Special Briefing: Can a Cop’s Arrest Douse the Flames of Minneapolis?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Minneapolis is ablaze over the latest police killing — but this is far more than one city’s problem.
This is an OZY Special Briefing, an extension of the Presidential Daily Brief. The Special Briefing tells you what you need to know about an important issue, individual or story that is making news. Each one serves up an interesting selection of facts, opinions, images and videos in order to catch you up and vault you ahead.
WHAT TO KNOW
“I want to give everybody permission to say they’re not OK.” So said Jumaane Williams, NYC activist and elected official, to a nation that’s grieving the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old father who died after a police officer knelt on his neck in a Minneapolis parking lot. That officer, Derek Chauvin, and the three law enforcement officials who stood next to him and watched, have since been fired. On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter amid rising nationwide pressure. Since Floyd’s death, Minneapolis has erupted in protests, with arson and looting grabbing headlines and negative consequences hitting not just the police, but people like 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, who filmed the incident and says she’s now being criticized online for failing to intervene.
HOW TO THINK ABOUT IT
A National Shame. Floyd’s not the only Black American to have been killed by police recently. A rally for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman killed by officers who broke into her home, was disrupted in Kentucky yesterday as seven people were shot and injured. And earlier this month, 21-year-old Sean Reed livestreamed his own death on Facebook as he was chased and shot to death by police in Indianapolis.
Jim Crow North. While Minneapolis has a reputation for being woke, it’s actually extremely segregated and has had multiple police shootings of Black people in the last few years. One police incident that was prosecuted and led to a conviction? An officer of color, Mohamed Noor, who shot a white person in 2017.
Global Perspective. It’s easy to look at this situation and think there’s no hope. But the U.S. is an outlier: Police shootings are rare in many other countries, like Britain or Japan. It’s not that Britain is less racist than the U.S. — Black people in the U.K. are 40 times more likely to be subjected to stop-and-search procedures than their white peers — but Americans are far more likely to own guns, which increases the number of fatal incidents. Another likely factor: American cops are half as likely to be prosecuted as civilians.
Social Barriers. It’s optimistic to hope Minneapolis’ protests could spark real change, but the pandemic is likely to make policing of racial minorities more restrictive — COVID-19 has hit the Black community especially hard, and police have been seen selectively enforcing social distancing rules more forcefully with Black citizens. Another barrier: President Donald Trump, who called Minnesota protesters “thugs” and threatened violence so openly on social media that Twitter put a warning tag on his message.
WHAT TO READ
Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story, by Dan McLaughlin at National Review
“In terms of media coverage, we should insist on a clear distinction between peaceful protest and violence, and we should insist on that distinction no matter what side or faction the violence comes from.”
For Cops Who Kill, Special Supreme Court Protection, by Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley, Jackie Botts, Andrea Januta and Guillermo Gomez at Reuters
“Since 2005, the courts have shown an increasing tendency to grant immunity in excessive force cases – rulings that the district courts below them must follow.”
WHAT TO WATCH
CNN Reporter Arrested While Covering Unrest in Minneapolis
“A huge show of force right now from police on the scene.”
Watch on TODAY on YouTube:
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman Expects More Charges
“I’m not going to speculate today on the other officers. They are under investigation. I anticipate charges, but I’m not going to get into that.”
Watch on Fox News on YouTube
WHAT TO SAY AT THE WATERCOOLER
Call to action. It’s easy to feel helpless. But to make a difference, you can donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which pays bail for those who can’t afford to as part of its mission to end racist mass incarceration.