Monday, July 17, 2017

Murder by Badge

Let me start by already answering my critics most likely counterpoint to this post:  I believe most police officers, the vast majority of them, are absolutely outstanding individuals.  They are brave, well trained, and more than likely will NEVER pull their service weapon while in uniform.  They deserve our respect.

But do they deserve our blind allegiance just because they're wearing a uniform?  No.

After the verdict in the Jeronimo Yanez trail, when he was found not guilty on all counts in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, an outstanding member of the community who was basically killed for being black, and LEGALLY carrying a hand gun, the authorities finally released the dash cam footage to the public.  Not only did the footage directly contradict the testimony and defense of Yanez, it was clear to anyone who watched the tape Yanez murdered Castile.  There should've been outrage expressed at this massive miscarriage of justice from EVERYONE!

Instead, the prosecutor, judge and jury defended their indefensible verdict, basically saying "...but he was a cop!"  The police union, an organization who screamed no one should judge the case until 'all the facts are in,' while at the same time smearing the good name of Castile every chance they could, proudly thumped their chest and screamed "good kill!"  And far right, pro-police politicians, pro-police at all cost opportunists, told people to ignore what they could see with their own eyes, and stood by the CLEARLY lying Yanez, telling anyone who was upset they had no right to be.

It's clear after the Yanez trial, police in Minnesota have the right to murder anyone, under any circumstance.  They could be off duty, drunk, with a history of assaulting people, but as long as they said A) "I'm a cop," and B) "I was afraid the victim might have a gun," Minnesota police can murder anyone they want.  You'd think law enforcement would be trying to address the clear mistakes made in the fatal shooting of Castile, part of a trend of fatal shootings which have become a near monthly occurrence in the Twin Cities.  Instead, metro area police departments starting attacking community organizations for being (justifiably) afraid of their heavy handedness, and they attacked the Governor, Mark Dayton, for daring to try to name a police training initiative after the murdered Philando Castile.

On Saturday night, police in south Minneapolis murdered Justine Damond, a 40 year old, white, female, Australian, spiritual healer who was supposed to be married to a Minneapolis man in August.

Was she wacked out on meth, screaming in the middle of the street while holding a gun in a threatening manner?  No.  She called the police to her residence to report some strange sounds coming from her wealthy south Minneapolis alley.  When police arrived, Justine, who looks like she should be the head of the Wayzata PTA, wearing pajamas, unarmed, approached the driver side door of the squad car, where she was immediately gunned down by the officer in the passenger seat.  They didn't even get out of the car.  There's no police footage of the shooting, even though all police now are supposed to have cameras activated in a situation like this.  Whether the body cameras of the officers were never turned on, or were intentionally turned off and the video erased, remains to be seen.

Australian authorities are going to get involved, meaning the Minneapolis Police Department and the police unions will not be able to sweep this under the rug.  The nature of Justine and her character make a character assassination by the PD/unions very difficult.  There was no gun, and the PD/unions know it will be impossible to convince the public Justine was a likely candidate to gun down a police officer.  Minnesota Tourism, lead by the mega-draw Mall of America, dependent on foreign travelers, are going to demand some sort of punishment for dragging the state's reputation into the mud. And with the NFL getting ready to bring their biggest game of the year to Minneapolis, there's a need to convince the league their players, coaches and fans won't be gunned down, legally, by Minneapolis police for flashing a 'we're number 1' sign.  This time, for many reasons, there's added pressure on everyone to not take a murder by badge lightly.

I'll state the obvious first.  My guess is the officer who murdered Justine will be held accountable because she's white and Australian.  Afterwards, the pompous, arrogant blind defenders of police will scream how the anti-police people have gotten their 'pound of flesh,' acting as if a no brainer guilty verdict was some grand injustice.  They'll also tout establishing a 'shoot only non-white suspects if you want to get away with murder' standard as a 'compromise.'

The police seem to have zero intent on changing this fractured dynamic.  They've been told at all levels of the legislative and judicial branch legally murdering people is a 'perk' of the job.  They feel invincible.  There's a decent chance Justine's murderer will be found not guilty because the enablers of this type of behavior have told the officers there are no consequences for their actions, and have created a system which validates their actions, regardless.

That's why we need to hold everyone responsible.  Let's start with the officers who murdered Justine Damond and the police department who CLEARLY did not screen or train their officers appropriately.  We need to condemn the police union who defends and applauds this disgusting result.  We need to condemn the Prosecutor, Judge and Jury in the Yanez trial, who sent the clear message; "it doesn't matter what the video evidence shows us.  You'll be found innocent." And we need to condemn the political opportunists, who insist anyone who dares question what they endorse as a "good kill" is un-American and hates police.

We need immediate screening processes in place to remove all racists, bigots, violent, mentally unqualified and scared police officers from the forces in Minnesota.  This includes a social media screening of EVERY police officer.  We need to have extensive remedial training on when and where an officer pulls a weapon and/or fires a weapon.  And we need the police to understand, we're afraid of them; not because we're being irrational, but because thy keep shooting unarmed and non threatening individuals.  If these people are going to be given the ability to legally murder anyone, then we need to make sure only the most upstanding individuals are given a badge.

Instead, I'll wait for the laughable defense, the character assassination, the fixed trial, and the preening and posturing politicians looking for police union campaign donations after the injustice.

I'll also pray for Justine Damond, her fiancé, her family, and all who are starting to wonder if calling the police would only make things worse.


  1. Very true comments. And the US led the way in psych research to identify faulty management due to monopolistic (autocratic, dictatorial) structures. Bullying and arrogance are part of that unintelligent (stupid, Trumpist) culture. The only way a poorly educated, low self esteem, insecure person can get status is to bully.

  2. I posted this to my Facebook, but no takers. I'd like to know the answer to the question at the end. Perhaps you think we should know the answer and are more connected and able to get one.

    I postulate that the body cameras were on and that someone associated with the police union knows how to hack the body cameras after the fact to make it look like they were off. I can think of two ways to show this is possible 1) acquire some body cameras and reverse engineer them until it can be shown that they're hackable this way, 2) get inside information from police about a method being known.

    1) may not be possible because they certainly could have help from someone inside the manufacturer of the body cameras that wouldn't be available to anyone else.

    2) seems better, but unlikely.

    If it isn't possible to hack them this way there should be a public, technical explanation of the encryption, authentication, and integrity safeguards and the processes than insure them. Does anybody know where that explanation is?


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