concerns surrounding a lack of transparency and accountability within this system.”

Michael J. Bayly said...

Here's another comment via Facebook. This one is from Floyd Grabiel . . .

"Justine Damond’s homicide is tragic. Homicide without justification is murder. In this instance, a black cop killed a white woman. I cannot imagine any possible justification for this. The cops were in fear for their life when confronted by a white woman in her nightgown who herself had called 911? Really? It was murder.

"Nevertheless, I am sure the police union and its lawyers are mightily working to come up with some plausible story and justification to defend the blue line. The system is rigged in favor of cops. The decision of the Supreme Court in the Garner case may be said to allow cops to kill on a whim. As a practical matter, cops are immune from prosecution. It is possible therefore that another murdering cop will be exonerated.

"Consider however, what happens if this cop IS convicted of a crime. The situation is this: Numerous white cops who murder black drivers and kids face no prosecution or are acquitted, but the one black cop who murders a white woman is convicted. This provides further and conclusive evidence to the black and minority communities that a rigged system is doubly rigged against them.

"If you were a member of a minority community, what would be your reaction?
Hopefully white people will now begin to realize what 'Black Lives Matter' is all about.
Be the victim black or white, young or old, male or female, it is outrageous that cops continue to murder. This has to stop."

Michael J. Bayly said...

A follow-up comment by Ken Darling (via Facebook):

"I appreciate the sentiments of [MN Rep Ilhan] Omar's statement [on the police shooting death of Justine Damond], but, to be honest, it is merely that, an expression of sentiment with little actual effect. We are hearing too much of this fuzzy, emotional talk, when what we really need is pragmatic change that demands improved accountability and better management of police.

"Police reform must focus on three, concrete actions: 1) Eliminate the power of police unions to protect problem officers, set work rules and resist change. This will require Democrats in the legislature and on city councils to place reforming police behavior over their now overriding commitment to public employee unions, a huge political problem that must be addressed. 2) Empower police chiefs so they can be held 100% accountable for results. That means chiefs must be able to hire, fire, reorganize and discipline officers at will with the goals of changing police behavior at the street level and, most important, ferreting out dangerous and incompetent officers before they shoot an unarmed civilian in an alley. Chiefs, held accountable by city councils and mayors, are the key to change, but they must have real power; they don't now. 3) Develop strong and mandatory rules for bodycam and other camera use, which not only provides evidence after a problem but changes behavior because cops know they are being watched. Bodycams provide teaching opportunities and evidence for firing bad officers before they become lethal.

"Police culture won't be changed by wishful thinking or heartfelt statements about peace and nonviolence; culture change will only happen through effective, empowered leadership, greatly reduced union power and much stricter accountability."