Conventional wisdom puts forth the perverted idea that all cops have a Derek Chauvin mean streak inside them, just waiting to come out given half a chance.
It’s a real fear for some. I understand that. But it doesn’t ring true.
Look, each hour of every day cops interact with thousands of people across the nation, from traffic tickets to domestic disputes. It is rare when something like the George Floyd nightmare happens.
A jury of Chauvin’s peers found him guilty on all counts — second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated for approximately the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee to reach that conclusion. Chauvin will be doing some serious prison time for his actions under the color of law.
That’s justice in my book. And fairly swift justice at that. So, I find it odd that some want to make Chauvin the rule in American policing, instead of the remote exception.
If you know a cop personally, I’m betting you know him or her to be a good person. Even if you don’t know a cop personally (I have known many, by the way), use your head. Even if 1% of the cops out there were racist bullies, we’d have tens of thousands of George Floyd cases on the news from Las Vegas to Ely, complete with video. We don’t see this because only a very small number of police interactions result in physical contact. And of all those, the smallest of numbers result in injury or death.
For some on the national stage it’s politically cool to make Derek Chauvin’s actions out as more normal than an aberration, which then leads to the assertion that American police departments and the criminal justice system are systematically racist.
There is no national statistic I am aware of that provides evidence of that. Even in the Floyd case, not one piece of evidence was presented to show that Derek Chauvin did what he did because Floyd was Black. Yet, it is now held up as THE case to look at to show Black Americans are routinely oppressed at the hands of police.
I’m not seeing it. And, before you tell me I’m too white to be a good judge of this, I’m only doing what prosecutors told the jurors to do in the Chauvin case: Believe your own eyes. It comes down to answering this question: Is the Derek Chauvin video normal policing or abnormal policing?
It’s freakin’ far from normal. That’s why the George Floyd video shook the conscience of America.
I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t take stock of the George Floyd case and use it to make police and society better. Obviously, there is a problem. But it’s way more dangerous to overreach. For example, it leads some to the conclusion that we must defund the police, which is crazy.
I say stick to the middle road on the topic of police reform. Otherwise, we risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
ONE MORE THING
— Where did the general keep his armies? In his sleevies.
— A cable repairman asked me what time it was. I told him between 8 a.m. and noon.
— I just had my first shot. Gonna have the second when the waitress gets back.
— Did Yellowbeard have restless peg syndrome?
— Some people solve world problems. Here I am all excited because I found a missing sock inside a pair of underwear.
Thank you for reading, gentle Nevadans. I’ll let myself out. Until next week, be well and treat others with kindness. It’s the only sane way to be.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, a newspaper company dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)